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Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016: Cardozo, Christ the King set up rematch

   Leading off today: Cardozo defeated Mount Vernon 70-69 in the SNY Invitational boys basketball semifinals at CCNY on Friday, setting up a rematch of last week's thriller vs. Christ the King.

   Aaron Walker (25 points, nine rebounds) converted one of two free throws with 20.9 to play to break a tie, and Mount Vernon's Marco Morency missed a 3-point attempt for the win with :05 remaining.

   "Aaron Walker is an all-city player that Howie Garfinkel, the legendary scout for Five-Star (basketball camp) says he can play anywhere," Cardozo coach Ron Naclerio told MSG Varsity. "College coaches are starting to call and they realize what a warrior he is."

   Dejavaughn Utley added 15 points for the Judges, ranked fifth in Class AA this week by the New York State Sportswriters Association.

   Thirteenth-ranked Mount Vernon got 22 points from Morency.

   The teams combined for 53 fouls and 72 free throws. Cardozo was just 21 of 43 from the line and was outrebounded 52-34.

   A week ago, Cardozo earned a 67-65 home win for Queens bragging rights vs. Christ the King on a buzzer-beating shot by Walker.

   No. 16 Christ the King advance to the SNY title game with a 78-62 win over No. 12 Brentwood. Jared Rivers made four 3-pointers on the way to 20 points, and Jose Alvarado posted 16 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

   Win or lose Saturday, the Royals have a CHSAA battle with No. 7 Archbishop Molloy on Sunday -- their third ranked opponent in three days.

   "It was extremely important knowing we've got three tough games," Rivers said.

   Bouncing back: Mamaroneck responded to last week's 6-1 loss to Division II power Pelham by earning a 4-2 victory over Suffern in Division I boys hockey between state-ranked squads.

   Mamaroneck is ranked sixth and Suffern ninth in the latest NYSSWA rankings.

   "We've noticed that we haven't been very loose going into games, so we kind of had a team meeting," senior forward Will Arbo told MSG Varsity. "We organized everyone in the locker room and let everything out -- what everyone was feeling."

   Whatever was said worked. The Tigers beat their rival for the first time since 2012.

   "Panic mode from last week is gone," Mamaroneck coach Mike Chiapparelli said after Will Payne and Arbo scored second-period goals to give the Tigers the lead for good.

   Harbaugh goes on the defensive: University of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh responded Friday to criticism about the rapid turnover of recruits the football team has had leading up to Wednesday's national signing day.

   Two high school seniors who long ago committed to Michigan said the Wolverines coaching staff informed them in the past two weeks that their offers were no longer guaranteed, ESPN reported. Other prospects have since announced their intention to sign with Michigan, presumably taking the recently vacated scholarships.

   Chicago-area lineman Erik Swenson, who committed to ex-coach Brady Hoke in 2013, learned last week he had been dropped. On Monday, Florida defender Rashad Weaver, who committed to Michigan last June, tweeted that Harbaugh told him of a "50-50" chance there'd still be a

scholarship available.

   We don't hide how we operate and what we do," Harbaugh said while attending a news conference for new athletic director Warde Manuel. "It's a meritocracy with everything we do in our program. It's going to continue to be that."

   My colleague Stewart Mandel dug into the topic in a column this week, noting nine Wolverines pledges in the class of 2016 have decommitted, including five this month. "It's safe to assume they weren't all voluntary," he wrote.

   Mandel reported Michigan is expected to sign as many as 30 players from this recruiting class, which means it will need to clear room. That could mean delaying enrollment for some signees and/or pulling scholarships from others.

   Mandel wrote The Big Ten "can no longer claim moral superiority over the SEC or any other league when it comes to shady recruiting practices. The conference that once prided itself on so-called gentlemen's agreements and honoring commitments is no different from anybody else."

   Added SBNation's Bud Elliott: "I often hear the refrain on social media that kids drop schools all the time, so schools should be able to drop them. But the key word here is 'kids.' Kids are going to act like kids, but schools are run by adults and should act like it."

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