Jeff Eisenberg

  • Stunning last-second mistake dooms Utah to a painful loss

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    The most relieved man at Gill Coliseum on Thursday night had to be Oregon State's Jarmal Reid.

    The ill-advised foul Reid committed in the final seconds didn't cost the Beavers a win because an opposing player subsequently made an even dumber mistake.  

    When Utah's Jordan Loveridge drew a foul on Reid and sank three consecutive free throws, the Utes moved in front by a single point with 2.2 seconds left. It seemed Utah was going to escape Corvallis with a victory until Utes' guard Brandon Taylor fouled Oregon State's Stephen Thompson as he went up for a half-court heave at the buzzer.

    Referees reviewed the play for several minutes before ruling that Taylor's foul occurred with one tenth of a second left in the game. Thompson then calmly hit all three free throws, giving Oregon State a memorable 71-69 victory.

    This play ➡️ Thompson Jr. fouled ➡️ scores all three from the line ➡️ BEAVS WIN.#Pac12Hoops #Pac12AfterDark

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  • Bubble breakdown: Vanderbilt's win could launch late-season surge

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    The SEC's biggest underachiever showed how good it can be when playing up to its potential.

    Vanderbilt throttled first-place Texas A&M 77-60 on Thursday night, securing its first win over a Top 25 team in four years and sending a message that it's still capable of a late-season NCAA tournament push despite its previous struggles.

    At 13-9 overall and 5-4 in the SEC, Vanderbilt is a quintessential bubble team, one whose NCAA tournament fate will be determined by how it plays the next five weeks. The Commodores have played a tough schedule but they don't have much to show for it, having only beaten Texas A&M and Florida among the nine RPI top 50 opponents they've faced.

    What could help Vanderbilt is its upcoming schedule is favorable enough that the Commodores could build some February momentum. They face Ole Miss, Missouri, Auburn, Mississippi State and Georgia during the next 16 days before the SEC schedule stiffens once again the final two weeks of the regular season.

    Vanderbilt will win all those games if it plays at the level it did Thursday.


    Other bubble winners: Gonzaga (defeated LMU);


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  • Shrewdly designed last-second play helps UC Irvine edge Cal Poly

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    It took one of the college basketball season's most cleverly designed plays for UC Irvine to avoid an upset on Wednesday night at Cal Poly.

    With his team trailing by three and needing to traverse the length of the floor in 4.1 seconds, UC Irvine coach Russell Turner instructed guard Dominique Dunning to throw a baseball pass to 7-foot-6 center Mamadou N'Diaye standing on the left wing. It was Turner's hope that N'Diaye's height would allow him to catch a pinpoint pass cleanly and draw the attention of multiple defenders. 

    Two defenders rushed at N'Diaye as he caught the ball. N'Diaye threw a skip pass to a wide-open Jaron Martin spotted up on the other wing. The 38 percent 3-point shooter sank the game-tying jumper, enabling UC Irvine to force overtime and escape with a 78-72 victory.

    If this ain't #SCTop10 for @UCImbb, I don't know what is... Game-tying 3! #BWCMBB

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  • Bill Self: Brannen Greene's game-ending dunk 'totally classless'

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    Brannen Greene scored the final points of both halves in Kansas' 77-59 rout of Kansas State on Wednesday night, but the two baskets inspired entirely different reactions from his head coach.

    His four-point play to put Kansas ahead by 10 at halftime had Bill Self smiling and clapping. His ill-advised dunk to extend the Jayhawks advantage to 18 at the final buzzer had Self seething that Greene didn't just hold the ball until the game ended.

    "That was probably the biggest [expletive] move I've ever had a player do during a game," Self said on his postgame radio show. "To dunk the ball like that when the other team – even their players are going, 'How disrespectful to the game,' it certainly showed unbelievably poor sportsmanship.

    "I apologize to K-State and their players. I guarantee that will never happen again or he will never be in the game at the end of the game."

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  • Slain Mercer player had heartbreaking bond with 7-year-old girl

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    When Mercer athletic trainer Brad Crowe entered his office after a basketball game last Thursday night, he walked into an ambush.

    The 7-year-old daughter of one of his closest friends was waiting for him with a pressing question about her favorite player.

    Molly Hamlin climbed onto a treatment table, looked Crowe in the eyes and asked why he had cleared guard Jibri Bryan to return from a knee injury that night without consulting her first. Molly had grown very close to Bryan the previous few years because the injury-plagued sixth-year senior spent so much time rehabbing his surgically repaired knees at the nearby sports medicine clinic where her mom worked.

    "She didn't think Jibri should play because she worried he would hurt his knee again," Molly's mother Christina Hamlin told Yahoo Sports. "I remember her telling Brad, 'You didn't ask me if Jibri could play.' Jibri laughed when he heard that. He said, 'Aw, Molly. Thanks for looking out for me.'"

    Endearing moments like that one help explain why Christina Hamlin's heart is broken Wednesday.

