Late Night Snacks: Recapping college hoops’ opening night

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Belmont 83, Marquette 80

The Bruins picked up a huge win to kick off their 2015-16 as they went into Milwaukee and knocked off Marquette. Evan Gadds led the way with 24 points and nine boards for the Bruins, while Craig Bradshaw chipped in with 18 points. Marquette was led by 21 points, 16 boards and three assists from freshman Henry Ellenson, but the Golden Eagles struggled defensively and made too many silly mistakes down the stretch. Twice, in the final 15 seconds, they turned the ball over with a chance to take the lead.

In the long run, I think Marquette is going to be fine as a team. This Belmont team is really good — one of the best at the mid-major level nationally — and the Golden Eagles are a young team that made the kind of mistakes that young teams make. Come February, they’ll be playing like a team that will deserve NCAA tournament consideration. The problem is that they simply don’t have the kind of non-conference schedule where they are going to be able to make up for this loss. Even if they do find a way to play themselves into the NCAA tournament, they are going to find themselves in a bad spot when it comes to seeding.


No. 7 Iowa State 68, Colorado 62: Georges Niang had 17 points and Abdel Nader finished with 14 as the Cyclones picked up their first win of the Steve Prohm in front of a defacto home crowd in South Dakota. The Cyclones looked a bit out of sync at times in their first game under new head coach Steve Prohm, and the lack of any depth at the five is a major red-flag; when Jameel McKay went to the bench, Iowa State went to a 2-3 zone with Niang and Nader playing the middle.

But the real takeaway from this game was that Colorado may actually be a factor in the Pac-12 this season. Josh Scott struggled in what was essentially a road game, and the Buffaloes still managed to have a real shot at pulling out a win in the final minutes. The key was George King and Dominique Collier, who combined for 27 points and 7-for-13 shooting from three.

No. 2 Kentucky 78, Albany 65: The Wildcats didn’t run away from the Great Danes, but they got 19 points and eight assists from Jamal Murray in a blowout win. Marcus Lee added 12 points, eight boards, three blocks and three assists while Derek Willis came out of nowhere to go off for 14 points and three assists off the bench.

Western Illinois 69, No. 17 Wisconsin 67: We wrote about this upset here.

Washington 77, Texas 71: Andrew Andrews had 23 points to lead the way for the Huskies, and this was a good win for Lorenzo Romar’s club, but this is going to be a loss that will not look good for Texas come March. Washington is young, and while Texas is in the midst of learning a new system, the NCAA tournament selection committee does not care about that. Isaiah Taylor had 27 points in the loss, while the trio of freshmen — Eric Davis Jr., Tevin Mack and Kerwin Roach — combined to go 4-for-27 from the floor.


Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina: Meeks was the best player of the floor for the No. 1 Tar Heels as they smacked around Temple in Annapolis, 91-67. Meeks finished with 25 points, 10 boards and three blocks. Also worth noting: Joel Berry II and Nate Britt finished with 27 points, hitting a combined 5-for-6 from three.

Grayson Allen, Duke: The No. 5 Blue Devils blew out Siena thanks in large part to Allen, who scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half and also added the best dunk from college basketball’s opening night.

Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame: In his first game as the focal point of the Notre Dame offense, Jackson had 27 points and three assists as the No. 19 Irish knocked off St. Francis (PA), 87-56. Zach Auguste added 15 points and 14 boards.

Dallas Moore, North Florida: The Ospreys won a game over a Big Ten team for the second straight season thanks in large part to Moore, who had 26 points and 10 assists without a turnover in a 93-81 win over Illinois in Illinois. Beau Beech added 25.


Georgia: The Bulldogs shot 54 percent from the floor and went 10-for-20 from three … and still lost at home to Chattanooga in overtime. Casey Jones and Johnathan Burroughs-Cook both finished with 23 points for the Mocs.

Cat Barber, N.C. State: Barber was 4-for-16 from the floor for the Wolfpack as they kicked off their 2015-16 season with an 85-68 loss at home to William & Mary. Daniel Dixon and Omar Prewitt finished with a combined 36 points in the Tribe’s win.

UCLA: The Bruins blew a ten-point second half lead and a five-point overtime leda as they lost to Monmouth at home. Point guards Bryce Alford and Aaron Holiday combined to shoot 8-for-30 from the floor while the Bruins, as a team, committed 23 turnovers.


