Withey has converted 50 of 59 free throws for a team-leading 84.7 percent. He made just 17 of 33 in limited duty last year for 51.5 percent.
“I’ve been practicing free throws since the beginning of the season,” Withey said. “This year I’ve definitely improved. I’ve been working at it and will continue to work at it.”
…Overall this season, Withey has made 52.3 percent of his field goal attempts to go with the torrid free-throw mark.
“One of the underrated things he’s doing ... he’s shooting 85 percent from the free-throw line which is very good for a big man,” KU assistant coach Joe Dooley said, subbing for head coach Bill Self on Tuesday’s Hawk Talk radio show. “He draws a lot of fouls. It’s a good thing because at the end of a game, a lot of times you have to take guys out. You can leave him in the game to protect the basket and also know if he rebounds the ball, you’ve got a pretty good free-throw shooter. When he rebounds it, we hopefully can go to the other end and make free throws.”
…“What we are getting out of Jeff is consistency,” Dooley said. “It’s not necessarily shots he blocks, but also ones he alters ... or people stop and shoot pullups as opposed to getting all the way to the rim. As he gets through this year into next year, he will continue to develop.”
…Noted Dooley: “Tyshawn’s not turning it over as much in spurts. In Tyshawn’s defense — and coach (Self) has alluded to this so many times — the ball is in his hands so much more than any player we’ve had since we’ve been here. He has to do so many things. He is continuing to grow, adapting to his role, knowing when he needs to score and when he needs to be a distributor, which he has done well the past couple of weeks.”
Conner Teahan is living the dream.
He grew up a mere 30 minutes from the University of Kansas in Leewood, KS, and, like most people that grow up a mere 30 minutes from Lawrence, he's been a lifelong, diehard Jayhawk fan.
"There aren't going to be many bigger KU fans than I was. I'd be crying when they lost," Teahan said with a laugh after scoring five points in a 64-54 win over Texas A&M at Phog Allen Fieldhouse on Monday night. "Whenever I thought about what I wanted to do in college, the number one priority was play basketball at KU. That's all I wanted to do and I got the opportunity to."
Every kid grows up with a dream like that.
…"I had scholarship offers. I was pretty much Missouri Valley," Teahan said. "I was going to go to Wichita State when Mark Turgeon was there. I was going to also play football. I was thinking about maybe going to K-State or Missouri, but I couldn't do it. I just like KU too much."
…It puts Teahan in a bit of an awkward situation. Here he is, the elder statesmen on the roster at 23 years old, but how much of a leader can he be when his goals are so different than that of so many of his teammates.
"Not too many of these guys are doing what I'm doing," Teahan said. "When I try to motivate and lead or if one of my teammates is down, I try to cheer them back up by saying 'man, we gotta get it right because time flies by so fast'. I just tell them about my experience, how fast five years have gone by. You don't ever know when you're going to be done with basketball."
"I'm going to be done with basketball as soon as the season's over. I won't ever be playing basketball again. I just made up my mind on that. I'm not going to try and go with the overseas route or anything like that. You gotta get it your all every single day, I try to set that example in the locker room."
So why do it?
"This is something that I always wanted to do," he explained. "I'm just happy that I got the opportunity to play right now."
…Teahan did things differently. He was eligible his first three seasons, but in what would have been his senior year, he realized that he wasn't going to be getting any playing time. Instead of toiling away his final year of college buried on the bench, Teahan opted to take his redshirt and see if things would be better this season.
"That was our plan," Self said. "We talked about it and he was like 'Coach, if I can't be in the rotation, let me sit out and then I could hopefully be in the rotation next year'. That's been our plan with him."
He wasn't alone, either. Three of the starters on this year's team are redshirts.
"We've had so much depth that Withey and Releford and Teahan are all redshirts. That's been good for us," Self said.
…Teahan was finally going to play. He was finally going to be a key member of this team, playing important minutes for one of the best teams in the country.
But if Teahan could have his way, he would be back on the bench.
"To be honest with you, if Ben McLemore was able to play, I probably wouldn't be playing right now," Teahan said. "That's just how it is. I feel absolutely terrible with what's happened to Ben and he would make our team better. So I'm sitting here like I want him to be able to play. I want to be in a position where I have to beat him or Travis out. Its very unfortunate what's happened to them, because Ben and Jamari would be a great addition to our team."
