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Saturday Recap: Duke goes down, Kansas loses at home, Texas beats Trae Young

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PLAYERS OF THE DAY

Trae Young is the name everyone knew as No. 12 Oklahoma head to Austin to take on Texas, but it was another freshman point guard — Matt Coleman — who left as the star of the show.

Coleman finished with 22 points and a pair of assists, doing quite a bit of the work defensively on Young, who finished with 19 points and 14 assists but shot 7-for-22 from the floor and 2-for-14 from three.

It’s great to see Coleman playing well. Texas is trying to cope with the fact that one of the players on the roster (sophomore Andrew Jones) is in a battle with leukemia, and that means that more of the load has been hoisted upon Coleman. He’s answered the call.

So has Kerwin Roach, who finished with 19 points, four boards and four assists. He’s become arguably the best perimeter player for the Longhorns in recent weeks, scoring at least 16 points in five of the six games since returning from injury.

RELATED: All of Saturday’s Bubble Banter in one place

THE REST OF SATURDAY’S STARS

  • SHAMORIE PONDS, St. John’s: Ponds finished with 33 points — including a pair of massive shots in the final 75 seconds — as the Johnnies knocked off No. 4 Duke at home.
  • COLLIN SEXTON, Alabama: Sexton finished with 17 points, eight boards, six assists, two steals and a block as the Crimson Tide went into Gainesville and knocked off No. 23 Florida by 18 points.
  • JEROD HARPER, Auburn: 14 points and 14 assists isn’t a bad night. That’s what Harper did as Auburn whipped up on Vanderbilt.
  • JOCK LANDALE, Saint Mary’s: Landale was terrific, finishing with 34 points, 18 boards and four assists as No. 13 Saint Mary’s won at San Diego.
  • TREVON BLUIETT, Xavier: Bluiett finished with 31 points on 9-for-16 shooting on Saturday as the Musketeers held off Georgetown. He made this shot to force the overtime.

TEAM OF THE DAY

Oklahoma State desperately needed to win at No. 7 Kansas on Saturday if they wanted any chance of getting back to the NCAA tournament this season, and they did just that.

The Pokes were up by as many as 18 points in the first half, as the Jayhawks spent 40 minutes playing like they thought all they had to do to win at home was to show up. Kendall Smith led the way with 24 points, five boards and five assists for OSU while Cameron McGriff chipped in with 20 points.

This is the third game that Kansas has lost in Phog Allen this year. Bill Self entered the season having lost just 11 times in that building in his tenure with Kansas.

Kansas, on the other hand, is now tied with Texas Tech for first place in the Big 12.

GAME OF THE DAY

(UPDATE: Actually, it was this game.)

I don’t know how Indiana did it, but somehow they shot 28.8 percent from the floor and 4-for-19 from three and still managed to have a potential game-tying heave at the buzzer bounce off the back of the rim.

The Spartans got up double-figures early and seemed to throw this thing into cruise control. The Hoosiers slowly but surely chipped away, creating another mind-bending stat: Michigan State, with the biggest front line in college basketball, finished with 29 total rebounds and just three offensive boards on Saturday while Indiana had 25 offensive rebounds despite starting a front line that stands 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-8.

The final score ended up being 63-60 despite Michigan State’s best efforts to give this one away.

WTF???? OF THE DAY

St. John’s entered Saturday having lost 11 straight games.

It is February, and the Red Storm do not own a single win in the Big East. It’s been something of a disaster for Chris Mullin, one that has him fully on the hot seat.

So obviously, with No. 4 Duke coming to town, the Johnnies … played their best game of the year?

Shamorie Ponds popped off for 33 points while Bashir Ahem added 19 points and Tariq Owens chipped in with 17 as St. John’s erased a seven-point halftime deficit to beat the Blue Devils. Duke was absolutely torched by Mike Krzyzewski after the game — and deservedly so — which has me asking: How is a team as talented as Duke is so reliant on Marvin Bagley III?

WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

Remember when we thought that No. 21 Kentucky making that thrilling comeback and winning at West Virginia would be the turning point in their season? LOL. After needing overtime to beat Vanderbilt at home during the week, the Wildcats lost at Missouri in a game were the Tigers were more or less in control throughout. Kentucky was a trainwreck in the first half, digging themselves too big of a hole to dig out of. Kassius Robertson had 16 points and four assists to lead the way for Mizzou.

Whatever funk No. 10 Texas Tech was in earlier this year, they are out of it now. The Red Raiders won their fourth straight game on Saturday, knocking off TCU at TCU. The final score was 83-71, but it really wasn’t that close.

Whatever funk No. 15 West Virginia was in the last three weeks, they look to be out of it now. The Mountaineers beat Kansas State by 38 points.

The two best teams in the SEC continue to be No. 18 Tennessee and No. 11 Auburn. The Volunteers absolutely smashed Ole Miss on Saturday, eventually winning by 33 points, while the Tigers held off Vanderbilt at home. It’s a shame these two teams already played this season. It didn’t get near the fan fare it deserved.

Deandre Hunter had 15 points and six assists off the bench for No. 2 Virginia as they knocked off Syracuse, 59-44.

Corey Sanders went for 31 points, seven boards and three assists, but it wasn’t enough as No. 3 Purdue beat Rutgers in Piscataway, 78-76.

No. 19 North Carolina got back to their winning ways, snapping a three-game losing streak against Pitt. The most noteworthy part? Theo Pinson was healthy, finished with 13 points and eight assists and played as the back-up point guard.

Jacob Evans had 19 points as No. 8 Cincinnati knocked off UConn in Hartford.

Isaiah Washington did everything he could — 26 points in total — to get Minnesota a win in Ann Arbor, but it was not meant to be. No. 24 Michigan won 76-73 in overtime.

Former Penn coach allegedly took bribes from potential recruit’s father

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Former Penn head coach Jerome Allen allegedly took bribes from a Miami businessman who wanted his son to get into the school as a “recruited basketball player” — increasing his chances to gain entry to the Ivy League school.

According to a report from Bloomberg’s Michael Smith, David Voreacos and Eben Novy-Williams, Allen was involved with Miami businessman Philip Esformes, who had a son, Morris, who was allegedly recruited by several Ivy League schools. When Philip Esformes was accused of health-care fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and bribery, the government uncovered more than $74,000 in gifts that Esformes gave to Allen in 2013 and 2014.

Allen is identified strictly as “Coach-2” in the indictment that alleges that he took multiple cash payments, paid trips from Philadelphia to Miami, and a private jet trip that included Allen, Esformes and his son. The benefits are alleged to be $74,558 — including three separate wired payments of $15,000, $20,000 and $18,000 to Allen from Esformes.

These alleged incidents took place in 2013 and 2014, when Allen was still head coach at Penn and Morris Esformes was a high school basketball player trying to make it to the Division I level. Esformes was eventually granted admission to Penn as he was allegedly going to be on the basketball team. But Allen was fired before Esformes enrolled at the school. So Esformes went to school at Penn, but he never played for the basketball team. Esformes is currently still a senior at Penn.

Allen has been an assistant coach under Brad Stevens with the Boston Celtics since leaving Penn in 2015. He hasn’t been criminally charged for any of these alleged benefits while the NCAA also hasn’t been involved with anything yet.

But this is yet another black eye on college basketball — and this time coming from a prestigious Ivy League institution. It shows that cheating and using leverage happens at all levels of Division I college basketball. Lately, the schools have been paying to get players. This shows there are instances of wealthy people attempting to gain influence through athletics.

This case at Penn is certainly a rare one. Esformes tried to exploit a loophole that would allow his son entry into a great school under the guise that he was a potential Division I-caliber basketball player. And Morris Esformes did end up at Penn — and seems to be doing well. So, this didn’t end poorly for Morris or Allen.

