Alec Wintering

Alec Wintering ends Portland’s three-game losing streak with a three as time expires (VIDEO)

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Heading into Thursday’s home game against Pacific, Portland had lost three straight WCC games and five of their last six. So it’s safe to say that the Pilots needed to turn things around against the visiting Tigers, and they were able to do so thanks to guard Alec Wintering (13.7 ppg, 5.6 apg), who’s the team’s leading scorer.

Wintering scored seven of his eight points in the second half of Thursday’s game, with the final three coming on a three-pointer as time expired. Kevin Bailey led the way offensively for the Pilots with a game-high 21 points, and forward Thomas van der Mars added 17 to go along with eight rebounds. Dulani Robinson scored 17 off the bench to pace the Tigers.

The win was a big one for Portland, not only because of the rough patch noted above but also because of who’s next on the schedule. Portland hosts Saint Mary’s, which should be motivated by the beating they took in Spokane against No. 3 Gonzaga, on Saturday and then they’ll visit the Bulldogs next Thursday.

Chase for 180: Boise State rebounds from 0-3 conference start thanks to Derrick Marks

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The “Chase for 180″ is back for a second year, and for those who may not be familiar with the project it’s our attempt to identify some of the best shooters in America. But what makes one an “elite shooter?” For some it’s merely the ability to knock down perimeter shots at a high rate, but that isn’t the case for all players. High-level shooting requires proficiency from three, the field overall, and from the foul line. 

“180” refers to the resulting number when adding a player’s field goal, three-point and free throw percentages, with the best shooters either approaching or surpassing that mark. 50 percent or better from the field overall, 40 percent or better from three and 90 percent or better from the foul line. This achievement has occurred more often in college basketball than it has in the NBA, where just six players (Steve Nash did it in four different seasons) have done it in the history of the league. 

We’ll update this list throughout the season, with players also needing to qualify to be ranked by the NCAA in each of the three percentage categories in order to be considered. In order to qualify to be ranked a player needs to have played in at least 75 percent of his team’s games and have averaged: 

  • five or more field goal attempts per game;
  • two or more three-point attempts per game;
  • 2.5 or more free throw attempts per game.

To read prior installments of the Chase for 180, click here

Entering the 2014-15 season expectations were high for a Boise State team returning its two best players in seniors Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks, even with the graduation of all-Mountain West performer Ryan Watkins, as they were picked to finish second in the conference’s preseason poll. And if dealing with an inexperienced front court wasn’t tough enough for Leon Rice to do, there was also the loss of Drmic to back and ankle injuries.

Without Drmic, who averaged 15.9 points per game as a junior, even more would be asked of Marks from a scoring standpoint. And for a player who at times had issues with shot selection in 2013-14 (see: their home loss to San Diego State), this could be either a gift or a curse depending upon Marks’ shot discipline. After losing their first three conference games the Broncos have now won three in a row, and while the progress made by James Webb III has been key the most important factor has been Marks’ improvement.

After averaging 14.9 points per game as a junior Marks is up to 18.6 as a senior, and his percentages have improved as well. The senior has raised his field goal percentage by more than seven percentage points (51.7, from 44.1), and the improvements made from beyond the arc have been stunning. After making just 19 of his 66 attempts in 2013-14, through 19 games Marks is shooting 36-for-71 (50.7%) from three.

Marks may not be scoring from the foul line as often as he did last season, with his free throw rate being cut in half, but there’s been improved accuracy from both the mid-range (46.6% FG on two-point jumpers compared to 36.7% last season, per hoop-math.com) and from three. On the whole Boise State doesn’t get to the foul line all that often, ranking last in the conference in free throw rate (conference games only), but they’re still second in the Mountain West in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy’s numbers even with the loss of Drmic.

The performance of Marks, who averaged 29.5 points per game and shot 52.4% from the field in wins over UNLV and New Mexico (we’re going to leave out last night’s 86-36 win over San Jose State), is the biggest reason why the Broncos have rebounded from their 0-3 start to conference play.

50-40-90 Club

Jack Gibbs, Davidson
51.7% FG, 41.4% 3PT, 90.8% FT = 183.9

Gibbs missed Davidson’s win over No. 22 Dayton with a slight tear in his meniscus, and he’ll be out of the lineup for a little while.

He’s Close to 50-40-90 Status

Derrick Marks, Boise State
51.7%, 50.7%, 84.3% = 186.7

Tyler Harvey, Eastern Washington
50.6%, 48.8%, 85.2% = 184.6

Harvey’s scored 21 points or more in eight of Eastern Washington’s last nine games, and he’s a reason why the Eagles are now the favorites to win the Big Sky.

