Jeff Eisenberg

  • Freshman-laden UNLV grows up in time to upset Arizona

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    A youthful but talented Rebels team replacing all five starters from last season had to jell quickly enough to avoid being buried by a non-league slate featuring a trio of top 15 opponents, three more power-conference foes and several tricky mid-majors.

    Progress had been slower than UNLV would have liked until Tuesday night when the Rebels unleashed by far their best performance of the season on unsuspecting third-ranked Arizona. Sophomore Christian Wood and freshman Rashad Vaughn combined for 45 points to rally host UNLV to a 71-67 victory in a game the Rebels trailed by as many as eight points late in the first half.

    Toppling Arizona improved UNLV to 8-3 so far this season and gave the Rebels the profile-enhancing signature win they had been lacking.

    What powered UNLV in the second half oddly enough was actually abandoning its motion offense and attacking Arizona's vaunted defense with isolation plays designed to take advantage of specific matchups. Wood in particular thrived as a result of that change, scoring 16 of his 24 points in the second half, many by attacking Brandon Ashley off the dribble from the elbow.

  • Stanford topples Texas to secure a badly needed marquee win

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    DePaul has not beaten a power-conference team that went on to make the NCAA tournament during Oliver Purnell's five-year tenure, so it was tempting to give up on Stanford after its mind-numbing 15-point loss to the Blue Demons over Thanksgiving weekend. 

    In retrospect, perhaps that was a little too hasty. 

    Stanford showed it may yet live up to its preseason billing as an upper-echelon Pac-12 team Tuesday night when it became the first team besides top-ranked Kentucky to defeat Texas this season. Chasson Randle and Anthony Brown scored a combined 47 points to lead the visiting Cardinal to a 74-71 overtime victory over the ninth-ranked Longhorns.   

    Upsetting Texas improves Stanford's record to 7-3 and ensures it won't enter conference play without a marquee win. The Cardinal had been in a funk since the DePaul loss, requiring second-half comebacks to escape at home against LMU and Denver before falling 79-77 at BYU on Friday night.

    Texas has survived without Taylor for nearly the past six weeks, but Tuesday's loss showed why the Longhorns need him to recover from his broken wrist in order to contend in the Big 12 or make a deep NCAA tournament run.

  • Two-time plane crash survivor Austin Hatch scores for Michigan

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    At a time when his school's football team is home for bowl season and his school's basketball team is suffering through a miserable December, Austin Hatch still gave Michigan fans something to cheer about Monday night.

    The two-time plane crash survivor scored his first point in a regular season game late in the Wolverines' 72-56 victory over Coppin State.

    On Hatch's first possession after checking into the game with 1:22 remaining and Michigan leading by 21, the 6-foot-6 freshman was fouled attempting a top of the key 3-pointer. Hatch missed his first and third free throws but drained the second one, earning him pats on the back and high fives from his teammates and a standing ovation from the Crisler Arena crowd. 

    The free throw was monumental for Hatch and the Wolverines because of what it took for the Indiana native to still be playing basketball these days.

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  • The Dagger's most popular posts of 2014

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    College basketball produced its usual eclectic mix of stories this year, and the Dagger covered all of them — from the poignant, to the hard-hitting, to the funny, to the bizarre. Here's a look at the 10 most popular stories of the year and a handful that just missed the cut:

    1. Lacey Holsworth, friend of Michigan State's Adreian Payne, has died(April 9)

    The eight-year-old cancer patient's death struck a chord wtih college basketball fans who had followed her battle and her friendship with Payne. The Michigan State forward visited Holsworth regularly in the hospital, brought her to games and even carried her on his shoulders on senior night and when he cut down the nets after the Spartans captured the Big Ten championship.

    2. Northwestern's new jerseys are unlike anything we've ever seen(Jan. 10)

    Other popular posts:

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  • San Diego State's Dwayne Polee collapses on the court

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    The typically raucous crowd at Viejas Arena went silent midway through the first half Monday night when a San Diego State player collapsed on the court.

    Senior forward Dwayne Polee crumpled to the ground without being touched while chasing the UC Riverside player he was guarding on defense. Polee was conscious the entire 15 minutes that paramedics and medical personnel attended to him and pumped his fist to the crowd while being wheeled off the floor on a gurney to a standing ovation.

    The cause of Polee's collapse is not immediately known. San Diego State coach Steve Fisher told reporters after his team's 62-33 victory that Polee was "alert and responsive" and will undergo a battery of tests at the hospital in hopes of determining what happened.

    "We'll just pray that the tests can determine what the cause of it might be and move forward from there," Fisher said.