"But I'm reaping the benefits a little bit and I'm now able to do something that I've dreamed about doing. Then again, they would have helped our team out a lot."
That's how much Teahan cares about this Kansas program.
He's living out a dream he's had since he knew what basketball was but he would trade it all to make his team better.
If that doesn't define what a team player should be, than I don't know what does.
How many points, I asked Jay Kornegay of LVH (formerly known as Las Vegas Hilton), is Allen Fieldhouse worth this season, compared to a neutral court, when setting a line?
“Probably five, five-and-a-half points,” said Kornegay, who has been working in Las Vegas for 23 years. “That’s maybe a tad above average for a Kansas team during the Bill Self era.”
I would have bet one of my chins it would have been worth more like eight or nine points.
The five/five-and-a-half point edge means the swing in a home-and-home series with a school that has a similar home-court advantage would be 10 to 12 points.
“There are certain schools that actually don’t have a home-court advantage,” Kornegay said. “There’s just nobody there. I know it’s kind of hard for you guys out in Kansas to picture that, but TCU’s a prime example.”
…“Those rankings,” Kornegay said, “no matter what sport we’re talking about, they are useless. They are useless as far as setting a line. If Kansas were to play Baylor at a neutral site, we don’t look at the rankings. Do I look at them? Yeah, I just kind of laugh at them a little.”
LJW: Jayhawks in the NBA
VOTE for the Kansas Jayhawks student section
To hear Texas A&M coach Gary Blair tell it, the Kansas University women’s basketball team has nothing to worry about.
“Give this team credit,” said Blair, following last Saturday’s 76-65 victory over KU at Allen Fieldhouse. “They’ll make the tournament. But they’re going to have a lot of games come down to the wire.”
The loss to No. 14 Texas A&M dropped the Jayhawks to 15-3 overall and 4-2 in Big 12 play and turned out to be one of the few conference games so far that did not go down to the wire. With the Jayhawks slated to take on No. 21 Texas Tech at 7 tonight in the fieldhouse, proving Blair right is on the minds of the Jayhawks.
“It’s a bounce-back league,” KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “We’ve got a great opportunity to get one, and it’ll be a great game.”
In winning three conference road games for the first time since 2001, the Jayhawks have jumped out to a strong start in conference play and have been one of the surprise teams of the early going. While they’ve been particularly good on the road — winning at Texas, Missouri and Oklahoma State — they’ve been somewhat of a disappointment at home. With home losses to Kansas State and Texas A&M and a double-overtime victory against Iowa State, the friendly confines of Allen Fieldhouse have yet to be too kind to the home team, and several Jayhawks said recently that their struggles at home have made it difficult to enjoy their success away from Lawrence.
Angel Goodrich has always possessed a special ability to locate the open player in the offense. In her first season on the court, Goodrich became the fastest player in Kansas women's basketball history to reach 100 assists, doing so in only 13 games. Midway through her junior campaign, she has already climbed to fourth on the all-time KU career assists chart, eclipsing the 400-mark in a mere 58 games. Goodrich continues to set up the shooter with great efficiency this season with more than 7.5 assists per game. Different from years past, however, Goodrich is now finding that sometimes the best player to take the shot already has the ball in her hands.
In her sophomore season, Goodrich ranked sixth in the NCAA with 6.3 assists per game and 11th in the nation with a 2.24 assist-to-turnover ratio while also posting a team-high 47 steals. Fully aware of Goodrich's unique skill set to fill a box score, Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson noticed one area where Goodrich could contribute even more on the floor.
"Coach and I talked about it, and we both agreed that I needed to be more of a scorer," said Goodrich, who averaged 7.3 points per game in her first two seasons as a Jayhawk. "If I can get the bigs to come up on me, then it opens up more for the bigs, and I can dish it off. If they don't come up on me, then I can score, too. I worked on my shot over the summer, and I'm trying to work on it during practice. My biggest goal is trying to be more of a scorer."
The Jayhawks gathered together and supported each other in a riotously funny seventh-annual edition of the student-athlete variety show JayRock, Tuesday night at the Kansas Union.
Scot Pollard hosted the show produced by the Kansas Athletics Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and donations for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital were taken at the door. Each team competed to raise money for the charity and the Kansas rowing team took the top spot as the team that raised the most money.
