Late Night Snacks: Top-ranked Kentucky tops No. 6 Texas, No. 11 Kansas erases large halftime deficit

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 11 Kansas 71 Florida 65

Kansas trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half, however, behind an energized crowd and the best offensive outing of the season for sophomore Wayne Selden, the Jayhawks stormed back going on a 17-0 run to take a six-point lead with under 4:30 to play. The win also saw Cliff Alexander’s first career double-double.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 1 Kentucky 63, No. 6 Texas 51

The Wildcats didn’t shoot well, were heavily outrebounded to start the first half and wre tied heading into halftime. But the frontline and their defense led the charge against No. 6 Texas. Willie Cauley-Stein was a force on both ends, as he helped spark an 18-2 run that started the second half. Kentucky still has non-conference meetings with No. 12 North Carolina, UCLA and No. 5 Louisville left in the month of December.

Yale 45, UConn 44

Yale led for the first 33 minutes, but almost let the win slip from its hands as UConn stormed back late. Down two, with seconds remaining, Jack Montague hit his only field goal of the night, a baseline three — the same shot Jonathan Holmes connected on in Texas’ win over UConn on Sunday — to hand the Huskies their third straight loss. The Bulldogs are a real threat in the Ivy League, and tonight was further proof. Justin Sears went for 12 points and 15 rebounds.

Boston College 69, Providence 60 

The Friars have been a pleasant surprise this season after reaching the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade a season ago. However, they’ve dropped two straight. One was two the No. 1 team, but Friday PC suffered a tough loss to former conference foe, Boston College. Kris Dunn and Carson Desrosiers accounted for 39 of the team’s 60 points. LaDonate Henton and Tyler Harris were both held to single digits.

STARRED

Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky: White platoon or blue platoon, Willie Cauley-Stein was staying on the floor for Kentucky. The junior center recorded 21 points, 12 rebounds, five steals and three blocks in top-ranked Kentucky’s win over Texas.

Wayne Selden, Kansas: The sophomore guard scored 27 points (7-of-25 shooting) in three games in the Orlando Classic. On Friday night, Selden scored at the rim and hit from the perimeter, going for a season-high 21 points.

Olivier Hanlan, Boston College: In the biggest win of the year for BC, Hanlan scored a team-high 24 points, grabbed eight rebounds with three assists and three steals.

STRUGGLED

UConn: The Huskies were beat up on the boards and saw the same shot take them down for the second time this week. It also hasn’t been a good start to the season for the entire American Athletic Conference.

LaDontae Henton, Providence: After scoring a career-high 38 points in a win over Notre Dame, one of the nation’s best scorers has gone cold. The 3 points, off 1-of-8 shooting on Saturday had a lot to do with Kentucky, but on Friday night in a loss to Boston College, Henton was 4-of-16, again being held to single digits.

Florida’s second half: The Gators offense was great in the first half, but that changed in the second half with an improved effort from the Kansas defense. Florida shot 19 percent lower in the second half than it did in the first. The result was an 18-point lead vanishing, as the Gators left with their fourth loss of the season, one more than the entire 2013-14 season.

TOP 25

  • No. 1 Kentucky 63, Texas 51
  • No. 5 Louisville 82, FIU 57
  • No. 11 Kansas 67, Florida 57
  • No. 22 Oklahoma 82, Missouri 63

NOTABLES

  • Boston College avenge last season’s loss to Providence with a 69-60 win. Olivier Hanlan went for 24 points and eight rebounds
  • Stephen F. Austin dropped Long Beach State. Good win for the Lumberjacks. The 49ers are now 5-5 and will have a five-game road trip to end out the month. Here are their opponents: No. 13 San Diego State, No. 6 Texas, St. John’s, Syracuse, No. 5 Louisville
  • Montrezl Harrell recorded a double-double with 13 points and 12 boards in Louisville’s win over FIU
  • SMU trailed Wyoming by six in the second half, but turned that into a 13-point win. Nic Moore had 25 points.
  • Fairfield upset Manhattan, 67-54, in the MAAC season-opener
  • Pittsburgh beat crosstown rival Duquesne, 76-62
  • Minnesota topped Western Carolina by 20
  • Coastal Carolina upset Auburn, 58-54. The Bruce Pearl era is under .500
  • Ryan Spangler (18), Buddy Hield (17) and Isaiah Cousins (16) were three Sooners in double figures in No. 22 Oklahoma’s win over Missouri.

Four-star 2019 forward flips commitment from Big Ten to SEC program

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Four-star 2019 forward Tray Jackson flipped his verbal commitment from Minnesota to Missouri on Friday night.

The 6-foot-8 forward announced his decommitment from the Golden Gophers on Twitter and then announced a commitment to Missouri a little more than two hours later. Regarded as the No. 96 overall prospect in the Class of 2019, Jackson reclassified from the Class of 2018 and saw his recruitment blossom in the summer.

While decommitting happens in basketball recruiting semi-frequently, flipping a commitment to a new school within a matter of hours is a very uncommon practice. Typically associated with football recruiting, Jackson’s switch is a big deal for Missouri.

His pledge gives head coach Cuonzo Martin an athletic and versatile frontcourt player with upside as Jackson could play multiple positions. The Tigers missed on E.J. Liddell, but Jackson is a nice prize to land instead. Missouri now has two four-star prospects in the Class of 2019 as Jackson joins four-star guard Mario McKinney.