    Christina Hamlin doesn't know how to tell her youngest daughter that Jibri Bryan is dead.

  • Indiana sinks Michigan with jaw-dropping 28-0 surge

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 days ago

    It started innocently enough with a deft spin move and reverse layup from center Thomas Bryant. Then came a rather unremarkable driving layup from forward Collin Hartman two possessions later.

    Really, there weren't any signs Indiana was poised to bury Michigan before halftime Tuesday night until the avalanche had already begun to pick up momentum.

    The Hoosiers scored a remarkable 25 straight points over the final nine minutes of the first half, transforming a narrow four-point deficit into decisive 21-point lead. They extended the streak to 28 straight points just after halftime, enabling them to coast to an 80-67 road victory over the Wolverines.

    The gory details of Indiana's surge are probably enough to make Michigan fans bury their faces in their foam fingers. 

    Seven Indiana players scored at least one basket led by seven points from forward Troy Williams and six from point guard Yogi Ferrell. The Hoosiers combined for 11-for-14 shooting, none more memorable than this alley-oop.

    Part of the 25-0 run.

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  • DePaul players stormed the student section after upset victory

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 days ago

    When the few students who attended their game didn't pour onto the court after the final buzzer, DePaul players took matters into their own hands.

    They climbed into the stands to celebrate with the students after their 77-70 upset of No. 11 Providence on Tuesday night.

    Such excitement might seem over-the-top for a victory over the Big East's third best team, but any shred of success is celebration-worthy at DePaul. After all, this is a Blue Demons program that is just 38-148 in 11 seasons in the Big East, a product of a threadbare budget, sub-par facilities and an inability to compete with the dozens of other top programs who recruit Chicago for the city's best prospects.

    Providence's loss was a surprise considering the Friars (18-5, 6-4) have already won at Villanova, Butler and Georgetown this season. The Friars lost because neither of their two marquee players performed up to their usual high standards.

    Point guard Kris Dunn tried to pick up the slack, but the future lottery pick struggled shooting the ball the entire night. Dunn finished with 14 points on 5-for-20 shooting, not nearly enough to save the Friars from an embarrassing defeat.

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  • Duke wins critical game at Georgia Tech without Coach K

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 days ago

    Duke gave Mike Krzyzewski the best get-well gift possible.

    The Blue Devils halted their recent slide by rallying from a four-point halftime deficit to defeat Georgia Tech 80-71 on Tuesday night in Atlanta.

    Duke's victory came just a few hours after the school announced Krzyzewski would not be on the sideline Tuesday night because he was feeling "under the weather." Doctors at Duke University Hospital evaluated him and advised him to stay behind in Durham rather than travel to Georgia Tech for the game.

    Duke associate head coach Jeff Capel coached the Blue Devils on Tuesday in a game of great significance for the program. Having already lost four of its last five games to fall out of the AP Top 25 for the first time in nearly nine years, Duke (16-6, 5-4) could not afford to drop another against a team in the lower half of the ACC standings.

    Krzyzewski is expected back on the Duke sideline as soon as Saturday's home game against NC State. With two games against Louisville, two games against North Carolina and a game against Virginia still remaining on their ACC schedule, that's another game the Blue Devils can ill afford to lose.

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  • Kentucky suffers its fifth loss against an unranked opponent

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 days ago

    They won three consecutive late-January SEC games by an average of more than 22 points. They pushed Kansas to overtime on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse. They opened up a seemingly insurmountable first-half lead at Tennessee three nights later.

    Just when it seemed like Kentucky was starting to turn the corner ... Vols 84, Wildcats 77. 

    All the momentum Kentucky appeared to be building the previous two weeks vanished Tuesday night in a hail of turnovers, errant shots and blown defensive assignments. Tennessee guard Kevin Punter erupted for 24 points and forward Armani Moore added 18 as the Vols outscored the Wildcats 61-33 after falling behind by 21 points late in the first half. 

    Kentucky's loss was its fifth of the season against an unranked opponent, a list that also includes UCLA, Ohio State, LSU and Auburn. Each of those were a surprise, yet Tuesday's loss at Tennessee might have been the biggest stunner given the circumstances. 

    Kentucky's problems Tuesday night were familiar ones that have popped up in many of their six losses so far this season.

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  • ESPN's Holly Rowe will undergo surgery to remove a tumor

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 days ago

    In addition to her thoughtful reporting and upbeat demeanor, ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe may be best known for how hard she works to get an interview.

    She climbed atop a scorer's table to speak with Kansas State's Thomas Gipson two years ago amid a court storming after the Wildcats upset rival Kansas. She held exhausted point guard Juwan Staten upright while chatting with him about his game-winning layup to beat the Jayhawks last year.

    If Rowe fights cancer with the ferocity she fights through a crowd, there's little doubt she'll be healthy again in no time. Rowe announced in a statement Tuesday that she will undergo surgery to remove a tumor eight months after having a previous tumor removed from her chest.

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