The rowing team made it 2-for-2 as the panel of judges voted the team's "Super Mario Bros." the best act of the evening. The football team took second after a synchronized swimming rendition of "My Heart Will Go On." The women's tennis squad earned the third-place finish with their "Dance Heard Round the World" performance.
JayRock, the annual University of Kansas student-athlete variety show, is relatively new in relation to the storied tradition shared by many of the athletic programs at KU. Since its inception in 2006, however, the show has quickly gained momentum and fame as being one of the best things about being a Jayhawk. For the first three years, the bragging rights for JayRock victory were contained within the confines of Kansas Athletics.
As the event continues to grow, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee looks to the future and hopes to one day open the event to the general public as a way to fundraise for charities of their choice.
Big 12/College News
Big 12 Schedule & Results
Last week I did the Kansas-Texas game. Earlier that week someone informed me that Bill Self played against my Michigan team in December of 1982 when he was at Oklahoma State. In fact, as a sub, he made the basket to send the game into overtime. So last Wednesday I tracked down the box score and saw that he had 8 points off the bench. But I also noticed that my starting forwards were 2 for 18 from the field and that Roy Tarpley, who later became a superstar for me, had only 2 points in 14 minutes of play.
Oh sure, it’s been 30 years, but I was upset that the starting forwards played too much and Tarpley didn’t play enough! I immediately called Steve Fisher, who was my head assistant then. Steve always answers, but this time he just said “Coach, can this wait ’til tommorrow? I’m taking my team on the floor in 12 minutes to play New Mexico.” Fair enough. On the bright side, at least I didn’t distract Fish. His team went on to win 75-70 in Albuquerque.
Preseason All-American team: The list of Wisconsin'sJordan Taylor, Ohio State's Jared Sullinger, Connecticut'sJeremy Lamb, North Carolina's Harrison Barnes and Kentucky's Terrence Jones looked good at the time. But if the season ended today, only one of those players (Sullinger) would stand a chance to make the team.
Is the Big 12 the best conference in the country?
It's close, but I'll still take the Big Ten. The parity in that league -- from top to bottom -- is what makes it so special. Just look at some of the results: Northwestern over Michigan State, Nebraska over Indiana, Iowa over Wisconsin and Penn State over Illinois. The threat of upsets is much smaller in the Big 12. You won't see Texas Tech beating Missouri or Oklahoma State topping Kansas. Granted, I think the Big 12 has three legitimate Final Four contenders in Missouri, Kansas and Baylor. I'm not sure the Big Ten can make that claim. Still, parity-wise, the Big Ten is the better league.
Royce White led Iowa State (14-6, 4-3) with 15 points, 15 rebounds and five assists but scored just four in the second half and was just 1 of 7 shooting free throws.
…White's scoring all but disappeared in the second half. He missed the rim on a free throw, was called for a violation when he began his shooting motion on another but stopped before letting it go, and then launched an air ball on a 3-pointer.
The game was on the verge of turning into a blooper reel for Iowa State when Melvin Ejim missed a dunk on a 3-on-1 fast break in which he didn't even get the ball over the rim.
But Texas, unfamiliar with having a big lead late, couldn't hold it. Sloppy play with turnovers and missed shots led to a 7-minute scoreless stretch, and Iowa State slowly trimmed the deficit.
Tyrus McGee pulled Iowa State within 48-42 with three free throws with 4:22 to play. Texas responded with a long jumper by Sheldon McClellan and another by Kabongo, and the lead seemed safe until the final minute.
"We had some big breakdowns at the end," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "When we got the lead, we got careless. Overall, I think we made progress."
Simply ending the losing streak was a big step for a young Texas team that is typically an annual title contender in the Big 12. The confidence boost was sorely needed for a team set to face No. 6 Baylor and No. 2 Missouri in the next six days.
Sioux City Journal
Like every other team Texas has faced this season, Iowa State built its entire defensive mission around slowing J'Covan Brown. But eventually, an opponent had to start guarding the other guys.
UT forward Clint Chapman never expected it would happen, though. Like Brown's other teammates, he was so conditioned to being ignored by defenders he didn't even notice when the Cyclones sent a double-team in his direction Tuesday during the Longhorns' 62-55 victory at the Erwin Center.
“If it came, I didn't see it coming,” Chapman said.
The same might be said of UT's offensive makeover Tuesday. With Brown mired in his worst slump of the season, the role players around him suddenly became the guys relied upon in key situations.
