NCAA Men: Landale and Naar star but Gaels drop two

Jock Landale | Tod Fierner/Saint Mary's College Athletics

Jock Landale and Emmett Naar have formed one of the most devastating duos in college basketball this season, however despite their dominance, Saint Mary’s had a tough week at the Wooden Legacy tournament in which they dropped two games.

Saint Mary’s ventured to the Wooden Legacy and opened with an 89-71 win over Harvard. Leading by 26 points at half time, the Gael’s were outscored in the second but were able to hang on. Jock Landale and Emmett Naar were outstanding. Landale poured in 26 points on 7-9 shooting from the field and 12-13 from the charity stripe, and pulled down 7 rebounds. Naar went close to registering a triple-double, gathering 11 points (7-7 FT), 9 rebounds and 9 assists. Fellow Aussie Kyle Clark came off the bench to chip in 8 points 5 rebounds in a valuable contribution.

Next, the Gaels faced Washington State and were immediately placed on the back foot. Trailing by as many as 16 points in the second half, Saint Mary’s rallied to within 3, but were unable to get back in front as they fell 79-84. Saint Mary’s could not find a way to slow the Cougars despite shooting 51.7% from the field, with its 64-game winning streak when shooting at least 50% coming to an end. Naar was very good yet again, with the floor general collecting a team-high 17 points with 7 assists, while Landale battled through foul trouble to finish with 14 points and 9 rebounds.

Playing off for third, very little separated the Gaels and Georgia in a tight contest. Georgia sent the game into overtime with a layup 10 seconds before time expired, and held of the Gaels to win 83-81 in a thriller. The #21 ranked Saint Mary’s entered the game shooting 44% from beyond the arc, but made just 4-12 against the Bulldogs.

While the Bulldogs limit the Gaels perimeter scoring, they were unable to slow down Landale. The 6’11 centre was unstoppable in amassing a game-high 33 points (16-25 FG), 12 rebounds and 4 assists in a dominant performance. Naar was equally impressive, draining 21 points (10-20 FG) alongside 9 assists. With two straight losses, Saint Mary’s has fallen outside the national top 25 rankings.

Chima Moneke was at his efficient best for UC Davis in their clash against Washington. The 6’6 forward fired in 13 of his game-high 23 points in the first half; however he was one of just two Aggies to score in double figures as they lost 70-77. UC Davis led at half time, with their length troubling the Huskies, however Washington held on down the stretch to record the 7 point win. Moneke went 9-12 from the field and also added 7 rebounds, improving his season averages to 22.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

#17 ranked Louisville maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a routine 84-72 win against St Francis (PA) 84-72. Deng Adel was one of six Cardinals to score in double figures, adding 13 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists in a solid outing. He also threw down one insane dunk too!  Louisville then took on Purdue in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, and would go on to drop their first road game of the season. The Boilermakers finished over the top of Louisville to record an impressive 57-66 win. Adel would go just 5-15 from the field on his way to compiling 13 points alongside 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. It was the second time in eight years the Cardinals have lost their first road game of the season, and it was their first real test of the 2017-18 season.

Winthrop took on Auburn without star senior forward Xavier Cook this past week, with the New South Welshman suspended for 1 game by his school. The Eagles’ leading scorer and rebounder, Cooks had the sanction imposes on him following behaviour at practice that was deemed “unbecoming of a Winthrop basketball player,” according to head coach Pat Kelsey. Kelsey would only elaborate further to add, “We are working with him to channel his emotions constructively.”

With Cooks missing, Auburn took advantage to record a convincing 119-85 victory. Freshman guard Kyle Zunic continued his emergence by adding 10 points and 4 assists in 21 minutes in a starting role, while fellow frosh Tom Pupavac came off the bench to play 8 minutes.

With Cooks back on deck, Winthrop bounced back to dispatch South Carolina 86-61. The 6’8 forward provided immediate value, delivering 12 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks in a solid return. He is the team’s leading scorer and rebounder with 14.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  Zunic would contribute just 4 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists in the win.

Mount St Mary’s experienced a tough week despite some very good performances from 6’5 freshman guard Jonah Antonio. In a 77-96 loss to Ohio, Antonio went 7-17 from the field including 5-13 from beyond the arc to compile 19 points and 7 rebounds in playing the full 40 minutes. Against Morgan State, the Mountaineers could not engineer a win despite 11 points that included three triples from Antonio, falling short 63-69. His fourth straight game in scoring double figures including a 23 point outing against York (PA), Antonio leads the NEC and is 14th in the nation with 3.67 triples per game, and is one first year player to keep an eye on.

Sam McDaniel’s early season form continued, with the 6’6 guard scoring in double figures across his last two games. In Monroe’s 61-76 loss to Northwestern State, the senior added 15 points on 6-11 shooting with 4 rebounds and 2 assists. He backed up with 13 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists as the Warhawks thrashed NAIA school Rust 104-46. Sam Alabakis compiled 6 points and 6 rebounds in the big win.

The Warhawks backed up with a dour 65-52 win against Jackson State, with McDaniel again featuring. He would register 15 points on 5-10 shooting that included 6-6 from the line, along with 7 rebounds and 3 steals is another workmanlike display. Louisiana Monroe is now 3-3 on the season, and with McDaniel adding 14.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.

After his big performance against North Carolina, freshman Isaac White experienced a couple of quieter games before scoring 11 points in Stanford’s 78-87 loss to Portland State in their PK80 finale. after winning 3 of their first four games, it was a fourth straight loss for the Cardinal, and came about despite White’s 3-7 three-pointers alongside 4 rebounds and 3 steals.

Another freshman, Kouat Noi, has helped his side to six straight wins and an unblemished record to start the season. In TCU’s latest 89-79 victory over St Bonaventure, a win that saw them come away with the Emerald Classic title, Noi came off the bench to add an impressive 14 points on 5-8 shooting that included 2-3 from beyond the arc. He also 5 rebounds in playing 24 minutes, and was displaying why he is touted as one of the best first year Australian players in college hoops this season.

Bringing a 5-0 start to the season into their game against #21 Xavier, the #16 Baylor hit a roadblock to go down 63-76. 7-foot centre Jo Lual-Acuil Jr played 35 minutes for 8 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks. Baylor will have to bounce back quickly as they next tackle #8 Wichita State this coming weekend.

Bryant split results this week against Hartford and Brown. In their 78-73 win over Hartford—their first victory of the season– senior Bosko Kostur contributed 12 points on 3-6 three-pointers. He would add 8 points and 7 rebounds against Brown, but could not prevent a 67-81 loss this time around.

Damian Arsenis

Written by

A patriotic and passionate follower of all things #AussieHoops. With a Master of Marketing, I am a Life Member of the Warrandyte Basketball Association, Level 2 qualified coach and referee, podcaster, and proud father of three girls.

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