Jeff Eisenberg

  • The Report Card: Cincinnati secures much-needed marquee win

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 hrs ago

    DATE: Wednesday, Dec. 17

    A- — Cincinnati

    Cincinnati's 71-62 overtime victory over 19th-ranked San Diego State was as big for the American Athletic Conference as it was for the Bearcats. The American collectively was 0-9 against Top 25 teams and did not have a single team receiving votes in the latest polls.

    Of course, the Bearcats (7-2) also needed a notable win after losses to Nebraska and Ole Miss in two of their past three games. Cincinnati won on Wednesday by forcing 18 turnovers with its aggressive 2-1-2 full-court press, by limiting cold-shooting San Diego State to 39.3 percent shooting and by getting timely offense down the stretch from guards Farad Cobb and Troy Caupain.

    San Diego State pulled off a last-minute rally in regulation to force overtime behind key threes from Trey Kell and Aqeel Quinn. The Aztecs didn't have a second comeback in them for overtime.  

    A- — Old Dominion

    In its star-studded backcourt, Sun Belt favorite Georgia State features NBA prospect R.J. Hunter, Kentucky transfer Ryan Harrow and Louisville transfer Kevin Ware. Somehow, however, the Panthers didn't have the best guard on the floor when they faced Old Dominion on Wednesday night.

  • Branden Dawson injures his left wrist in Michigan State's win

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 10 hrs ago

    An otherwise satisfying victory turned scary for Michigan State midway through the second half when the Spartans' most important player fell hard to the floor attempting a tip dunk and braced the impact to his tailbone with his left wrist.

    Branden Dawson stood up wincing and shaking his wrist before retreating to the locker room where trainers wrapped the injury in ice. He watched the final nine minutes of Michigan State's 66-46 rout of Eastern Michigan from the Spartans bench.

    The initial diagnosis for Dawson's wrist is a bad sprain, but the senior forward will undergo further tests on Thursday to assess whether there is any more damage. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo told reporters in East Lansing that an initial X-Ray came back negative but Dawson "is going to miss some time here, there's no doubt about that."

    "I saw the tape and it wasn't pretty," Izzo added. "But he's tough as nails, maybe he'll bounce back."

    - - - - - - -

  • Dayton dismisses its only two scholarship big men

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 17 hrs ago

    Dayton's basketball team became a lot smaller Wednesday. So did the Flyers' NCAA tournament chances as a result.

    Starting center Devon Scott and top backup Jalen Robinson have been dismissed from school, Dayton announced Wednesday afternoon. The school did not specify what led to the punishment, but reported that Scott and Robinson were caught stealing various items from on-campus dorms.

    Scott, a 6-foot-9 junior, started every game so far this season for Dayton and averaged 9.1 points and 7.4 rebounds. Robinson, also a 6-9 junior, averaged 3.2 points and 2.4 rebounds off the bench. Without them, Dayton has no scholarship players taller than 6-foot-6 in their rotation, leaving the Flyers at a massive size disadvantage against almost every upcoming opponent on the schedule.

    Living up to those expectations will be tough now.

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @JeffEisenberg

  • The Report Card: Luke Fischer shines in Marquette debut

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    DATE: Tuesday, Dec. 16

    A — Luke Fischer

    Indiana fans were surely cringing watching Luke Fischer's debut for Marquette. The skilled big man the Hoosiers lack is the one who transferred last December because he couldn't get much playing time behind Noah Vonleh.

    Fischer made a terrific first impression at Marquette, posting 19 points, nine rebounds and five blocks to spark the Golden Eagles to a 78-71 victory over Arizona State on Tuesday night. The 6-foot-11 big man was most effective on the block, welcome news for a team that has relied almost exclusively on its perimeter weapons this season after losing Davante Gardner and Chris Otule to graduation last spring.   

    Marquette's victory improved it to 5-4 this season with only one loss against an unranked opponent. The Golden Eagles still have a long, long way to go to work themselves back into NCAA tournament contention, but they're certainly a much more dangerous team if Fischer can perform like he did Tuesday night with any consistency.

    B — Wichita State

    C+ — Champion Baptist

    D- — Saint Mary's


    - - - - - - -

    Follow @JeffEisenberg

  • Wichita State unleashes late surge to thwart Alabama's upset bid

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    If Alabama falls a quality win shy of making the NCAA tournament this March, the Tide will surely think back to the game they let slip away at Wichita State on Tuesday night.

    They had the 11th-ranked Shockers all but beaten only to cough up an 11-point lead in the final five minutes and lose 53-52.

    Wichita State's 13-1 surge started when it went to a full-court press to speed up the tempo and disrupt Alabama's offensive rhythm. The Tide missed four shots and committed four turnovers during the final 5:20, scoring their only point on a Levi Randolph free throw with 33 seconds to play.

    Alabama's defense had been smothering enough that it seemed possible 51 points might be enough, but Wichita State finally generated some offense against the long, athletic Tide. Driving layups by Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker and a pair of floaters from Rashard Kelly fueled the Shockers' rally, paving the way for a dramatic finish.

    The outcome of Tuesday's game could have significance in March.

    Nonetheless, the roster the Shockers do have was good enough to win Tuesday in Dick Vitale's first trip to Wichita.

