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NCAA Men: Naar's dimes, Adel on song, and Lual-Acuil Jr throws a block party
Over the past week, Deng Adel lifted his output in two Louisville wins, Jo Lual-Acuil Jr imposed himself in the paint at Baylor, while Emmett Naar ensured Saint Mary's remained unbeaten.
The #12 ranked Louisville continued their unblemished start to the season with wins against William & Mary and Long Beach State over the past week. Deng Adel added 16 points, including eight during Louisville's 10-0 run to close out the first half, to help the Cardinals run away to a 91-58 victory against William & Mary. The 6'7 forward would also add 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals in rounding out a complete performance. He received great support from senior forward Mangok Mathiang who was a beast defensively, pulling down 10 rebounds and blocking 5 shots in the big win.
In their commanding 88-51 win against Long Beach State, both Adel and Mathiang would gather 11 points each. Mathiang would also add 8 rebounds and 2 steals, while Adel had 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 blocked shot. The Cardinals next take on Old Dominion at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas mid-week and are looking threatening behind the outstanding play of their Australians from Melbourne.
Baylor earned their first ever win against a top 5 ranked non-conference opponent when they upset #4 ranked Oregon 66-49. The Bears closed the game out with a 21-9 run, and it was Jo Lual-Acuil Jr who impressed. Lual-Acuil Jr compiled 8 points, 14 rebounds and a staggering 7 blocked shots to narrowly miss out on a rare triple-double. His 7 blocks tied him for 10th-most in a single game in school history, and it was also the first time that the 6'10 Australian had gathered double-digit rebounds in his career.
The Bears backed up their big win to account for Florida Gulf Coast 81-72 to remain unbeaten (3-0). Lual-Acuil Jr gathered a further 12 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks in another block party. The athletic big man has racked up 16 blocks across Baylor's first 3 games, good for 5.3 per game and 5th best in across the nation. Baylor next tackles an undefeated VCU, and expect Lual-Acuil Jr to be prominent once again in patrolling the paint.
A hot-shooting #17 ranked Saint Mary's routed PrairieView A&M, 110-72. The Gaels finished the game shooting 59% from the field and 44% from three-point territory, with junior guard Emmett Naar leading the way. Naar was outstanding, delivering 16 points on 7/8 shooting, while tying his career-high 11 assists without a single turnover. West Coast Conference Player of the Week Jock Landale continued to shine with 13 points (6/10 FG), 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocked shots in 20 minutes. Freshman guard Tanner Krebs added a new career-high 13 points (3/6 3PT), Kyle Clark chipped in 12 points with two triples, and Jordan Hunter had 7 points and 4 rebounds as the Aussie connection took over.
In their next game against Dayton, the Gaels withstood a late 13-1 run to escape with a 61-57 road win. With ice in his veins, Naar converted two free throws with 7 seconds remaining to seal the win. Landale recorded his first double-double of his career with a 16 point and 14 rebound effort, while Clark had 8 points and 7 rebounds in a valuable 30 minutes. While Naar was restricted offensively in scoring just 7 points, he managed a further 8 assists - but this time also coughed it up 7 times. Naar's 9 assists per game has him ranked fourth in the nation as the Gaels remain unbeaten with a 3-0 record and proving why they are a nationally ranked team.
After earning Big South Player of the Week honours, Xavier Cooks had a quiet game in Winthrop's 94-81 win against Manhattan. Cooks was only able to contribute 6 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block in a good win. He quickly put that performance behind him though in the Eagles' 86-100 loss to Florida State. The 6'8 forward poured in a game-high 23 points (9/16 FG) with 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block in a very good individual performance, but their first loss of the season (2-1).
Jack McVeigh had a solid 9 point, 6 rebound and 4 assist outing in 19 minutes as Nebraska demolished Mary 70-38. Louisiana Tech were also no match for the Huskers, with McVeigh scoring 16 of his career-high 21 points after halftime in a convincing 65-54 win. McVeigh initiated a 10-2 second-half run with a pair of three-pointers, turning a 3 point Husker lead into a 52-41 advantage, as the sophomore forward went 4/6 from beyond the arc alongside 5 rebounds and 2 steals. New Zealander Tai Webster also poured in a new career-high 23 points as the ANZAC duo continue to power the streaking Huskers who are now 3-0 and looking dangerous.
Like Cooks, Duop Reath garnered Player of the Week recognition in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and appears to be a ready made replacement for Ben Simmons at Louisiana State (LSU). In LSU's 78-61 win against Southern Mississippi, Reath went 5/8 from the field on his way to 10 points, 2 rebounds and 2 blocks before fouling out in 20 minutes. Reath was again a key factor in LSU's 78-70 win against North Florida. The 6'10 big man delivered 17 points (7/12 FG) with 4 rebounds and 2 blocks in another imposing outing. Fellow Australian Kieran Hayward has been contributing solid minutes off the bench as the Tigers have opened their season with a 3-0 record. Their next contest is against Wichita State in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas this week.
UC Davis ended the Cable Car Classic with a 2-1 record following a 89-76 win against Northern Arizona. Forward Chima Moneke had 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks in the big win, however he was ready to deliver more and did so in their next game. In their 89-75 home-opening win against Holy Names, Moneke exploded for 21 points in 21 minutes to lead 5 players in double figures. He was an efficient 9/11 from the field and also gathered 4 rebounds and 1 block as the Aggies improved to 3-1 on the season. He is definitely a player to keep an eye out for as the season progresses.
