Wednesday’s Snacks: No. 4 Duke comes back, and No. 12 Louisville continues to struggle


GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 4 Duke 92, No. 15 North Carolina 90 (OT)

This great rivalry never seems to disappoint. North Carolina led by as much as ten in the second half but they couldn’t close the game out, as Tyus Jones made some big plays down the stretch to force overtime. Jones scored 14 points in the second half and overtime, finishing with 22 points, eight assists and seven rebounds to lead the way for Duke. Quinn Cook added 22 points, and he also did a good job of defending Marcus Paige for most of the night. North Carolina did a lot of its damage in the paint, scoring 62 points there, with Brice Johnson going for 18 points and 12 rebounds and Kennedy Meeks adding 18 and seven rebounds. The rematch is scheduled for March 7 in Chapel Hill.


1. Syracuse 69, No. 12 Louisville 59 

Without the suspended Chris Jones the Cardinals hung around but could not get the win at the Carrier Dome. Rakeem Christmas led the Orange with 29 points, making nine of his ten field goal attempts, and he also grabbed eight rebounds. Add in 18 points from Mike Gbinije and 13 from Tyler Roberson, and Syracuse was able to win despite Trevor Cooney shooting 1-for-10 from the field. Terry Rozier led Louisville with 17 points and Montrezl Harrell added 15, but Wayne Blackshear accounted for just one assist and two turnovers before fouling out.

2. Xavier 59, Cincinnati 57

Two Trevon Bluiett free throws with 11.5 seconds remaining to give the Musketeers the lead for good in a game that loomed large for both teams from an NCAA tournament standpoint. Having lost at home to St. John’s on Saturday, this was a nice bounce back win for Chris Mack’s team, which was led offensively by Dee Davis (16 points). Freshman forward Gary Clark led the Bearcats with 14 points and seven rebounds.

RELATED: Wednesday’s Bubble Banter

3. No. 14 Iowa State 70, No. 22 Oklahoma State 65 

Jameel McKay scored 13 of his 17 points from the foul line and also grabbed 14 rebounds as the Cyclones won in Stillwater. McKay was responsible for nine of Iowa State’s 18 offensive rebounds, and as a team Fred Hoiberg’s squad converted those extra opportunities into 21 second-chance points. The rebounding and post play were the biggest issues for Oklahoma State, which was outscored 34-14 in the paint. Phil Forte III and Le’Bryan Nash led four Cowboys in double figures with 13 points apiece.


1. Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse

Christmas shot 9-for-10 from the field and 11-for-13 from the foul line, scoring 29 points to go along with eight rebounds and four blocks in the Orange’s 69-59 win over No. 12 Louisville.

2. Lance Crawford, UMass-Lowell

Crawford scored 35 points, dished out four assists and grabbed three rebounds in the River Hawks’ 82-71 win over Maine.

3. Quinn Cook and Tyus Jones, Duke

Cook and Jones scored 22 points apiece as No. 4 Duke came back to beat No. 15 North Carolina 92-90 in overtime.


1. Wayne Blackshear, Louisville

Blackshear didn’t have much of an impact in the Cardinals’ loss at Syracuse, as he went scoreless and finished with two turnovers and an assist before fouling out.

2. Matthew Fisher-Davis and Luke Kornet, Vanderbilt

Fisher-Davis and Kornet combined to shoot 2-for-15, scoring six points, in the Commodores’ 50-47 loss at Florida.

3. Marcus Paige, North Carolina

Paige scored five points on 2-for-11 shooting in the Tar Heels’ two-point loss at Duke.


  • Sam Dekker scored 22 points to lead No. 5 Wisconsin to a 55-47 win at Penn State. The Badgers have now won nine straight games.
  • No. 11 Northern Illinois has now won 14 straight, as they beat Loyola-Chicago 58-39 in Chicago. Seth Tuttle and Nate Buss scored ten points apiece for the Panthers, who are now 14-1 in Missouri Valley play.
  • Michael Qualls scored 21 points and Bobby Portis added 16 points and nine rebounds as No. 18 Arkansas beat Missouri 84-69.


