No. 16 Providence hands No. 4 Villanova first Big East in overtime thriller

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The streak is over.

No. 4 Villanova had won 22 straight games against Big East competition, dating back to a Jan. 19th, 2015, loss at Georgetown, but that run came to an end on Sunday afternoon as No. 16 Providence and Kris Dunn beat the Wildcats in an overtime thriller in the Wells Fargo Center, 82-76.

Dunn was, once again, the star for the Friars, finishing with 13 points, 14 assists, five boards and three steals to go along with a host of tough plays in key moments late in the game. It’s performances like that that have made Dunn a shoe-in for first-team all-american, a favorite to win National Player of the Year and a soon-to-be top five pick in the NBA Draft.

We all know how good Dunn is.

But the key to this win for Providence was the play of his supporting cast.

The number that truly matters here for Dunn are those 14 assists. Everyone knows how Providence wants to play. They put the ball in Dunn’s hands and they let him create, and the adjustment that opponents have made in recent weeks has been to slough off of the other Friars. If Kyron Cartwright or Junior Lomomba or Rodney Bullock is going to beat them, then so be it.

And that’s kind of what happened on Sunday. Cartwright and Lomomba combined for 25 points and six assists, hitting 3-for-8 from beyond the arc and capitalizing on the times when Villanova left them open. Ben Bentil, who may be the most under-appreciated player in all of college basketball, finished with another monster night, going for 31 points and 12 boards.

Those are the difference makers for the Friars, and quite often whether or not they actually make that difference comes down to whether or not they hit the shots that Dunn creates.

Because they are going to get the looks. Dunn is that talented of a playmaker and that unselfish. When opponents send two and three defenders at him, if they over-help, he’ll find the guy that’s left open.

On Sunday, those shots went down.

The loss cuts Villanova’s lead in the Big East standings in half, as Xavier, Providence, Creighton and Georgetown now all sit just a game behind the Wildcats in the loss column. Ryan Arcidiacono led the way for Villanova with 19 points, hitting another huge shot — his three with seven seconds left forced the over time. Josh Hart is Villanova’s best player and the one guy that might have a real shot to overtake Dunn as Big East Player of the Year, but Arch is probably Villanova’s most valuable player.

He’s better than what you see in the box score.

Washington lands second 2019 verbal commitment

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With three of its four seniors heading into the 2018-19 season being perimeter players, Washington has some holes to address in its 2019 recruiting class. Thus far Mike Hopkins and his staff have done just that, with both of the program’s commits to date being perimeter players.

The second verbal commitment was received Tuesday afternoon, as three-star combo guard Marcus Tsohonis announced that he will be a Husky. Tsohonis, a Jefferson HS (Portland, Oregon) product who played his grassroots basketball for Seattle Rotary Elite on the Nike EYBL circuit, joins four-star wing RaeQuan Battle in Washington’s 2019 class to date.

The 6-foot-4 Tsohonis, who can play on or off the ball, held offers from multiple Pac-12 programs but ultimately made the decision to make the trek north from Portland to Seattle for his collegiate career. His verbal commitment comes on the heels of an official visit to Washington that was taken this past weekend.

As noted above Washington will loose some key contributors on the perimeter after the upcoming season, with David Crisp, Mathysse Thybulle and Dominic Green all entering their final season of eligibility (big man Noah Dickerson is also a senior). The additions of Tsohonis and Battle should help Washington when it comes to filling those holes and continuing to build upon the foundation laid during Hopkins’ first season at the helm.

Four-star guard becomes LSU’s first 2019 commit

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Expected to be a factor both within the SEC and nationally this season, these are good times for the LSU men’s basketball program. Head coach Will Wade and his staff received more good news Tuesday, as 6-foot-2 combo guard James Bishop (Baltimore, Maryland/Mount St. Joseph HS) announced that he will be a Tiger next season.

