College Basketball

NCAA MIDWEST: URI rallies past Oklahoma in OT, 83-78

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NCAA MIDWEST: URI rallies past Oklahoma in OT, 83-78

PITTSBURGH - E.C. Matthews hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime and one more that sealed it to help Rhode Island hold off dynamic scorer Trae Young and beat Oklahoma 83-78 Thursday in the Midwest Regional.

The seventh-seeded Rams (26-7) won a game in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season and will play the winner of Duke-Iona on Saturday.

The 10th-seeded Sooners (18-14) late-season fade ended with a thud when Young failed to carry them as he had so many times this season. The phenomenal freshman led the nation with averages of 27.4 points and 8.8 assists. He scored 28 points on 9 of 18 shooting with six turnovers.

Young shook off an early second-half funk and scored 13 consecutive points for the Sooners and made two free throws to open OT to give them a chance against a Rams team that smothered the guard at times.

Matthews hit a 3 in OT for a 74-72 lead with 1:54 left and one more with 28 seconds to go for a five-point lead. Coach Dan Hurley ended the win with a big embrace with guard Fatts Russell. Russell hit three clutch 3s and scored 15 points. Matthews had 16 points.

Rhode Island stood on the court and pointed toward the scoreboard as their logo advanced on the video bracket.

The Sooners needed so much more out of Young early in the second half as they quickly gave up a four-point halftime lead.

He finally hit a 3 off a turnover with 2:05 left and then sank two free throws with 14.5 seconds to go that tied the game 69-all and sent it to overtime.

Rhode Island's buzzer-beater follow shot for the win rolled off the rim.

Matthews and Russell helped turn the game for Rhode Island.

Matthews hit a 3, Russell stripped Young and connected on his own 3-pointer for a 55-50 lead that sent the pro-URI crowd into a frenzy.

There was anticipation this would turn into the Trae Young Show in a hurry much like in the four games this season he scored at least 40 points. Young took some time to warm up. He did sink a pair of 3s and made all four shots for 10 points in the first half but sat for a little more than 3 minutes when he picked up two offensive fouls. Young did not try and create his own shots for easy looks at the rim and he had three turnovers in just 14 minutes.

He didn't pick up another foul the rest of the game.

Neither team led by more than eight points in the half, in large part because of struggles at the free throw line. The Sooners missed 5 of 7 shots and Rhode Island was worse at 2 for 10.

Hurley was a spastic bundle of energy on the bench, pumping his fists, stomping down the sideline and exhorting a nice turnout of URI fans - that included "Frog Man" - to get louder. Hurley was issued a warning in the second half for straying too far outside the box. His energy rubbed off on the players, including one who lay on his back and waved his arms on a Rhode Island 3.

BIG PICTURE

Rhode Island: Cyril Langevine scored 14 points and Jared Terrell had 13 as part of a balanced Rams team.

Oklahoma: Jamuni McNeace scored 14 points but no other Sooner hit double digits. The Sooners missed a whopping 16 of 20 shots and - with Young struggling until late - could never put together enough of a run to put away the Rams.

UP NEXT: The Rams get the winner of Duke (26-7) vs. Iona (20-13).

© 2018 by The Associated Press


 

Chris Herren Jr. reclassifies, enrolls at Boston College

Chris Herren Jr. reclassifies, enrolls at Boston College

Boston College announced on Monday that Chris Herren Jr., son of much-celebrated local legend Chris Herren, has reclassified to the Class of 2018 and will join the men's basketball team for the 2018-19 season.

Chris Jr. will become the third Herren to play for the Eagles in the fall, joining his father and his uncle, Mike. Chris Jr. played these last two seasons at Tabor Academy, in Marion, Mass., after transferring in from Portsmouth (R.I.) High and repeating his sophomore season. He earned NEPSAC All-Class A honors this past season after averaging 23 points per game and shooting 42 percent from three-point range. He has signed a financial aid agreement and reclassified to the Class of 2018, according to BC.

"We are excited to add Chris to our program," BC head coach Jim Christian said in a statement. "He is a dynamic scorer who possesses a high basketball IQ.  His ability to shoot from long-range and his playmaking ability will fit our playing style well."

The elder Herren is one of the most celebrated high school basketball players in Massachusetts state history, earning McDonald's All-American honors as a senior at Fall River's B.M.C. Durfee High after scoring over 2,000 points for his career. He was one of the nation's most heavily-recruited guards, and his senior season was documented in the book "Fall River Dreams".  He stayed close to home at BC, but transferred to Fresno State after some off-court troubles in his freshman season.

Herren appeared in 35 games with the Boston Celtics in 2000-01, before some well-documented personal struggles led to the derailment of his career. The depths of his struggles, and subsequent recovery to become one of the nation's most revered anti-drug motivational speakers, were documented in a gripping memoir and a "30 for 30" special on ESPN. In 2011 he founded The Herren Project, which seeks to provide assistance in substance abuse recovery.

