Jeff Eisenberg

  • Coincidences make D-III buzzer beater even more unbelievable

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 hrs ago

    If the coaches at the University of Mary Washington agree to play Hampden-Sydney College again next season, you can bet they won't schedule the game on Nov. 22 for a third year in a row.

    The last two meetings between the two Virginia-based Division III schools have both taken place on that day and have both ended in Hampden-Sydney burying game-winning shots at the buzzer at Mary Washington's expense.

    Mary Washington appeared to be in position to win Saturday night with possession of the ball, a two-point lead and only 3.3 seconds remaining, but Hampden-Sydney's Leon Hargrove stole an inbound pass in the frontcourt. He passed up court to guard Mike Murray, who took one dribble and floated a one-handed 25-foot runner that bounced high off the rim and somehow fell through to give Hampden-Sydney a stunning 58-57 victory.

    Both Lewis and Murray earned spots on SportsCenter's Top 10 for their heroics, Lewis at No. 2 and Murray at No. 7.

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @JeffEisenberg

  • The Report Card: Providence, West Virginia surge to tourney titles

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 7 hrs ago

    DATE: Sunday, Nov. 23

    A+ — LaDontae Henton, Providence

    When I previewed the Big East a few weeks ago, LaDontae Henton was the last player I left off my five-man preseason all-league team. In retrospect, the Providence senior is probably going to make me feel pretty foolish for that oversight — and he may just boost his team into contention in that league in the process.

    All Henton has done so far this season is step into the role of go-to scorer vacated by Bryce Cotton, average 23.5 points per game and propel the Friars to an impressive 5-0 start. The 6-foot-6 forward had a career high 38 points on 14 of 19 shooting on Sunday afternoon as Providence rallied from an eight-point deficit with just over five minutes remaining to edge previously unbeaten Notre Dame, 75-74.

    A — West Virginia 

    B+ — Miami

    F — Paul Hewitt, George Mason

    NOTES:

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @JeffEisenberg

  • Duke's Justise Winslow hurdles opponent while blocking his shot

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    The most impressive aspect of Justise Winslow's stat sheet-stuffing performance against Stanford on Saturday night wasn't his 14 points, his nine rebounds or his four assists.

    It was what happened after his lone blocked shot.

    Stanford's Chasson Randle had drawn contact from Duke's Quinn Cook in transition and was attempting to turn that into a 3-point play when Winslow soared in and swatted the flip shot away. The 6-foot-6 freshman actually got so high in the air that he ended up hurdling the 6-foot-1 Randle altogether on his way back to earth.

    It's that sort of athleticism combined with better-than-advertised skill that makes Winslow a potential lottery pick in next June's NBA draft. Winslow attacks off the dribble, finishes at the rim, capably defends at least four positions and is a terror on the glass. All that's truly missing from his game is a reliable jump shot, and he showed signs of progress in that area too Saturday night by knocking down a pair of threes. 

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @JeffEisenberg

  • The Report Card: Duke, Wyoming record impressive victories

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    DATE: Saturday, Nov. 22

    A+ — Wyoming

    Before his team's 59-33 loss at Wyoming on Saturday afternoon, Colorado coach Tad Boyle compared facing the Cowboys to going to a dentist appointment. In retrospect, that metaphor may have undersold the misery of Boyle's experience.

    A Colorado team that lit up Auburn for 90 points earlier in the week somehow only managed to score nine in the second half against Wyoming. The slower-than-molasses Cowboys took away all transition opportunities, doubled Josh Scott in the post and forced the Buffaloes' guards to beat them from the perimeter. Didn't happen, as Askia Booker, Xavier Talton and Xavier Johnson shot a combined 5 of 23 from the field for just 17 points.

    Wyoming was more efficient than its scoring total would suggest on offense, burying nine threes and notching assists on all 22 of its field goals. Thus the Cowboys got a critical win considering their other two most challenging non-conference games against SMU and Cal both will come on the road.

    A- — Duke 

    C- — Nebraska

    F — Marquette

    Bad: Losing to Nebraska-Omaha. Worse: Losing to Nebraska-Omaha at home. Even worse: Surrendering 97 points in the process.

    NOTES:

    - - - - - - -

  • Lauren Hill fights through worsening symptoms to score another basket

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    Lauren Hill always objected whenever someone called Mount St. Joseph's Nov. 2 season opener her last game. 

    On Friday night, she showed why.

    The freshman with the inoperable brain tumor summoned the strength to enter her team's game against Bethany College late in the second half even though she had been too weak to practice the past two weeks. Mount St. Joseph then ran the same play it installed for Hill before her debut earlier this month, enabling her to cut across the lane, catch a feed on the left block and spin right for a layup that was anything but easy even if the defense was more lax than usual.

    The extent to which Hill's condition has worsened was obvious in how slowly she moved and how she immediately collapsed to the floor after attempting the layup. Teammates helped her to her feet and made sure she was OK as the crowd at the Baldwin Wallace Invitational tournament gave her a rousing ovation.

    Hill's strength has served as an inspiration to many nationwide since WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, Yahoo Sports and other outlets first shared her story weeks ago.

