Late Night Snacks: No. 3 Arizona, No. 7 Virginia shine on a busy Saturday

T.J. McConnell and Kevin Pangos (Getty Images)

GAME OF THE DAY: No. 3 Arizona 66, No. 9 Gonzaga 63 (OT)

T.J. McConnell made two huge shots in overtime and Arizona’s defense turned stifling over the course of the final nine minutes as the Wildcats knocked off Kevin Pangos and Gonzaga at the McKale Center on Saturday night. Our Raphielle Johnson is on site and will be filing from the game, but two notes I noticed from couchside:

  • McConnell, and not all-american Kevin Pangos, made all the big plays down the stretch. Pangos had a key three, but he also had a pair of bad turnovers.
  • Yeah, we need to do this again come March. How about we run it back in the Elite 8? Anyone say no?

PLAYER OF THE DAY: London Perrantes, Virginia

The No. 7 Cavaliers went into the Siegel Center on Saturday afternoon and put a whooping on VCU in one of the toughest environments in college basketball. Justin Anderson was the leading scorer and Malcolm Brogdon is the most well-known player on the roster, but I’ve giving this award to Perrantes because of how well Virginia handled VCU’s pressure and executed offensively in the half court. They were 28-for-41 from the floor and Perrantes had nine assists and three turnovers in 35 minutes.

TEAM OF THE DAY: NJIT 72, No. 17 Michigan 70

The Highlanders were a joke four years ago. They lost more than 50 consecutive games, one of the worst teams in the history of Division I basketball. Now? They still don’t have a conference — they are the lone Division I independent left — but they went into Ann Arbor and knocked off the Wolverines despite the fact that Michigan hit 11 threes and got 32 points from Caris LeVert.


1. No. 2 Wisconsin 49, Marquette 38: Sam Dekker still doesn’t look like himself, but Frank Kaminsky does. He had 15 points, 10 boards, four steals and three blocks to lead the Badgers to a win over arch-rival Marquette at the Bradley Center. It was a nice way to bounce back from Wednesday’s loss to Duke.

2. Green Bay 68, No. 15 Miami 55: The Phoenix manhandled Miami on the road, running them off the floor in the second half despite the fact that their star guard Keifer Sykes was just 5-for-15 from the floor.

3. St. John’s 69, Syracuse 57: D’Angelo Harrison had 24 points and Phil Greene scored 11 straight points late in the second half to give the Johnnies a nice road win over the Orange.


1. Kyle Collinsworth, BYU: Tyler Haws had 30 points in a win for BYU over Hawaii, but Collinsworth was the best player on the floor. He finished with 19 points, 12 boards and 10 assists, adding two blocks and one steal to boot.

2. Alex Caruso, Texas A&M: Caruso finished with 23 points on 9-for-11 shooting, adding six steals, six assists and six boards as the Aggies came from behind to beat Arizona State on Saturday afternoon. Texas A&M was down as much as 13. Kourtney Roberson hit a free throw with 5.1 seconds left for the win.

3. Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall: The star freshman for the Pirates seems to be hitting his stride. He finished with 25 points on 9-for-15 shooting (4-for-5 from three), five assists, three steals and no turnovers in a blowout win over Rutgers.


1. Phil Forte, Oklahoma State: There aren’t five shooters in the country more lethal than Forte. You wouldn’t know it based on Saturday. He was 1-for-14 from the floor and 1-for-10 from three.

2. Purdue: The Boilermakers looked really good during the ACC/Big Ten Challenge when they knocked off N.C. State at Mackey Arena. On Saturday, they followed that up by losing to North Florida, 73-70.

3. Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets lost to USC Upstate at home despite the face that the Spartans shot 30 percent from the floor.


  • Oklahoma State suffered its first loss of the season in rough fashion, falling 75-49 at South Carolina. Duane Notice led the Gamecocks with 20 points.
  • Texas A&M erased an 11-point halftime deficit to beat Arizona State 72-71 in College Station. Kourtney Roberson’s free throw with 5.1 seconds remaining was the difference.
  • Tennessee managed to hold off Kansas State 65-64, with the Wildcats’ Marcus Foster going on a late three-point barrage that nearly erased a ten-point Volunteer lead.
  • Harvard needed two overtimes to vanquish Vermont but the Crimson got the job done, winning 64-52 in Burlington. Wesley Saunders (25 points, seven steals and six assists) led the way for Harvard.
  • Guards Ralston Turner, Anthony Barber and Trevor Lacey combined to score 50 points as NC State beat Wake Forest 78-65 in the ACC opener for both.
  • Northern Iowa is now 8-0 after beating George Mason 71-65 in overtime.
  • Xavier and Alabama combined to score 110 points in the second half of their game Saturday, but it was the Musketeers’ play in the first half that gave them the cushion needed to beat the Crimson Tide 97-84.
  • Having lost two of their last three games Rhode Island got back on track in emphatic fashion, winning 75-43 at Southern Miss.
  • Since suffering a disappointing home loss to USC, New Mexico has won two straight. Saturday they won 63-46 at 8-2 Valparaiso.
  • Derrick Marks scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Boise State to an 82-71 win at Saint Mary’s.