 

Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga
50.0%, 47.2%, 83.1% = 180.3

Still haven’t been able to see how the addition of Eric McClellan will impact Pangos due to McClellan’s foot injury, but the senior continues to lead the way for one of the nation’s best teams.

Eight More “180” Players

Jacob Parker, Stephen F. Austin
55.6%, 46.6%, 84.4% = 186.6

Why are the Lumberjacks 15-3 overall and 5-0 in Southland play? Parker’s one reason, as he’s shot 70 percent or better from the field in each of the last three games.

Justin Anderson, Virginia
50.6%, 52.7%, 79.7% = 183.0

With Georgia Tech in town, Anderson will look to rebound from his worst performance of the season (0-for-8 FG, zero points) in Saturday’s win at Boston College.

Richaud Gittens, Weber State
46.4%, 54.9%, 81.3% = 182.6

Given the amount of talent lost from last year’s NCAA tournament team, Gittens is one player the Wildcats needed to step up. The hope in Ogden is that his last three games (14.0 ppg, 71.4% FG, 9-for-10 3PT) are a sign that the sophomore is becoming a more consistent scoring option.

Alec Wintering, Portland
46.7%, 51.2%, 84.0% = 181.9

Wintering’s been kept in check the last three games, which were all defeats for the Pilots. He managed to score just five points (2-for-9 FG) in their loss at Pepperdine on Saturday.

Marcus Marshall, Missouri State
45.9%, 45.6%, 89.9% = 181.4

Marshall’s played his last game in a Missouri State uniform, as it was announced last week that he’ll be transferring in May.

Alec Peters, Valparaiso
49.6%, 47.0%, 84.0% = 180.6

Peters shot just 34.8% from the field in wins over Wright State and Youngstown State, and the Crusaders will need greater accuracy from their leading scorer if they’re to win at Green Bay Friday night.

Corey Hawkins, UC Davis
51.2%, 50.0%, 79.1% = 180.3

Jim Les’ Aggies remain undefeated in Big West play (4-0) with Hawkins, who’s shooting 50 percent from the field and 54.5% from three, being the biggest reason why.

Rayvonte Rice, Illinois
51.5%, 48.3%, 80.3% = 180.1

Rice (broken left hand) isn’t expected to return until sometime next month for the Fighting Illini.

Chase for 180: Jack Gibbs’ progression a key factor in Davidson’s 12-3 start

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The “Chase for 180″ is back for a second year, and for those who may not be familiar with the project it’s our attempt to identify some of the best shooters in America. But what makes one an “elite shooter?” For some it’s merely the ability to knock down perimeter shots at a high rate, but that isn’t the case for all players. High-level shooting requires proficiency from three, the field overall, and from the foul line. 

“180” refers to the resulting number when adding a player’s field goal, three-point and free throw percentages, with the best shooters either approaching or surpassing that mark. 50 percent or better from the field overall, 40 percent or better from three and 90 percent or better from the foul line. This achievement has occurred more often in college basketball than it has in the NBA, where just six players (Steve Nash did it in four different seasons) have done it in the history of the league. 

We’ll update this list throughout the season, with players also needing to qualify to be ranked by the NCAA in each of the three percentage categories in order to be considered. In order to qualify to be ranked a player needs to have played in at least 75 percent of his team’s games and have averaged: 

  • five or more field goal attempts per game;
  • two or more three-point attempts per game;
  • 2.5 or more free throw attempts per game.

To read prior installments of the Chase for 180, click here

Entering the 2014-15 season, their first as a member of the Atlantic 10, not a whole lot was expected of the Davidson Wildcats by outsiders. Bob McKillop’s team lost three starters from last season’s team, with forward De’Mon Brooks (who led the team in both scoring and rebounding) being the biggest departure. As a result the Wildcats were picked to finish 12th in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll.

However through 15 games Davidson has the conference’s biggest surprise, as they’ve put together a 12-3 record and are 3.1 in conference play. After having four players averaging double figures a season ago Davidson has five in 2014-15, with one of the most improved guards in sophomore Jack Gibbs leading the way at 16.3 ppg. After averaging 6.8 points and 2.1 assists per game as one of the Wildcats’ first reserves off the bench as a freshman, Gibbs has raised his scoring by more than nine points per game and also leads the team in assists (4.9 apg) while also adding 4.5 rebounds per contest.

