College Basketball

NCAA TOURNAMENT: Upstart 11th seed URI stuns No. 6 Creighton, 84-72


NCAA TOURNAMENT: Upstart 11th seed URI stuns No. 6 Creighton, 84-72

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Jeff Dowtin scored a career-high 23 points with a perfect day at the free-throw line, upstart Rhode Island answered every threat and the Rams ran right into the next round of the NCAA Tournament by stunning cold-shooting No. 6 seed Creighton 84-72 on Friday in an opener of the Midwest Region.

Kuran Iverson scored 17 points and Hassan Martin had 12 points and eight rebounds as 11th-seeded Rhode Island (25-9) earned its ninth straight victory. The program won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time since advancing to the Elite Eight and losing to Stanford in 1998.

Ronnie Harrell Jr. scored a career-high 15 points in Creighton's 40 percent shooting day.

Fifth-year URI coach Dan Hurley couldn't wait to build happier memories in Sacramento, where his older brother Bobby survived a life-threatening car wreck as an NBA rookie with the Kings in December 1993. His team hit the court for loose balls, crashed the boards with energy and found a way to withstand every spurt by the Bluejays (25-10).

The Rams made a lot of free throws, too.

E.C. Matthews coolly converted two chances from the line with 2:32 on his way to 16 points. Dowtin hit all 10 from the line as URI went an impressive 28 of 31 on free throws in all.

And what fun for all those blue-clad Rams fans who traveled cross-country from Kingston through a major Northeast snowstorm for California's capital to witness the program's milestone moment. Oh yes, and Bobby Hurley was there in the stands at Golden 1 Center - along with the rest of their basketball-crazed system. The older Hurley is the Arizona State head coach.

In one moment that perfectly captured what Dan Hurley has worked so hard to build, Martin pulled his arms around teammates in a close-knit huddle during the second half to keep the Rams together. When the final buzzer sounded, junior Jared Terrell skipped in joy. The team posed for a quick photo on the court before exiting.

Khyri Thomas stole the ball from Jarvis Garrett and hit Harrell Jr. for a one-handed slam with 8:55 to play that trimmed the URI lead to 53-48.

But Creighton missed key chances, including Justin Patton's missed putback try from close range after he rebounded a 3-point try by Toby Hegner.

Bluejays 7-footer Patton missed 7 of his first 9 shots before a late dunk before halftime. He scored five straight points to pull Creighton within 33-26 at halftime.

BC-Texas A&M basketball game canceled after plane, weather issues

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BC-Texas A&M basketball game canceled after plane, weather issues

The Boston College men's basketball team's game against Texas A&M in College Station, Texas, was canceled Saturday after BC was unable to travel due to mechanical issues with the plane and concerns over the weather in Texas, the school said.

The Eagles (6-2) and Aggies (3-4) were scheduled to play Saturday at 5 p.m. Central time in the first of a two-game home-and-home series with the other game at Chestnut Hill in 2019.

"We are perplexed by this decision and disappointed for our student-athletes and fans," A&M coach Billy Kennedy said in a statement.

Here's the BC statement:

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Due to mechanical and logistical issues with its charter aircraft and unsafe flying conditions due to weather throughout the southern United States on Friday, Dec. 7, the Boston College men's basketball team was unable to travel to Texas for its game on Saturday evening at Texas A&M.

Boston College had asked Texas A&M for contingency plan to move the game from 5 pm CT to 9 pm CT on Saturday night and were open to all playing options on Sunday, Dec. 9.  Texas A&M declined both of those offers.  As a result, Texas A&M announced that tonight's game has been cancelled.

The Eagles were originally scheduled to depart Hanscom Field at 2 p.m. ET for its five-hour, 15-minute charter flight for its trip to College Station, however, the CRJ-700 aircraft was grounded due to a mechanical issue that could not be repaired.  An alternate ERJ-145 aircraft was slated to arrive to transport the team at 3:30 p.m. ET, but arrived four hours late.  

During that time, weather conditions throughout eastern Texas and the surrounding areas deteriorated.  The pilot of the ERJ-145 and the charter airline - Via Airlines - deemed it unsafe to fly.  With the change in aircraft, the revised flight plan would have necessitated a fueling stop in Atlanta, putting the travel duration from Boston to College Station at over six hours.

Administrators from Boston College and Texas A&M, as well as the two schools' respective conference liaisons, were in contact throughout Friday night into Saturday morning to try to resolve the issue and move the game time to Saturday night or shift the game date to Sunday to best ensure the safety and welfare of the BC student-athletes.  

"The safety and well-being of our student-athletes is paramount.  Under no circumstances will we put our student-athletes in harm's way," said Martin Jarmond,  Boston College's William V. Campbell Director of Athletics.

Initial conversations between the schools indicated that Reed Arena was available on Sunday to accommodate a rescheduled contest and Boston College's intent was to start the home-and-home series this season in College Station.






Tommy Amaker shares great story about Christian Laettner's iconic shot

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Tommy Amaker shares great story about Christian Laettner's iconic shot

Christian Laettner's buzzer-beater to help Duke beat Kentucky made him a hero. But some wise words from his head coach set the stage.

Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker was on Duke's bench as an assistant to Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski for that 1992 NCAA Tournament game.

 And on the debut episode of "The Michael Holley Podcast" at Night Shift Brewing, Amaker shared Coach K's prescient message to Laettner before the team broke the huddle.


"The last thing he told Laettner, he said, 'Don't forget: The clock doesn't start until you touch it in bounds,' " Amaker told host Michael Holley. "A lot of times kids think the ball is in the air, the clock is running, so if they catch it, they've got to rush it and jack it up.

"So when he catches it, now I'm almost thinking, 'He's playing around with too much time.' He catches it, he fakes one way, he dribbles one way, he comes back and takes the shot. I'm thinking, 'There's no way he's going to get it off.' But he got it off, and he made it."

Laettner had just 2.1 seconds to get a shot off, and thanks to Coach K, he made the most of it.

Check out the player above to listen to Amaker's full interview with Holley.

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