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Posted on: November 25, 2011 11:31 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2011 11:46 pm

Night Court: MJ's son takes center stage in upset

By Jeff Goodman

(NOTE: We will file a Night Court almost every night this season. Follow @GaryParrishCBS, @GoodmanCBS, @MattNorlander, @JeffBorzello and @EyeOnCBBon Twitter to make sure it gets sent to you as soon as it's posted.)

Here’s everything you need to know about Friday’s slate of college basketball games …

Game of the day: Central Florida stormed back from a 17-point deficit with 16 minutes left in the game and knocked off No. 4 UConn in the Bahamas. Keith Clanton and Marcus Jordan (right) each had 20 points in the 68-63 victory. 

Win to brag about: Marshall has received plenty of preseason hype and the Thundering Herd got a huge victory at Cincinnati. The Bearcats are no longer a Top 25 club after a loss last week to Presbyterian, but this was still an important win for Tom Herrion & Co., if Marshall wants to be in the conversation for at an-large bid come March. 

Loss to hide from: Florida State falling to Harvard. Listen, there's no shame in losing to Harvard this season. The Crimson could wind up running the table in the Ivy League. However, the Seminoles only scored 41 points in the entire game - and a team with a frontline with NBA size was outrebounded by Harvard, 40-30. Leonard Hamilton's team had just five assists. 

Player who deserves improper benefits: Michael Jordan's younger son, Marcus, went for 20 points, grabbed seven rebounds and also dished out seven assists in the win over UConn. He made huge baskets - and also critical free throws - in the waning minutes of the game. 

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: We'll give to to a pair of Oklahoma State freshmen: Highly touted forward Le'Bryan Nash and point guard Cezar Guerrero. Nash finished with the goose egg in 11 minutes and Guerrero had just three points, three turnovers and no assists in the loss to Virginia Tech in the NIT consolation game. 

Numbers don’t lie:

32: That's the number of points scored by Boston College freshman Patrick Heckmann. The German native was 9-of-13 from the field, 4-of-5 from deep and make all 10 of his free throws in an overtime win over UC Riverside. 

250: Rick Pitino won his 250th career game at Louisville, but it was more difficult than expected - as the Cards beat Ohio University, 59-54. 

11.6: That's the rebounding average of UNLV's Mike Moser through five games this season. Moser transferred after one season at UCLA and had 13 more boards on Friday - in a win over USC. 

Three other notable results:

Saint Louis knocked off Villanova, 80-68, and went to 5-0 for the first time since the 1997-98 campaign. 

Ole Miss took care of Miami, 64-61, in overtime down in Oxford, Miss. 

Dayton beat Fairfield, 56-49, to advance to the championship game of the Old Spice Classic down in Orlando - and a matchup with Minnesota for the title. 


Florida junior forward Erik Murphy suffered a knee injury in practice on Thursday and sat out Friday's win. The extent of his injury is still unclear - per source. 

Xavier's Travis Taylor, who averaged just 4.3 points and 5 boards over the first three games, had a double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds) in a 70-56 win over Georgia. 

Clemson's Milton Jennings, a heralded Top 50 recruit coming out of high school, had a career night with 22 points and 14 boards in a win over Furman. 

On tap: 

The Battle 4 Atlantis consolation game may be more intriguing than the title contest. UConn plays Florida State at 2 p.m. and will be followed by Central Florida vs. Harvard for the championship. 

President Obama will be in attendance for the Oregon State-Towson game. No, not because it's Pat Skerry's home debut with the Tigers. He'll be there to watch Oregon State coach Craig Robinson, better-known as Michelle Obama's brother. 

Posted on: November 7, 2011 12:45 pm

Marshall a safe haven for second-chance players

Jeff Borzello

Looking up and down the Marshall roster, one notices that the Thundering Herd might not have been the first choice for most of the players.

Justin Coleman originally committed to Louisville before being ruled a non-qualifier; DeAndre Kane (partial qualifier) and Jamir Hanner (prep school) were once pledged to Seton Hall; Robert Goff was an Oklahoma commit before heading to junior college; J.P. Kambola was a non-qualifier; and Yous Mbao is a Marquette transfer.

Head coach Tom Herrion doesn’t mind being something of a second-chance opportunity for his players.

“Not every place is the perfect place for a kid,” Herrion said by phone. “I think there’s an indictment or a stigma that kids who are partial or non-qualifiers have baggage. I don’t think that’s fair.”

If everything comes together this season for Herrion and his team, Marshall could be a Conference-USA contender and an NCAA tournament team. There’s talent across the board; it’s just a matter of everyone playing to their collective potential.

While there might be some rust due to some of the players sitting out, Herrion expects his players to be motivated to prove the doubters wrong.

“There’s no doubt,” he said. “You’re truly taking away the game from those young men for a year. It makes them humble, hungrier. And we want them to be hungrier.”

Marshall returns its top two scorers from last season, in Kane (15.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.4 apg) and senior Damier Pitts (16.2, 4.7 apg). Senior guards Shaquille Johnson (8.7) and Dago Pena (7.2) are also back on the perimeter. Fourth-year junior Nigel Spikes (5.1, 5.9) will attempt to anchor the frontline.

What has everyone excited, though, is the influx of newcomers Herrion is welcoming into the fold. Chief among them is Coleman, a five-star recruit out of high school who didn’t qualify at Louisville and sat out last season. Mbao and Goff are expected to split time at center, while junior college transfer Dennis Tinnon is a big-time rebounder who should make an impact. Four other freshmen are also going to contribute.

With experienced veterans returning and loads of firepower coming in, Herrion will have to handle playing time problems as they come along.

“You coach attitude and chemistry everyday,” he said. “We have improved our talent level from top to bottom in a very short time, and these kids have thrived in this environment. I like where we are and where I think we can go. Roles will continue to shake out. You’ll have guys that have to figure it out. Guys will make the decisions for you.”

The perimeter trio of Kane, Coleman and Pitts could be one of the most explosive in college basketball – if everyone’s personalities mesh well. Kane is known for playing too emotional at times, while Pitts missed the first exhibition game due to coach’s decision.

Herrion said Kane is maturing and embracing being a leader, while Pitts is adjusting to potentially not being the leading scorer for the Herd. Coleman was ranked on our top 30 freshmen list, checking in at No. 23. He could be the key to Marshall’s success.

“He’s inch-for-inch, pound-for-pound, as talented a guy as I’ve been around,” Herrion said. “He’s a 6-foot-5 athletic stud. As he continues to figure it all out, his God-given ability will come out.”

Herrion has his work cut out for him – but it’s problems most coaches would like to have: a huge influx of talent mixed with several top returnees, leading to questions about playing time. With games on the docket against Cincinnati, Syracuse, West Virginia, Iona and Belmont (twice), the Thundering Herd will get a chance to make some noise immediately.

“We’re going to be tested from the tap,” Herrion said. “We want to put ourselves in position. We haven’t done a whole lot, but there’s been talk about us. It’s a long road, and we have things to prove.”

Fortunately for Herrion, he has loads of talent to help him change the culture -- even if they are "second-chance" players. 

Photo: US Presswire

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or