Chapman scored eight important points in the first half. Julien Lewis highlighted an early second-half run that gave the Longhorns an 18-point lead. And after Iowa State rallied to pull within seven in the final six minutes, freshmen Myck Kabongo and Sheldon McClellan calmly drained two midrange jumpers apiece to ensure the Longhorns would end their three-game losing streak.
“Our game plan was to slow down Brown,” Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We played off a few guys, and a couple of them made us pay for it.”
Said Brown, who shot 3 for 16 Tuesday and is 18 for 70 over his last three games: “You want to see that from the other guys when I'm struggling.”
For the Longhorns (13-7, 3-4 in the Big 12), the balanced approach at least temporarily provided a boost to their hopes of reaching the NCAA tournament. UT was in dire need of a quality victory, and the Cyclones (14-6, 4-3) are just the second team listed in the top 60 of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) that UT has beaten this season. Temple is the other.
“Overall, we made some progress,” UT coach Rick Barnes said. “But we still have a way to go.”
San Antonio Express
Jordan Henriquez has been reinstated to the Kansas State basketball team, and he made the trip with the Wildcats to Lubbock, Texas for tonight’s game against Texas Tech.
K-State coach Frank Martin met with Henriquez several times since suspending him indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team last week. Henriquez practiced with the team on Tuesday.
“I feel the time away has helped Jordan re-energize and refocus his efforts for our basketball team,” Martin said in a statement. “He has three years of credibility built up in our program and has been an outstanding representative of Kansas State University, having earned recognition to two Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Rolls. Like a lot of young people, he just lost his focus and needed time to understand his priorities.”
Henriquez will be available to play against the Red Raiders, but Martin hasn’t decided whether he will use him.
After Baylor followed two perfect months with two straight losses, coach Scott Drew was glad to see his star player back on his game.
Perry Jones III had 21 points and tied his season-high with 12 rebounds, leading the sixth-ranked Bears to a 77-65 win over Oklahoma on Tuesday night.
It was Jones’ highest scoring output in 11 games, helping Baylor (18-2, 5-2 Big 12) bounce back after consecutive losses to conference leaders Kansas and Missouri, both also Top 10 teams.
“Welcome back, Perry Jones,” Drew said. “After he tweaked that ankle in Kansas, for a game-and-a-half I think that affected him. He had two good practices and mentally got right and physically has gotten better.
“He’s back to playing how he’s capable of playing.”
Pierre Jackson added 16 points and seven assists, Quincy Acy had 13 points and three blocks for the Bears, who shot 54 percent — their fourth time in the last five games to hit at least half of their shots.
They also went 9 for 18 from behind the arc, after coming in as the Big 12’s best 3-point shooting team at 41 percent.
Missouri is leaving the Big 12 to join the SEC, effective next season. OSU coach Travis Ford indicated he would like to schedule nonconference games against Mizzou in the future. But, unless that happens, the clock is going to run out on a series that began in 1926 and is 115 games old.
That's enough to make even a tough old coach a bit sentimental.
"People like me will miss it," Norm Stewart, who coached Missouri from 1967-99, said during a telephone interview this week. "I think the fans will miss it."
Echoed former OSU coach Eddie Sutton, "That will be a contest I think our fans will really miss."
How could they not?
Only Oklahoma, Kansas and Kansas State have made more trips to OSU's campus for basketball than Missouri, which is playing in Stillwater for the 50th time.
Twice-a-year Big Eight battles and once-a-year Big 12 clashes provided epic heroics.
Remember Bryant Reeves' halfcourt heave to force overtime in 1993?
Reserve guard Chad Alexander's buzzer-beating bank shot in 1997?
Doug Smith scoring 40 to lift Missouri to an overtime decision in 1991?
Andy Hopson's school-record 27-rebound performance for OSU in 1973?
Or John Brown's 41-point eruption for Missouri in a rematch later that season?
Burying this rivalry and those moments in a time capsule hurts more than losing hoops relationships with Colorado, Nebraska and (soon) Texas A&M. Sutton called OSU-Missouri a great series, especially when his friend, Stormin' Norman, was coaching the Tigers.
Stewart gave the rivalry not just teeth, but fangs. Sutton - and this is a compliment - said, "They always had a couple of guys that I thought played almost dirty. That's just the way they played though. They just played hard-nosed basketball. There is nothing wrong with that."