  • The Report Card: Texas sends a message with shorthanded win

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    DATE: Friday, Nov. 21

    A- — Texas

    On the same day Texas learned it would be without point guard Isaiah Taylor for about 4-6 weeks due to a wrist injury he suffered the previous night, the Longhorns sent a message they'll still be difficult to beat without him. They built a double-digit early lead and relied on their stingy defense to preserve it, ultimately emerging capturing the 2K Classic title game with a 71-55 win over Cal.

    For the second straight night, the offensive catalyst for Texas' success was Jonathan Holmes, who has answered any questions about whether he can make the move from power forward to small forward. The 6-foot-8 senior had 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Longhorns one night after he put up 17 second-half points against Iowa.

    What has to be encouraging for Texas is the other Longhorns around Holmes certainly are capable of producing more. Elite freshman Myles Turner shot just 2 of 8 from the field and played only 17 minutes, numbers that will surely improve as he gets more comfortable. Taylor's replacement Javan Felix also shot poorly and had five turnovers.

    B+ — Charlotte

    D+ — LSU

    D- — UNLV

    NOTES:

    - - - - - - -

  • Chris Webber-esque timeout gaffe sends Clemson to defeat

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    When Gardner-Webb guard Ty Strange buried a double-clutch top of the key 3-pointer to tie the score at 70 with 6.6 seconds remaining, the one consolation for Clemson was that overtime appeared to be the worst possible scenario for the Tigers.  

    Somehow, someway, that wasn't the case.

    Clemson managed to lose in regulation Friday afternoon as a result of a Chris Webber-esque timeout gaffe. Forward Donte Grantham couldn't find anyone to inbound the ball to, guard Rod Hall signaled for a timeout the Tigers didn't have and Jarvis Davis took advantage of the ensuing technical foul by coolly sinking a pair of free throws.

    Gardner-Webb then escaped with an improbable 72-70 victory after Clemson's Jordan Roper and Landry Nnoko both missed last-gasp shots on the game's final possession.

    "We all thought there was one [timeout] left," Clemson coach Brad Brownell told the South Carolina-based Sports Talk Radio Network. "Obviously that's a huge mistake and I take full responsibility"

    Later he added, "Now I feel like I've lost a game every way possible."

    - - - - - - -

  • Ex-five-star recruit Danuel House eligible at Texas A&M

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    They lost on a last-second tip-in to Dayton in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Thursday afternoon. They trailed shorthanded College of Charleston deep into the second half in a consolation game the following day.

    These weren't great results for a Texas A&M team with NCAA tournament aspirations, but the Aggies can at least take solace in one thing: Help is on the way.

    Houston transfer Danuel House, once considered a five-star prospect, has been cleared to play immediately by the NCAA and could suit up for the Aggies as soon as their final game in Puerto Rico on Sunday against either New Mexico or George Mason. House, a 6-foot-7 junior guard, averaged 13.6 points and 5.3 boards for the Cougars last season.

    House is the second former Houston player to receive a waiver to play immediately this week. Forward Tashawn Thomas, who also left Houston after James Dickey's firing last spring, learned earlier this week that he would be able to play at Oklahoma.

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @JeffEisenberg

  • The Report Card: Big victory helps soothe tensions at Indiana

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 days ago

    DATE: Thursday, Nov. 20

    A — Indiana

    The negativity that once threatened to engulf Indiana coach Tom Crean has dissipated for the moment now that the Hoosiers are off to a solid start. Having already dismantled a pair of overmatched small-conference opponents in their first two games, they stepped up in weight class on Thursday night and delivered another victory, outlasting No. 22 SMU 74-68 in Bloomington.

    High-scoring freshman James Blackmon spearheaded the Indiana victory, scoring a game-high 26 points and sinking five of the Hoosiers' 12 threes by himself. Indiana also turned the ball over a mere seven times compared to 19 for SMU, a stark contrast to the Hoosiers' problems in that area a year ago.

    B+ — Texas

    Texas appeared to be in jeopardy of a momentum-killing loss against Iowa on Thursday night until Jonathan Holmes came to his team's rescue. The senior forward scored 11 of his 19 points in the opening three minutes of the second half, fueling an impressive rally from a six-point halftime deficit that resulted in a 71-57 Longhorns win.

    D+ — New Mexico

    F — USC 

    NOTES:

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @JeffEisenberg

  • Syracuse's scoring woes were easy to predict but may be harder to fix

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 days ago

    Syracuse shot 40 percent or below in all six of its losses last season. Then the Orange lost C.J. Fair, Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant to the NBA this past spring.

    So what happens when a team that already couldn't generate offense consistently enough loses its three leading scorers? Sometimes the answer is as simple as it seems.

    Syracuse flubbed its first real test of the season Thursday night against Cal because it simply lacked enough weapons to keep up with the Bears' stable of perimeter scorers. Cal held the Orange to 37.2 percent shooting and rolled to a 73-59 victory, advancing to a 2K Classic title game matchup against Texas and relegating Syracuse to a date with Iowa in the third-place game.

    One early-season loss against a fairly good opponent wouldn't normally be cause for alarm for Syracuse except that this one came with the sinking feeling that more setbacks may be on the way. The Orange more resembled a team that will have to fight just to make the NCAA tournament than one that will battle Duke, North Carolina, Louisville and Virginia for the ACC crown.

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @JeffEisenberg