(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

No. 18 Tennessee trounces LSU 84-61 for 4th straight win

Leave a comment

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — James Daniel III scored 17 points off the bench Wednesday to continue his recent surge as No. 18 Tennessee trounced LSU 84-61 for its fourth consecutive victory.

With nine games remaining in the regular season, Tennessee (16-5, 6-3 SEC) already has matched its 2016-17 win total. Tennessee went 16-16 last year and failed to earn an NCAA Tournament or NIT bid for a third straight season.

Tennessee has won seven of its last eight games while LSU (12-9, 3-6) has lost five of its last six.

Daniel shot 5 of 7 from 3-point range and matched a season high in scoring. Tennessee shot 12 of 25 on 3-pointers as a team.

After averaging 27.1 points at Howard in 2015-16 to lead all Division I players, Daniel appeared in just two games last season due to injury and has accepted more of a complementary role this season as a Tennessee graduate transfer.

But he has heated up lately. The 6-footer scored 16 points and shot 3 of 7 from 3-point range Saturday in a 68-45 victory at Iowa State.

Grant Williams had 16 points for Tennessee despite missing much of the first half. Jordan Bone and Lamonte’ Turner added 12 points each.

Duop Reath had 21 points and Randy Onwuasor scored 10 for LSU.

LSU was playing two days after coach Will Wade announced that two reserves were suspended for one game each and two more were taking leaves of absence, leaving the Tigers with only seven available scholarship players to face Tennessee.

Guard Brandon Rachal and forward Wayde Sims were suspended for Wednesday’s game. Sims has made eight starts this season, but none in conference play. Rachal has been coming off the bench all season.

Forward Galen Alexander won’t play the rest of the season and is exploring a transfer. Forward Mayan Kiir has taken a leave of absence for the rest of the semester, but has the option of returning to the team next season.

Tennessee got a scare less than two minutes into the game when Williams landed awkwardly after attempting to get a rebound, causing the sophomore forward to walk slowly off the floor and head to the locker room.

The Vols showcased their depth by outscoring LSU 26-17 while Williams was out of the game. Tennessee led 28-21 when Williams returned to action with 7:25 left in the first half and stayed ahead the rest of the way.

BIG PICTURE

LSU: Freshman Tremont Waters continued his recent slump by shooting 1 of 9 and scoring seven points. Waters entered the night with a team-high 15.2 points per game, but he has scored in double figures just once in his last five games. He has shot 2 of 16 over his last two games.

Tennessee: The Vols continue to showcase their depth as their reserves outscored LSU’s bench 44-8. Tennessee has outscored its last four opponents 134-48 in bench scoring.

UP NEXT

LSU hosts Arkansas on Saturday.

Tennessee hosts Mississippi on Saturday.

Dewan Huell returning to Miami for junior season

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.