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Evans leads No. 14 Texas Tech to 70-63 win over South Carolina

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Keenan Evans scored 31 points including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:12 left to lift No. 14 Texas Tech to a 70-63 victory over South Carolina on Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

The Gamecocks (13-8) were looking to rally past their third ranked opponent in four games and were up 58-53 on Felipe Haase’s 3 with 6:21 to go. That’s when Evans scored eight of the Red Raiders’ next nine points, including the 3 from the left arc, for a 62-61 lead.

Evans followed that with a 3-point play with 46 seconds left to secure the win in the teams’ first meeting since December 1976.

Texas Tech (17-4) outscored South Carolina 17-5 over the final six minutes.

Evans, a 6-foot-2 senior, had four 3-pointers and made all 13 of his foul shots to lead the Red Raiders. Zhaire Smith had 11 points, the only other Texas Tech player in double figures.

The Gamecocks appeared to be on the verge of rallying against another Top 25 opponent. They came from 14 points down to top then 18th-ranked Kentucky 76-68 on Jan. 16, then were 11 points down at No. 20 Florida before their 77-72 win Wednesday night.

This time, though, South Carolina’s rally came up short, as it missed six of its final seven field-goal tries.

Chris Silva led the Gamecocks with 16 points before fouling out in the final minute.

BIG PICTURE

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders went into a massive shooting funk with about five minutes left in the opening half. They went 6 for 20 during a 20-minute stretch that saw them squander an eight-point lead and trail 58-53 with 6:20 left. Texas Tech came in sixth in Big 12 Conference shooting at 47.1 percent a game.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks have had a knack for coming out on top in ugly games. But aggressive play cost South Carolina in this one. Frank Booker was called for an intentional foul with the Gamecocks holding a lead, and two starters, forward Silva and point guard Wesley Myers, fouled out. Texas Tech made 23 of its 28 foul shots.

UP NEXT

Texas Tech goes home to play Texas on Wednesday night.

South Carolina finishes a two-game homestand against Mississippi State on Wednesday night.

Dewan Huell returning to Miami for junior season

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Miami received some positive news on Saturday afternoon as the school announced the return of forward Dewan Huell for his junior season.

After testing the NBA draft waters without an agent, the 6-foot-11 Huell will be back for the Hurricanes. Starting all 32 games for the program last season, Huell averaged 11.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while shooting 57 percent from the floor.

“After getting feedback from NBA teams and talking it over with my family and coaches, I would like to announce that I will be returning to Miami for my junior season,” Huell said in the release. “I’m really excited to get back to work with my brothers so we can accomplish more than ever during the 2018-19 season.”

A former McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school, Huell’s return gives the Hurricanes stability in the front court for next season as he’ll play with other returning players like Sam Waardenburg and Ebuka Izundu. With Miami losing both Lonnie Walker and Bruce Brown early to the 2018 NBA Draft, Huell could be expected to provide more offensive production as a junior.

Bruce Weber receives contract extension at Kansas State

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Kansas State and head coach Bruce Weber have agreed to a two-year contract extension, according to a release from the school.

After leading the Wildcats to a surprising Elite Eight appearance in March, Weber will be the head coach at Kansas State through the 2022-23 season, which gives him another five seasons to work with. Weber will be paid $2.5 million in 2018-19 and he’ll receive a $100,000 increase to his salary in each remaining contract year.

Weber had already signed a two-year extension in August 2017, but this move gives the veteran head coach more job security (and positive recruiting perception) for the next few seasons.

“We are very fortunate to have not only such an outstanding basketball coach but also a man in Coach Weber who conducts his program with integrity and class and is widely respected across the nation,” Kansas State Director of Athletics Gene Taylor said. “Certainly last season was one of the most memorable postseason runs in our program’s history, and we are excited for next season and the years ahead under Coach Weber’s leadership.”

With Kansas State returning most of its roster from last season, including the return of guard Barry Brown from the 2018 NBA Draft process, expectations are sky-high for Weber and the Wildcats this season. Currently ranked as the No. 8 team in the NBCSports.com Preseason Top 25, Kansas State’s veteran club could give Kansas a serious run for a Big 12 regular season title this season.

Northwestern loses incoming freshman point guard

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Northwestern and incoming freshman point guard Jordan Lathon are parting ways. The 6-foot-4 Lathon was viewed as a potential candidate to replace Bryant McIntosh at lead guard for the Wildcats this season, but Northwestern has reportedly revoked his offer of admission and basketball scholarship.

It is unclear why Lathon was unable to be admitted into Northwestern, but the school’s VP for University Relations, Alan Cubbage, gave a statement to Inside NU’s Davis Rich and Caleb Friedman.

“Northwestern University has revoked its offers of admission and an athletic scholarship for Jordan Lathon, a recruit for the Northwestern men’s basketball team,” the statement said. “Out of respect for the privacy of the student, the University will have no further public comment.”

Lathon later acknowledged the situation in a tweet explaining to fans that he will no longer be attending Northwestern.

While it is unclear why Lathon and Northwestern are parting ways, other high-major programs are already very interested in bringing in Lathon for next season. Oklahoma State immediately jumped in with a scholarship offer. There is also speculation that Lathon, a native of Grandview, Missouri, could also hear from the in-state Tigers as well.

It’ll be interesting to see where Lathon lands, and how this also affects Northwestern’s point guard situation. The loss of a four-year starter like McIntosh will be tough to fill, especially since Lathon was committed to Northwestern since last June. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Wildcats and head coach Chris Collins seek out a veteran point guard graduate transfer to try and get some immediate help.

Nebraska’s James Palmer Jr. returning to school

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Nebraska received some important news on Friday night as senior guard James Palmer Jr. will be back for next season.

The 6-foot-6 Palmer had tested the NBA draft waters, but he decided to return to the Cornhuskers. After putting up 17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game last season, Palmer is expected to be an All-Big Ten candidate once again this season. Palmer shot 44 percent from the floor and 30 percent from three-point range last season.

After transferring in from Miami, Palmer became the Huskers’ go-to scorer last season in helping Nebraska to a 22-win season and NIT appearance.

With Palmer back, Nebraska will have some legitimate expectations for the upcoming season, especially if the team’s second-leading scorer, Isaac Copeland Jr., also returns from the NBA draft process.

Kansas State’s Barry Brown withdraws from NBA Draft

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Kansas State, a preseason top ten team, announced on Friday afternoon that Barry Brown will be returning to school for his senior season.

“Although the process was more than enjoyable, I have decided to withdraw my name from the 2018 NBA Draft,” Brown said in a statement. “Thank you to everyone who supported me, and I am looking forward to finishing my senior season as a Wildcat!”

Brown declared for the draft nearly two months ago. According to Kansas.com, Brown was invited to two workouts with NBA teams but did not get an invite to the NBA Draft Combine last weekend in Chicago. There was not a great chance that he would be drafted had he kept his name in the mix.

A second-team all-Big 12 selection a season ago, Brown averaged 15.9 points, 3.2 boards and 3.1 assists for a team that won 25 games and advanced to the Elite Eight as a No. 9 seed.

Kansas State is currently No. 8 in the NBC Sports preseason top 25.