  • No. 8 Wichita State 81, Saint Louis 52
  • No. 10 Villanova 74, Saint Joseph’s 46
  • No. 14 Ohio State 70, Colgate 50
  • No. 19 Michigan State 85, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 52
  • No. 21 Maryland 82, Winthrop 62
  • No. 23 Butler 65, Northwestern 56
  • No. 24 Illinois 70, American 55

UConn adds former Rutgers guard Cam Spencer from transfer portal

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STORRS, Conn. — National champion UConn added some shooting depth to its roster Friday, announcing the signing of former Rutgers guard Cam Spencer from the transfer portal.

Spencer, who graduated last month with a year of eligibility remaining, averaged 13.2 points in his only season in New Jersey. The 6-foot-4 guard, who played his first three seasons at Loyola of Maryland, shot 44.4% from the floor, including 43.4% from 3-point range.

“Cam is the perfect addition to our basketball program,” UConn Coach Dan Hurley said. “He brings a unique combination of high-level skill and feel for the game, with a fierce competitiveness that has allowed him to enjoy a terrific college basketball career thus far.”

The Huskies lost their top 3-point scoring threat, sophomore Jordan Hawkins, to the NBA draft, along with wing Andre Jackson Jr. and post Adama Sanogo.

Guard Tristen Newtown gave the Huskies a boost last month when he withdrew his name from the draft pool and returned to Storrs.

The Huskies began summer workouts this week, welcoming a top recruiting class led by 6-6 point guard Stephon Castle, a McDonald’s All-American from Georgia. The class also includes 6-7 wing Jayden Ross and 6-4 guard Solomon Ball from Virginia, 6-7 wing Jaylin Stewart from Seattle, Washington, and 7-foot center Youssouf Singare from New York.

“I think that some of my strengths will stand out in UConn’s style of play,” Spencer said. “They have a lot of great movement and they play so well together, with great chemistry. I think that I can come in and hopefully contribute to that.”

NCAA tweaks rules on block/charge calls in men’s basketball

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INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA is tweaking how block/charge calls are made in men’s basketball.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved rule changes on Thursday that require a defender to be in position to draw a charge at the time the offensive player plants a foot to go airborne for a shot. If the defender arrives after the player has planted a foot, officials have been instructed to call a block when there’s contact.

Defenders had to be in position to draw a charge before the offensive player went airborne under previous rules.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee members made the proposal after NCAA members complained that too many charges were being called on those types of plays.

The panel also approved reviews of basket interference calls during the next media timeout – if the official called it on the floor – a shot clock reset to 20 seconds on an offensive rebound that hits the rim, and players being allowed to wear any number between 0 and 99.

A timeout also will be granted to an airborne player with possession of the ball, and non-student bench personnel will be allowed to serve as peacekeepers on the floor if an altercation occurs.

Charlotte head coach Ron Sanchez resigns after winning CBI title

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ron Sanchez resigned as head coach of the Charlotte 49ers.

Sanchez took over the 49ers on March 19, 2018, inheriting a team coming off a 6-23 campaign. In five years Charlotte went 72-78 under Sanchez, highlighted by winning the College Basketball Invitational championship this past season, the Niners’ first post-season tournament title in school history.

The 22 wins this past season are the most for Charlotte since 2001.

“Ron took over a proud but struggling program and carefully rebuilt it into a 22-game winner. He has led with class, dignity and devotion to our young men,” Charlotte director of athletics Mike Hill said. “His decision to step down from Charlotte was a difficult one for him and everyone associated with our program. We wish him and his family every happiness.”

Hill said the team has already begun a national search for a replacement.

“This is a bittersweet day for me and my family as I step down to pursue other opportunities,” said Sanchez, who came the 49ers after working as an assistant coach at Virginia under Tony Bennett. “It has been a tremendous privilege to lead the 49ers basketball program over the past five years and I want to thank Niner Nation for its support. I will be forever grateful to my staff, players and the university.”

Marquette extends Shaka Smart’s contract through 2029-30 season

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MILWAUKEE — Marquette coach Shaka Smart has received a contract extension after leading the Golden Eagles to their first outright regular-season championship and tournament title in the Big East.

Smart’s contract now runs through the 2029-30 season. This is the first extension Smart has received since signing a six-year deal when he took over as Marquette’s coach in 2021.

Marquette didn’t release financial terms of Smart’s deal.

