NCAA

St. Joe's lets lead get away in loss to N.C. State in Paradise Jam

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St. Joe's lets lead get away in loss to N.C. State in Paradise Jam

BOX SCORE

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands -- Dennis Smith Jr. scored a career-high 24 points and N.C. State held off Saint Joseph's for a 73-63 victory Monday in the third-place game of the Paradise Jam tournament.

Torin Dorn added 19 points, Terry Henderson 15 and Abdul-Malik Abu had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolfpack (4-1), who overcame an 11-point deficit in the first half to lead by as many as 14 points.

"I think we just started really slow," N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. "I don't know if it was because of last night's game (an 81-68 loss to Mississippi in the semifinals Sunday). We didn't have a lot of zip early. But around the 12-minute mark of the first half, we really started to play. We got going, started to execute and our defense was better. Our guys really responded."

Shavar Newkirk scored 23 points and Charlie Brown added 14 for the Hawks (3-2), who shot just 32.9 percent from the field (24 of 73) including 5 of 22 from 3-point range.

Still, Saint Joseph's managed to make N.C. State sweat in the closing minutes. Down 57-43 with less than 11 minutes remaining, the Hawks pulled to within six points three times, the last at 69-63 with 2:29 remaining.

But Smith connected of a pair of free throws less than a minute later, followed by a Henderson dunk that pushed N.C. State's lead back to double digits.

"We had some terrific numbers - 22 offensive rebounds, 73 shots, eight turnovers, 10 for 12 from the foul line," Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said. "Just terrific numbers. We just didn't have enough guys making shots."

Big picture
Saint Joseph's: Sophomore guard Lamarr Kimble struggled in Monday's game, missing his first 10 shots. He finished with three points on 1-of-15 shooting, including 1-of-7 3-pointers.

N.C. State: Smith showed why he was voted the ACC's preseason rookie of the year and put on the league's preseason first team. While not particularly effective shooting (6 of 15 from the field, 3 of 6 on 3-pointers), he made 9 of 10 from the free throw line and added eight assists.

Up next
Saint Joseph's: Takes a few days off, then hosts Temple on Nov. 30.

N.C. State: Hosts fellow Paradise Jam participant Loyola-Chicago on Saturday.

Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

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Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

Fresh off a second national championship in three years, this was bound to happen. Jay Wright is a hot name. 

And according to the New York Daily News, the Knicks plan on reaching out to Wright about their vacant head coaching job. 

Just don’t expect Wright to be interested. 

The 56-year-old coach has been determined to build Villanova into a powerhouse since he took the head coaching gig way back in 2001 and he’s finally done that. On the surface, maybe some think that would be enough to make him want to take his coaching to the top league in the world. Not so fast. 

In a recent interview with The Athletic, Wright said pretty flatly that he’s staying at Villanova because he loves it there. 

“The NBA does intrigue me,” Wright said. “That challenge is appealing but it’s not worth giving up working with these guys. The whole thing is, to take a new challenge you have to give up what you have. I don’t want to give up what I have. Would I like to coach in the NBA? Yes. But I have to give this up in order to do that, and I don’t see that happening.”

In that interview, Wright talked about his time at Hofstra and quoted Jim Valvano, who once said, ‘Don’t mess with happy.’ That was true at Hofstra until the Villanova job came around, so maybe there’s a chance the Knicks could blow him away. It just doesn’t seem likely. 

The Knicks just fired head coach Jeff Hornacek after a 29-53 record in 2017. The Knicks haven’t had a winning record since 2012-13. 

The New York Daily News cites a source, who said the Knicks believe Wright would be a “perfect candidate for a rebuilding club.” The Knicks might be right, but don’t bet on them getting Wright. 

Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

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Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

Villanova is losing its second star player in two days. 

Guard Jalen Brunson has decided to hire an agent and enter the 2018 NBA Draft, he wrote in a letter to Nova Nation on ESPN. He will forego his senior season at Villanova after an incredible college career. 

This news comes a day after his teammate Mikal Bridges announced he will also head to the NBA draft.

“It is with great honor and privilege that I have called Villanova University my home for the past three years,” Brunson wrote in ESPN. “When I decided to commit to Coach Jay Wright and the basketball program, I was driven by three goals: getting my education, competing at the highest level and winning a national championship. While I pride myself on remaining disciplined and focused to achieve these goals, I have grown as a man and have established lifelong relationships with my teammates, classmates, members of the basketball staff, fellow student-athletes and the wonderful educators and administrators of this prestigious university.”

Brunson leaves Villanova as one of the greatest players in Wildcats history, helping lead Villanova to its second national championship in three years. 

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 18.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this season. Brunson was named the Big East Player of the Year and was the Wooden Award and Naismith Award winner this season.