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  • Top 25 roundup: N.C. State topples No. 2 Arizona
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, November 23, 2017

    PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas -- Senior Allerik Freeman scored 24 points and freshman Braxton Beverly added 20 to help unranked North Carolina State upset No. 2 Arizona 90-84 in the quarterfinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Thursday.

    • North Carolina State (5-0) went on a 15-3 run in the final minutes of the game to secure the win. It held its biggest lead of the game at 87-77 with 1:48 left.

      Arizona (3-1) made it close -- 88-82 -- on Allonzo Trier's two free throws with 15.1 seconds left, but that is as close as it could get. A big difference was the bench. North Carolina State had 39 bench points to Arizona's six.

      Trier, the leading scorer in the country after three games at 30 points per game, finished with 27 points. Teammate Deandre Ayton had 27 points and 14 rebounds.

      No. 13 Notre Dame 67, No. 6 Wichita State 66

      LAHAINA, Hawaii -- Martinas Geben made two free throws with 2.3 seconds to play, capping a second-half comeback and lifting the Fighting Irish to a thrilling win over the Shockers in the championship game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.

      Notre Dame (6-0) trailed by as many as 16 points but found its shooting touch in the second half to get back in the game. The Fighting Irish took its first lead since early in the game on Geben's free throws.

      Bonzie Colson had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Matt Farrell added 15 points and came up with a huge steal for the Irish in the final minute. Zach Brown led Wichita State (4-1) with 14 points.

      No. 5 Villanova 66, Western Kentucky 58

      PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas -- Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges combined for 35 points on 14-of-24 shooting to lift the Wildcats to a win over the Hilltoppers in a first-round game of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

      The Wildcats (4-0) face Tennessee in a semifinal game Thursday. The Hilltoppers (2-2) will face Purdue in a consolation-bracket game.

      Brunson finished with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Bridges had 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting, and he produced eight rebounds and five steals. Western Kentucky was led by former Kansas player Dwight Coleby, who finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

      No. 8 Kentucky 86, Fort Wayne 67

      LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Freshman Nick Richards had 25 points and 15 rebounds as the Wildcats concluded their run of three games in six days before the Thanksgiving break with a victory over the Mastodons.

      Three other players scored in double figures for Kentucky (5-1) -- freshmen Quade Green, Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, each with 11 points.

      Fort Wayne (3-2) got 19 points from John Konchar, while Bryson Scott added 18 and Kason Harrell had 12.

      No. 10 Southern California 88, Lehigh 63

      LOS ANGELES -- Jonah Mathews made four 3-pointers, pacing the Trojans to a rout of the Mountain Hawks.

      Mathews scored 18 points, while Bennie Boatwright topped USC with 19 points. Boatwright also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, and Chimezie Metu had 15 points and nine boards for the Trojans (4-0).

      Lehigh (3-2) got a game-high 24 points from Kahron Ross, while Lance Tejada added 19 points.

      No. 11 Miami 57, La Salle 46

      READING, Pa. -- Dewan Huell scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Hurricanes to a nonconference win over the cold-shooting Explorers.

      The game was played on a neutral court about an hour away from La Salle's campus in Philadelphia as Miami coach Jim Larranaga followed through on a promise to recruit Lonnie Walker. He was able to recruit Walker with the promise he would play a game in his hometown -- and the building was full of Walker's family and friends.

      Walker scored just five points, grabbed two rebounds and dished out two assists for the Hurricanes (4-0). Pookie Powell led La Salle (3-3) with 17 points, and B.J. Johnson posted 16 points and 16 rebounds in the loss.

      No. 12 Cincinnati 78, Wyoming 53

      GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands -- Gary Clark scored 17 points and Kyle Washington added 16 points and 11 rebounds in the Bearcats' victory over Wyoming in the championship game of the Cayman Islands Classic.

      Cincinnati (6-0) made 50 percent of its shots from the field, including 7 of 14 from 3-point range compared to 31.3 percent from the field for Wyoming (4-1).

      Hayden Dalton had 15 points and five rebounds for the Cowboys, while Alan Herndon and Louis Adams each had 12 points.

      Tennessee 78, No. 18 Purdue 75 (OT)

      PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas -- Grant Williams scored with 14.5 seconds remaining in overtime, and James Daniel sank two free throws with two seconds to go as the Volunteers upset the Boilermakers in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

      Williams scored all 22 of his points after halftime, and Lamonte Turner added 17 for the Volunteers (3-0), who outscored Purdue 8-2 in the final 1:31. Turner forced overtime with a tying 3-pointer with 5.1 seconds remaining in regulation.

      Purdue (4-1) got 21 points from Carsen Edwards, 15 from Dakota Mathias, 13 from Isaac Haas, and 11 each from Vince Edwards and P.J. Thompson.

  • Louisville: Player tied to Pitino firing will not play for Cardinals
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, November 22, 2017

    Louisville announced Wednesday that freshman Brian Bowen, tied to the Rick Pitino firing and one of the players at the center of the FBI probe into corruption in college basketball, will never play for the Cardinals.

    • Bowen, a former McDonald's All-American, will be provided written permission by Louisville to transfer to another school if he chooses. He will remain on scholarship as long as he is at Louisville but can't practice with the team, according to the university.

      "Brian has been a responsible young man for the institution since he enrolled," Louisville interim athletic director Vince Tyra said. "He has endeared himself to his teammates and the men's basketball staff with a positive attitude during a very difficult period."

      Bowen was suspended indefinitely in late September after an FBI investigation into corruption and bribery in college basketball recruiting. Federal documents allege that Adidas funneled $100,000 to the family of an unnamed player, later identified as Bowen, to sign with Louisville at the request of a Cardinals coach. The unnamed elite recruit committed to Louisville on June 3, the same date Bowen made his announcement that he had chosen the Cardinals.

      Bowen, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Saginaw, Mich., was a five-star prospect coming out of high school. He averaged 20.4 points and seven rebounds last season at La Lumiere School in La Porte, Ind.

      Pitino was officially fired as head coach at Louisville on Oct. 16 in the wake of the FBI investigation. Pitino has insisted he was not involved in the scandal.

      Jason Setchen, Bowen's lawyer, said Bowen found out about Louisville's decision through Twitter, according to ESPN. The lawyer said Bowen still wants to play college basketball as opposed to going overseas or playing in the G League, the NBA's development league.

      "Brian's done nothing wrong," Setchen said. "We've gone above and beyond in an effort to provide the university and the NCAA with unfettered access to evidence in support of our position -- which is that he had no knowledge or involvement in any purported scheme.