Since Allen is coaching at the NBA level, this likely won’t alter his coaching career, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the NCAA get involved with Penn and Allen going forward.

Elite Class of 2020 point guard to reclassify

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Nico Mannion, a five-star point guard from Arizona, announced on Friday that he will be reclassifying into the Class of 2019.

Mannion was a top 20 player in 2020 but, according to 247 Sports, he will be ranked No. 11 in 2019. The athletic, 6-foot-3 Mannion was long-rumored to be considering a move up a class because of his age. He’ll turn 18 in March of next year, meaning that he’ll arrive on campus the same age as a typical college freshman.

Mannion cut his list to ten schools in June — Duke, Arizona, Villanova, Kansas, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Vanderbilt, Marquette and Utah — but Duke and Arizona appear to be the favorites at this point.

Mannion plays his high school ball for Pinnacle High School in Phoenix and with West Coast Elite on the Under Armour Association circuit. He played for Team USA’s youth ranks, but his mother is Italian and, in June, he was called up to the Italian men’s senior national team, scoring nine points in 29 minutes of a FIBA World Cup Qualifier.

Nebraska to lose junior big man to transfer

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Nebraska’s frontcourt depth took a blow on Thursday as junior big man Jordy Tshimanga informed the program that he will be transferring.

“Jordy called me tonight and asked for his release,” head coach Tim Miles said in a statement that was given to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “The University of Nebraska and our program wish Jordy and his family the best.”

Tshimanga averaged 4.0 points and 4.6 boards in 13 minutes this past season, and a source close to the program told NBC Sports he wasn’t expected to play much more than that this season.

Miles’ has spent the better part of the last two seasons on the hot seat, and this certainly doesn’t make his job easier, but with the talent the Cornhuskers have on their roster, they look like an NCAA tournament team already. They bring back their top four scorers, including former five-star prospect Isaac Copeland and potential first-team all-Big Ten wing James Palmer. With or without Tshimanga, Nebraska has a shot to finish top four in the Big Ten.

North Carolina, UCLA, Michigan State part of Las Vegas event

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — North Carolina, UCLA, Michigan State and Texas will play in an early season basketball tournament in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Invitational will include games at campus sites, then the final two rounds on Nov. 22-23 in Las Vegas. North Carolina takes on Texas in one semifinal, and Michigan State faces UCLA in the other.

UNC, UCLA and Michigan State are all top 20 teams in the NBC Sports preseason top 25.

The championship is Nov. 23, and the semifinal losers also play each other that day.

NCAA to study possible effects of widespread legal wagering

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA plans to study how the expansion of legalized betting could affect college athletics and member schools.

The NCAA announced Thursday it will create a working group of “subject matter experts” to assess areas such as officiating, NCAA rules, federal and state laws, and the use of integrity services. NCAA leadership has already called for federal regulation on sports betting. NCAA rules prohibit sports wagering by athletes and athletic department employees.

The Supreme Court opened the door for states to have legal wagering on sporting events when it struck down a federal ban in May. Schools in some states such as West Virginia, Mississippi and New Jersey are already exploring the possibility of collecting integrity fees in anticipation of legal sports books opening in their states.

“While we certainly respect the Supreme Court’s decision, our position on sports wagering remains,” said Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer. “With this new landscape, we must evolve and expand our long-standing efforts to protect both the integrity of competitions and the well-being of student-athletes.”

The NCAA Board of Governors has already suspended the association’s ban on holding championships in states with legalized sports betting, a policy that only affected Nevada.

“Legalized sports gambling across the country is rather new, but the NCAA and its members have committed significant resources over the years to policy, research and education around sports wagering,” said Joni Comstock, senior vice president of championships and alliances. “With student-athlete well-being as the centerpiece, we will continue to build upon these efforts to assist members as they adapt to legalized sports wagering in their states and regions.”