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.
NEW YORK — Bobby Hurley and Duke share a double-bill in Manhattan on Tuesday night.
But the former Duke point guard won’t be coaching against his old coach, Mike Krzyzewski, and his alma mater. Neither side would want that game — unless it absolutely had to happen.
“We’ve never had that conversation, I wouldn’t look to schedule that game [with Duke],” Hurley, who led Duke to back-to-back NCAA championships in the early 1990s, told me Monday after his Arizona State team (5-3) practiced at the New York Athletic Club ahead of Tuesday’s matchup with No. 18 Purdue (6-2) in the Jimmy V Classic. No. 5 Duke (8-1) meets No. 21 Florida (7-1) in the second game of the doubleheader.
“If we’re fortunate enough to be in the [NCAA] Tournament,” Hurley added, “we’ll play anyone that we get a chance to play.”
Without an injured Marcus LoVett, Shamorie Ponds went off for St. John’s on Monday night.
With Lovett in a walking boot because of a sprained ankle suffered during practice, Ponds scored a career-high 25 points in a 76-70 win over Cal State Northridge at Carnesecca Arena.
“I don’t think all that much changed,” said Ponds, the former Brooklyn Thomas Jefferson star. “I just tried to be more aggressive and be a leader. I wanted to be more vocal, get all of my teammates involved, and dig out a win.”
Head coach Chris Mullin said the loss of LoVett — who will get an MRI on Tuesday — impacted his rotation.
NEW YORK — Syracuse and Connecticut, forever rivals from a Big East that is never coming back, came to Madison Square Garden on Tuesday evening.
Just like so many of those old Big East epics, aesthetics were not in play. The teams combined for just 30 total field goals and in the end, a foul call, and a questionable one at that, helped decide it as two free throws from Huskies freshman guard Christian Vital, a Queens Village native, with 2.2 seconds to play delivered a 52-50 win in front of 15,347 at the Garden.
That foul call on Tyus Battle came after Vital hauled in a missed Rodney Purvis 3-pointer and was met with the roar of the usual pro-Orange crowd in Gotham. Replays showed that Battle, a former standout at New Jersey parochial powers Gill St. Bernard’s and St. Joseph (Metuchen), appeared to get all ball.