  • No. 3 Maryland 80, Mount St. Mary’s 56: Jake Layman led five scorers in double-figures with 16 points.
  • No. 4 Kansas 109, Northern Colorado 72: The Jayhawks put six player sin double figures, with Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham — 24 points and 17 assists, combined — leading the way.
  • No. 6 Virginia 86, Morgan State 48: Mike Tobey and Anthony Gill combined for 27 points and 15 boards in the win.
  • No. 10 Wichita State 88, Charleston Southern 63: The Shockers won easily, but Fred VanVleet, who entered the game with a hamstring issue, left with an ankle issue.
  • No. 11 Villanova 91, Fairleigh Dickinson 54: Jalen Brunson and Ryan Arcidiacono combined for 24 points and eight assists without a turnover in a game that was never close.
  • No. 12 Arizona 79, Pacific 61: The Wildcats got 18 points and 12 boards from Ryan Anderson in the win.
  • No. 13 Michigan State 82, Florida Atlantic 55: Denzel Valentine nearly posted a triple-double, finishing with 13 points, nine assists and eight boards.
  • No. 14 Cal 97, Rice 65: The Golden Bears got 14 points and 13 boards from freshman Ivan Rabb. Fellow freshman Jaylen Brown chipped in with 14 points as well, while all-american Tyrone Wallace added 20 points, eight boards and six assists.
  • No. 15 Indiana 88, Eastern Illinois 49: Yogi Ferrell had 13 points, seven boards and six assists for the Hoosiers, but, more importantly, IU held EIU to just 34.0 percent shooting.
  • No. 16 Utah 82, Southern Utah 71: On a night in which their starting backcourt went scoreless, the Runnin’ Utes received quality performances from Jakob Poeltl (26 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks), Jordan Loveridge (24 points) and Kyle Kuzma (23 points, 12 rebounds) in a win over the Thunderbirds.
  • No. 18 Vanderbilt 80, Austin Peay 41: Luke Kornet had 13 points, 13 boards, three assists and four blocks for the ‘Dores.
  • No. 20 UConn 100, Maine 56: Sterling Gibbs had 20 in his UConn debut while Amida Brimah posted 17 points, nine blocks and seven boards.
  • No. 21 LSU 81, McNeese State 70: Antonio Blakeney and Brandon Sampson combined for 40 points as they outshined fellow freshman Ben Simmons.
  • No. 22 Baylor 97, Stephen F. Austin 55: The Bears blew out a good SFA team, led by 18 points from Rico Gathers.
  • No. 23 Purdue 81, North Carolina A&T 40: Caleb Swanigan had 11 points and 11 boards in his debut. A.J. Hammons did not play in Purdue’s opener, and Painter only said that he “has to take care of some things.”
  • No. 25 Michigan 70, Northern Michigan 44: Caris LeVert returned from injury with 18 points and five assists.


  • Pitt was up 37-35 on No. 9 Gonzaga when the game was called due to the awful condition the court was in.
  • Stefan Moody had 29 points, five assists and five boards as Ole Miss knocked off Northwestern State, but the story from this game was Jalan West, NSU’s star guard, injured his knee with 30 seconds left. He’ll get an MRI tomorrow.
  • Damion Lee had 14 points to lead four players in double-figures as the Cardinals blew out Samford, 86-45.
  • Jevon Carter had 24 points, six assists and five steals and Devin Williams added 18 points and 15 boards as West Virginia won their opener against Northern Kentucky easily.
  • Gary Clark and Octavious Ellis combined for 38 points and 18 boards in a 25 point win over Western Carolina.
  • Jalen Reynolds led Xavier to a win over Miami (OH) with 16 points, 15 boards, four blocks and three assists.
  • Gavin Ware finished with 26 points and 13 boards as Mississippi State knocked off Eastern Washington despite the fact that Malik Newman didn’t play with a toe injury.
  • Florida kicked off the Mike White era with a 59-41 win over Navy.
  • Kareem Canty finished with 20 points, five boards and four assists as Auburn picked up a better-than-you-think win over UAB.
  • Tyler Dorsey led the way for Oregon in a win over Jackson State with 20 points, five boards and five assists.

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.

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

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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.”