  • Tulsa snapped its two-game losing streak with a 69-58 win over East Carolina. Frank Haith’s team is now 11-2 in American Athletic Conference play.
  • In a matchup of teams that are in the bubble conversation, Davidson won 65-63 at George Washington. Jordan Barham led a balanced effort for the Wildcats with 15 points.
  • Also in the Atlantic 10, Rhode Island took care of UMass 75-59 in Kingston. As a result of the win URI moves back into a tie for first place with VCU at 10-3.
  • Lorenzo Cugini scored 19 points to help lead High Point to an 83-62 win over Gardner-Webb. Scott Cherry’s Panthers are tied atop the Big South standings with Charleston Southern, which beat Presbyterian.
  • With Northeastern beating William & Mary, UNCW is now in sole possession of first place in the CAA. The Seahawks are 10-4, with the Huskies, Tribe and James Madison (which beat Drexel) all a game back in the loss column at 10-5.
  • Greg Mays (34 points) and Keifer Sykes (23, eight assists and seven rebounds) led Green Bay to a 96-78 win over Detroit. The Phoenix are now tied for second in the Horizon League with Cleveland State (a game behind Valparaiso), and the two teams meet Friday night.
  • UCLA may have been looking ahead to Saturday’s game against No. 7 Arizona. They can’t afford to do such things and Arizona State made the Bruins pay for it, beating them 68-66 on the night that James Harden’s jersey was retired. Oregon did not have that problem, as they took care of Colorado in Eugene.
  • Providence took care of business, rolling to an 84-57 win at DePaul. LaDontae Henton scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Kris Dunn added 21, four rebounds, four assists and four steals.
  • Northwestern followed up its win over Iowa on Sunday with a 72-66 win at Minnesota.

North Carolina transfer Caleb Love commits to Arizona

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Caleb Love is now headed to Arizona.

The North Carolina transfer tweeted, less than a month after decommitting from Michigan, that he will play next season with the Wildcats.

“Caleb is a tremendously talented guard who has significant experience playing college basketball at a high level,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said in a statement. “We look forward to helping Caleb grow his game at Arizona. And as we near the completion of the roster for the upcoming season, we feel great about how everything has come together. Now it’s time for the real work to start.”

A 6-foot-4 guard, Love averaged 14.6 points and 3.3 assists in three seasons at North Carolina. He averaged 17.6 points in seven NCAA Tournament games, helping lead the Tar Heels to the 2022 national championship game.

Love entered the transfer portal after leading North Carolina with 73 3-pointers as a junior and initially committed to Michigan. He decommitted from the Wolverines earlier this month, reportedly due to an admissions issue involving academic credits.

Love narrowed his transfer targets to three schools before choosing to play at Arizona over Gonzaga and Texas.

Love will likely start on a team that will have dynamic perimeter players, including Pelle Larsson, Kylan Boswell and Alabama transfer Jaden Bradley.

Biden celebrates LSU women’s and UConn men’s basketball teams at separate White House events


WASHINGTON – All of the past drama and sore feelings associated with Louisiana State’s invitation to the White House were seemingly forgotten or set aside Friday as President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcomed the championship women’s basketball team to the mansion with smiles, hugs and lavish praise all around.

The visit had once appeared in jeopardy after Jill Biden suggested that the losing Iowa team be invited, too. But none of that was mentioned as both Bidens heralded the players for their performance and the way they have helped advance women’s sports.

“Folks, we witnessed history,” the president said. “In this team, we saw hope, we saw pride and we saw purpose. It matters.”

The ceremony was halted for about 10 minutes after forward Sa’Myah Smith appeared to collapse as she and her teammates stood behind Biden. A wheelchair was brought in and coach Kim Mulkey assured the audience that Smith was fine.

LSU said in a statement that Smith felt overheated, nauseous and thought she might faint. She was evaluated by LSU and White House medical staff and was later able to rejoin the team. “She is feeling well, in good spirits, and will undergo further evaluation once back in Baton Rouge,” the LSU statement said.

Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, Biden said, more than half of all college students are women, and there are now 10 times more female athletes in college and high school. He said most sports stories are still about men, and that that needs to change.

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs and activities.

“Folks, we need to support women sports, not just during the championship run but during the entire year,” President Biden said.

After the Tigers beat Iowa for the NCAA title in April in a game the first lady attended, she caused an uproar by suggesting that the Hawkeyes also come to the White House.

LSU star Angel Reese called the idea “A JOKE” and said she would prefer to visit with former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, instead. The LSU team largely is Black, while Iowa’s top player, Caitlin Clark, is white, as are most of her teammates.

Nothing came of Jill Biden’s idea and the White House only invited the Tigers. Reese ultimately said she would not skip the White House visit. She and co-captain Emily Ward presented team jerseys bearing the number “46” to Biden and the first lady. Hugs were exchanged.

Jill Biden also lavished praise on the team, saying the players showed “what it means to be a champion.”

“In this room, I see the absolute best of the best,” she said, adding that watching them play was “pure magic.”