    - - - - - - -

  • Jordan Price's game-tying half-court heave goes to waste

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    The most dramatic shot of Jordan Price's career also is probably one of the most bittersweet.

    His running half-court heave at the buzzer sent La Salle's game against American to overtime Tuesday night, but the Explorers failed to take advantage and fell at home to the Eagles 68-66. 

    La Salle trailed by three points with 4.4 seconds to go when 90 percent free throw shooter Pee Wee Gardner missed his second foul shot to preserve hope of an Explorers comeback. Price then corralled the rebound, took four dribbles to shake free of Gardner and launched a shot from the mid-court circle that improbably found the bottom of the net.

    While Price raised his arms and pointed to the crowd in celebration of completing La Salle's comeback from a 13-point halftime deficit, the Explorers did not finish the job. Price got trapped coming around a screen and committed a key turnover with La Salle down three late in overtime, enabling American to secure a win in a game in which four of its five starters logged all 45 minutes.

    It was a remarkable day for Price in every respect except one: His performance didn't produce a La Salle victory.

    - - - - - - -

  • Bob Huggins eviscerates Marshall's Dan D'Antoni in rant

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    Even though Sunday's turnover-plagued, whistle-happy matchup between in-state foes West Virginia and Marshall didn't provide many memorable moments, the postgame banter between the two head coaches has more than made up for it.

    First-year Marshall coach Dan D'Antoni started the war of words after West Virginia's 69-66 victory by suggesting the Mountaineers would prove they're "afraid" of the Thundering Herd if they refused to play twice a year in the future. West Virginia coach Bob Huggins then escalated the verbal sparring by ridiculing Marshall's program and D'Antoni's insistence the Thundering Herd are "back" in a rollicking 15-minute rant at the start of his weekly radio show.

    Whereas some major-conference programs deserve the flack they receive for ducking quality in-state teams from smaller conferences, it would be completely understandable if Huggins canceled the annual series with Marshall.

    Huggins articulated that point well on his show while also ridiculing the idea that Marshall-West Virginia is a rivalry.

  • Report Card: Jahlil Okafor celebrates birthday with huge night

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    DATE: Monday, Dec. 15

    A — Jahlil Okafor

    On his 19th birthday, Jahlil Okafor threw himself a party at Elon's expense. The nation's most decorated freshman took advantage of an opponent that doesn't have a rotation player taller than 6-foot-8, scoring 25 points and grabbing 20 rebounds in Duke's 75-62 victory.

    Okafor's 20-20 game was the first by a Duke player since Elton Brand did it in 1998. He scored via anything from drop steps in the post, to lobs at the rim to put-backs on the offensive glass, surpassing his previous season highs for points (24) and rebounds (12) set against Furman and Stanford, respectively.

    The 7-footer's best game came on a night when the rest of the Blue Devils were at their worst. Duke played a sloppy game after an 11-day layoff for finals, committing 17 turnovers and hitting just 3 of 16 threes and 14 of 27 free throws to help keep Elon within 20 much of the night.

    B+ — Memphis

    D- — North Florida

    No member of the North Florida basketball team feels worse about Monday's loss to Tennessee Tech than center Romelo Banks.


    - - - - - - -

    Follow @JeffEisenberg

  • Tyler Haws' ankle sprain is ill-timed for BYU

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    Concern that Tyler Haws could miss an extended period of time due to the ankle injury he suffered Saturday has proven to be unfounded.

    BYU is officially listing the nation's third-leading scorer as "day-to-day after an MRI taken Monday did not reveal any further damage to his left ankle besides a sprain. Coach Dave Rose told he's hopeful Haws will be back in time to face Gonzaga on Dec. 27 and he's not ruling out the possibility that the senior guard could return even sooner than that.

    The expectation that Haws will be back sometime this month is a good sign for BYU considering how much pain Haws was in Saturday night. He writhed on the ground clutching his ankle after sustaining the injury with less than four minutes to go in BYU's 76-60 victory over Weber State.

    BYU desperately needs to win a couple of those games too because the Cougars (8-3) are still searching for their first quality win of the season.

    The injury to Haws coincides with the absence of top big man Nate Austin due to a hamstring tear he suffered before the Utah loss.

  • Best quotes from Jim Boeheim's blunt assessment of his team

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    When I spoke with Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim last Wednesday afternoon, he was optimistic the Orange would utilize the full week of practice they had between games to correct some of the flaws that emerged during their previous two losses.

    Four days later, Boeheim clearly didn't see the progress he anticipated.

    A 71-69 victory over Louisiana Tech on Sunday at least snapped Syracuse's two-game losing streak, but the 17 turnovers and sporadic defensive breakdowns from the Orange left Boeheim in a foul mood. Below is a look at the six best quotes from Boeheim's dour, frustration-filled postgame news conference after Syracuse improved to 6-3 this season.

    Boeheim's anger level: Incredulous

    Analysis: This was in response to Tyler Roberson and B.J. Johnson both making late turnovers when they attempted to catch passes one handed. Those mistakes reflect one of Syracuse's main issues so far this season — an inability to take care of the ball. The Orange are averaging 14 turnovers per game so far.

    Boeheim's anger level: Frustrated