UAA Day 2: The return of Seventh Woods; Markelle Fultz is the real deal; Josh Jackson’s up-and-down day

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(Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

LOUISVILLE — Seventh Woods became a household name for college basketball fans as a 14-year-old wunderkind who exploded on the national scene with a hugely popular mixtape.

The mixtape — which has 13 million views to date — catapulted Woods into another stratosphere among the players in his class at a very young age and it saddled him with unfair future expectations going forward.

After breaking his  wrist and missing a lot of grassroots basketball last spring and summer, Woods became an afterthought among fans as other players surpassed him in the national rankings. Rivals still has Woods as a five-star prospect and the No. 18 player in the Class of 2016, but he’s no longer generating the buzz that he used to.

After his performance on Saturday against touted North Carolina commit Jalek Felton, the message became clear: Seventh Woods hasn’t gone anywhere.

Woods was impressive, going for 25 points, five rebounds and five assists and knocking down three 3-pointers, as he scored around the basket using his trademark athleticism while also showing an improved — but still a tad inconsistent — perimeter jumper.

When Woods back-ironed a two-handed dunk on a break, you knew his leaping ability, post-knee injury, was still at an elite level. It was great to see Woods shake off the former cobwebs of the injury and he definitely lived up to his current five-star status. Woods has clearly worked hard to recover from his injury and deserves the attention of college basketball fans going forward.

He’s still oozing with ability and a ton of fun to watch.

Markelle Fultz is the real deal

Among national media and scouts, 6-foot-4 wing Markelle Fultz became a must-see prospect for this spring after a huge junior season placed him in the top 25 of the Class of 2016 rankings.

Fultz went for 26 points and seven rebounds in an easy win over Team Superstar and he showed why he’s emerged as a serious national prospect with 28 scholarship offers. With long arms and quick feet, Fultz can make plays off the dribble or hit jumpers and he’s comfortable in his own skin with the ball in his hands.

Currently listed as a four-star prospect and the No. 24 player in the Class of 2016, Fultz could push five-star status and future All-American status if he has a strong spring and summer against elite competition.

Josh Jackson has an up-and-down day

Splitting time between the Nike EYBL and the Under Armour Association on Saturday meant that I didn’t get a chance to catch Josh Jackson’s ridiculous 41-point, 7-assist, 6-rebound performance earlier in the day.

By the time I got to Louisville, Jackson’s performance from the day had media and coaches buzzing. As the No. 1 player in the Class of 2016, according to Rivals, this is the kind of chatter you want to hear about the top dog.

Naturally, that buzz carried over to Jackson’s Saturday night contest against Philly Pride, but he didn’t sustain the level of production from earlier in the day.

In fact, Jackson seemed disinterested in attacking the basket until the second half, as he went 5-for-14 from the field and finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.

Inconsistent efforts have been apart of Jackson’s resume before, but when he decided to turn it up a notch in the second half, he was completely unstoppable for a sequence of plays. He knocked in a deep 3-pointer before finishing with a gorgeous spin drive and a mid-range pull-up. Jackson also threw in a ridiculous block for good measure just to showcase his fantastic athleticism.

There is no doubting that Jackson is a premier talent in high school basketball — and playing two games in one day is never easy and something he’ll never have to do in college basketball — but it wouldn’t hurt if Jackson decided to bring his earlier level of consistency and production every game out.

Boum, Jones lead No. 13 Xavier over No. 19 UConn, 82-79

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STORRS, Conn. – Souley Boum scored 21 points, Colby Jones added 20 and No. 13 Xavier went on the road and held off No. 19 Connecticut 82-79 Wednesday night.

The win was the 13th in 14 games for the Musketeers (17-4, 9-1 Big East) and it gave them a season sweep over the struggling Huskies (16-6, 5-6).

Jack Nunge had 12 points and Jerome Hunter added 11 for Xavier, which led by 17 in the first half and 39-24 at halftime.

Jordan Hawkins scored 26 of his 28 points in the second half for UConn, leading a comeback that fell just short.

Tristen Newton added 23 points for the Huskies, who won their first 14 games this season but have dropped six of eight since.

The Musketeers never trailed but had to withstand UConn runs that cut the lead to a single point four times in the second half.

A three-point play from Hawkins made it 78-77 with 2:40 left. But a second-chance layup from Nunge put the lead at 80-77 just over a minute later.

Newton was fouled with two seconds left by Desmond Claude, but his apparent attempt to miss his second free throw went into the basket.

Boum then hit two free throws at the other end, and Newton’s final attempt from just beyond halfcourt was well short.

Xavier jumped out to a 9-0 lead as UConn missed its first nine shots.

A 3-pointer from Zach Freemantle gave the Musketeers their first double-digit lead at 20-9, and another from Jones pushed it to 35-18.

BIG PICTURE

Xavier: The Musketeers lead the Big East, and the win over UConn was their ninth conference victory this season, eclipsing their total from last season.