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NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: Villanova takes title, 79-62 over Michigan behind DiVincenzo

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NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: Villanova takes title, 79-62 over Michigan behind DiVincenzo

SAN ANTONIO -- When he wasn't dribbling behind his back, winking to the TV announcers, stuffing shots or dishing out assists, Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo was making it rain.

First, 3-pointers.

Later on, confetti.

The redhead kid with the nickname Big Ragu came off the bench to make five 3s and score 31 points Monday to lift `Nova to another blowout victory in the NCAA Tournament - this time 79-62 over Michigan for its second national title in three seasons.

The sophomore guard had 12 points and an assist during a first-half run to help the Wildcats (36-4) pull ahead, then scored nine straight for Villanova midway through the second to snuff out the Wolverines. He capped the second shooting skein with a 3-pointer from a step behind the arc. He punctuated it with a knowing wink over to the sideline, where TV announcers Jim Nantz and Bill Raftery were sitting.

Yep, he knew he could do it. And his teammates were more than willing to let him steal the show.

"If someone's hot, feed `em," said Jalen Brunson, the national Player of the Year, who finished with nine points and was perfectly fine with playing a supporting role on this night.

In taking the program's third overall title, Villanova won all six games by double digits over this tournament run, joining Michigan State (2000), Duke (2001) and North Carolina (2009) in that rare air.

The last team to win its two Final Four games by 16 or more: UCLA in 1968. During the dynasty.

One key question: Does Jay Wright's team belong on the list of the best of all-time?

Maybe so, considering the way Villanova dismantled everyone in front of it in a tournament that was dripping with upsets, underdogs and at least the appearance of parity.

Maybe so, considering the Wildcats won in seemingly every way imaginable. This victory came two nights after they set a Final Four record with 18 3-pointers (they had 10 in this one), and one week after they relied more on defense in a win over Texas Tech in the Elite Eight.

"We don't really look at it that way," Wright said. "We don't look at it as, did we just dominate that team? No. We played well."

And really, that debate's for later.

DiVincenzo squashed any questions about this game with a 10-for-15 shooting night - 5 for 7 from 3 -that was, frankly, better than that. He was a no-doubt winner of the Final Four's most-outstanding-player award.

With Michigan trying to stay in striking range early in the second half, he opened his game-sealing run with an around-the-back dribble to get to the hoop and get fouled. On the other end, he delivered a two-handed rejection of Michigan's Charles Matthews - his second block of the game, to go with five rebounds and three assists - when Matthews tried to bring it into the paint.

The 3 that capped things off came from a big step behind the arc and gave Villanova a 62-44 lead with 7:58 left.

"Honestly, I didn't look at the score at all," DiVincenzo said. "I didn't know how many points I had. I didn't know any of that. I was just trying to make the right play. And Omari (Spellman) was setting unbelievable screens for me getting me open. And I was just feeling it."

About the only drama at the end was whether DiVincenzo could unwrap himself from his teammates' mob hug to hurl the ball underhanded toward the rafters after the buzzer. He succeeded there, too.

"Sometimes I think about whether I'm a good defender, because in practice, he makes me look bad," said junior Mikal Bridges, who likely made this his final audition for the NBA with a 19-point night on 7-for-12 shooting.

What a couple of months it's been for Philly. First the Eagles. Now this. The Super Bowl, though, was a classic. This one was only beautiful to one team.

Michigan (33-8) came out playing tough-nosed defense it relied on over a 14-game winning streak that got the Wolverines to their second final in six years.

Moe Wagner scored 11 early points to pick up where he left off in a dominating performance in the semifinal. Villanova started 1 for 9 from 3-point range. And yet, after DiVincenzo banged down a 3 from a step behind the arc for Villanova's second of the night, coach John Beilein looked at the scoreboard and saw his team behind, 23-21.

"The way DiVincenzo shot the ball, it was just incredible for us to try to win that game with the roll he went on," the coach said.

If his first 3 wasn't demoralizing enough, DiVincenzo made another, then took a bounce pass from Brunson for a dunk, then paid it forward with an assist to Spellman. It was part of a 23-7 run that gave the Wildcats a nine-point lead at halftime; they never looked back.

DiVincenzo competed hard for a starting spot this year, but didn't win it. He made the best of it as a sixth man. Wright waited all of 52 seconds in the second half to get him back on the floor.

"It just shows how much depth we have, and that we don't care who gets the credit," Brunson said.

Though he didn't play in the 2016 Final Four, DiVincenzo got his fair share of credit for that title, too.

His season cut short because of a knee injury, he was healthy enough to run the scout squad for Villanova. Some on the team said he was better at doing Oklahoma star Buddy Hield than Hield himself.

But maybe a more apt comparison is to ... Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?

DiVincenzo joins them in the rare club of players to crack 30 points while also shooting better than 66 percent from the floor in a Final Four game.

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