Jamaal Robateau earned a start in Gardner-Webb's 80-99 loss to Pittsburgh. The 6'5 guard added just 3 points but had 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in 19 minutes. However Robateau would respond with a new career-high 26 point performance in the Runnin' Bulldogs 68-76 loss to Eastern Michigan in the 2K Classic. Shooting a sizzling-hot 8/10 from the field, the Queenslander hit 5 treys and 5/5 from the line alongside 4 rebounds in an eye-catching performance. Unfortunately he would only manage 2 points and 2 assists in their consolation game at the 2K Classic, a 94-78 victory over Howard, however he has shown he can score heavily when given an opportunity.
In a tough battle, #10 ranked Arizona overcame a feisty Cal State Bakersfield 78-66. Keanu Pinder gave the Wildcats a 53-32 lead with 14:45 to play, and while it was not pretty, the Wildcats were able to grind out the win. Despite Pinder only adding 4 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks, his impact at the defensive was clearly evident. Sacred Heart then proved no match for the Wildcats, being overwhelmed 95-65. Pinder only played 12 minutes in this lop-sided contest, providing 6 points and 3 rebounds as the Wildcats remained unbeaten.
Freshman guard Dejan Vasiljevic came off the bench to land 13 points, including 3 treys, as Miami accounted for North Florida 94-56. The Hurricanes then took care of business against Pennsylvania, running away to a 74-62 victory. Vasiljevic racked up his third straight game in double figures, scoring 11 points, this time going 3/5 from downtown in 18 minutes as Miami remained unbeaten. Vasiljevic has quickly entrenched himself in the main rotation as a trio of freshman have helped spark an encouraging start to the season.
Boise State lost their second game in succession after succumbing to Mississippi State 68-80. They battled much of the first half without senior forward Nick Duncan who suffered a gash to his head. However Duncan would return to action in the second half despite 7 stitches and a bandaged head, finishing with 12 points on 4/8 shooting from beyond the arc in a gutsy performance.
Many might say the knock on the head did him good, as Duncan's hot-shooting extended into the Broncos' big 91-70 win over Western Michigan. The 6'8 forward drained 3/5 from long-range en-route to a 15 point, 5 rebound and 2 assist outing which ensured Boise Stare improved their record to 2-2.
Fabijan Krslovic pulled down a career-high 12 boards as Montana outrebounded the Wyoming 33-32, but the Cowboys' length on the wing proved to be the difference-maker as they prevailed 73-72 in a thriller. Krslovic would also add 6 points, 3 assists and 1 block in the Grizzlies narrow loss.
In their next outing, Krslovic was on his way to recording a double-double before fouling out with 8 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists in Montana's 72-85 loss to North Carolina State at the Paradise Jam. Fellow Australian Jack Lopez would add 7 points in the loss in coming off the bench. Montana would then fall short to Washington State 63-87, with Krslovic chiming in with just 2 points and 7 rebounds in a foul plagued 24 minutes.
It took overtime, but Hartford earned their first win of the season with a thrilling 82-78 win against Niagara. Forward George Blagojevic started and went 6/11 from the field to deliver 15 points with 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals in a stellar performance. Unfortunately for the Hawks, Hartford would lose their next contest 73-87 to Drexel with Blagojevic managing just 3 points and 5 rebounds.
Albany easily dispatched Oneonta 97-56 in a runaway victory. Senior forward Mike Rowley was busy in compiling a team-best 16 points (6/9 FG) with 5 rebounds in just 18 minutes. He led 7 Great Danes in double-digit scoring. Yet in their next outing, Albany fell short 77-82 to Gerard Martin and Grand Canyon. Rowley only gathered 4 points and 10 rebounds, while Martin contributed 8 points and 3 rebounds in the Lopes win.
Hawaii finished the Rainbow Classic with a 2-1 record after winning a thrilling contest 64-63 against Florida Atlantic. Sophomore forward Jack Purchase was good for 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks in playing a mammoth 39 minutes. Fellow countryman Matt Owies also saw some action, with the freshman coming off the bench for 7 minutes in the narrow win. Taking on #5 ranked North Carolina, Hawaii managed to stick with their more highly fancied opponents for most of the game before falling short 68-83. Purchase would go 4/7 from the field to finish with a very good 14 points and 2 rebounds in 27 minutes.
Lafayette may well have uncovered their Australian replacement for Dan Trist, with Myles Cherry showing his potential this past week. In the Leopards' thrilling 84-83 overtime win over NJIT, Cherry delivered 8 points on 3/3 shooting with 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block in 24 minutes.
Matt Donlan was able to gather 11 points in Youngstown State's 78-73 win against Florida International. After a blistering opening to the season, Donlan's three-point shooting has been off, but he has been able to contribute in other ways as the Penguins improved to 2-3 to open their season.
In a solid individual performance this week, senior center Darcy Malone chipped in 8 points and 3 rebounds in 21 minutes in Cal State Fullerton's 88-104 loss to Washington. It was their first loss of the season after a thrilling double-overtime win in their opening game.
At the Las Vegas International, Santa Clara blitzed Northern Colorado 50-30 in the second half to secure an 88-72 win. Junior guard Kai Healy came off the bench to score 11 points (4/8 FG) with 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in 23 minutes in his best outing of the season to date.
Nicholls managed to win their home opener against Mississippi College, 86-55. Center Liam Thomas pulled down 10 of his 11 rebounds in the first half, while also registering 8 points (5/7 FG) with 2 assists and 1 block in 20 minutes.