Harvard falls to Oklahoma St. in NIT, 71-54

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Harvard falls to Oklahoma St. in NIT, 71-54

TILLWATER, Okla. (AP) After its fastest start of the season, Oklahoma State didn't need much of a second half to knock Harvard out of the NIT.

The third-seeded Cowboys scored a season-high 41 points in the first half on the way to a 71-54 victory Tuesday night behind 18 points and eight rebounds from forward Marshall Moses.

"Our guys were ready," Moses said. "Everybody was on the same page and wanted to win."

Reger Dowell went 6 for 7 from the field and scored 15 points and Matt Pilgrim added 12 as six Cowboys scored six or more points.

Oklahoma State (20-13) took a 14-point lead into halftime thanks to a 14-4 run midway through the first half.

"I was just excited the way they came out," said Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford, who thought his team was the most excited it's been all season. "I wasn't quite sure exactly how they were going to come out. I was watching them in pregame talk and I thought they were ready. How we started the game, I felt very good from that point. I felt we were ready to play."

Junior Keiton Page, who finished with eight points, hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to start the spurt and Roger Franklin capped it with a jump shot from the baseline. The Cowboys held Harvard (23-7) to one basket during the four-minute stretch.

Markel Brown had seven points, three rebounds and three assists for Oklahoma State.

"I was very impressed with their quickness and their speed," Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. "It certainly knocked us back on our heels early."

Kyle Casey led sixth-seeded Harvard with 13 points and seven rebounds, while Ivy League player of the year Keith Wright scored 10 points and hit double figures for the 15th straight game. Laurent Rivard added 10 off the bench for Harvard, which totaled its fewest points since scoring 52 in a loss to Connecticut on Dec. 22, 2010.

Oklahoma State outrebounded Harvard 17-9 in the first half and 31-23 for the game.

"Their guys up front, Pilgrim and Moses, they are strong, they are veterans and they are senior players," Amaker said. "They played like it."

The Crimson ranked second nationally in free throw percentage, but went 4 for 7 from the line. It was a season low in both attempts and makes.

Harvard made its first NIT appearance after winning at least a share of the Ivy League for the first time in school history. The Crimson lost to Princeton on a shot at the buzzer in a tiebreaker for the league's automatic NCAA tournament berth.

Oklahoma State, which won its 32nd consecutive non-conference home game, will play the winner between No. 2 Washington State and No. 7 Long Beach State winner. The higher seed will host.

"It's a little difficult for someone like me, who loves to prepare," Ford said. "Not only do we not know who we are playing, but we don't know when we are playing."

Turner jokes that Celtics will retire his number

Turner jokes that Celtics will retire his number

It’s not the craziest thing someone has said on Twitter, but Evan Turner tweeted Monday that the Celtics should retire his number. 

It was a joke, of course, as the former Celtic was reacting to news that Isaiah Thomas had said he liked the No. 11 and would change his jersey number if so many people in Boston hadn’t already purchased his No. 4 jersey. 

After Turner joked that No. 11 was going to be retired, Thomas joked back that he would wear No. 11 as a tribute to the current Trail Blazer. 

Prior to being traded to Boston, Thomas wore No. 22 for Sacramento and No. 3 for Phoenix. 

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

For weeks the speculation regarding Josh McDaniels wasn't a matter of "if" but "when."

But while national media had McDaniels signed, sealed and delivered to multiple landing spots, the proposition that he'd leave at all was never a likelihood. 

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The Rams weren't attractive to him from the outset. Jacksonville didn't excite him, either. And on Monday, he passed on the 49ers opportunity. 

The lure of a blank slate in San Fran at quarterback and GM didn't outpace the uncertainty of going cross-country to work for a seemingly dysfunctional franchise that's cycled rapidly through coaches and has an unrealistic sense that it's a long, long way removed from its glory days, the only remnant remaining from that being perhaps the logo on the helmet. 

With four kids and a job McDaniels considers one of the 10 best on coaching -- head man or no -- he will stay on as the Patriots' offensive coordinator.

"I was really impressed with (Niners owner) Jed York and (team executive) Paraag Marathe . . . and the people that came from the 49ers organization," McDaniels said on a conference call this morning. "They did a great job with their presentation. Humbled to be included in that process. At this time it's just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out."

The same faulty speculative reasoning that had McDaniels as good as gone from the Patriots will move on undeterred today and surmise that McDaniels is staying with the Patriots because he knows, or has been promised, that he'll receive the head coaching job when Bill Belichick steps aside. 

While the Kraft family certainly thinks highly of McDaniels and that could come to pass, anyone tapping their foot and checking their watch waiting for Belichick to step down is in for a long wait. He's showing no signs of wrapping it up and, while I haven't been told directly McDaniels isn't the automatic successor, he wouldn't be taking interviews at all if he were assured that. 

What will be interesting to see is whether interest remains high in him for other jobs or the perception that he's never going to leave means teams don't bother to ask. San Fran obviously had its heart set on McDaniels. Even though Nick Caserio passed on the chance to interview with the Niners for their open GM job, the team did talk to Louis Riddick about the spot. He and McDaniels have high regard for each other. 

Between McDaniels, Caserio and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, the people closest to Belichick on the coaching flow chart all had chances to go somewhere else and all passed on the chance. It's another example of not why the Patriots are good but why they remain good. Stability.