      "Our expectation was ultimately that he would be reinstated and be able to play and treated fairly. I don't believe he was treated fairly by Louisville, but my conversations with the NCAA give me every reason to believe he will be afforded due process and ultimately given his dream to play college basketball."

  • Trump calls LaVar Ball an 'ungrateful fool'
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, November 22, 2017

    President Donald Trump criticized LaVar Ball again for downplaying his role in bringing home three UCLA basketball players, including Ball's son, after a recent shoplifting incident in China during a team trip.

    • Earlier this week in his ongoing dispute with Ball, Trump said of the freshmen players: "I should have left them in jail."

      On Wednesday morning, two days after Ball appeared on CNN, Trump called him as an "ungrateful fool" and "just a poor man's version of Don King, but without the hair" in a series of tweets.

      Trump took full credit in the latest tweet for intervening on behalf of Ball's son, LiAngelo, and UCLA teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, who were arrested on Nov. 7 for allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team's hotel in Hangzhou, where the Bruins had been staying before leaving for Shanghai to face Georgia Tech.

      "It wasn't the White House, it wasn't the State Department, it wasn't father LaVar's so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence - IT WAS ME," Trump wrote in a two-part tweet early Wednesday morning. "Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man's version of Don King, but without the hair.

      "Just think LaVar, you could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you. But remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It's a really big deal, especially in China. Ungrateful fool!"

      LaVar Ball, also the father of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, appeared on CNN on Monday night and refused to thank Trump for his involvement in helping to ensure the release of the three UCLA players so they could to return home safely.

      Trump, while visiting Beijing last week as part of a five-nation Asia tour, personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the case of the trio.

      Days after Trump discussed his involvement last week, LaVar Ball suggested the president had little to do with the matter.

      "Who?" LaVar Ball told ESPN on Friday when asked about Trump's involvement in getting the players released from China and back to the United States. "What was he over there for? Don't tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out."

      During Monday night's CNN appearance, the outspoken Ball doubled down about the president.

      "Did he help the boys get out?" Ball told CNN host Chris Cuomo. "I don't know. If I was going to thank someone, I would probably thank President Xi.

      "I would have said 'thank you' if he put him on his plane and took him home. Then I would have said, 'Thank you, Mr. Trump, for taking my boys out of China and bringing them back to the U.S.' There's a lot of room on that plane. I would have said, thank you kindly for that."

      LiAngelo Ball, Riley and Hill landed in Los Angeles on Nov. 14 and addressed the media the next day before being indefinitely suspended by the team. The three UCLA players individually thanked Trump for his help in their release.

  • Top 25 roundup: No. 3 Kansas sets 3-pointer record
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, November 22, 2017

    LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Third-ranked Kansas set a school record with 19 3-pointers Tuesday night while routing road-weary Texas Southern 114-71 in Allen Fieldhouse.

    • Svi Mykhailiuk didn't score a point in the first 10 minutes but poured in 13 in a five-minute span in the first half and finished with 21 points in 26 minutes for the Jayhawks (4-0). He hit 7 of 9 field-goal attempts, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range.

      The previous school record of 15 3-pointers was set Jan. 25, 2005, against Baylor. Kansas was within three of that mark at halftime, which was another school record.

      The Tigers (0-5), in the midst of a 13-game road trip, jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead but was buried after that under an avalanche of hot Jayhawks shooting. Kansas reeled off runs of 17-3, 18-2 and 15-0 to lead 66-30 at halftime.

      No. 6 Wichita State 80, Marquette 66

      LAHAINA, Hawaii -- Landry Shamet paced a balanced attack, and Wichita State pulled away from Marquette in the second half in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational.

      Shamet led four Shockers in double figures with 19 points. Conner Frankamp added 13 points, and Shaquille Morris had 11 points for Wichita State (4-0), which advanced to face No. 13 Notre Dame in Wednesday's championship game.

      Andrew Rowsey had 26 points, and Markus Howard finished with 25 points to lead the Golden Eagles (2-2), who appeared to wear down late in the second half.

      No. 12 Cincinnati 75, Richmond 48

      GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands -- Cincinnati advanced to the championship game of the Cayman Islands Classic behind a fine all-around performance from forward Gary Clark in a rout of Richmond.

      Clark finished with eight points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Reserve Cane Broome added 13 points and Jacob Evans had 12 in the win for the Bearcats (5-0), who play Wyoming in the title game Wednesday at the 2,000-seat John Gray Gymnasium.

      The cold-shooting Spiders (1-3) did not have a double-figure scorer until Jacob Gilyard made two free throws with 1:29 remaining. He finished with 12 points.

      No. 13 Notre Dame 92, LSU 53

      LAHAINA, Hawaii -- T.J. Gibbs scored 26 points and Notre Dame blew past LSU in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational.

      Matt Farrell added 17 points and seven assists, and Bonzie Colson finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and five steals for the Fighting Irish (5-0). Gibbs hit six of Notre Dame's 15 3-pointers and also had four assists and three rebounds.

      Duop Reath scored 17 points to lead the Tigers (3-1), who will face Marquette in Wednesday's consolation game. Reath was the only LSU player who wound up with double-figure points.

      No. 14 Minnesota 100, Alabama A&M 57

      MINNEAPOLIS -- Jordan Murphy continued his run of double-doubles with 20 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes as Minnesota routed Alabama A&M.

      Davonte Fitzgerald had 13 points to lead a strong performance from the Golden Gophers bench. Nate Mason scored 12 points and Reggie Lynch added 11 for Minnesota (5-0). Murphy, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week, has posted a double-double in every game this season.

      The Golden Gophers shot 61.4 percent from the field. Mohamed Sherif led the Bulldogs (0-4) with 10 points.

      No. 16 Texas A&M 98, Penn State 87

      NEW YORK -- Duane Wilson scored 22 points and Robert Williams added 21 as Texas A&M defeated Penn State in the final of the Legends Classic.

      Wilson and Williams were nearly perfect from the field and played a big role in the Aggies (4-0) knocking off the previously unbeaten Nittany Lions (5-1). Wilson made 7 of 10 shots from the field and all seven free throws. Williams hit 10 of 12 from the field and added nine rebounds.

      Tony Carr finished with a game-high 31 points while Lamar Stevens added 25 for Penn State.

      No. 19 Louisville 84, Southern Illinois 42

      LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville started slowly but used a 20-2 first-half run and a dominant second half to crush visiting Southern Illinois.

      Jordan Nwora led the Cardinals (3-0) with 18 points. Deng Adel finished with 16 points and seven rebounds while Darius Perry had 10 points and seven assists for Louisville.

      The Salukis (2-1) were led by Armon Fletcher's 11 points and seven rebounds.

