Feb. 13, 2017
"The Stack" 2-10-17
The Stack is back on this Friday with basketball to talk about. Not a lot, but some news to react to so let’s get right to it and see what’s in the “the stack” for today, Friday, February 10th:
Duke holds off UNC in rivalry showdown
Duke and UNC men’s basketball is one of the best rivalries in sports and Thursday night was their first meeting of the season in Durham. It was a very entertaining game. The first half was fast paced and had very few whistles. Overall, the game saw 17 lead changes and nine ties before Duke would pull away thanks to Grayson Allen. Allen was sensational from beyond the arc going 7-for-12 and finishing with 25 points. It was his three pointer late in the second half that helped Duke complete the surge and fend off UNC. Luke Kennard also had a big night for the Blue Devils dropping in 20 and freshman Jason Tatum was incredibly valuable in the second half grabbing key rebounds and making timely buckets. While the Tar Heels were able to play the fast paced style they wanted to, the difference in this game was the three point shooting. Duke went 13-for-27 while UNC went just 4-for-12. They made a lot of their long two point shots, but it wasn’t enough to beat Duke. I’m guessing things will be different in Chapel Hill on March 4th, but boy this was an entertaining game to watch.
UCLA rallies to beat Oregon
The Oregon Ducks came to play last night on the road at UCLA. Dillon Brooks started out hot and the Ducks were running the Bruins out of the gym. Oregon was up by 19 points in the first half, but UCLA closed the gap and cut the lead to single digits. In the second half Oregon was able to keep UCLA at bay for a little bit, but then Lonzo Ball and Bryce Alford made some threes and the Ducks flat out sucked the final ten minutes of the game getting outscored 28-12. They had just one block in the game. This is the team that leads the NCAA in blocks, but they failed to protect the lead. Their offense couldn’t get anything going like they did in the first half and UCLA won 82-79. I still believe in the Ducks more than I do UCLA. I hope they learn from this game and will remember this come the Pac-12 Tournament and the NCAA Tournament, but this was not a good way to make people fully buy into them with that second half performance.
Other college hoops notes
The college hoops world was focused and the aforementioned games above, but there were also some incredible games elsewhere last night. In a battle for the Big South top seed, UNC Asheville was trailing 101-98 in double overtime and then scored the final six points to win 104-101 to take the conference lead. This was an entertaining game, but not as entertaining as the game in the Southern Conference last night between Samford and Wofford. In a game that saw yet another quadruple overtime (what’s up with that this week?), Wofford won 131-127 after Samford (and sons, 70s TV show reference anyone?), hit a three to take a 127-125 only to watch Wofford score a three pointer to regain the lead 128-127. Free throws helped them put the game away. All five Wofford Terrier starters scored in double figures and they only had three guys come off the bench to play in the game so you have to figure they were gassed over this game. The Samford Bulldogs had a little more contribution from their bench, but it wasn’t enough to pick up the win. I bet their dogs were barking after this one going four overtimes and being so tired. I’ll see myself out.
Also of note, Wisconsin beat Nebraska on the road 70-69 last night in overtime on a three point shot with 18.4 seconds left by Nigel Hayes. Somehow Wisconsin is 21-3 and flying under the radar. Might they be a two seed come March? I wouldn’t trust them as a two, but that is what they may get. By the way, Saturday night, the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs travel to St. Mary’s for a West Coast Conference showdown. This is the last chance anyone really has to take Gonzaga down in the regular season. I don’t see it happening. Tipoff is at 8:15 PM ET on ESPN and College Gameday will be there. March is fast approaching people.
New York Knicks circus
It has been an unpleasant week for the New York Knicks. First Phil Jackson sent out a tweet that almost everyone takes as a shot at Carmelo Anthony not wanting to win more. Anthony has a no-trade clause and has said he wants to remain in New York as a Knick, but Jackson is doing everything in his power to try and make Anthony change his mind. The Los Angeles Clippers are a potential destination and to a lesser extent the Cleveland Cavaliers. Apart from Kristaps Porzingis, what has Jackson done in his tenure as the head man in the front office to not be fired at this point by the Knicks. It’s probably because their owner, James Dolan is not a very intelligent owner and doesn’t care about winning.
Speaking of Dolan, he was involved in an incident Wednesday night at the garden between the Clippers and Knicks. Former Knick great Charles Oakley had bought tickets and was sitting a few rows behind Dolan. According to police and other sources, Oakley started yelling at Dolan and security came in and Oakley got even more upset and ended up assaulting three Madison Square Garden employees. They refused medical treatment and Oakley was arrested on multiple assault charges and was booked and released. He has a court date in a few weeks. Oakley says he didn’t yell anything at Dolan and says that once Dolan saw he was there asked security to remove him. I don’t know what the real story is. I guess I would tend to believe Oakley had said something in Dolan’s direction. If not, Dolan is a petty little man. It is just the latest in a string of incidents that make the Knicks one of the most dysfunctional professional teams in all of sports.
Coming up Monday: Reaction to top headlines from the weekend in sports