UConn: The Huskies came in with a 17-game winning streak at Gampel Pavilion dating to February 2021. They fell to 1-4 against the four teams in front of them in the Big East standings. The lone win came at Gampel against Creighton.

UP NEXT

Xavier: The Musketeers continue their road trip with a visit to Creighton on Saturday.

UConn: Doesn’t play again until next Tuesday, when the Huskies visit DePaul.

No. 12 Iowa State holds on to beat No. 5 Kansas State 80-76

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AMES, Iowa – Jaren Holmes matched his season high with 23 points as No. 12 Iowa State held on to beat No. 5 Kansas State 80-76 on Tuesday night.

The Cyclones (15-4, 6-2 Big 12) moved into a three-way tie atop the conference standings with the Wildcats and Texas.

Gabe Kalscheur added 19 points for Iowa State. Osun Osunniyi finished with 16.

Markquis Nowell led Kansas State (17-3, 6-2) with 23 points.

A 3-pointer from Holmes gave Iowa State a 59-49 advantage with 8:12 remaining. Kansas State responded with a 10-1 run to trim the margin to 60-59.

Caleb Grill’s 3-pointer steadied the Cyclones and pushed the lead back to 63-59 with five minutes left.

Free throws by Osunniyi, Grill and Holmes sealed the victory in the final 24 seconds.

The first half featured eight lead changes and ended with Kansas State up 33-31.

A 3-pointer by Kalscheur ignited an early 9-0 run for the Cyclones and helped them build a 19-14 lead. Iowa State made just one of nine 3-point tries in the first 20 minutes.

BIG PICTURE

Kansas State was trying to extend its best start to a season since 1961-62.

Iowa State improved to 11-0 at home. The Cyclones have not lost back-to-back games this season.

UP NEXT

Kansas State hosts Florida on Saturday as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

Iowa State travels to Missouri on Saturday.

Georgetown snaps 29-game conference losing streak

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WASHINGTON – Primo Spears scored 21 points and Georgetown snapped a 29-game conference losing streak with an 81-76 victory over DePaul on Tuesday night.

Georgetown (6-15, 1-9) won its first Big East game since March 13, 2021, ending the longest skid in the history of the conference. The Hoyas also ended a 10-game losing streak this season.

Spears also contributed six assists for the Hoyas. Akok Akok scored 12 points and added six rebounds and four blocks and Brandon Murray recorded 12 points.

Umoja Gibson led the Blue Demons (9-12, 3-7) in scoring, finishing with 24 points, four assists and three steals. Javan Johnson added 13 points.

Spears scored nine points in the first half and Georgetown went into the break trailing 37-36. Georgetown used a 10-0 run in the second half to build a 12-point lead at 75-63 with 1:39 remaining.

Nance scores 21 as North Carolina survives Syracuse, 72-68

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Pete Nance scored 21 points, capped by a dunk with 19 seconds left that put North Carolina in front for good as the Tar Heels pulled out a hard-fought, 72-68 battle with Syracuse on Tuesday night.

Joe Girard hit from beyond the arc to put Syracuse up, 68-66 with 1:28 left, but after Nance hit the first of two free throws to get North Carolina within one, he missed the second free throw and in the scramble to gather in the rebound, the ball caromed toward the end line and Girard dove to save it. Instead, he flicked the ball right to Nance, who dunked for the lead.

Judah Mintz tried to drive the lane for a go-ahead layup but was called for an offensive foul that was upgraded to a flagrant foul. North Carolina took possession and Caleb Love converted three straight free throws to put the game away.

Armando Bacot scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds with four assists for North Carolina (15-6, 7-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Love finished with 15 points and five assists.

Girard hit 4 of 9 from beyond the arc and finished with 18 points to lead Syracuse (13-8, 6-4). Mintz scored 17 points and had three steals and Chris Bell hit 3 of 5 from deep and finished with 15 points.

North Carolina has a week off before playing host to Pitt on Feb. 1. Syracuse plays at Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Green Bay fires Will Ryan after 11th straight loss

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Green Bay fired Will Ryan three days after the Phoenix suffered their 11th consecutive loss.

Ryan, the son of former Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, posted a 15-61 record in 2 1/2 seasons. Freddie Owens, who had been an assistant coach on Ryan’s staff, will be interim head coach for the rest of the season.

“UW-Green Bay is committed to continuing its legacy as an outstanding Division I athletics program in the future, and Phoenix men’s basketball needs to help lead the way as we work to elevate all of our programs and be a shining light for this region and beyond,” athletic director Josh Moon said in a news release announcing the move.

Moon thanked Ryan and his family for their contributions to the program and said that “we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Stadium first reported Ryan’s firing.

Green Bay dropped to 2-19 overall and 1-9 in the Horizon League with a 72-38 home loss to Robert Morris.

Ryan was hired by Green Bay after going 14-13 in his lone season as the head coach at Division II program Wheeling (West Virginia). Green Bay went 8-17 in Ryan’s debut season and finished 5-25 last year.

Ryan had taken over for Linc Darner, who went 92-80 and posted a winning record in four of his five seasons.