      No. 22 Baylor 65, Creighton 59

      KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tournament MVP Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. recorded 15 points and 15 rebounds as Baylor defeated Creighton in the championship game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic.

      King McClure scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half for the Bears (5-0). Terry Maston added 15 points and eight rebounds while leading scorer Manu Lecomte was held to nine points for Baylor.

      The Bluejays (4-1) were led by Khyri Thomas with 15 points. Marcus Foster added 12, Martin Krampelj had 11 and Ty-Shon Alexander had 10.

      No. 23 UCLA 72, Wisconsin 70

      KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Aaron Holiday hit a layup as time expired to lift UCLA past Wisconsin in the consolation game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic.

      Holiday led the Bruins (4-1) with 18 points. He was joined in double figures by Gyorgy Goloman and Thomas Welsh with 11 points apiece, and Jaylen Hands and Prince Ali with 10 each.

      The Badgers (2-3) were led by Ethan Happ with 19 points. Dmitrik Trice, Khalil Iverson and Brad Davison each had 14.

      No. 25 Alabama 77, Texas-Arlington 76

      TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama turned up its defensive pressure in the second half to make its return to the Top 25 a successful one -- barely -- with a narrow victory over Texas-Arlington.

      The Crimson Tide forced 14 turnovers and held the Mavericks to 39 percent shooting after halftime, and Arlington's Erick Neal missed a potential game-winning shot as time expired.

      Collin Sexton, the only player in double figures for Alabama (4-0), scored a game-high 29 points. Kevin Hervey led the Mavericks (2-1) with 24 points. Neal added 16 points and dished out 12 assists.

  • No. 8 Kentucky hosts Fort Wayne amid growing pains
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, November 22, 2017

    LEXNGTON, Ky. -- Eighth-ranked Kentucky wraps up a whirlwind of games before Thanksgiving when the Wildcats welcome Fort Wayne to Rupp Arena on Wednesday.

    • It will be the third game in six days for the Wildcats.

      Kentucky (4-1) will be favored against the Summit League team, just as it was Friday against East Tennessee State and Monday against Troy -- both victories. But that doesn't mean coach John Calipari is happy about the frequency of games for his freshman-dominated team.

      "The problem is that we can't have a real practice," Calipari said. "We've got to get by this spell of games and get some time on the floor where we can work on stuff because right now we're trying to do it on the fly. It's hard."

      On Monday, Kentucky blew out to a 21-point lead but wilted down the stretch and won by only 70-62. On Friday, the Wildcats fell behind East Tennessee by 10 early before rallying to win 78-61.

      "We're just not ready to play 40 minutes because they will revert," Calipari said. "They let go. They go back to their old ways. We just have breakdown after breakdown as soon as we get a little fatigued, and that's the fight.

      "Whether it's going to take a loss to a team that we should beat, I don't know. But at some point, we're going to have to play 40 minutes of basketball."

      Kentucky's freshmen are all over the board during the early part of this season.

      P.J. Washington, despite being a forward, not a point guard, leads the team with 20 turnovers. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a point guard, has 18 assists versus 17 turnovers. Forward Kevin Knox has 13 turnovers. The only players to the good aren't that great as point guard Quade Green has 13 assists and seven turnovers and guard Hamidou Diallo with 11 and eight.

      As a team, Kentucky is upside down in its assist-to-turnover ratio, 76 to 80.

      "There's turnovers in there for no reason," Calipari said. "Lack of execution. This is a freshman team. It's the kind of stuff they do. And I told them I'm going to have to teach them how to win and they have to listen, when we're in situations, every possession still matters. They don't see that yet. But they will."

      Knox is Kentucky's leading scorer and rebounder at 15.4 points per game to go with 7.2 boards. Diallo checks in at 12.6 points and Green at 11.8.

      Kentucky is shooting 45.6 percent from the field, including 37.1 from 3-point range. They are only 62.7 percent from the foul line.

      The Mastodons (3-1) lost their season opener 85-71 at Oakland, but have since won three straight -- 114-59 over Defiance, 85-71 over Delware State and 67-51 over Illinois-Chicago.

      Senior guard John Konchar, the only returning starter from last year's 20-win team, leads Fort Wayne by averaging 11.3 points and 11.5 rebounds despite being only 6 feet 5. Senior guard Bryson Scott is the leading scorer at 22.0 points per game. Next comes junior guard Kason Harrell at 12.8.

      Fort Wayne shoots 43.4 percent, including 38.5 from 3-point range. The Mastodons average 41.3 rebounds and 17.5 assists.

      Fort Wayne rocked the college basketball world at this stage one year ago Wednesday with a stunning upset of No. 3 Indiana.

  • USC's balance will be tough for Lehigh to counter
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, November 22, 2017

    LOS ANGELES -- A variety of offensive weapons have impacted each of the first three games of the season by No. 10-ranked USC -- all wins. That balance will be difficult for Lehigh to defend when the teams meet Wednesday at Galen Center.

    • The Trojans survived a scare on the road Nov. 19 at Vanderbilt, needing overtime to hold off the Commodores, 93-89. In that contest -- in which USC rallied from a double-digit deficit -- guard Jordan McLaughlin's 3-point shooting was the newest element of the offense to emerge.

      He knocked down 5 of 11 from behind the arc, including the game-tying shot to force overtime, which McLaughlin made off the dribble when freed up on a ball screen.

      McLaughlin, hitting a career-high 35 points, gives USC a different leading scorer in each of its first three contests, and it marked the second time in as many outings that a Trojan hit a career-high. In a reversal of roles, forward Bennie Boatwright -- typically a 3-point shooter -- scored a personal best 28 points Nov. 13 against North Dakota State while hitting only one basket from deep.

      Forward Chimezie Metu scored 18 points to lead the way in the Nov. 10 season opener against Cal State Fullerton.

      "Now that we got a more experienced team, a deeper team, it gives us an advantage over our opponents," McLaughlin told the L.A. Times. "So we've just got to put it all together."

      Offensive balance is a trait USC shares with Lehigh, a team off to its best start in nine years.

      The Mountain Hawks (3-1) had six scorers in double figures in a 95-70 rout of Eastern University on Sunday.

      "I was pleased because we had six guys in double figures and had so many assists," Lehigh coach Brett Reed said in his post-game press conference. "The ball was being shared and in the type of environment where guys can sometimes get a little bit greedy, so it was really good to see unselfishness from them."

      Five Lehigh players average between 10.5 and 15.8 points through the Mountain Hawks' first four games. Guard Lance Tejada leads the way with 15.8 points per game, and is shooting 44 percent from behind the 3-point line.

