Dec 16

Late run lifts E Kentucky over Charleston Southern 70-65

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Dedric Boyd hit four 3-pointers and scored 19 and DeAndre Dishman scored six in a 10-0 run to end the game as Eastern Kentucky rallied past Charleston Southern 70-65 on Friday night.

Eastern Kentucky trailed 65-60 after Charleston Southern’s Jamaal David made 1 of 2 free throws with 4:57 remaining in the game. But Boyd hit a free throw, Dishman scored off an offensive rebound, Zach Charles made a free throw, and a Nick Mayo steal led to a layup by Dishman that put the Colonels (5-6) up 66-65 lead with 2:01 to play. Cortez Mitchell missed two free throws with 16 seconds left and the Buccaneers (4-5) trailing by one point. Boyd rebounded the second miss, was fouled by Mitchell and sank two free throws with 15 seconds left. Christian Keeling missed a 3-pointer for the Bucs that would have tied the game. Dishman grabbed the rebound, was fouled and sank two free throws with two seconds remaining to wrap up the win.

Mayo finished with 15 points and three steals for the Colonels, while Dishman chipped in with 10 points and eight rebounds and Charles scored 10 with seven boards.

Keeling hit 10 of 11 free throws and scored 26 to pace Charleston Southern.

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Dec 16

Mount Union beats Mary Hardin-Baylor 12-0 for D-III title (Yahoo Sports)

Justin Hill and D’Angelo Fulford have provided an offensive spark for Mount Union all season, so when the Purple Raiders were locked in a defensive struggle against Mary Hardin-Baylor in the Division III national championship, it was no surprise the pa…

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Dec 16

Ellington and Johnson score 16 each in Heat win vs. Hornets

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington scored 16 points each and Miami held off a late rally for a 104-98 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

It was Miami’s 24th win in its past 30 games against Charlotte, which opened a stretch of six of seven home games with a loss. Johnson and Ellington combined for 10-of-16 shooting on 3-pointers.

Ellington was the game’s only double-digit scorer at halftime. His 3 with 9 minutes remaining put Miami up 89-75. Josh Richardson, Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo and James Johnson added 11 points each for Miami (14-14). Dion Waiters scored 10 for the Heat.

Kemba Walker led Charlotte (10-18) with 23 points after leaving the game in the first half with a wrist injury. He returned to start the second half with his left wrist wrapped, and his 3-pointer with 3:16 left pulled Charlotte within 100-93.

Walker drew a foul against Johnson, his fifth, with 2:02 left. His free throws closed the gap to 100-96, and Dwight Howard’s driving layup brought the Hornets within 100-98. Waiters hit a fadeaway for Miami’s first basket in more than 2 minutes and a 102-98 lead.

Miami pulled away with free throws from Goran Dragic for the final margin.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist shot 6 of 8 for 13 points for Charlotte, which has lost four of five. Howard recorded his fourth double-double in five games for Charlotte with 15 points and 16 rebounds. It was his 16th double-double this season.

Jeremy Lamb added 12 points off the bench for the Hornets.

Charlotte, which trailed by as many as 12 in the first half, cut the deficit to 53-47 on Michael Carter-Williams’ free throws with 3.8 seconds left until halftime.

Frank Kaminsky finished with 10 points for Charlotte.

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Dec 16

No. 13 Kansas seeks to avoid 3rd loss in row

LINCOLN, Neb. — It isn’t often Kansas takes the floor having lost its last two games.

That’s the situation the No. 13-ranked Jayhawks find themselves in heading into their first true road game of the season Saturday night at Nebraska. The matchup at Pinnacle Bank Arena will be Kansas’ first true road game of the season.

Only twice in 15 seasons has a Bill Self-coached team had to deal with a three game-losing streak. Kansas last was in this predicament in 2005-06, and the Jayhawks got themselves right with a 96-54 rout of Nebraska in Lawrence, Kan.

It would take a Herculean effort for the Cornhuskers (7-4) to extend that losing streak. That it’s a home game for Nebraska will help; the game already is sold out for the latest installment of a series that was first played in 1900.

The Huskers do own a victory over then-No. 14 Minnesota this season, but they followed that up with a 10-point loss at in-state rival Creighton.