Minnesota needs to replenish its recruiting efforts as they are now without a commitment in the Class of 2019. With head coach Richard Pitino facing pressure to win this season, this isn’t good for the future of Golden Gopher basketball either.

West Virginia lands five-star 2019 center Oscar Tshiebwe

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West Virginia pulled in a major commitment on Saturday as five-star 2019 center Oscar Tshiebwe pledged to the Mountaineers.

A late-developing, high-motor big man who ascended into a national recruit this summer, the 6-foot-8, 230-pound Tshiebwe represents an important grab for West Virginia. Tshiebwe represents a potential replacement for Sagaba Konate in the middle as the Mountaineers beat some pretty impressive programs to land him. That includes Baylor and Kentucky.

Tshiebwe is quick off the floor and a good athlete, as he could be a very dangerous player in Bob Huggins’ system because of his brand of basketball. Regarded as the No. 21 overall prospect in the Rivals Class of 2019 national rankings, Tshiebwe also took official visits to Baylor, Illinois and Kentucky during the recruiting process.

Tshiebwe joins three-star guard Miles McBride in West Virginia’s 2019 recruiting haul.

VIDEO: Marshall’s Taevion Kinsey easily clears three teammates on ridiculous dunk

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Marshall freshman Taevion Kinsey put down one of the preseason’s best dunks on Friday night. With the Thundering Herd hosting Herd Madness, the 6-foot-5 Kinsey put down a ridiculous dunk that easily cleared three teammates.

Most dunkers use an arm on the shoulder during the dunk. Kinsey didn’t need any sort of help as he glided over his teammates.

Kinsey is going to be a dunker to keep an eye on in the future. His teammates certainly think highly of his dunking ability, as most of them projected Kinsey to win the dunk contest before the event even started.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson impresses Duke fans in Cameron Indoor debut, downplays link to trial

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Duke freshman Zion Williamson made some ridiculous dunks look effortless in his Cameron Indoor Stadium debut on Friday night. As part of Duke’s annual “Countdown to Craziness” event, Williamson took part in a scrimmage against his Blue Devil teammates.

That included Williamson going head-to-head with fellow freshman R.J. Barrett in a scrimmage. And more absurd dunks in the warm up line.

But besides for the on-court action, Williamson was also asked about his family’s link to the college basketball corruption trial. On Tuesday, a transcript of calls was read to the New York courtroom that allegedly included Williamson’s stepfather on FBI tapes asking for money and a job from Kansas men’s basketball coaches. The tapes were not admitted as evidence.

“Honestly, I’ve paid no attention to it,” Williamson said to reporters, including ESPN’s David M. Hale, about the trial. “I’m just a college kid, out here having fun with my classmates, looking forward to stuff like Countdown and our first game. You only get one chance at the college experience, and I want to enjoy it.”

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski also downplayed Williamson’s link to the trial, pointing to the NCAA eligibility center’s “exhaustive” process to vette incoming recruits.

“They have an eligibility center now that these kids and their parents go through — and they go through everything,” Krzyzewski said. “We feel very comfortable with him and all our freshmen.”

We’ll likely hear more about Williamson, Kansas and this trial, as time goes on. Williamson also might legitimately not know much about this if it was his stepfather on the call. For now, Williamson is making a huge impression with Duke fans every time he steps foot on the floor.

(H/t: Lawrence Davis III and Duke men’s basketball)

Louisville lands commitment from Irish basketball star

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For the sixth time since Chris Mack took over the Louisville program, the new Cardinal head coach has landed a commitment from a member of the Class of 2019.

On Friday, it was Aidon Igiehon, a top 50 recruit, that announced he will be playing his college basketball for the Cardinals.

He followed in the footsteps of fellow four-stars Samuell Williamson, David Johnson, Jaelyn Withers and Josh nickelberry, not to mention three-star forward Quinn Slazinski.

And all this has happened over the course of the last five months.

Mack got the job in April, after he finished his final run with a Xavier program that he had been in charge of for the last nine years. That came just six months after Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino was fired for a series of scandals that had enveloped the university in the last few years, not the least of which was their involvement with the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball.

That may be the most impressive part of all of this.

No one really knows what is going to happen with Louisville and the NCAA as a result of the way that they were able to entice Brian Bowen on campus. What we do know is that while Louisville was on probation due to the fact that a member of their coaching staff was paying for strippers and sex workers for players and recruits, an agreement was made for Adidas to pay the family of Brian Bowen $100,000 to get him to enroll at Louisville. Bowen’s father said under oath that, in addition to that money, he also accepted at least one $1,300 payment from former Louisville assistant Kenny Johnson.

Those are NCAA violations committed while the program was on probation.

And those are the kind of things that the NCAA does not take lightly.

Everyone involved with the reason that Louisville was on probation and that actually committed those violations has moved on, but that hasn’t stopped speculation that the Cardinals could be facing even more punishment from the NCAA, which is what has made this recruiting job by Mack so impressive.

He’s filled up an entire class of prospects before he’s even coached a game for the program all while this nonsense is swirling around his program.

Was there ever any doubt that the Cardinals hired the right guy?