      Lehigh's offensive balance keys a clean, methodical style that USC will aim to disrupt with its pressing defensive approach. The Mountain Hawks rank No. 9 nationally in turnover percentage, and No. 7 in steals allowed per possession according to KenPom.com metrics. In contrast, the aggressive Trojans rank No. 40 nationally in the percentage of opponent possessions resulting in turnovers (23.9).

      USC can expect a look similar to that of North Dakota State, which played tough with the Trojans before USC pulled away to a 75-65 win. The Bison took a five-point lead midway through the second half, often waiting until under 10 seconds left on the shot clock before attempting field goals.

      Coach Andy Enfield's switch to a half-court zone both against North Dakota State and Vanderbilt proved pivotal. The Trojans trailed the Commodores by 14 with 3:33 left in the first half, but USC's zone forced four of 16 turnovers for the game in that final stretch to take a lead at intermission.

  • No. 12 Cincinnati braces for Wyoming in Cayman final
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, November 22, 2017

    Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin is concerned that the focus and drive his No. 12 Bearcats showed against Richmond on Tuesday, especially on defense, will not be as forceful against Wyoming in the championship game of the Cayman Islands Classic on Wednesday.

    • He was similarly anxious Monday during a first-round game against Buffalo at the 2,000-seat John Gray Gymnasium in George Town, Cayman Islands. The Bearcats (5-0) held on to beat Buffalo 73-67 in that game despite leading by 13 points at halftime.

      "You can't let this game make you soft," Cronin said after his team routed Richmond 75-48 in a semifinal contest. "Success and accolades, they soften you up. I told our veterans to make sure our team doesn't soak in softness because it kills you."

      Wyoming (4-0) advanced to face Cincinnati with a 70-61 victory over Louisiana in the other semifinal.

      The Cowboys held Louisiana to 33.3 percent shooting, including only 14.8 percent from 3-point range. The Ragin' Cajuns averaged 96 points in their four previous games.

      Wyoming's depth was significant Tuesday with reserves Alexander Aka Gorski (team-high 16 points) and Lou Adams (14) leading in scoring. Nyaires Redding (13 points) and Alan Herndon (10 points, seven rebounds) were also in double figures.

      "We wanted our energy to go to another level, but at the same time, we wanted to hang our hat on the defensive end of the floor, feeling like our offense would be a little bit better than it was the first night out," Wyoming coach Allen Edwards said.

      Wyoming beat South Dakota State 77-65 in the first round despite making only 8 of 30 shots from 3-point range.

      Gorski, Adams and Redding were a combined 5 of 9 from beyond the arc against Louisiana.

      "They have good guard play and they can shoot the ball," Cronin said of Wyoming. "They will try to spread us out. They are going to test our being able to defend the (3-point) line and not get beat off the dribble because they do spread you and they have guys who can take care of the ball and they have guys who can make shots.

      "I think we have the advantage with strength and rebounding and physicality in this game."

      The Bearcats dominated Richmond 35-22 in rebounding.

      Cincinnati forward Gary Clark, who is 6-foot-8, 225 pounds, finished with eight points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Reserve guard Cane Broome (13 points) and starting guard Jacob Evans (12) were the only Bearcats to score in double figures.

      "The script went pretty well today because I didn't want to play anybody too much (with three games in three days)," Cronin said. "Once we got to halftime (leading 40-14), I was thinking about tomorrow, to be honest with you.

      "If there was no game tomorrow, I could have left Clark in to get a triple-double, but I wanted to save him for the next game."

      Wyoming was not at full strength against Louisiana. Preseason all-conference guard Justin James did not play much of the game after his nose was bloodied going for a rebound.

      The Cowboys' leading scorer, Hayden Dalton (23.3 points per game entering Tuesday), was limited to two points in 23 minutes. He did not appear to be injured.

      "I thought the troops rallied with each other and willed their way and found a way to continue to stay the course and come out of here with another win," Edwards said.

  • High-scoring No. 18 Purdue faces Tennessee in Bahamas
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, November 21, 2017

    No. 18 Purdue, averaging 102 points a game and shooting 56.8 percent from the field, including 48.9 percent from 3-point range, is eager to display its high-powered offense in the Bahamas-based, eight-team Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.

    • The Boilermakers (4-0) begin competition Wednesday at the Imperial Arena on Paradise Island against improved Tennessee (2-0), which has beaten High Point and Presbyterian and is led by forward Admiral Schofield's 18.0-point average.

      Purdue senior point guard P.J. Thompson, who is averaging 10.3 points and shooting 56.5 percent from the field, said the Boilermakers have plenty of momentum heading into Wednesday's battle with Tennessee.

      "We've just got to carry momentum and come out and be ready," said Thompson, who is second on the team behind senior guard Dakota Mathias' 13 made 3-pointers, having made 11 of 20.

      "We know we're about to enter into one of the toughest schedules in college basketball, in my opinion. It's nothing we haven't been through. We've been preparing for this since we've been in college. We've had a lot of work to do getting ready for this trip.

      "This can prepare you for the NCAA tournament."

      Purdue could face No. 5 Villanova in Thursday's semifinals and No. 3 Arizona in the championship game on Friday.

      "We're taking on some of the top-ranked teams," Mathias said. "We're fortunate to have a great opportunity to play some top 10 competition over there. First, we've got to take care of Tennessee, but it's just a great opportunity ahead. We're really excited about the opportunity."

      Tennessee coach Rick Barnes sounds impressed with the Boilermakers' firepower with all five starters averaging in double figures, led by sophomore guard Carsen Edwards at 18.5 points.

      "Watching Purdue play, they have been together and they are good," Barnes said Monday.

      "Purdue benefitted greatly this summer going to Taiwan and playing in the World University Games. I am as curious and excited to see how we respond against what is thrown at us. We are going to get hit with some things going up against some stronger, more physical teams than we have played to this point.

      "At this point, we feel like we have some things put in that we needed, whether we face a 3-2, a 1-3-1 or a 2-3. But it still is about us doing what we do and getting better at it."

      Purdue coach Matt Painter, whose team won a 2016 tournament in Cancun, Mexico, said his team dare not take the Volunteers for granted.

      "We run into a tough opponent right away," Painter said.

      "It's important, just like you're going into any tournament, you're ready to play whether you win or you lose. You try to lock into Tennessee. I know coach Barnes' team always is tough defensively, they always play hard. Very demanding coach, very successful coach. So we know from a competitive standpoint, we're going to have to be ready to go from day one.

      "I think you've got to be able to get into a mindset. You love these tournaments. You go to nice weather, it's a great setup. It's one of the best tournaments that's out there. You have to be disciplined and you have to be ready to play."

      The winner will play either Villanova or Western Kentucky on Thanksgiving Day.

