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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / February 21.
  • Syracuse, Notre Dame Post Big Wins for Big East; Sampson, Indiana Punished

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    After 5 hours of watching college hoops tonight, I feel like I’ve just seen a couple of games in March Madness.

    How good were those Notre Dame-Texas and Syracuse-Kansas games? Incredible action for November.

    And a couple of impressive victories by the Big East.

    Syracuse came from 13 points down in the second half to defeat defending national champion Kansas, 89-81 in overtime in the final of the CBE Classic in Kansas City. Jonny Flynn was the star for the Orange, drilling a 3-pointer from the right wing to send the game to overtime and finishing with 25 points.

    “I just thought I had to do something to redeem my team,” Flynn told ESPN. “I just saw the opportunity and I shot the shot and thank God it went in.”

    Eric Devendorf had 20 points, Arinze Onuaku had 19 and 12 rebounds, and Paul Harris finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds for Syracuse, which forced 17 turnovers.

    Kansas (3-1) played well early to take a big lead, but made some costly mistakes against Syracuse’s pressure in the second half to let the Orange back in it. Sherron Collins had 21 points, Tyshawn Taylor 17 and Cole Aldrich had 15 points and 13 rebounds for Kansas, which missed eight of 11 shots in overtime.

    “When we were 13 down, we went to man, they all wanted to play man,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who notched his 776th career victory, told ESPN. “Our zone has been good for us, but it wasn’t good tonight. And we won because of our man to man. Jonny got after it and made a couple steals right away to get us back in the game.

    “And then offensively we got better in the second half. we didn’t force it on the dribble. We passed the ball better, we found our big guy [Onuaku] down low. And we made a great play to get Andy [Rautins] a shot there for the 3 that put us ahead.

    “It was a gutty effort, this was a tough place to play. We might as well be in Lawrence here. It was a great win for our guys, especially being down that many.”

    **And how about this fantastic game between No. 6 Texas and No. 8 Notre Dame?

    Luke Harangody had 13 rebounds and 29 points, including a 3-pointer off the glass from near midcourt to pace the Irish to an 81-80 victory in the Maui Invitational.

    Notre Dame (4-0) nearly killed itself at the end, missing 6 free throws in the final 48 seconds. Texas (3-1) made three 3-pointers during that span and nearly made another to win the game. Texas guard A.J. Abrams fired a 3-pointer from beyond midcourt that hit the rim at the buzzer. He finished with 23 points and 5 rebounds. Texas clearly needs a point guard, though, because Abrams is looking for his shot first.

    And how good are Notre Dame guards Kyle McAlarney and Tory Jackson? McAlarney finished with 19 points and Jackson tallied 16 points and 7 assists.

    The Irish will face Tyler Hansbrough and No. 1 North Carolina in the final Wednesday night at 10. Hansbrough had 16 points and Danny Green had 21 points and 8 rebounds in a 98-69 rout of Oregon.

    **Elsewhere, former Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson received a 5-year show-cause penalty from the NCAA for recruiting violations, meaning any team seeking to hire him would be subject to his penalties and would have to petition the NCAA.

    “I’m deeply disappointed in today’s findings by the NCAA, but the accusations at hand are things that happened on my watch and therefore I will take responsibility,” said Sampson, currently an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks.

    The NCAA placed Indiana on a 3 years probation and upheld its self-imposed penalties, but the school does not receive a postseason ban. IU also loses one scholarship.

    Tom Crean is cleaning up the mess in Bloomington, but has done a tremendous job recruiting for next year.

    “The people that I probably feel the most sympathy for are…our fans,” said Crean, whose team lost to St. Joe’s, 80-54. “I can’t thank them enough. We’ll bounce back. This is a hard, hard lesson we’re learning right now, but we’re going to learn them together and we’ll bounce back and we’ll make progress.”

    **Elsewhere in the Big East, Dante Cunningham scored 19 and Corey Stokes added 18 as No. 20 Villanova routed Monmouth, 71-48…No. 4 Pittsburgh hammered Belmont 74-40, behind 33 and 7 from Sam Young…Davidson beat Loyola-Maryland 78-48 despite Stephen Curry not scoring a single point. Curry had been averaging 35 points through DAvidson’s first five games.

    (Photos courtesy AP)

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.