The Dagger

  • Siena coach shakes imaginary hands after Rider skips handshake line (Video)

    Henry Bushnell at The Dagger 2 hrs ago

    Siena beat Rider 78-68 in what should have been a run-of-the-mill Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game Tuesday night. But as we can tell from what transpired immediately following the final horn, it turned out to be anything but ordinary.

    After two ejections and two additional technical fouls late in the second half, Rider’s coaches and players walked off the court without shaking hands. Siena coach Jimmy Patsos, thinking on his feet, made the controversy into a wonderfully comedic moment:

    Siena wins 78-68. Rider walks off, no handhakes. Jimmy Patsos does the handshakes on his own, anyway. pic.twitter.com/iV4Ko2zmWo

    — Michael Kelly (@ByMichaelKelly) January 18, 2017

    Here’s an up-close view of Patsos, who is completely in the zone! He doesn’t even crack a smile!

    That's @SienaMBB coach Jimmy Patsos with the phantom handshake line after Rider left early pic.twitter.com/H9nbtmAzBs

    Here’s video of the altercation and, specifically, the punch:

  • Maurice Watson's injury is even more damaging to Creighton than you might think

    Henry Bushnell at The Dagger 3 hrs ago

    First came the collision. Then the second fall. And the agony. Then came the hope. And the MRI. And, finally, the devastation.

    Creighton’s worst fears were realized Tuesday when senior point guard Maurice Watson received the results of an MRI that confirmed he had torn the ACL in his left knee Monday against Xavier. Watson is out for the season. His college career is over in heartbreaking fashion.

    And Creighton, which is 18-1 and ranked seventh in the nation, suddenly is in trouble.

    Tuesday’s MRI results didn’t just confirm the ACL tear. They didn’t just rudely and devastatingly interrupt Creighton’s best season ever. They sent the Bluejays’ burgeoning Final Four candidacy skidding into reverse.

    Creighton’s season isn’t over. Even without Watson for the majority of Monday’s game, the Bluejays held off a ranked Xavier team. But their grandest postseason aspirations, ones that were becoming increasingly realistic before Watson crumpled to the Cintas Center floor, crumpled along with their star.

  • Creighton's Maurice Watson out for season with torn ACL

    Henry Bushnell at The Dagger 8 hrs ago

    Maurice Watson Jr. “heard it pop.” And although postgame testing suggested otherwise, Watson’s initial instinct was, unfortunately, correct.

    An MRI showed Tuesday that Creighton’s senior point guard, the nation’s leader in assists, tore the ACL in his left knee during the first half of Monday’s win over Xavier. Watson announced the news on social media, and Creighton later confirmed it in a press release.

    It's been a fun ride. really devastated but it's about the get back & my chase to my dreams and back on the court starts now! #jays pic.twitter.com/TssBFgyUmT

    — Maurice Watson Jr. (@mauricewatsonjr) January 17, 2017

    “I’ve gotten to experience a lot of things in these 5 years[.] This is a sad time now, but God has a plan for me. My boys got my back & I will be on the sidelines all the way, even if a wheelchair!”

  • Roy Williams' players went crazy over the gift he got for his 800th win

    Malika Andrews at The Dagger 23 hrs ago

    Only ten other coaches have accomplished what University of North Carolina’s Roy Williams did on Monday night. With the Tar Heels’ 85-68 win over Syracuse, Williams became the 11th coach in college basketball history to notch his 800th career win.

    “Two hundred is more impressive than 100, so when you get to 800 not a lot of guys have done that,” Williams told local media after the game. “So I’m human. I’ve got some feelings about those kind of things, and that was nice, but I hope that I get a few more.”

    Williams achieved his 800 wins in just 29 seasons and 1,012 games. The only coach to reach this mark faster was Adolph Rupp.

    To commemorate the moment, Williams was gifted a custom pair of Jordans signed by Michael Jordan himself. The shiny silver kicks left players bug-eyed and drop-jawed. The shoes were delivered in a wooden box with “800” etched on the outside and “congratulations Roy Williams” etched on the inside.

    Postgame, Boeheim, who has known Williams for over 40 years, said that Williams is one of the best college coaches to date.

  • Three straight losses leave Xavier still in search of first marquee win

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    Eighteen games into a season that began with sky-high expectations, Xavier hasn’t accomplished as much as it would have hoped.

    The Musketeers have yet to defeat a single team that’s even receiving votes in the latest AP Top 25 poll.

    The best team they’ve beaten is likely Clemson, which is off to a 1-4 start to ACC play. The next best might be Utah, which was without two of its four leading scorers at the time. They also boast wins over rebuilding Wake Forest, hapless Missouri and mid-tier Big East foes Providence, Georgetown and St. John’s for whatever that’s worth.

    Xavier had a trio of chances in the last seven days to validate its Top 25 ranking, but the Musketeers whiffed on all three. They lost by 25 at Villanova last Tuesday. They blew a nine-point first-half lead at Butler on Saturday. And finally they suffered a 72-67 home loss earlier Monday against a Creighton team that lost its best player to a knee injury midway through the first half.

    With Xavier’s season at a crossroads, coach Chris Mack preached positivity. He insisted he still has faith in the Musketeers (13-5, 3-3) even though they’re mired in their first three-game losing streak in nearly three years.

    – – – – – – –

  • Creighton loses nation's assists leader to a left knee injury

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    On a day when Creighton picked up its most impressive road win of the season, the Bluejays’ postgame celebration was more muted than usual.