      Purdue beat Tennessee 73-72 in the 2009 Paradise Jam championship game in the Virgin Islands, giving it a 2-1 series lead.

  • Missouri F Porter slated to undergo back surgery
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, November 21, 2017

    Highly touted Missouri prospect Michael Porter Jr. will undergo spinal surgery and is expected to miss the rest of the season, the university announced Tuesday afternoon.

    • Porter, a freshman forward who is projected to be a high pick in next year's NBA draft, was scheduled to have a microdiscectomy of the L3 and L4 spinal discs performed on Tuesday.

      The 19-year-old has a projected recovery time of three to four months. The school said he is expected to make a full recovery.

      "I really appreciate the support of my family and the Mizzou men's basketball program as I begin this process," Porter said in a statement. "I'm thankful for all the kind words and messages I've received from fans. Those mean a lot to me. I cannot wait to be completely healthy and playing the game I love, once again."

      Porter appeared in only one game for the Tigers this season, totaling two points and two rebounds in the season opener against Iowa State on Nov. 10 before departing after just two minutes. The team said at the time Porter had tweaked his hip.

      "Our top priority as a program is the well-being of our student-athletes, so Michael beginning this process to be 100 percent healthy is important to all of us," Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said in a statement. "Our focus has been on Michael's well-being, just like every other player in our locker room. We will continue to work every day to build Mizzou Basketball into a program to be proud of. We're preparing now for a trip that is a tremendous opportunity. I'm excited to get after it in Orlando."

      Porter originally selected Washington but was granted his release when the school fired coach Lorenzo Romar after last season.

  • Walker set for homecoming as No. 11 Miami faces La Salle
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, November 21, 2017

    Miami hits the road for the first time after sweeping a three-game homestand, but if ever the phrase a "home away from home" applied, it fits this situation.

    • The No. 11 Hurricanes (3-0) officially will be playing a neutral-site game when they meet La Salle Wednesday night in Reading, Pa., but 7,160-seat Santander Arena may have the ambiance of their Watsco Center home in Coral Gables, Fla.

      The Hurricanes are looking to have as many fans cheering them on as the Explorers (3-2) even though the latter will only about 45 miles from their campus. The Hurricanes face a 1,200-mile journey.

      That's thanks to Miami freshman guard Lonnie Walker, a McDonald's All-American and Pennsylvania 6A Player of the Year who played his high school ball at Reading.

      "During the recruiting process, it was very, very clear to us that Lonnie had a unique relationship with the people in Reading," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. "Everybody knows him. During one of our visits, Lonnie asked us to meet his grandmother and grandfather, so we went and met with them.

      "It was very clear that they were not going to travel to Miami or even make it to Philadelphia, so we told Lonnie that if he ends up deciding to come to Miami, we'll bring our program to Reading and play in front of his family and friends, his high school teammates, because we thought that would be important to him and his family.

      "So we're looking forward to going up there."

      Larranaga expects a charged atmosphere.

      "I think it will be electric from start to finish," he said. "Lonnie is like a celebrity in the town. Everybody knows him. When he would leave practices, there were kids there wanting his autograph and adults there wanting to take their picture with him."

      The Explorers are coming off a pair of weekend losses in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-off Tournament in Uncasville, Conn., losing 82-74 to Northwestern and 82-61 to Boston College.

      Senior guard/forward B.J. Johnson has four consecutive 20-point games and averaged 22.6 points and 9.6 rebounds a game. He toyed with the idea of entering the NBA draft last spring but elected to return.

      "He is extremely focused and motivated to improve himself and our team to reach his highest goals," La Salle coach John Giannini said. "He had interest to work out for several teams.

      "However, he has some minor health issues from last season that would be best to take care of now to maximize his preparations for next season."

      Miami doesn't have a single player scoring at Johnson's pace, but has put five players in double figures in two games and six in the third in posting a trio of 30-point-plus wins. Guard Ja'Quan Newton, who is from Philadelphia, is the leading scorer with a 14.0 average.

      Walker has averaged only 7.7 points but played less than half of the 90-59 win over Florida A&M before injuring his ankle. He is expected to play against La Salle.

  • No. 2 Arizona set for trek to Bahamas to face N.C. State
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, November 21, 2017

    No. 2 Arizona will take its show on the road as it leaves McKale Center for the first time this season to play in the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis event beginning Wednesday.

    • Sean Miller's team will play three games in as many days by opening the event against North Carolina State (4-0).

      The Wildcats (3-0) are no stranger to playing in Thanksgiving week tournaments, having participated in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational last season and the DirecTV Wooden Legacy event in 2015. Miller's team won the Maui Invitational in 2014, having to play three games in three days there as well.

      For Miller, the tournaments always provide an early look at what his team needs to work on and improve before finishing out the rest of its nonconference schedule.

      "Three games in three days is very challenging," Miller said. "It is. It tests your depth. It tests your starters, guys that play heavy minutes. But you learn a lot about your team and your team grows from that experience.

      "A year ago we lost to Butler, and it wasn't a three-game in three-day event, but we really improved after we lost to Butler because we had our team's attention. We were able to fix a few things that needed to get fixed and it made us grow and move forward."

      The trip will also mark the return home for one of Arizona's most impressive freshman, Deandre Ayton, who lived in the Bahamas before moving to San Diego and then Phoenix as his high school career unfolded. The Wildcats' starting power forward is averaging 18.7 points and 11.7 rebounds through his first three games, and being able to play in front of his home crowd is something the Nassau native is relishing.

      "Oh, I'm looking for a big crowd," Ayton said. "You know, Arizona is about to shut it down."

      Miller's team will open things up with the Wolfpack, a team Arizona is 2-0 against all time -- with the last meeting coming back in 2010.

      N.C. State has opened up its first season under head coach Kevin Keatts averaging 90.3 points while allowing its four opponents an average of just 65.8. The Wolfpack shot just over 54 percent in their last game, an 86-68 win over Presbyterian, and was able to force 22 turnovers.

      N.C. State opponents have had at least 20 turnovers in each of the first four games this season.

      "The way we play, we feel like towards the end of the game most teams won't have the legs that we have," Keatts said.

      N.C. State goes into the game with five players averaging double figures, led by Torin Dorn. The redshirt junior guard is averaging 18.5 points and a team-high seven rebounds through the first four games.

      A victory on Wednesday for Arizona would mean a meeting with the winner of the game between SMU and Northern Iowa.

  • No. 22 Baylor, Creighton race for CBE championship
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, November 21, 2017

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Baylor coach Scott Drew knows what the feeling will be like on Tuesday in the championship game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic at Sprint Center. He gets a taste of it every year.