The biggest key for Gibbs thus far is that with increased scoring opportunities, his shooting percentages have improved by substantial margins from both the field (54.0%; 38.2% as a freshman) and from three (43.1%; 32.1). Add in his 91.8% from the foul line, and Gibbs has been one of the best all-around shooters in the country to this point in the season. Gibbs is attempting an average of 9.3 field goals per game, a figure that isn’t all that surprising when taking into consideration the presence of Tyler Kalinoski (16.2 ppg), Jordan Barham (10.8), Brian Sullivan (10.3) and Peyton Aldridge (10.2).

Davidson’s offense, which is ranked fifth nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy’s numbers, had resulted in quality looks for Gibbs and others and as a whole the Wildcats have taken advantage. The area where Gibbs has made the greatest improvement is his shooting inside of the arc, where he’s increased his shooting percentage from 35.5% in 2013-14 to 55.6% in 2014-15 per hoop-math.com. Two-point jump shots make up just over 20 percent of Gibbs’ attempts this season, with opportunities at the rim and from beyond the arc taken with greater frequency.

Given Davidson’s scoring options, there will continue be open opportunities for Gibbs moving forward thanks to the Wildcats’ spacing on offense. If Gibbs can continue to take advantage at the level he has through 15 games, the Wildcats will continue to be a factor in the Atlantic 10 race.

50-40-90 Club

Jack Gibbs (Davidson)
54.0% FG, 43.1% 3PT, 91.8% FT = 188.9

He’s Close to 50-40-90 Status

Derrick Marks (Boise State)
51.0, 53.3, 82.5 = 186.8

Marks shot 12-for-26 from the field, scoring 28 points, in the Broncos’ overtime win over UNLV on Tuesday.

Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga)
50.8, 48.1, 87.8 = 186.7

We’ve yet to see what kind of impact the addition of Eric McClellan will have on Pangos as the Vanderbilt transfer is sidelined due to injury, but Pangos continues to shoot the ball well for the third-ranked Bulldogs.

Marcus Marshall (Missouri State)
45.9, 45.6, 89.9 = 181.4

Missouri State’s leading scorer was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team on Wednesday, so it remains to be seen when he’ll return to the court.

Five More “180” Players

Justin Anderson (Virginia)
53.3, 55.7, 78.0 = 187.0

Anderson hit half of his shots from the field (5-for-10) and from three (3-for-6) in the second-ranked Cavaliers’ win over Clemson on Tuesday.

Alec Wintering (Portland)
47.3, 51.3, 84.8 = 183.4

Wintering will look to help the Pilots rebound from their loss to San Francisco with a win over Loyola Marymount Thursday night, and he shot 2-for-10 from the field in two meetings with the Lions last season.

Tyler Harvey (Eastern Washington)
50.8, 49.0, 83.1 = 182.9

Harvey shot below his percentage for the season in an 89-86 win over Idaho on Saturday, shooting 6-for-15 from the field, but he still managed to score 23 points.

Corey Hawkins (UC Davis)
51.4, 49.4, 80.3 = 181.1

Hawkins led the Aggies to their first win over Long Beach State since 2009 on Saturday, scoring 28 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field and 8-for-10 from the foul line.

Rayvonte Rice (Illinois)
51.5, 48.3, 80.3 = 180.1

Rice is currently sidelined with a broken left hand, suffered in early January, and could miss anywhere from three to six weeks.

Chase for 180: Marc Loving’s game-winner the latest step in his development

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The “Chase for 180″ is back for a second year, and for those who may not be familiar with the project it’s our attempt to identify some of the best shooters in America. But what makes one an “elite shooter?” For some it’s merely the ability to knock down perimeter shots at a high rate, but that isn’t the case for all players. High-level shooting requires proficiency from three, the field overall, and from the foul line. 

“180” refers to the resulting number when adding a player’s field goal, three-point and free throw percentages, with the best shooters either approaching or surpassing that mark. 50 percent or better from the field overall, 40 percent or better from three and 90 percent or better from the foul line. This achievement has occurred more often in college basketball than it has in the NBA, where just six players (Steve Nash did it in four different seasons) have done it in the history of the league. 

We’ll update this list throughout the season, with players also needing to qualify to be ranked by the NCAA in each of the three percentage categories in order to be considered. In order to qualify to be ranked a player needs to have played in at least 75 percent of his team’s games and have averaged: 

  • five or more field goal attempts per game;
  • two or more three-point attempts per game;
  • 2.5 or more free throw attempts per game.