This is Nebraska’s first game since that loss to the Bluejays, and the Huskers are coming off finals week, but they have been able to have everyone on hand for practices. Nebraska guard Glynn Watson Jr. said keeping the high-scoring Jayhawks offense in check will be a priority.

“They’re a good 3-point shooting team, they play four guards, so we just have to make sure we guard and help each other out,” Watson said. “Any of them are capable of scoring 20 points a game, so we have to make it tough for them.”

Kansas (7-2) has five players averaging in double figures, led by junior Lagerald Vick and his 18.7 points per game. Vick is the only player in the Big 12 Conference to rank in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding.

Sophomore center Udoka Azubuike leads all Division I players in field goal percentage (.784). Through nine games Azubuike is 58-for-74, including 35 dunks.

One new player the Huskers will have to stop is Arizona State transfer Sam Cunliffe. He is now available that the first semester in Lawrence is over, and he will be the eighth scholarship player on the Jayhawks roster.

Self told the Kansas City Star that fans should temper their expectations for Cunliffe’s Kansas debut.

“I love Sam and want him to contribute,” Self said. “Anybody who believes now he can step in and be more productive than the five guards we have, I think (that) would be a little tough for him.

“He’s going to go through some stuff to get comfortable. I’m believing he’ll be a nice asset for us. I’m hopeful he can bring an element of toughness to our team.”

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Dec 16

Rested No. 12 Gonzaga takes on North Dakota

After a bounce-back win over an in-state rival, Gonzaga coach Mark Few was happy to have some time off.

“We need a break, man,” Few said following Sunday’s 97-70 road win over Washington, according to The Spokesman-Review. “From the PK80 (in Portland, Ore.) to Creighton to New York City to here (Seattle), we need a break.

“We need to get Corey (Kispert) healthy. He was probably 50-60 percent (against Washington), but just having him in the rotation helps us so much. We’ll get him back and rolling again because he was off to a great start.”

The No. 12 Bulldogs return to the court on Saturday when they host North Dakota at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash.

Prior to the trip to Seattle, the Zags (8-2) were in New York, where they fell to No. 1. Villanova 88-72.

Kispert, who has been slowed by an ankle sprain suffered against Incarnate Word on Nov. 29, didn’t play in the Madison Square Garden game.

“It’s no secret I wasn’t 100 percent but it felt great to get back and play against a team I grew up watching my whole life,” Kispert said. “It’ll be good to get some time off my feet and get back to 100 percent before league.”

The Bulldogs have had an abbreviated practice week due to final exams.

Point guard Josh Perkins, who injured his right shoulder in the win over Washington, also benefited from the rest — and the extra study time.

“I only have two (finals),” Perkins. “But I have one in sports law and that’s going to be a big one.”

Perkins, who was named to the West Coast Conference’s all-academic team last season, has a 3.24 grade-point average in sport management.

After making its first trip to the NCAA Tournament in March, North Dakota (4-6) lost four players, including 19-point-per-game scorer Quinton Hooker, to graduation and departures.

Still, Perkins, sounding like his coach, isn’t taking the Fighting Hawks lightly.

“They have nothing to lose,” he said. “Their record isn’t what ours is, they know that. They’re going to try to play harder than us, try to at least, so we have to play harder than them.”

North Dakota and Gonzaga have a common opponent: Creighton.

The Fighting Hawks lost to the Bluejays 111-68, four days after the Zags handled Creighton 91-74 in Spokane.

North Dakota is coming off a 99-63 loss to South Dakota State in which the Fighting Hawks gave up a 17-2 first-half run that essentially put the game out of reach.

“I thought when we got into foul trouble … that really put us on our heels,” head coach Brian Jones said, according to KFGO. “We had to play a lot of smaller guys and they did a tremendous job of posting our guards and posting our bigs. That got us into foul trouble and we really allowed our offense, the lack of making wide-open shots, to affect our toughness, energy and discipline.”

The Fighting Hawks’ leaky defense — the Jackrabbits shot nearly 60 percent from the floor against them — will be a problem against the high-powered Zags, who are sixth in the nation in scoring (91.2 points).

“Our defense is not very good at all right now,” Jones told the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald. “It’s everybody. They have to improve individually and as a group. We won our league (Big Sky Conference) last year because we were the best defense in our league. We had guys who understood our system. Right now, there’s lots of new faces and they’re struggling to get comfortable on both sides of the ball. We’re also playing good teams that are exposing it.”