    • "Creighton's got a great turnout here," he said of the Bears' opponent in the tournament final. "Normally when we come to the Big 12 tournament, Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State have a lot of fans up here. So this will prepare us for what we'll see later on. It will be two really good teams."

      If you like end-to-end action, the Tuesday game will be one to watch, as Creighton and No. 22 Baylor like to race up and down the floor.

      "I know it's going to be a fast-paced game," Drew said. "We've got a seven-second break, but they have a six-second break. That shows you how fast they are."

      Creighton (4-0) reached the title game with a 100-89 victory over No. 23 UCLA on Monday night. In the nightcap, Baylor (4-0) held off a late charge by Wisconsin to win 70-65.

      Baylor has the size to play either a fast-paced game or a knock-down, drag-out style, while Creighton simply wants to run. The Bluejays came into Monday's action averaging nearly 98 points a game, and bettered that against the Bruins. They kept gunning, even when the shots weren't falling.

      "Marcus (Foster) had three or four wide-open threes," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. "We're not going to turn those down. We would die to get that shot against their man-to-man. Because they didn't go in doesn't make them bad shots. We missed some pretty open shots against the zone, and that disrupted our zone. We did some good things. We just didn't make shots.

      "It's who we are. It's what we believe in. Guys enjoy it. As long as we can play at that pace and make relatively good decisions ... eight turnovers in that many possessions, that's pretty clean basketball."

      Creighton's balance will be important against the Bears, but McDermott needs Foster, a senior transfer from Kansas State, to be on his game.

      "Coach McDermott has done a great job with him," Drew said. "He looks like he's trimmed down. He looks a lot faster than when he was in the Big 12. He always had great games against us, so we know what he's capable of."

      McDermott isn't buying the "woe is me" approach by Drew.

      "We got our teeth kicked in by Baylor when we played them in the NCAA Tournament (in 2014)," McDermott said. "We'll go to work tonight. Nobody is going to be overly prepared or overly fresh."

      As much as Creighton depends on Foster, Baylor depends on senior point guard Manu Lecomte. With Wisconsin closing fast on Monday, Lecomte hit three free throws to stave off the Badgers' charge. He sank 13 of 15 foul shots in the second half.

      "We had the right guy at the free-throw line," Drew said. "That's what you'd expect from your senior point guard. The good thing about Manu is that if he's not scoring, he is a point guard. If they put two (defenders) on him, he does a good job of finding somebody else."

  • Murphy leads No. 14 Minnesota into matchup vs. Alabama A&M
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, November 20, 2017

    MINNEAPOLIS -- When the Big Ten announced its 10-player preseason all-conference team, senior point guard Nate Mason and sophomore swingman Amir Coffey represented No. 14 Minnesota.

    • With Mason returning after leading Minnesota in scoring (15.2 points) last season and Coffey coming off a strong freshman campaign (12.2 points), it was little surprise both were placed on the preseason team

      Heading into Tuesday's game against Alabama A&M, forward Jordan Murphy might have a line on the conference's player of the year award based on his early performances.

      Last season, Murphy averaged 11.3 points and 8.3 rebounds and in Minnesota's three wins last week, the junior averaged 21.3 points, 12 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He has notched a double-double in all four games and his numbers earned him Big Ten Player of the Week for the second straight week.

      Murphy had a team-high 23 points and 11 rebounds as the Gophers (4-0) beat Western Carolina on Sunday and he'll look to keep his double-double streak going against Alabama A&M.

      "I didn't rebound very good in the first half, and that's why I struggled a little bit," Murphy said after Sunday's 92-64 win. "But I think as the second half went on I started to relax a little bit more. I got a few foul calls, got a little bit more comfortable."

      Alabama A&M will face its second straight Top 25 team after losing 104-67 at No. 25 Alabama on Friday. Freshman guard Amari Goulbourne led the Bulldogs with a season-high 17 points against the Crimson Tide, who shot 63.5 percent and outrebounded the Bulldogs 47-24.

      Four players scored in double figures for Alabama A&M with DeEderick Petty adding 12 and Arthur Johnson and Jalen Reeder each scoring 10 points.

      Facing Murphy and Minnesota will be another tall task -- literally.

      While Murphy is only 6-foot-6 as a power forward, his tenacity allows him to succeed in the paint. Center Reggie Lynch is 6-10 and leads the nation in blocks per game at 5.5.

      The Bulldogs have one starter, Mohamed Sherif, listed over 6-7.

      If there's a spot where the Gophers could be vulnerable, it's from beyond the 3-point line.

      Niagara hit 6 of its first 9 shots from 3 against Minnesota two games ago and Western Carolina stayed close with 7 of 10 3-pointers in the first half before finishing 11 of 22 overall.

      "I thought our defense was bad the first half," Gophers coach Richard Pitino said. "I don't think those were tough shots. In the past for a couple games, they just might have been tough shots. At some point, you're going to have to get burned."

      Alabama A&M has hit 15 3-pointers and shot .500 from beyond the arc in its past two games. Johnson has four of the 3s.

      "Our 3-point defense has to improve like you said," Murphy told reporters after Sunday's game. "I mean we did a good job, just taking that punch and throwing a couple of our own. We did a good job of bouncing back, I think Dupree (McBrayer) and Amir were keeping us together in the first half."

      Coffey had 15 points in the game. McBrayer scored a season-high 14 points and added four assists with no turnovers.

      "We do a lot of drills in practice, we just got to take the drills more serious, in my opinion," McBrayer said of defending the 3-point shot. "We are just kind going through the motions, so now that teams hit 14, 11, and 11 threes on us, I think we are going to realize that in practice tomorrow."

      Minnesota has cruised in the early part of the season with five returning starters. Alabama A&M represents the last home game of the stretch before the Gophers travel to New York to play in the Barclays Center Classic where they will face Massachusetts and Alabama.

  • Another tall order: Bol's son commits to Oregon
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, November 20, 2017

    High-profile basketball prospect Bol Bol, son of former 7-foot-7 NBA player Manute Bol, has signed a national letter of intent Monday to attend Oregon.

    • "Next year, I'll be an Oregon Duck," Bol wrote in The Players' Tribune. "About a week after I made my official visit to Eugene, I knew that that was where I wanted to go."

      The younger Bol, who is 7-2 and 220 pounds, chose Oregon over Kentucky. He took official visits to both schools earlier in the fall, cutting Arizona and USC from his list after a recent FBI investigation implicated assistant coaches of both schools.

      "We are really excited to welcome Bol Bol to our program," coach Dana Altman said in a statement. "Obviously he is a very unique player with a special basketball history and a great basketball family."

