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Bluiett helps No. 5 Xavier get past Butler 98-93 in OT

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Trevon Bluiett made his final hometown appearance his best yet.

He scored 26 points, led his team back from the brink and eventually headed home with a win.

The former Indianapolis high school star scored 17 points in the final 14 minutes of regulation and overtime to help No. 5 Xavier rally from two embarrassing collapses and escape with a 98-83 win at Butler on Tuesday night.

“You’ve got to have confidence,” Bluiett said. “If you don’t have confidence, then nine times out of 10, you’re not going to make that shot. So I kind of take pride in getting that shot. Trying to at least make a play.”

Bluiett made more than a play; he made play after play as the Musketeers (22-3, 10-2 Big East) won their seventh straight overall and their third straight in the series, including a win earlier this season.

Without Bluiett, it might not have happened.

After watching his team blow an 18-point lead, suddenly trailing 62-56 with 9:14 to go and playing in the electric environment of a packed Hinkle Fieldhouse, Bluiett took matters into his own hands.

His 3-pointer on Xavier’s next possession quickly righted his teammates and spurred a 16-6 run over the next four minutes. Bluiett accounted for half of the points in the sequence as the Musketeers seemingly seized control.

They blew it again in the final minute of regulation as Butler (17-8, 7-5) charged back from an 82-75 lead to tie it at 84 on Kamar Baldwin’s 3 with 13 seconds left.

In overtime, Bluiett was back at it — scoring five straight points, the last coming on a 3 with 25 seconds to go for a 95-80 lead.

His entire family and a large group of friends were all there to see the night they will never forget.

“I’m happy for him. He’s played here four times. The first three I’m sure he’d like to wipe from his memory as far as individual performances,” coach Chris Mack said. “For him to do it as a senior in front of his family, I’m sure he feels great about that.”

Bluiett finished 6 of 9 on 3s, had five rebounds and three assists.

He had plenty of help, too. Kerem Kanter finished with 22 points and made the go-ahead layup in overtime to give Xavier the lead for good. Naji Marshall matched his career high with 15 points and Sean O’Mara tied his season high with 14 points.

Butler was led by Kelan Martin with 34 points and Sean McDermott with 17 and wound up making 14 of 31 from beyond the arc.

Yet they still came up short.

“It was a game where you had to keep responding and they did as well,” Bulldogs coach LaVall Jordan said. “This is a group that believes in each other, we all believe in them. If that’s who we decide we’re going to be, to fight like that, we’ll take it.”


Xavier: The Musketeers tore through Butler’s improved defense early. They took a 29-11 lead by shooting 75 percent from the field and when that number started reverting more to the norm, Bluiett saved the game.

Butler: The Bulldogs nearly completed a shocking comeback for a second straight home win over a Top 5 team. Instead, they gave up 84 points in regulation and another 14 in overtime. While the defense has made dramatic improvement over the previous five games, Jordan said it needs to get better before postseason play begins.


Xavier: Shot 66.7 percent from the field in the first half and finished at 59.3 percent. … The Musketeers made 10 of 21 3s after going 5 of 8 in the first 20 minutes. … Xavier had a 33-24 scoring advantage in bench points. … Kanter made 10 of his 15 shots while Bluiett was 7 of 15.

Butler: Had a four-game winning streak end. … The Bulldogs had held five straight opponents to fewer than 73 points. … Baldwin finished with 16 points and four assists. … Nate Fowler, who attended high school in Cincinnati, had 10 points before fouling out in overtime.

High school basketball player collapses, dies at AAU event

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James Hampton, a member of Team United and a senior at Liberty Heights, a private high school in Charlotte, collapsed and died during a Nike Elite Youth Basketball League game on Saturday night.

Hampton was 17 years old.

In the second half of a game against Nike Phamily, a Phoenix-based program that is run by the father of Marvin Bagley III, Hampton collapsed to the floor unresponsive. Trainers at the event began CPR on and administered chest compressions. Parademics arrived within 10 minutes, but Hampton could not be revived.

The cause of death has not yet been released, but this is not the first time that Hampton had an issue. Last spring, at an event in the Washington D.C. area, Hampton collapsed on the court and had to be given CPR.

“He just fell down on the floor,” Team United director Jacoby Davis told the Charlotte Observer. “He had seizures a year ago and I remember (one of the Team United coaches) telling me that, ‘I saw his eyes rolling back in his head.’ I ran on the court thinking he was having a seizure. A trainer came over and said he didn’t know what was wrong. Another trainer checked his pulse. He said he didn’t have a pulse. It got crazy after that.”

RIP James Hampton.

Nevada’s Jordan Caroline pulls out of 2018 NBA Draft

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Jordan Caroline has opted to pull his name out of the 2018 NBA Draft as he will return to Nevada for his senior season, he announced on Saturday.

The 6-foot-7 Caroline put together a strong season for the Wolf Pack as he averaged 17.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game as Nevada made the Sweet 16 behind one of the most talented offenses in the country.

Caroline’s return is a huge boost for Nevada as they still await the NBA draft decisions of Caleb and Cody Martin.

Currently ranked No. 17 in the Preseason Top 25 (without the Martin twins), the Wolf Pack will still have a ton of talent around Caroline next season. Five-star freshman center Jordan Brown recently committed to Nevada. The program also a number of talented transfers entering the mix, including Tre’Shawn Thomas, Nisre Zouzoua and Ehab Amin.

If the Martin twins return to school (and that is a big if) then Nevada could have a potentially elite offense next season. But even if the Martin twins go pro, Nevada should still be the favorite in the Mountain West and a threat to once again make the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.

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 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.