The interesting stage of the American college season has arrived with teams embarking on conference schedules.
No 12 ranked Virginia Cavaliers opened Atlantic Coast Conference play with an upset 61-53 win at No 6 Louisville on Thursday. Centre Jack Salt only scored two points but he did snare a game high 7 rebounds in the victory.
Also upsetting higher seeded opposition on enemy territory were Tai Webster and Nebraska. The Huskers won 87-83 at Indiana to open their Big Ten Conference campaign in style with the Tall Blacks point guard scoring 21 points. He also came up with 4 steals a brace of assists and 4 rebounds. What made the win even more meritorious was the fact that Indiana had won 26 straight home games leading into Thursday’s encounter.
Incidentally that is fourteen straight double-digit scoring performances from Webster, one of only two seniors on a very young Huskers team.
Freshman Tai Wynyard has found it difficult to gain quality court time at powerhouse Kentucky Wildcats averaging just three minutes an outing in the 8 appearances he has made in the current campaign. The Wildcats swept aside University of Mississippi Rebels 99-76 on Friday with Wynyard required for just 2 minutes and not troubling the scorers.
Fellow Freshman Izayah Le’Afa had managed eight starts at Sacramento State Hornets but the point guard had struggled to get his shooting game going in the early part of the season. Le’Afa had connected with only 4 of 21 three-point attempts and an overall 7 from 33 from the field.
That changed a little on Friday, the former St Pat’s College standout recording a season high 10 points in the opening Big Sky Conference game. Unfortunately the Hornets went down at home to Northern Colorado 69-53 but Le’Afa will be encouraged after connecting with 2 from 5 triples on 4 from 7 shooting overall.
It isn’t good news from Spain where Zaragoza suffered a disappointing loss at lowly Joventut, going down 84-80, and slipping into the bottom half of the Liga Endesa table with a 5-8 record. Isaac Fotu managed 8 points (4/6FG) and 4 rebounds in the defeat.
Junior Tall Black Quinn Clinton has committed to the University of New Mexico for the next four years. The Canterbury shooting guard joins the Lobos after helping the JTB’s advance to the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championships following their victory over Australia at the Oceania Championships.
Clinton follows in the footsteps of fellow JTB’s Sam Waardenburg (University of Miami) and Takki Fahrensohn (University of Portland) in committing to an American college programme. Others from the team, including guards Tobias Cameron and Isaac Letoa, are likely to follow suit in the near future.