      Bol Bol recently transferred from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei High School to Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep after starting his high school career in Kansas. He averaged 22 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.9 blocks while shooting 63.2 percent from the field during the AAU circuit last spring and summer.

      "I'm tall (obviously), but I'm not my dad," Bol wrote. "He was a true big man, a guy who played in the paint and blocked shots. But I like to work from the perimeter. I like to put the ball on the floor. I get a lot of satisfaction from passing to someone who's more open than me."

      Of his signing with Oregon, Bol explained, "I didn't know much about the school until I started getting recruited by Oregon's assistant coach, Tony Stubblefield. And then later by coach Altman. Before that, I knew they had a lot of jerseys, a lot of different shoe combinations, but that was about it."

  • No. 3 Kansas faces Texas Southern with improving Azubuike
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, November 20, 2017

    LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The progression of Kansas center Udoka Azubuike continues to accelerate.

    • With it comes detailed critiques from Jayhawks coach Bill Self, although Azubuike has missed just 2 of 21 shots in helping No. 3 Kansas to a 3-0 start entering a home game Tuesday against Texas Southern (0-4).

      The 7-foot sophomore even showed a nifty up-and-under move in a Nov. 17 rout of South Dakota State.

      "I kind of just have it in my game," Azubuike said. "Coach doesn't want me to do a lot of that stuff in games because he'd rather see me go straight up or do a hook shot."

      Self elaborated on his preference over shot selection from the only true big man currently available to the thin Jayhawks.

      "Doke is a guy who needs not to fake. He needs to go score," Self said. "If he does that, then he can fake after that. He's one of those guys, if he lifts a guy and (the defender) doesn't go for it, he's got no move he can come back to yet."

      A learning curve still exists for Azubuike, who missed all but 11 games last season after suffering a season-ending wrist injury. Self would prefer his center develop more gradually and become even more proficient overpowering opponents.

      "The two (up-and-under baskets) he made were really good moves," said Self, "but I don't want that to be his go-to at all."

      If anything, Self is most concerned with Azubuike remaining out of foul trouble after he missed much of the first half against South Dakota State with two fouls.

      A suspension that has prevented 6-foot-10 freshman Billy Preston from making his Kansas debut greatly limits the Jayhawks' options inside. The only other player with frontline capabilities, 6-8 sophomore forward Mitch Lightfoot, fouled out after playing just seven minutes against South Dakota State.

      Also, the defensive intensity of junior guard Lagerald Vick, arguably the Jayhawks' most athletic player, irritated Self.

      "People sometimes play to the score some and guys who really have that (defensive) mindset don't do that," Self said. "There's a lot of things (Vick) can do.

      "He can slide. He can jump. He's quick. He's smart. He's strong. He can fake a screen. He can do a lot of things. But I don't think he plays to where it's his mindset, like it should be moving forward playing against a really good perimeter player."

      Those comments happened to come after a 60 percent shooting performance by the Jayhawks, who feature four starters averaging double figures in scoring and are led by senior guard Svi Mykhailiuk (19.7).

      The only Kansas starter who is not scoring in double figures is senior point guard Devonte' Graham, but the preseason All-American is averaging 9.3 assists.

      "He's a point guard, but he's a scoring point guard," said Self, "and he hasn't seen the ball go in the hole during our regular-season games so far."

      The stop for Texas Southern is part of an ambitious stretch of 13 non-conference road games to begin the season. The Tigers have already played at Gonzaga, Washington State, Ohio State and Syracuse. The tightest loss was to Washington State, 86-84 in overtime.

      Mike Davis, who is in his fifth season at Texas Southern after previously coaching at Indiana and UAB, convinced the school's athletic administration to play all nonconference games on the road, mostly against high-majors, to boost finances.

      The Tigers are coming off their third NCAA Tournament appearance under Davis and were picked to repeat as Southwestern Athletic Conference champions after going 23-12 last season.

      They are led by 6-4 senior guard Donte Clark, who averages 18 points. Demontrae Jefferson, a 5-7 sophomore guard, averages 21 points but missed the last two games while serving a suspension. His status is uncertain.

  • Duke strengthens No. 1 spot after Michigan State win
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, November 20, 2017

    Duke strengthened its hold on the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press college basketball poll after beating then-No. 2 Michigan State last week.

    • The Blue Devils received 54 of the 65 first-place votes, with the other 11 going to Arizona, which moved up one spot to No. 2. Duke picked up 20 more first-place selections than last week.

      Michigan State, which lost 88-81 to the Blue Devils at the Champions Classic in Chicago on Tuesday, dropped to No. 4, one spot behind Kansas. Villanova stayed put at No. 5.

      Much of the rest of the poll was virtually unchanged. Only one team -- Northwestern, which lost to Creighton and Texas Tech last week after being ranked 20th -- fell out. Alabama slipped in at No. 25.

      Wichita State remains No. 6, followed by Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina and USC to round out the top 10. Kentucky dropped one spot after losing to Kansas last week at the Champions Classic.

      The next seven teams stayed the same -- Miami, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Xavier, Texas A&M and Gonzaga. No. 18 Purdue and No. 19 Louisville switched spots. Seton Hall is No. 20.

      The final five are Saint Mary's, Baylor, West Virginia and UCLA (tied at 23rd), and Alabama.

      There could be plenty of shake-up in next week's poll following potentially big matchups in holiday tournaments.

      Duke, Michigan State, Florida, North Carolina and Gonzaga are among the 16 teams at the PK80-Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Ore., which starts Thursday. Wichita State and Notre Dame are playing in the Maui Invitational, which ends Wednesday. Arizona and Villanova could meet in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament on Paradise Island, Bahamas, which is held Wednesday through Friday.

  • No. 6 Shockers open Maui Invitational against Cal
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, November 20, 2017

    No. 6 Wichita State has a measuring-stick opportunity when it heads to Hawaii to battle a challenging field at the Maui Invitational.

    • The Shockers open tournament play Monday against California.

      The field also includes No. 14 Notre Dame, Michigan and Marquette.

      Wichita State returns all five starters from last year's NCAA Tournament team and has been impressive in easy opening wins over Missouri-Kansas City and College of Charleston. The Shockers won those two games by an average margin of 35 points, but the coaching staff isn't sure the team has put together a complete 40-minute effort.

      "We probably played 25 good minutes (against Charleston)," Wichita State assistant Donnie Jones told reporters this week, "but we are not ready to play 40 yet. Most teams aren't this time of year."

      Cal, off to a 2-1 start under new coach Wyking Jones, needed a strong second half to pull away from Wofford on Wednesday. Senior forward Marcus Lee and freshman point guard Darius McNeill each had 17 points to pace a balanced Cal offense in a 79-65 win.