“Every basket was pure joy and I kept thinking about how far women’s sports have come,” the first lady added, noting that she grew up before Title IX was passed. “We’ve made so much progress and we still have so much more work to do.”

The president added that “the way in which women’s sports has come along is just incredible. It’s really neat to see, since I’ve got four granddaughters.”

After Smith was helped to a wheelchair, Mulkey told the audience the player was OK.

“As you can see, we leave our mark where we go,” Mulkey joked. “Sa’Myah is fine. She’s kind of, right now, embarrassed.”

A few members of Congress and Biden aides past and present with Louisiana roots dropped what they were doing to attend the East Room event, including White House budget director Shalanda Young. Young is in the thick of negotiations with House Republicans to reach a deal by the middle of next week to stave off what would be a globally calamitous U.S. financial default if the U.S. can no longer borrow the money it needs to pay its bills.

The president, who wore a necktie in the shade of LSU’s purple, said Young, who grew up in Baton Rouge, told him, “I’m leaving the talks to be here.” Rep. Garret Graves, one of the House GOP negotiators, also attended.

Biden closed sports Friday by changing to a blue tie and welcoming the UConn’s men’s championship team for its own celebration. The Huskies won their fifth national title by defeating San Diego State, 76-59, in April.

“Congratulations to the whole UConn nation,” he said.

Marquette’s Prosper says he will stay in draft rather than returning to school

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MILWAUKEE — Olivier-Maxence Prosper announced he is keeping his name under NBA draft consideration rather than returning to Marquette.

The 6-foot-8 forward announced his decision.

“Thank you Marquette nation, my coaches, my teammates and support staff for embracing me from day one,” Prosper said in an Instagram post. “My time at Marquette has been incredible. With that being said, I will remain in the 2023 NBA Draft. I’m excited for what comes next. On to the next chapter…”

Prosper had announced last month he was entering the draft. He still could have returned to school and maintained his college eligibility by withdrawing from the draft by May 31. Prosper’s announcement indicates he instead is going ahead with his plans to turn pro.

Prosper averaged 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds last season while helping Marquette go 29-7 and win the Big East’s regular-season and tournament titles. Marquette’s season ended with a 69-60 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.

He played two seasons at Marquette after transferring from Clemson, where he spent one season.

Kansas’ Kevin McCullar Jr. returning for last season of eligibility

kansas mccullar
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Kevin McCullar Jr. said that he will return to Kansas for his final year of eligibility, likely rounding out a roster that could make the Jayhawks the preseason No. 1 next season.

McCullar transferred from Texas Tech to Kansas for last season, when he started 33 of 34 games and averaged 10.7 points and 7.0 rebounds. He was also among the nation’s leaders in steals, and along with being selected to the Big 12’s all-defensive team, the 6-foot-6 forward was a semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award.

“To be able to play in front of the best fans in the country; to play for the best coach in the nation, I truly believe we have the pieces to hang another banner in the Phog,” McCullar said in announcing his return.

Along with McCullar, the Jayhawks return starters Dajuan Harris Jr. and K.J. Adams from a team that went 28–8, won the Big 12 regular-season title and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where it lost to Arkansas in the second round.

Perhaps more importantly, the Jayhawks landed Michigan transfer Hunter Dickinson, widely considered the best player in the portal, to anchor a lineup that was missing a true big man. They also grabbed former five-star prospect Arterio Morris, who left Texas, and Towson’s Nick Timberlake, who emerged last season as one of the best 3-point shooters in the country.

The Jayhawks also have an elite recruiting class arriving that is headlined by five-star recruit Elmarko Jackson.

McCullar declared for the draft but, after getting feedback from scouts, decided to return. He was a redshirt senior last season, but he has another year of eligibility because part of his career was played during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a big day for Kansas basketball,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “Kevin is not only a terrific player but a terrific teammate. He fit in so well in year one and we’re excited about what he’ll do with our program from a leadership standpoint.”

Clemson leading scorer Hall withdraws from NBA draft, returns to Tigers

clemson pj hall
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson leading scorer PJ Hall is returning to college after withdrawing from the NBA draft on Thursday.

The 6-foot-10 forward took part in the NBA combine and posted his decision to put off the pros on social media.

Hall led the Tigers with 15.3 points per game this past season. He also led the Tigers with 37 blocks, along with 5.7 rebounds. Hall helped Clemson finish third in the Atlantic Coast Conference while posting a program-record 14 league wins.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell said Hall gained experience from going through the NBA’s combine that will help the team next season. “I’m counting on him and others to help lead a very talented group,” he said.

Hall was named to the all-ACC third team last season as the Tigers went 23-10.