The Big 12 has been without a permanent commissioner since Dan Beebe was fired last September. Former Big Eight commissioner Chuck Neinas, at the urging of Oklahoma president David Boren, replaced Beebe on an interim basis.
When the 79-year-old Neinas accepted the Big 12's offer, he said he expected the appointment to last no more than six months.
"I am not a candidate in any way, shape or form on a permanent basis," Neinas said. "I will offer my services to assist in the search. That's what I've been doing for the last dozen years."
And that could be a problem for those who want Big 12 leaders to follow the Pac-12's model of not limiting itself to candidates well-connected on the collegiate level.
Neinas' search firm has helped numerous universities hire athletic directors and coaches. Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione and football coach Bob Stoops were both recommended to Boren by Neinas.
Perhaps Neinas' firm has the wherewithal to identify a person like Scott, someone who doesn't need a strong college background to make the dramatic and vital changes needed for survival.
The Pac-12 was the Pac-10 when Scott arrived. But within a year on the job he had expanded the league to 12, narrowly failing to grow it to 16 by adding OU, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech.
Scott used his connections in professional sports to help both in expansion and signing the richest standard television deal of any conference.
Scott's impressive accomplishments don't stop there. But you get the idea what the next Big 12 commissioner's resume should include.
Having the skills to negotiate mega-TV deals is critical. So is the leadership needed to fight off predators like Scott, who still hopes to entice the Bedlam Brothers and the Longhorns to abandon the Big 12 and head west.
But the initial question the Big 12's search committee must answer is what to do with Texas AD DeLoss Dodds, who has long been viewed as the league's de facto commissioner.
Do they hire someone who will cater to Dodds like previous commissioners? Or will they find someone with the backbone to stand up to the Longhorns' AD, and then give him or her the power to do it?
If it's the latter, that should eliminate any sitting ADs, especially within the Big 12. The same goes for commissioners of non-BCS leagues, who might have strong connections to Neinas but not the skills and savvy of a Scott or Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.
9. Twin City Tat
Royce White // Soph. forward, Iowa State
White may have left his home state on uncomfortable terms -- he never played a game for Minnesota, had multiple brushes with the law, and announced he was quitting the Gophers on YouTube -- but he still represents his birthplace on his arm. Now the star of an Iowa State program on the rise, he wears the Twins' old logo on his left bicep.
SI Winn's midseason style update
Certainly, Tigers Coach Frank Haith deserves some credit. What the Tigers have done under Haith — 129-101 in his previous stop at Miami — is even more remarkable when you consider they’re essentially down to seven healthy scholarship players.
Some have questioned if Anderson’s “Fastest 40 Minutes” style could have yielded these results. Hard to know for certain.
What we do know is that Anderson had assembled his best team yet at Missouri. Anderson was well aware the Tigers were a team capable of winning the Big 12 and making a run in the NCAA Tournament.
And Anderson walked away from it to build at Arkansas. No doubt this season in Columbia, Mo., would have been much easier for Anderson, but he walked.
“When I took the Missouri job, the cupboard, it was kind of bare,” Anderson said last month. “I didn’t leave it bare. We left some pretty good players there, some good kids.
“It’s going to be a challenge to see if we can get that same mindset, change the culture, get players in here that are going to buy into winning and get this program elevated as well.”
Cynics (and jilted Missouri fans) will point out the fact that Anderson got more money to coach at Arkansas. That raise, they’ll say, is why Anderson left Missouri.
...Anderson knew (for the most part) what he was inheriting. Just as he knew what he was leaving behind at Missouri. Clearly, Anderson wanted this job. He told us that from the beginning, and Missouri’s success provides us even better understanding of how genuine that sentiment was.
It’s the annual weekend where college basketball coaches go casual to raise awareness about cancer.
The National Association of Basketball Coaches and the American Society are holding their annual Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend on Saturday and Sunday.
ESPN Brennan mailbag: Cameron Lazies, love for Kim English, more
While other cities have hosted more Final Fours than New Orleans, it is hard to fathom a better site or a site which has had better championship games than New Orleans.
The NCAA Men's Final Four returns to the Crescent City for the first time since 2003 March 31-April 2 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The facility is vastly improved since the 2003 event which features Syracuse, Kansas, Texas and Marquette. Those improvements, along with an organized, concerted effort staged by state officials, city officials, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, the Allstate Sugar Bowl, SMG and Tulane University resulted in the return of the event.