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Dec 16

Arizona State promotes Rob Likens to offensive coordinator (Yahoo Sports)

Arizona State coach Herm Edwards promoted Rob Likens to offensive coordinator Friday, hours after Billy Napier left to take the head coaching job at Louisiana-Lafayette. Likens was the co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach this season unde…

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Dec 16

No. 4 Alabama’s Nick Saban still unhappy with early signing (Yahoo Sports)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Nick Saban isn’t happy about one major new distraction, and it has nothing to do with Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt’s hiring at Tennessee.

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Dec 16

DA not filing charges over alleged assault at KU men’s dorm

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Sexual assault charges won’t be filed over a report that a 16-year-old girl was raped in December 2016 in the dorm that houses the Kansas men’s basketball team, the local prosecutor announced Friday.

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson’s office released a statement saying it does not have enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a sexual assault occurred. Branson’s office called its seven-month review of reports, evidence and witnesses’ statements ”exhaustive.”

”Furthermore, no suspect for an alleged sexual assault was developed through the investigation,” the statement said.

Branson’s statement said his office still could file misdemeanor alcohol-related charges, but he did not provide additional details.

The Lawrence Journal-World first reported Branson’s decision Friday. He told the newspaper that the 16-year-old girl is represented by an attorney and it’s not clear whether she is willing to testify.

The university police department finished its investigation of the incident in May. Its report said rape, contributing to a child’s misconduct and furnishing alcohol to a minor were reported and allegedly occurred at the dorm.

The report listed five players as witnesses. But police have said that means the players had pertinent information, not necessarily that they were eyewitnesses to criminal activity.

The 16-year-old girl, who was not a student at the University of Kansas, was visiting the dorm and wasn’t from the area, according to police.

The same morning the rape was reported, a runaway was reported at the dorm. Police have not said whether the runaway and the girl were the same person.

During the investigation, police uncovered two glass smoking devices with residue inside. Then-sophomore forward Carlton Bragg Jr. was charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia in that case. He was eventually granted a diversion in municipal court and later transferred to Arizona State.

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Dec 16

No. 3 Wichita State faces nation’s top scorer

No. 3 Wichita State can add another quality win to its resume on Saturday when high-scoring Oklahoma and star freshman guard Trae Young visit INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan., for a non-conference battle between two teams off to hot starts.

The Shockers (8-1) have won four in a row, a streak highlighted by road wins over then-No. 16 Baylor and Oklahoma State. Sophomore guard Landry Shamet scored a season-high 30 points, connecting on 14 of 16 free throws, in a hard-fought, physical 78-66 win over the Cowboys last Saturday.

“A lot of guys were beaten up and banged up,” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall told reporters this week about the aftermath of the Oklahoma State win. “It was a very physical basketball game.”

The Shockers will have a chance to pick up a third win over a Big 12 foe this month. It won’t be easy. Oklahoma is playing well.

The Sooners (7-1) are coming off an 85-83 win over then-No. 25 USC last Friday in a Hall of Fame Basketball Classic game in Los Angeles. Young had 29 points and nine assists to lead Oklahoma to its fifth straight win.

Young is averaging 28.8 points, tops in the nation, and has scored at least 28 points in six straight outings. Christian James and Khadeem Lattin also average double figures for Oklahoma, but it’s Young, the heralded freshman, who is fueling an up-tempo Sooners offense that is averaging 93.3 points, third most in the nation. Oklahoma has been held under 90 points only three times this season.

Oklahoma’s transition game is a concern for Wichita State, which has held opponents to 68.2 points per game. Marshall said the best way for the Shockers to slow down the Sooners is to score themselves.

“If we score, they have to take the ball out of the basket,” Marshall said. “That is one way — to score so they don’t get it. They don’t have to take it that extra couple of feet to slow down the break. You have to take good shots, and you can’t turn it over. Those are the three things you have to do. They are going to get some transition, they are an elite transition team. Hopefully we can get some as well.”

Shamet leads the Shockers in scoring (16.3 points) and assists (4.3). His head-to-head matchup with Young could be the difference on Saturday.

“Trae plays really hard, as does Landry,” Marshall said. “I think it will be a game within the game, to watch these guys go head-to-head. It should be a dynamic confrontation. More than likely, the guy who has the best day, his team will win.”