    "That made us feel a little bit better," O'Brien said. "But basketball is secondary because of what happened." 

  • Oklahoma unleashes record-setting run at Weber State's expense

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    Unimpressed by UCLA's nightmarish seven-point first half against Kentucky and Harvard's anemic 1-for-20 first-half shooting against Virginia, Weber State did its best to outdo the Bruins and Crimson during the first half of an 85-51 loss to Oklahoma on Monday night.

    By the time the Wildcats were done, they too had set a record for futility.

    Oklahoma waylaid Weber State with a 39-0 first-half surge, the largest scoring run against a Division I foe in college basketball history. The record previously belonged to Utah State, which reeled off a 37-0 run against Idaho in an 80-42 win in Feb. 2006.

    Atrocious as that stretch was for Weber State, the Wildcats can take solace that others have experienced worse.

    For more Oklahoma news, visit

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  • Dunk of the year nominee: Soaring slam from LMU's Evan Payne

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    The surest sign that LMU's Evan Payne delivered one of the best dunks of the season against Wichita State on Monday night was the reaction of the Shockers bench. Injured guard Evan Wessell starts to stand in appreciation of what he just witnessed before seemingly realizing it was a dunk by the other team and sitting back down. Payne's dunk is the most memorable highlight from what so far has been a brilliant sophomore season from the 6-foot-1 LMU guard. He is averaging an efficient 21.7 points per game for an undermanned Lions squad that fell to 3-7 Monday with an 80-53 loss to Wichita State. 

    Previous Dunk of the Year nominees:

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    Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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  • Temple makes Kansas pay for a lethargic performance

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    In its last game before taking a few days off to celebrate Christmas, tenth-ranked Kansas played as if it was already thinking ahead to its holiday dinner.

    Temple embarrassed the listless Jayhawks 77-52 on Monday night, a baffling outcome considering the way both teams had been playing leading up to the game.

    Kansas appeared to have made strides since its opening-week loss to Kentucky, reeling off eight straight wins against the likes of Utah, Michigan State, Florida and Georgetown. Temple still seemed to be in rebuilding mode after last year's 22-loss season, having fallen to middling Saint Joseph's and UNLV and been blown out by Duke and Villanova.

    What changed Monday night was that Temple played its most inspired offensive game of the season and Kansas regressed in all facets.

    Keeping up wouldn't have been easy for Kansas under any circumstances since the Jayhawks haven't been as explosive as usual offensively so far this season. It became even more difficult Monday night when Kansas ran sloppy offense, failed to generate any points from its defense and committed 17 turnovers.

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  • TCU's inclusion in the AP Top 25 ignores its dreadful schedule

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 days ago

    In amassing a perfect 11-0 record so far this season, TCU has a decent win at Ole Miss, victories over two of the worst power-conference teams in the nation in Washington State and Mississippi State and nothing else remotely significant. 

    Somehow, someway, AP voters completely ignored that this week.

    TCU checks in at No. 25 in this week's newly released AP Top 25 despite playing a schedule soft enough to give a quality Division II team hope of racking up a handful of wins. Seven of the Horned Frogs' 11 victories came against teams ranked 250th or below in the KenPom rankings and only the win at Ole Miss came in a true road game.

    It's possible TCU could establish itself as a Top 25-caliber team with some marquee wins in Big 12 play this winter, but the Horned Frogs haven't earned such respect yet. In reality, the non-league opponents they have played this season were hand-picked to provide them the best chance for some confidence-building wins prior to the start of the Big 12 gauntlet.

    Only then will we have any clue whether TCU's gaudy record is a product of its improvement or its schedule.

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  • Virginia holds Harvard to a record-tying one first-half field goal

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 4 days ago

    When Kentucky walled off the paint with its array of towering big men and held UCLA to an embarrassing seven first-half points Saturday afternoon, it seemed like the Wildcats had delivered an early favorite for the best defensive half of the season. 

    Less than 24 hours later, sixth-ranked Virginia provided competition

    The Cavaliers' 76-27 victory over Harvard on Sunday afternoon was every bit as dominant as Kentucky's rout of the Bruins the previous day. Last year's ACC champions squeezed the life out of the Crimson early, opening leads of 30-4 after 15 minutes, 39-8 at halftime and 45-9 a few minutes into the second half.

    The lopsided score showed what happens when a pack-line defense at the top of its game runs across a mid-major that lacks the elite athleticism needed to attack off the dribble and the outside shooters to bomb from behind the arc. Virginia stayed compact defensively and Harvard could do nothing to force the Cavs to extend, hitting just 1 of 20 shots in the first half and 8 of 50 for the game.

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