“In a very short period of time, Shaka and his staff have done a tremendous job of establishing a winning culture, both on and off the court,” athletic director Bill Scholl said in a statement. “Shaka’s vision for the program is focused on extended, sustainable success. The individuals who interact with the team on a daily basis are able to observe frequent examples of growth and the excitement around the program is contagious.”

Marquette has gone 48-20 in Smart’s two seasons and reached the NCAA Tournament each of those years.

The Golden Eagles went 29-7 and won the Big East’s regular-season and tournament championships last season after the league’s coaches had picked them to finish ninth out of 11 teams. Marquette’s season ended with a 69-60 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.

Purdue’s Edey returning to school at NBA draft deadline; Kentucky’s Tshiebwe stays in

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Purdue’s Zach Edey decided it was the right call to go back to school instead of staying in the NBA draft. His predecessor as national player of the year, Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe, is sticking with his pro pursuit.

And Connecticut’s reign as NCAA champion will begin with multiple starters having left for the NBA draft and one returning after flirting with doing the same.

The 7-foot-4 Edey and UConn guard Tristen Newton were among the notable names to announce that they were withdrawing from the draft, the NCAA’s deadline for players who declared as early entrants to pull out and retain their college eligibility.

Edey’s decision came in social media posts from both the center and the Boilermakers program that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament behind Edey, The Associated Press men’s national player of the year.

But Tshiebwe announced late in the afternoon that he would remain in the draft after a college career that included being named the AP national player of the year in 2022.

For the current champions, Newton (10.1 points, 4.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds) is returning after being one of four Huskies to declare for the draft after a run to UConn’s fifth national championship in early April. He scored a game-high 19 points to go with 10 rebounds in the victory over San Diego State in the title game.

The others were Final Four Most Outstanding Player Adama Sanogo, wing Jordan Hawkins and versatile guard Andre Jackson Jr. Sanogo (17.8 points) and Hawkins (16.3) have made it clear they have closed the door on their college careers, while team spokesman Phil Chardis said that Jackson (6.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists) would remain in the draft.

The Huskies have 247sports’ No. 3-ranked recruiting class for next year to restock the roster, led by McDonald’s All-American point guard Stephon Castle.

The NBA’s withdrawal deadline is June 12, but is moot when it comes to college players returning to school due to the NCAA’s earlier timeline to retain playing eligibility.


TREY ALEXANDER: Creighton gets back a 6-4 guard who averaged 13.6 points and shot 41% from 3-point range in his first full season as a starter.

ADEM BONA: The 6-foot-10 forward and Pac-12 freshman of the year is returning to UCLA after starting 32 games as a rookie and averaging 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks – with coach Mick Cronin praising his toughness for “competing through multiple injuries for as long as he could” in a statement Wednesday.

EDEY: He averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 assists while shooting 60.7% from the field. His presence alone helps Purdue be a factor in the Big Ten race.

JOSIAH-JORDAN JAMES: The 6-6 guard went through the NBA G League Combine and had workouts with multiple teams before opting to return to Tennessee for a fifth season alongside teammate Santiago Vescovi.

JUDAH MINTZ: The 6-3 freshman averaged 16.3 points and 4.6 assists for Syracuse, ranking third among Division I freshmen in scoring behind only Alabama’s Brandon Miller and Lamar’s Nate Calmese.

OWLS’ RETURNEES: Florida Atlantic got good news after its surprise Final Four run with the return leading scorers Johnell Davis (13.8) and Alijah Martin (13.4). ESPN first reported their decisions, while Martin later posted a social media statement.

TERRENCE SHANNON JR.: Illinois got a big boost with Shannon announcing his night in a social media post. The 6-6 guard is returning for a fifth college season after averaging 17.2 points.

SPARTANS’ RETURNEES: Michigan State announced that guards Jaden Akins and A.J. Hoggard have withdrawn from the NBA draft. Standout guard Tyson Walker had previously withdrawn in April, setting up Tom Izzo to have five of his top scorers back.


KOBE BROWN: Missouri’s 6-8 swingman opted against returning for a fifth college season after being an AP first-team all-Southeastern Conference pick averaging 15.8 points last season.

JAYLEN CLARK: The third-year UCLA guard averaged 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds while leading the Pac-12 with 2.6 steals en route to being named Naismith national defensive player of the year. Cronin called him a winner with strong intangibles who made UCLA “a better program because he chose to be a Bruin.”

BRICE SENSABAUGH: The Ohio State freshman averaged 16.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 31 games before missing his final two in the Big Ten Tournament due to a knee injury. He’s a potential first-round prospect.

TSHIEBWE: The 6-9, 260-pound forward is a tough interior presence who led the country in rebounds for two straight seasons (15.1 in 2022, 13.7 in 2023) while racking up 48 double-doubles. But he faces an uncertain next stop and is projected at best as a second-round prospect.