To read prior installments of the Chase for 180, click here

With the loss of their top three scorers from a team that won 25 games a season ago, Ohio State had some questions to answer heading into the 2014-15 campaign. Freshman guard D’Angelo Russell has emerged as the team’s primary scoring option, with Shannon Scott being the team’s best distributor and the athletic Sam Thompson emerging as a double-digit scorer in his final season.

While the addition of Russell has been the biggest key for the 22nd-ranked Buckeyes, it progression of sophomore forward Marc Loving is another reason why they’re 13-3 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten.

To describe Loving as a bit player last season would be accurate, as he accounted for 4.4 points and 1.7 rebounds in just over ten minutes of action per game. With the departure of leading scorers LaQuinton Ross, Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Aaron Craft it was obvious that more scoring opportunities would be available, and to Loving’s credit he’s taken full advantage thus far. Loving’s now averaging 12.3 points per game, shooting well from the field (52.1%), from three (54.5%) and from the foul line (83.3%).

Those numbers are all far superior to what Loving posted as a freshman, as he’s shown himself to be capable of not only handling an increased workload but also doing so in an efficient manner. Loving’s true shooting (up to 69.8% from 51.2%) and effective field goal (66.4% from 43.2%) percentages have increased substantially, and per hoop-math.com the sophomore has also improved his field goal percentage around the rim by some 24 percentage points (69.2% after making 45.2% of those shots last season).

As a result Loving’s scored in double figures in 13 of Ohio State’s 16 games, which includes a current streak of seven straight with the sophomore scoring 13 in the Buckeyes’ 74-72 overtime win at Minnesota Tuesday night. By comparison Loving reached double figures just four times all of last season, with two of those games coming in Big Ten contests in early January. The strides made between his freshman and sophomore seasons have positioned Loving as a player the Buckeyes have no issue giving scoring opportunities to, even if he isn’t their primary scoring option.

Tuesday night, that confidence resulted in a game-winning basket.

50-40-90 Club

Jack Gibbs (Davidson)
54.4% FG, 44.1% 3PT, 92.1% FT = 190.6
Gibbs is one of the reasons why the Wildcats are off to a 10-3 start despite being picked to finish 12th in the Atlantic 10.

He’s Really Close

Marcus Marshall (Missouri State)
47.4% FG, 47.7% 3PT, 89.1% FT = 184.2
Marshall didn’t have his best night in the Bears’ loss at Indiana State, scoring 11 points on 3-for-12 shooting.

Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga)
50.4, 46.2, 86.4 = 183.0
The senior continues to balance efficient shooting with running the show for one of the best teams in the country.

Ten More “180” Players

1. Derrick Marks (Boise State)
52.2% FG, 57.7% 3PT, 84.4% FT = 194.8
With Anthony Drmic (back/ankle) out for the remainder of the year, Marks becomes even more important for the Broncos.

2. Marc Loving (Ohio State)
52.1, 54.5, 83.3 = 189.9

3. Justin Anderson (Virginia)
53.7, 56.7, 77.3 = 187.7
Anderson shot just 5-for-14 in the Cavaliers’ win over NC State, including a 4-for-9 night from distance.

4. Tyler Harvey (Eastern Washington)
51.6, 50.0, 82.5 = 184.1
Saturday’s 4-for-12 night in a win over Idaho State ended a streak of four straight games in which Harvey shot 63 percent or better from the field.

5. Corey Hawkins (UC Davis)
50.6, 48.6, 81.7 = 180.9
Hawkins scored 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting in the Aggies’ win over CSUN.

6. Sean Sellers (Ball State)
45.5, 47.9, 87.5 = 180.9
Sellers’ game-winner pushed the Cardinals past Eastern Michigan in overtime Wednesday night, but he’s shot 38.5% or worse from the field in four of the last five games.

7. Alec Wintering (Portland)
46.4, 50.0, 84.4 = 180.8
The sophomore followed up a 30-point outing in a loss at BYU with 20 in the Pilots’ loss to No. 7 Gonzaga on Saturday.

8. Alec Peters (Valparaiso)
50.5, 46.5, 83.6 = 180.6
Peters has hit a rough patch these last two games, shooting 9-for-29 from the field.

9. Frank Mason III (Kansas)
48.8, 48.7, 82.5 = 180.0
Mason’s performed better than many expected, and he’s shot 50 percent or better from the field in five of his last seven games.