SUNDAY’S SNACKS: St. John’s upsets Syracuse, No. 9 Villanova rolls

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GAME OF THE DAY Houston 105, LSU 98 (OT)

Rob Gray Jr. scored a career-high 31 and Chicken Knowles added 20 and nine rebounds as the Cougars beat the Tigers at home. This was the second test of the season for Kelvin Sampson’s team, which lost at Rhode Island earlier in the week.

LSU welcomed back guard Keith Hornsby and he scored 32 points, with three coming on the shot that forced overtime, and Tim Quarterman added 27, ten and six assists, but defending and rebounding were major issues for Johnny Jones’ team. Ben Simmons finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds and five assists before fouling out late in regulation.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

St. John’s 84, Syracuse 72: Chris Mullin picked up the biggest win of his tenure as head coach at his alma mater, with the Red Storm beating the Orange by 12 at the Garden. Federico Mussini scored 17 points to lead five Red Storm in double figures, with Amar Alibegovic (15 points, nine rebounds) and Durand Johnson (15, seven and four assists) among the other standouts for the home team. Syracuse struggled from deep, shooting 5-for-26 from three.

Rob Dauster has more about this game here.

Nebraska 70, Rhode Island 67: Shavon Shields scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds and freshman guard Glynn Watson scored 13 of his 17 in the second half at the Huskers came back to be the Rams in Lincoln. Jarvis Garrett and Kuran Iverson scored 15 apiece for URI, with Jared Terrell’s three-pointer that would have tied the game missing the mark in the final seconds. Three of the Rams’ four losses this season have been by three points or less.

STARRED

Mandell Thomas, Fordham: Thomas accounted for 27 points, seven rebounds and two assists in the Rams’ 92-55 win over Coppin State. Fordham’s now 9-1 on the season.

Obi Enechionyia, Temple: The Owls fell short against Saint Joseph’s but the sophomore forward played very well, scoring 25 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

STRUGGLED

Malachi Richardson, Syracuse: Richardson missed all eleven of his three-point attempts in a loss at St. John’s, scoring 15 points on 4-for-20 shooting.

Kevin Puryear, Missouri: Puryear, who to this point in the season has been the Tigers’ best front court player, scored four points on 2-for-10 shooting in a blowout loss at No. 13 Arizona.

Chicago State’s three-point shooting: The Cougars were fighting an uphill battle against Northwestern, which comes as no surprise. But they shot 1-for-19 from three in the 77-35 defeat.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 4 Iowa State got off to a sluggish start but that didn’t keep them from taking care of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 78-64. Jameel McKay scored 18 points and Matt Thomas added 17 for the Cyclones, with the latter seeing more playing time with senior Naz Mitrou-Long still working his way back to full strength after undergoing hip surgery in the summer.
  • No. 9 Villanova rebounded from its first loss of the season in solid fashion, beating Big 5 rival La Salle 76-47. The Wildcats shot nearly 55 percent from the field, and Josh Hart led five players in double figures with 18 points.
  • No. 13 Arizona rolled to an 88-52 win over Missouri Sunday night, with Mark Tollefsen leading six in double figures with 17 points. The Tigers shot just 30.4 percent from the field and didn’t have a single player score in double figures.
  • Jevon Thomas, whose wayward behind the back pass led to his getting yanked from a loss to Virginia on Tuesday, rebounded with a 21-point effort as No. 14 West Virginia steamrolled ULM 100-58. Bob Huggins’ team scored 59 points in the first half and racked up 14 steals on the day.

OTHER NOTABLE OUTCOMES

  • Marc-Eddy Norelia scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds in FGCU’s 77-76 win over UMass. Rayjon Tucker’s three-point play with 10.6 seconds remaining proved to be the difference.
  • Bonzie Colson scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in Notre Dame’s 81-61 win over Loyola-Chicago. In total the Fighting Irish had five players in double figures, with forward Matt Ryan scoring 14 off the bench.
  • Benji Bell scored 18 points off the bench to lead Florida State to a comfortable 75-58 win over Southeastern Louisiana. Freshman guard Malik Beasley added 16 for the Seminoles.
  • James Woodard scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds as Tulsa won 70-61 at Missouri State.
  • South Dakota State moved to 9-1 on the season with an 86-68 win over UCSB. Deondre Parks led the way for the Jackrabbits with 23 points and five rebounds, and SDSU has now won 26 straight home games.
  • Saint Joseph’s had some issues with its defending of ball screens, but they managed to win at Temple 66-65 in overtime. DeAndre Bembry finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds and freshman Lamarr Kimble made some key plays down the stretch for the Hawks.
  • Bennie Boatwright scored 17 points and Jordan McLaughlin added 14, seven and four assists as USC beat Yale 68-56. Julian Jacobs sat out the game with tendonitis in his Achilles tendon.
  • BeeJay Anya scored a career-high 17 points as NC State took care of USF, 65-46. Cat Barber led the way offensively for the Wolfpack with 19 points.
  • Monmouth won its home opener, beating Wagner 73-54 with Micah Seaborn posting a line of 19 points, three rebounds and four assists to lead the way.
  • Josh Hawkinson scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as Washington State beat UTEP, 84-68, to move to 6-2 on the season.
  • Shannon Hale’s steal and breakaway dunk with 25.6 seconds remaining was the play Alabama needed to beat Clemson 51-50 on the road. Retin Obasohan scored 23 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead the way for Avery Johnson’s team.
  • Tre Demps went for 23 points, nine rebounds and four assists as Northwestern blew out Chicago State 77-35.
  • Jordan Wilson scored 20 points and Southern Miss transfer Dallas Anglin, seeing his first action of the season, added 19 off the bench as Northern Colorado beat Colorado State 73-64 for their first win over a Division I opponent this season.
  • Josh Adams scored 22 points and Jason McManamen added 15 as Wyoming rebounded from a loss to Southern earlier in the week with a 62-59 win at New Mexico State. The Cowboys limited the Aggies to 35 percent shooting.

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.

STAYING IN SCHOOL

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.

GOING PRO

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

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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.”