(Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)

No. 11 Wichita State needs OT to beat UCF

Leave a comment

ORLANDO, Fla. — Wichita State says it wasn’t looking past the University of Central Florida, but it did take a while for the 11th-ranked Shockers to get serious about things, beating the Knights 75-71 in overtime on Thursday night.

Shaquille Morris scored 19 points and Conner Frankamp added 16 for Wichita State.

Landry Shamet scored 14 points and had six assists for the Shockers (24-5, 14-3 American Athletic Conference), who have won seven straight.

A.J. Davis led UCF (17-12, 8-9) with 31 points, including a desperation 3-pointer with .7 seconds left in regulation that sent the game into overtime. B.J. Taylor scored 23 for the Knights, who lost their third straight.

“We had some dull moments tonight, but (UCF) really came out and played well,” Frankamp said. “We buckled down in overtime and made the stops we had to win the game. Now, I can’t wait for Sunday. That’s going to be one of the craziest atmosphere’s ever. Everyone is super excited about it.”

The Shockers host first-place Cincinnati on Sunday.

Darral Willis nailed a fallaway jumper with 37 seconds left in overtime that gave Wichita State a 72-69 lead. The Shockers made three of four free throws in the final 19 seconds to keep UCF at bay.

“We needed to win a game like this against a team that shot it beautifully,” Shockers coach Gregg Marshall said. “Both teams had their moments to shine, but we made just enough plays and finally made a shot and free throws to clinch the game.”

Wichita State trailed 49-44 with 13 minutes left in regulation, but Frankamp scored nine straight points to start the Shockers comeback. Fellow reserve Willis added a three-point play and a layup and Morris finished off the run with two free throws that gave the Shockers a 62-55 lead with just over 5 minutes to play.

UCF clawed back within one when Davis drilled a 3-pointer to make it 64-63 with 1:18 left in the game. Morris answered with a layup to push Wichita State’s lead to 66-63.

UCF took it to the Shockers for the first 8 minutes of the game, using a 14-0 spurt to take an early 11-point lead. The Knights scored inside at will, hitting nine of their first 12 shots. Davis added two 3-pointers, including the one that made it 22-11 with 12:20 left in the half.

Wichita State responded with considerably more defensive effort and a 25-7 run to lead 36-29 at halftime.

Big Picture

Wichita State: They won’t gain any votes in the national rankings for this win, but that hardly matters. Wichita State has a winner-take-all game for the American Athletic Conference title against No. 10 Cincinnati in their regular season finale Sunday.

UCF: A lot of encouraging signs for UCF, which needed a boost with the American Athletic Conference Tournament a week away. The Knights had played poorly in their last two games, but took it right at the Wichita State at the start of both halves. Davis was as good as any player on the floor offensively and got enough support from Taylor to give the Knights a shot at the upset.

Up next:

Wichita State: Hosts No. 10 Cincinnati on Sunday.

UCF: Hosts Tulane on Sunday.

Former LSU coach Johnny Jones hired by Texas Southern

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Johnny Jones is in charge of a college basketball program once again.

The former North Texas and LSU head coach will be the next head coach at Texas Southern, replacing Mike Davis, who left to take over at Detroit.

“I’m really excited about it,” Jones told Fox 26 in Houston. “This is a terrific opportunity with a great university in a great city.”

Jones went 90-72 in five seasons in Baton Rouge, but finished his final year, the 2016-17 season, with just a 10-21 record. He’s best-known for failing to get to the NCAA tournament with a team that featured Ben Simmons.

Coach K: ‘I have no plans to retire’

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, the greatest college basketball coach this side of John Wooden, said on Monday that he has given on thought to the idea of when he will call it quits.

“I have no plans to retire,” Krzyzewski said on the College Hoops Today Podcast. “I feel better than I have in a long time. I feel healthier than I have in a long time. There’s no end in sight.”

The question of whether or not Coach K will be around all that much longer has been something that has lingered over the sport given the numerous health issues that he has dealt with in recent years. He’s undergone surgery six times in the last two years and, at 71 years old, is at an age where most everyone is hoping to retire while working one of the most strenuous and time-consuming jobs imaginable.

Put another way, no one would blame Krzyzewski if he wanted to hang it up.

But instead, he is arguably at the top of his game. He’s churned out elite recruiting classes in each of the last four seasons, he’s won two National Titles in the last eight seasons and he has three of the nation’s top five prospects enrolling for the 2018-19 season.

He’s not slowing down.

So why would he thinking about leaving the game?

VIDEO: Mixtape for Duke commit R.J. Barrett, potential 2019 No. 1 pick

Leave a comment

Last week, after the NBA draft officially concluded, we posted a mock draft for the lottery in 2019.

At the top of that list was R.J. Barrett, a Duke-commit and Canadian-native that has NBA scouts wowed and intrigued. This mixtape should give you a good feel for why.

Trae Jefferson to transfer out of Texas Southern

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Texas Southern guard and NCAA tournament darling Trae Jefferson announced on Saturday that he’s leaving the school.

The 5-foot-7 Jefferson was sensational at times during his sophomore season with the Tigers as he put up 23.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game, helping lead Texas Southern to a victory in the 2018 NCAA Tournament’s First Four in Dayton over North Carolina Central. One of the most entertaining talents in college basketball, Jefferson is leaving Texas Southern in-part because former head coach Mike Davis took the job at Detroit this offseason.

While Detroit is going to be the favorite to land Jefferson, because of his connection to Davis, it’ll be interesting to see what his transfer market looks like. Jefferson also made it clear on his Twitter page that he would like to be closer to his hometown of Milwaukee so that he can be closer to his ailing grandfather.

Given NCAA transfer rules, Jefferson would likely have to sit out next season before getting two more years of eligibility. But he could be applying for a waiver if he’s trying to be closer to home to deal with his family situation.

Nevada’s Josh Hall transfers to Missouri State

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Nevada lost a talented player from last season’s team as rising junior Josh Hall opted to transfer to Missouri State on Friday night.

The 6-foot-7 Hall is a former top-150 recruit who played a key part in the Wolf Pack’s postseason run as he elevated his play to average 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game during the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Hall also made the game-winning bucket to lift Nevada past No. 2 seed Cincinnati in the second round.

Although Hall picked up his play late in the year, he was coming off the bench most of his sophomore campaign as he averaged 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season.

Since Nevada took in some talented transfers, while players like Jordan Caroline and the Martin twins opted not to turn pro, it left head coach Eric Musselman with too many scholarship players for the 2018-19 season. It looks like some of those issues are now going away as Hall is leaving for Missouri State and graduate transfer guard Ehab Amin opted to decommit from the school.

Nevada is expected to be a preseason top-10 team next season with all of the talent they have returning to the roster, along with the addition of some new pieces like McDonald’s All-American big man Jordan Brown.

Hall will likely have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules as he still has two years of eligibility remaining.