    That’s because their concern lay with starting point guard Maurice Watson, who hurt his left knee late in the first half of his team’s 72-67 victory at Xavier.

    The injury occurred when Watson landed awkwardly after driving for an acrobatic layup. Watson writhed on the floor in pain clutching his knee for several minutes before two teammates carried him to the locker room.

    It’s unclear the severity of the injury at this time, but Creighton coach Greg McDermott told reporters in Cincinnati that the team’s trainers are optimistic Watson didn’t sustain any ligament damage. Watson will undergo further testing this week to evaluate if he might have torn his meniscus.

    Greg McDermott tells @fs1 that Maurice Watson Jr. ligaments are solid. Possible meniscus but will take a look when we get back.

    — Rob Anderson (@_robanderson) January 16, 2017

    – – – – – – –

    Follow @JeffEisenberg

  • Indiana tried to run up the score on Rutgers, failed, and Tom Crean was furious

    Henry Bushnell at The Dagger 2 days ago

    Indiana, as most teams do these days, scored an easy win over Rutgers Sunday. For Tom Crean, whose Hoosiers had lost four of their previous five and started Big Ten play 1-3, it should have been a welcome reprieve from the frustration of the first two weeks of conference play.

    It was not.

    Because with Indiana up 76-57 and six seconds left in the game, rather than run out the clock, freshman guard Devonte Green took an outlet pass, pushed the ball up the court, and threw a lob to a streaking Freddie McSwain:

    ICYMI: Tom Crean was not happy about Devonte Green attempting a last-second alley-oop, and he let the freshman know. https://t.co/wstCB0gOL8

    — Indiana On BTN (@IndianaOnBTN) January 15, 2017

    Even before the clock hit triple zeros, while Green and McSwain were oblivious to their coach’s ire and foolishly fighting for the loose ball, Crean was storming out towards the middle of the court to scream at Green.

    Crean then hurried over to Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell and, still heated, seemed to apologize. Fortunately, Pikiell didn’t seem too peeved about it.

  • Unbeaten season feels more realistic after Gonzaga pounds Saint Mary's

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    For most of Saturday night’s showdown, Gonzaga couldn’t shake Saint Mary’s in its rearview mirror.

    Only in the final eight minutes did the Zags mash the gas pedal one final time and leave the rival Gaels in the dust.

    It started innocently enough with a Nigel Williams-Goss driving layup to extend the lead to eight. Only a couple minutes later, Williams-Goss found Johnathan Williams for a transition dunk that increased the advantage to 15. Gonzaga eventually reeled off 16 straight points to turn a single-digit game into a 79-56 rout.

    Handily winning the first meeting between the WCC’s two best teams does more than just give Gonzaga an early leg up in the league title chase. It also extends the fifth-ranked Zags’ run as college basketball’s last unbeaten team and makes the possibility of finishing the regular season without a loss a bit more realistic.

    After Saturday’s win against Saint Mary’s, Gonzaga (17-0, 5-0) will play only three more games against teams better than 138th in the KenPom rankings. The Zags visit BYU (No. 68) on Feb. 2, have their rematch with the Gaels (No. 18) in Moraga on Feb. 11 and then play the Cougars a second time on Feb. 25 in Spokane.

    – – – – – – –

  • Tense game sparks heated argument between Colorado State player, New Mexico coach

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 days ago

    The animosity that flared up throughout New Mexico’s 84-71 victory over Colorado State was nothing compared to what happened after the game was over.

    A Rams player and a Lobos assistant coach engaged in a verbal altercation that was on the verge of turning physical before Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy intervened.

    VIDEO: CSU's Emmanuel Omogbo came outside & started argument w/ UNM coaches, Terrence Rencher in particular. Larry Eustachy pulled hom away. pic.twitter.com/Dq9CbvVOBd

    — Geoff Grammer (@GeoffGrammer) January 14, 2017

    The incident began when Colorado State forward Emmanuel Omogbo exited Moby Arena and encountered several New Mexico coaches standing alongside their team bus. Albuquerque Tribune reporter Geoff Grammer began shooting video soon after Omogbo and New Mexico assistant Terrence Rencher began exchanging words.

    “You’re lucky my coach is holding me back. I’d whoop your ass,” Omogbo shouted at Rencher with Eustachy standing between them.

    “You ain’t whipping nothing, buddy,” Rencher responded.

    – – – – – – –

  • Theo Pinson sparks North Carolina to statement win over Florida State

    Henry Bushnell at The Dagger 3 days ago

    Through 34 minutes of North Carolina’s clash with Florida State at the Dean Smith Center Saturday in Chapel Hill, there wasn’t much separating the Tar Heels and Seminoles. The home team had held multiple double-digit leads, but every time, Florida State had charged back. And that’s exactly what the visitors were doing again with six minutes remaining.

    Xavier Rathan-Mayes sunk a free throw, and the lead dwindled to four, 80-76. North Carolina needed a lift. It needed something to separate it from a team that had proven to be every bit its equal. So it turned to one of the best secret weapons in college basketball, one whom the Tar Heels had been without for the season’s first 16 games, and one who may very well make them the best team in the ACC.

    They turned to Theo Pinson. And Pinson went coast to coast, then soared to the rim as the Dean Dome rose with him:

    “It felt like I was floating,” Pinson said after the game. “I was gliding to the basket. And then when I dunked it, I was like, ‘Did it go through?’ And then I heard everybody screaming … then I blacked out.”