At a press conference to announce the countdown to this year's event, Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne stated that this year's Final Four would produce a $134 million impact on the Louisiana economy.
Citing the great job that New Orleans did in hosting the recent BCS National Championship and other big-time sporting events, Jeff Hathaway, Chair of the Division I Men's Basketball Committee, feels New Orleans is a perfect site for the event.
"You would be hard pressed to find a city more identified with this event," said Hathaway.
Memorial (14-1), ranked No. 2 in Class 6A, needed a little bit of everything to secure the win over its upset-minded rival, and nothing more than junior point guard Jordan Woodard's prime time performance.
With Kansas coach Bill Self in the house, Woodard shined, scoring 14 points in the second quarter during an 18-2 run that stole all the momentum from Santa Fe (11-4), which led by seven after the first quarter.
“Coach told us after the first quarter that we needed to step it up,” said Woodard, who finished with 29 points. “We weren't playing our ball at the time. We needed a new focus.”
Wichita Heights returned from its title in the Dodge City Tournament of Champions by hammering Kapaun 55-32 behind Perry Ellis’ 26 points. Ellis is now just 69 points away from the GWAL All-Time scoring record.
Conner Frankamp returned to the site of his City League record 52-point performance at Northwest on Tuesday. He came away with 37 points tonight and his Redskins took a 75-63 loss.
KansasCW (Video highlights at the link)
Top-ranked Rainier Beach pulled away from Nathan Hale in the fourth quarter for a 78-67 Metro win. Anrio Adams scored 24 and Marquis Davis 19 for the Vikings, who led by only two going into the final period.
A third-quarter tie appeared to be the smelling salts needed to revive the Prestonwood Christian Academy boys basketball team Tuesday against John Paul II.
After a nip-and-tuck two-and-a-half quarters, the final 10 minutes of the contest belonged to the Lions, who picked up a 54-42 win over the rival Cardinals.
"We got a couple turnovers and a couple run-outs," said Chris Mayberry, Prestonwood head coach. "We knew exactly what they were going to do as far as holding the ball to create minute possessions and then shoot a three. They made a lot of threes tonight and we could have done a better job defensively, but credit their spread offense."
…Senior Claude Person countered Bassett's make with a 3-pointer from the corner, which was promptly followed by a pair of makes from junior Julius Randle -- the first being an and-1 and the second a dunk following a steal. Freshman Mickey Mitchell capped the quarter spinning off the elbow for a finger roll in the quarter's closing seconds for a 39-32 Lions lead.
…A Bassett 3-pointer gave the Cardinals one last ray of hope at 47-40 with two minutes left, but a layup by Lions senior Zach Peters followed by a Randle layup put the contest out of the reach. Randle totaled 21 points, five rebounds, six assists and five steals in the win.
…Foul trouble to Peters also dampened the Lions' rhythm in the first half, with the post rebounding over the final two quarters for nine points while senior Austin Rettig added seven and Mitchell dropped six to go along with four steals.
The Lions resume play Friday at 8 p.m. with a home game against Trinity Christian Academy while John Paul looks to right the ship at Bishop Dunne.
The Tilton School boys' basketball team knocked off Arlington Country Day (of Florida), 68-53, in the last game of the Mountaineer Classic in Morgantown, W.Va., as senior Georges Niang hit the 2,000-point milestone for his career. Niang finished with 29 points and eight rebounds as Tilton improved to 17-3. Nerlens Noel contributed 20 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
While in Morgantown, the players attended West Virginia's overtime win over Cincinnati and toured the new practice facility. These opportunities got the Ram starters thinking about WVU a little more.
"After talking to (assistant coach Larry) Harrison, I got a better feel for the program," Noel said. "I'll be looking forward to building a better relationship with their coaching staff."
Noel is considered the nation's premier shot blocker and has been fielding interest from elite programs like Kentucky, Syracuse and Connecticut. He said after last week, WVU would be added to his list of schools.
He admitted the addition was due in part to the new practice facility and all that it offers players.
"It's important, especially if it's 24 hours, so that whenever you need to, you can get in the gym, and work on what you need to," he said. "It's state-of-the-art. Whatever you need is there, and I think that facility is real nice and there's no way to not get better having that."