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Live blog: Tons of fun ahead in the lead-up to Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s

Army vs. Navy, Penn vs. Harvard, Wofford vs. Furman, San Diego State vs. Nevada, and more

Mitchell Northam, Mid-Major Madness

UPDATE: 11:34 p.m.

That dream of a two-bid WAC lives to see another day.

New Mexico State scraped its way back into a physical game against Grand Canyon, which led by as much as 13 points in the second half. The Aggies came away with a 74-70 win behind a massive effort from Jemerrio Jones (27 points, 20 rebounds), who hit the 20-rebound mark for the third game in a row.

A hot start from Oscar Frayer stabilized the Lopes, and a burst out of halftime — led by freshman Alessandro Lever — helped their lead balloon against a struggling Aggies’ offense. But Dan Majerle opted to keep his freshman star in the game after he picked up his fourth foul with over 16 minutes left. That immediately backfired as Lever fouled a few possessions later, taking a technical with him to the locker room.

From there, NMSU attacked the rim with abandon and survived a game where neither offense shot well. The Aggies had not been tested since playing at UC Irvine in late December, and responded well. GCU, on the other hand, can take more positives than negatives from the loss. The Lopes had just fallen at UT Rio Grande Valley, but have now shown that they can compete with the conference’s gatekeeper.

UPDATE: 10:56 p.m.

Furman coach Bob Richey was downright giddy when his Paladins throttled Wofford, 76-52, earlier Saturday. Check out his locker room celebration:

UPDATE: 8:15 p.m.

Caleb Martin, whose season we thought was over, has checked in for Nevada because nothing makes sense and Eric Musselman is a wizard.

Nevada needs this win to keep pace with Boise State in the Mountain West race and this game against San Diego State is huge. Now let’s just cross our fingers and hope Martin doesn’t aggravate this injury.

UPDATE: 7:20 p.m.

We know Savannah State is the clubhouse leader in the fun as hell department. And today no one had more fun than Tigers’ junior wing Alante Fenner, who threw in a career-high 46 points in an overtime win against Morgan State.

Fenner had logged just three 20 plus point or more games coming into today, but nearly broke the scoreboard by doing the following:

  • Playing 39 minutes, a career high.
  • Going six-for-12 from three-point range, a career high in both attempts and makes.
  • And finally, the capper, making 16 of his 17 foul shots. No surprise, both figures are career highs as well.

The win keeps the 9-1 Tigers atop the MEAC as they try to make the NCAA Tournament before dropping out of Div. I.

UPDATE: 6:47 p.m.

Congrats to Florida Gulf Coast, your 2017-18 Atlantic Sun regular season champions. The Eagles, at worst, have earned a spot in the NIT.

UPDATE: 6:05 p.m.

There are no more unbeatens in the Ivy League.

The drunkest conference in the country got a little bit weirder when Harvard knocked off Penn, 76-67. Chris Lewis had 25 points on 10-14 shooting and Seth Towns added 17 more.

So now take a look at the Ivy League standings, keeping in mind that the top four teams qualify for the conference tournament and we are halfway through league play.

UPDATE: 4:47 p.m.

Fresh off snapping Louisiana’s 10-game winning streak (and extending their own 10-game winning streak), Georgia State had the favor returned to them by Louisiana Monroe.

D’Marcus Simonds had 39 points and the Panthers overcame an 11-point halftime deficit to force overtime. But after a wild final few minutes in regulation, Michael Ertel led the Warhawks to a 90-82 win with eight points in the extra period.

Louisiana tips off at Georgia Southern shortly, with a chance to restore its two-game Sun Belt lead.

UPDATE: 3:04 p.m.

Bryant pulled off a massive upset, beating Mount St. Mary’s 79-77. That keeps the Bulldogs alive (albeit barely) in the hunt for an NEC Tournament spot and moves the Mountaineers into a virtual tie with LIU Brooklyn and St. Francis Brooklyn for second place.

That’s only part of the story.

Bryant led by 18 with less than 10 minutes to go and almost blew it in the most unbelievable way imaginable. It was still a seven-point game with 42 seconds left. From there:

  • 2 Junior Robinson free throws to make it a five-point game.
  • Ikenna Ndugba goes 1-2 at the line for Bryant. Six-point game.
  • Robinson goes back to the line, splits the pair, Mount gets the offensive rebound and Chris Wray scores. Three-point game, 19 seconds left.
  • Ndugba again goes 1-2 and Robinson is again fouled. He makes them both. Two-point game, 12 seconds left.
  • Adam Grant splits two free throws, Bryant elects to foul up three and Robinson makes them both. One-point game, four seconds left.
  • Bosko Kostur splits two free throws, Mount St. Mary’s calls a timeout down two with three seconds left.
  • Wray slings an NBA-range three, essentially from the ground, that catches the front rim and BARELY misses. Bryant wins. We’re looking for video.

UPDATE: 2:55 p.m.

Remember when Duquesne was the non-Rhode Island talk of the A-10?

The Dukes’ 5-2 league start feels like a lifetime ago after a blowout loss against Fordham, their fifth in the last six games. They let a sagging Rams offense — which was averaging just 59 points per game in league play — go bonkers.

Freshman Ivan Raut scored a career-high 25 points and helped lead the Rams to an uncharacteristically effective night from deep (8-18 3FG). Keith Dambrot still has a solid debut season cooking with 15 wins overall, but reality has set in in basketball-dreary Pittsburgh.

Gonzaga’s trip to Moraga to face Saint Mary’s is the game that everyone is talking about today, and rightfully so. Give Will’s preview a read here to get ready for it.

But before the Bulldogs and Gaels get going, there is a ton to sort out in the mid-major world. After all, this is LITMUS TEST WEEK.

A few games to keep an eye on:

Wofford at Furman, 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3

Both teams have fallen off a bit in the SoCon race, but the 3 seed in the conference tournament is still very much up for grabs.

Old Dominion at Louisiana Tech, 7 p.m.

The Monarchs have only lost two games in conference play, but are still being overlooked in the Conference USA race. This game in Ruston is a good opportunity to remind the world that this is a three-horse race.

San Diego State at Nevada, 8 p.m., ESPN2

Nevada gets another crack at earning a solid win without Caleb Martin, and the Wolf Pack need this one. They’re still safe in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament committee, but they can’t let a narrative of them being a shell of their former selves develop. Based on the firepower they still have, it should not be true.

Other games to watch:

Navy at Army, 1:30 p.m., CBS Sports
Richmond at St. Bonaventure, 4 p.m.,
Penn at Harvard, 4 p.m., NESN
Robert Morris at LIU Brooklyn, 4:30 p.m., NEC Front Row
Dayton at VCU, 6 p.m., CBS Sports
Wyoming at UNLV, 8 p.m., CBS Sports
Belmont at Tennessee Tech, 8:30 p.m., WCTE
Grand Canyon at New Mexico State, 9 p.m., ESPN3
Boise State at Utah State, 9 p.m., Mountain West Network
Gonzaga at Saint Mary’s (duh), 10 p.m., ESPN2