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The Morning Dish – Saturday, November 12, 2016

November 12, 2016 The Morning Dish No Comments

And we’re off and running on the 2016-17 season. The first official game of the season, with a noon Eastern tip, was Middle Tennessee’s 102-64 win over Milligan. Everything followed from there, peaking with the early evening games on two fronts.

Opening night tends to be a good mix of lopsided matchups and really good ones. We saw plenty of both, and we’ll focus more on the dandies after noting some surprises and close calls.

Your first big upset of the year comes from Wagner, who is sure to be a contender in the Northeast Conference. Last year’s runners-up beat UConn 67-58, getting a balanced effort led by Mike Aaman (15 points, nine rebounds), who at one time appeared to be all done playing because of concussions. Also leaping out at you is Albany winning at Penn State 87-81, hanging on after leading by 16 at halftime. Chattanooga, one of the better mid-majors out there, knocked off Tennessee 82-69 behind a double-double from Justin Tuoyo (22 points, 11 rebounds). A bit less surprising is Jacksonville State winning at Tulsa 84-73.

Texas had to hold off Incarnate Word, winning 78-73 and getting a double-double from prized freshman Jarrett Allen (16 points, 12 rebounds). Creighton likewise held off a furious comeback from UMKC 89-82, as the Bluejays led 55-34 at the break. American gave Maryland all they could handle before succumbing 62-56, while Ole Miss barely held off Tennessee-Martin 86-83 in Oxford and in the same state, Mississippi State had just enough to beat Norfolk State 78-74 behind 22 points from Quinndary Weatherspoon.

Now the dandies that stood out begin well out west.

In the first of two great games in the Armed Forces Classic in Honolulu, Arizona and Michigan State played the kind of game you could expect these two power programs to play. Michigan State tied it late on a good bounce from deep by Lourawls Nairn, then Arizona came right back up and got a driving layup by Kadeem Allen with 1.5 seconds left. Michigan State couldn’t get a shot off an errant inbounds pass, and the Wildcats held on for a 65-63 win in a game where freshmen Kobi Simmons and Miles Bridges had starring roles. In the second, Indiana and Kansas needed overtime, tied at 89 after each team scored in the final minute to break an 87-87 tie. Indiana never trailed in the extra session, with James Blackmon Jr. scoring seven of his 26 points to lead the Hoosiers to a 103-99 win. Blackmon scored 22 points after intermission, while Frank Mason led Kansas with a game-high 30 points. Indiana won despite having more turnovers than assists.

Patriot League favorite Lehigh gave Xavier all they could handle before the Musketeers pulled out an 84-81 win behind a double-double (25 points, 11 rebounds) from Trevon Blueitt.

Saint Mary’s handled visiting Nevada 81-63 behind 33 points and nine rebounds from Jock Landale. The Gaels led 42-29 at the break and were in good shape from there.

Clemson also won a tough one at home, getting 19 points from transfer Marquise Reed to beat Georgia 74-64.

Philadelphia Big 5 action got underway on opening night as well with a dandy. La Salle and Temple needed overtime, and the Owls pulled out a 97-92 win behind a big double-double from Obi Enechionyia (20 points, 14 rebounds, four blocked shots).

A pair of old CAA foes met in Norfolk, with Old Dominion using a good second half to knock off James Madison 62-55 behind 23 points and 11 rebounds from Brandan Stith.

Murray State got a three-pointer from newcomer Jonathan Stark with 1.5 seconds left to beat Illinois State 73-70.

In all, it was quite an opening night, and gives us reason to believe we’re in for a great season of college basketball.

 

Side Dishes

In a game that didn’t quite live up to the hype, Marquette handled Vanderbilt 95-71 in the Veterans Classic in Annapolis thanks to a big second half. Vanderbilt actually led by one at halftime, but it was all Golden Eagles in the second half as they outscored the Commodores 56-31 in the second stanza. Ohio State beat Navy 78-68 in the second game of the doubleheader behind a double-double from Keita Bates Diop (14 points, 14 rebounds).

Caleb Swanagan had the stat line of the night, as the Purdue sophomore became just the third player to score at least 20 points, grab at least 20 rebounds and hand out at least five assists in a game. With 23 points, 20 rebounds and six assists in the Boilermakers’ 109-65 blowout of McNeese State, Swanagan joined Ben Simmons and Blake Griffin in that category.

We know a little about how next season will open already. Georgia Tech will take on UCLA in the Pac-12 China game in Shanghai, an event that saw Stanford pull out an 80-70 win over Harvard on Friday behind a monster game from a healthy Reid Travis (24 points, 17 rebounds). Also, West Virginia will play Texas A&M in the 2017 Armed Forces Classic at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

Before their 81-79 loss in the season opener at NC State, Georgia Southern suspended junior guard Mike Hughes for three games for a violation of team rules. An All-Sun Belt candidate and one of the conference’s top defenders, Hughes will be eligible to return on November 22 at Akron as part of the Savannah Invitational. NC State also learned that freshman forward Ted Kapita was ruled immediately eligible by the NCAA, but that description seems to be a misnomer given that the school learned of it so close to the first game that he was not able to suit up. Kapita will make his debut on Sunday, when the Wolfpack host St. Francis-Brooklyn.

Oregon signed head coach Dana Altman to a contract extension that runs through 2023. The new deal will bump his salary gradually from $1.8 million this season to just over $3 million in the last season of it. Altman has led the Ducks to the postseason every year he has been in Eugene, and now has a team that should make a Final Four run this season.

 

Tonight’s Menu

The slate is lighter, with action on the gridiron leading the way, but there are some good ones in store on Saturday.

  • Bryant, who may be a sleeper in the Northeast Conference, visits Notre Dame at noon Eastern in one of the campus games of the Legends Classic.
  • Georgetown gets an early test from USC Upstate at noon.
  • Quinnipiac hosts Vermont in a nice New England battle at 1 p.m.
  • Wofford visits LSU in the first game in the post-Ben Simmons era in Baton Rouge at 2 p.m.
  • A pair of old CAA foes match up as George Mason hosts Towson at 7:30 p.m.

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