After the win over Oklahoma State, Wichita State moved up to No. 3 in this week’s polls. The Shockers aren’t satisfied, though.

“There’s still work to be done. We’re No. 3, but we’re still not No. 1, so we aren’t the best team,” Wichita State forward Rashard Kelly, the Shockers’ leading rebounder, said. “We are still going to play physical and still try to prove our way to the top.”

The two teams met last year in Oklahoma City, with the Shockers prevailing 76-73. Shamet hit just 3 of 10 shots and was held to six points.

Saturday’s game will be the seventh meeting between the Sooners and Shockers. Oklahoma leads the series 4-2. It also will be Wichita State’s eighth game at INTRUST Bank Arena, a downtown facility that will host first- and second-round NCAA Tournament games in 2018.The Shockers are 6-1 at the arena.

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Dec 15

No. 24 Texas Tech turns back clock vs. Rice

Texas Tech hosts Rice on Saturday night in a game that will bring back memories of the extinct Southwest Conference in a few ways.

Second-year Texas Tech coach Chris Beard convinced the school to host a game in the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum, which the Red Raiders called home from 1956-1999.

“It’s such a big day for Tech basketball, a day where we’re really going to honor the past and tradition, both coaches and players,” Beard said.

Not coincidentally, Texas Tech joined Rice in the SWC in 1956, the same year the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum opened. So the continuation of the Red Raiders-Owls series fits in with the throwback game.

No. 24 Texas Tech (8-1) will also wear throwback uniforms, donning the style worn by the 1995-96 Red Raiders, who advanced to the Sweet 16 before falling to Allen Iverson-led Georgetown. That was also the final year of the SWC.

Although none of Texas Tech’s current players had even entered grade school the last time the Red Raiders played in the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum, they are aware of the history of the building.

Along with being the home of Texas Tech basketball, including the 1993 Lady Raiders national championship team, the arena hosted the 1966 Midwest Region. Texas Western defeated Kansas in the regional final, 81-80, on the Miners’ way to becoming the only team from Texas to ever win the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament. That Texas Western team was immortalized by the 2006 movie “Glory Road.”

“I’ve heard a lot about that coliseum growing up as a kid with Glory Road, seeing that movie as well,” Texas Tech senior forward Justin Gray said. “I’m just excited to finally play in there.”

Texas Tech and Rice (3-7) will meet for the second straight season. The Red Raiders, who lead the all-time series 64-28, edged the Owls 85-84 last season as forward Anthony Livingston hit three free throws with 2.4 seconds left in the second half. Livingston, who was a senior last season, scored 33 points in the game.

Rice guards Mike Evans and Egor Koulechov poured in 27 and 25 points, respectively. But Evans transferred to Virginia Commonwealth and Koulechov exited for Florida after the 2016-17 campaign.

The Owls promoted former assistant Scott Pera to the head coaching position in March. Pera’s Rice squad is led by junior guard Connor Cashaw, who is averaging 16.1 points and 6.7 rebounds.

Rice has only one victory against an NCAA Division I opponent this season and could struggle with Texas Tech’s depth and athleticism.

The Owls are coming off a 91-86 victory over Division II St. Edward’s on Thursday, as Cashaw tied his career high with 27 points.

“Obviously, I thought we got off to a good start today,” said Pera. “(It was) 13-4 out of the gate. (St. Edward’s) fought back but then we did a good job of expanding the lead and had a good cushion at halftime. But, I knew that they weren’t going to stop. They’re a very well coached team. They had our attention. We knew it was going to be a battle until the end. I thought our guys made some winning plays down the stretch. I’m really proud of Bishop and Connor’s effort today.”

Guard Keenan Evans leads the Red Raiders with 17.7 points and 3.6 assists per game. But Texas Tech has effectively used a large rotation so far this season as 10 players average more than 14 minutes and 4.9 points.

Texas Tech re-entered the Top 25 this week after a brief stint earlier in the season. Two weeks ago, the Red Raiders debuted at No. 22 before falling to Seton Hall 89-79 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

“We’ve got to get the program to the point where we’re not talking about being ranked, we’re talking about what are we ranked,” Beard said. “And we’ve got to get the program to the point where we’re not talking about making the tournament, we’re talking about winning the tournament.”

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