Bishop, considered to be one of the top scoring guards in the class, is LSU’s first 2019 verbal commitment. Bishop’s pledge comes just over a week after his official visit to LSU, and just days after a visit to St. John’s. LSU beat out St. John’s, NC State, Marquette and VCU in the race for the Baltimore product, and given the Tigers’ current roster this is an important commitment.

LSU’s 2018 recruiting class is considered to be one of the nation’s best, with point guard Javonte Smart being one of the five-star prospects in that quintet (forwards Naz Reid and Emmitt Williams being the others). Add in sophomore Tremont Waters, who’s coming off of an outstanding freshman season, and LSU could be in a position next summer where its top two lead guards are at the very least testing the NBA draft waters.

Landing Bishop gives LSU another talented option, and some cover should the program lose either Waters or Smart — or both — in 2019.

Calhoun officially named head coach at DIII St. Joseph

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WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Jim Calhoun has officially been named the head coach at Division III University of Saint Joseph in Connecticut.

The Hall of Famer had already announced he would be taking the job and has been working for a year to establish a men’s basketball program at the small Catholic university, which was an all-women’s school until this school year.

Calhoun also has continued to serve in an advisory role at UConn, where he served as coach for 26 seasons and led the Huskies to three of their four national titles before retiring in 2012.

The 76-year-old will return to the sidelines with a career record of 873-380 when the Blue Jays open the season on Nov. 9 against William Paterson University.

That game will be played at Trinity College in Hartford, which has a gym that seats about 2,200 people, about 1,000 more than the gymnasium at Saint Joseph.

Oregon State announces addition of transfer Payton Dastrup

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Tuesday afternoon Oregon State announced that former BYU power forward Payton Dastrup has joined the program as a transfer. Dastrup, who averaged 3.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in just under eight minutes per game last season, has two seasons of eligibility remaining. Oregon State will file a waiver on his behalf in hopes that Dastrup will be granted immediate eligibility.

Should the waiver request be denied, Dastrup will not be eligible to play until the 2019-20 season. For Oregon State’s sake, even with Dastrup’s career numbers he would fill a need for a team that bid farewell to its best big man during the spring.

Drew Eubanks’ decision to turn pro left a noticeable hole in Oregon State’s interior rotation, with senior Gligorije Rakocevic and junior Ben Kone being the most experienced returnees. Those two combined to average 3.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in 2017-18, with Rakocevic averaging 10.6 minutes per game in 27 appearances off the bench.

In addition to those two the Beavers add three scholarship newcomers to the mix this season in junior college transfer Kylor Kelley and freshmen Warren Washington and Jack Wilson. Dastrup has the ability to step away from the basket, which would give Oregon State a little versatility in the interior to go along with a perimeter/wing rotation led by Tres Tinkle, Stephen Thompson Jr. and Ethan Thompson.

Oklahoma State lands third 2019 commitment

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Oklahoma State managed to add another verbal commitment in its 2019 class on Tuesday, as four-star combo guard Avery Anderson III announced via Twitter that he will play his college basketball for Mike Boynton. Anderson picked Oklahoma State over offers from Florida, LSU, TCU and Texas Tech.

Anderson is Oklahoma State’s third commitment in the class, as the Justin, Texas product joins twins Kalib and Keylan Boone. The Boone brothers made their pledge in mid-April, and all three took official visits to Stillwater this past weekend.

Anderson’s commitment is key for two reasons. First there’s the fact that he can be used at either guard spot, and that versatility will be valuable for Oklahoma State once he arrives on campus. Also, while Oklahoma State will be quite young in the front court this coming season that isn’t the case on the perimeter.

Of Oklahoma State’s current crop of guards/wings only two, freshman Isaac Likekele and redshirt sophomore Michael Weathers, are underclassmen. The Cowboys have just one senior in the group, Mike Cunningham, but getting a guard in the 2019 class was key for Boynton’s program.

At this point, all 13 of Oklahoma State’s scholarships for the 2019-20 season have been filled with Anderson’s commitment.