      Jones said a halftime tweak to the Bears' press helped jumpstart Cal against Wofford. The Bears turned 16 Wofford turnovers into 23 points and outrebounded the Terriers 23-6 in the second half.

      "The press is not always about forcing turnovers or getting steals," Jones said in the post-game press conference. "It's about creating energy for us."

      Cal has not defeated a top-10 opponent since 2014. Jones said the Bears won't change their approach against the Shockers.

      "The same way we prepare for every other game, come in with a game plan, try to dissect what they're strengths and witnesses are and going into the game knowing exactly what we should see," Jones said. "The mindset and the way we do things doesn't change."

      Wichita State hopes its non-conference schedule, which includes December games at Baylor, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, will prepare the Shockers for their first season in the American Athletic Conference.

      After decades in the Missouri Valley Conference, Wichita State elected to join the American this spring. The Shockers have 12 lettermen back from last year's squad, which went 17-1 in the MVC.

      "I think it is good that we have challenged ourselves," Wichita state assistant coach Donnie Jones said of the Shockers' non-conference schedule. "It is going to help us get ready for The American, because that conference is really good."

      So are the Shockers. All five starters are currently averaging double figures, with versatile big men Shaquille Morris and Darral Willis Jr. combining for 33.5 points and 16 rebounds per game. Wichita State ranks in the top 20 in the nation in points, rebounds and assists per game.

      Junior guard Don Coleman leads the Bears. Coleman opened the season with back-to-back 30-point games. He was held to 16 points in the win over Wofford.

      The winner of Monday's game will advance to face the Marquette-Virginia Commonwealth winner on Tuesday.

  • No. 9 North Carolina pays visit to Stanford
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, November 20, 2017

    Ninth-ranked North Carolina is stopping by to play Stanford on Monday night en route to another West Coast event.

    • It isn't by coincidence that the Tar Heels accepted this assignment.

      Stanford is coached by Jerod Haase, who played for North Carolina coach Roy Williams when the latter was at Kansas and coached under him from 2003 to 2012 with the Tar Heels.

      That aside, both teams have a lot to accomplish during what will be a busy week.

      Both teams will play three games in the PK80 in Portland, Ore., beginning on Thanksgiving. They're in opposite brackets and can't meet in that event.

      North Carolina (2-0) is working senior guard Joel Berry into the lineup after he missed a few weeks of preseason and the opener with a broken bone in a hand. He played Wednesday against Bucknell, going 1 of 11 from the field.

      "It was just good being able to get back out there on the court and get some run in before we go out on this long trip," Berry said. "Some of the shots I missed, I'll eventually get my rhythm back."

      Berry's availability allows the Tar Heels to play with an experienced backcourt that also includes senior Theo Pinson and junior Kelly Williams.

      "I'm really glad he's back," Pinson said. "It was just fun being out there with him again."

      Junior forward Luke Maye has picked up much of the scoring for North Carolina. He has led the team in points in both games.

      "I just step into shots and if I am open I am going to shoot it," Maye said. "If not, I am going to try and pass it around and get some open looks."

      Coach Williams said this has built off what Maye has done in the past to work into a scoring role.

      "You get comfortable with great confidence because you accomplish some things," the coach said. "You get confidence from working hard. I think he gained a great deal of confidence from his play last year down the stretch in the (NCAA) tournament, (vs.) Butler and Kentucky. Not just the Kentucky shot."

      Stanford (3-1) has shown an ability to produce offense from various sources, with four players averaging in double figures.

      "I think that makes us very difficult to guard," Cardinal senior forward Michael Humphrey said.

      Redshirt junior forward Travis Reid is Stanford's top scorer at 21.3 points per game.

      North Carolina went 2-1 against Haase-coached teams at Alabama-Birmingham.

      Yet this figures to be a tough task for a Stanford team that has lost at home to Eastern Washington.

      "We're not a championship-caliber team yet," Haase said.

      The game is sold out, marking the first Maples Pavilion sellout for a men's game since Oregon's visit March 1, 2015.

      This game signals the end of Stanford's five-game opening homestand.

      The last time Stanford played host to a reigning national champion, it defeated Connecticut on Jan. 17, 2015.

      The Cardinal went 0-8 against ranked teams last season.

      North Carolina leads the series 10-0, with the most recent meeting in the 2002 Preseason National Invitation Tournament championship game in New York.

      North Carolina has won its last nine games against Pac-12 teams.

  • Krzyzewski puts charge into No. 1 Duke for Furman game
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, November 20, 2017

    DURHAM, N.C. -- The past couple of days might have been a bit rough for Duke after a less-than-sterling outing Friday night.

    • But the No. 1-ranked Blue Devils figure they could benefit from a game with glitches that produced yet another victory.

      "(Coach Mike Krzyzewski) tried to light a fire under us," Duke senior guard Grayson Allen said, referring to the 78-61 victory against Southern. "He was fired up, just like he always is."

      That figures to make the Blue Devils a little more energetic for their next game, which comes with Monday night's meeting with visiting Furman at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

      Duke (4-0) has won 135 consecutive home games against non-conference opponents. The meeting with Furman (2-1) is an on-campus game as part of the PK80 event, which Duke will compete in later in the week in Portland, Ore.

      For Krzyzewski, it's all part of going through a season with different factors impacting various games.

      "We just go back to basics," Krzyzewski said. "We don't want to completely go back to the drawing board. We just want to be how we've been and we weren't that way (Friday night)."

      Krzyzewski said one area of concern in the opening minutes against Southern was a lack of attention to defensive rebounding.

      "Guys were leaking out," Krzyzewski said. "When a shot was taken (against us), we should have had five guys on the boards and there weren't five guys on the boards. Guys were trying to get down the court quick, just not the way we play."

      Freshman forward Wendell Carter Jr. said there should be a better focus for the Furman game.

      "Come back out energized, communicating and get back in the flow of things," Carter said. "We've just got to come out and be unselfish. That's what keeps us going, being unselfish."

      Furman (2-1) is coming off an 82-65 loss Saturday at Butler. That began a stretch of four consecutive games away from home for the Paladins.

      While Duke has a team with four freshmen in the starting lineup, the Paladins have some experience on their side.

      "Our team is just battle-tested and we've got an old group and we have a group that likes to fight," first-year Furman coach Bob Richey said. "We have some versatility and we have to use that."

      Senior guard Devin Shipley is averaging 19 points across the first three games for Furman. Senior guard Daniel Fowler posted a team-high 19 points in the Butler game.

      Richey said the Paladins like to run and play a fast pace. Whether that's a good formula for a game at Duke might be worth assessing.

      Furman was the only Southern Conference member to be without a loss across the first week of the season until stumbling against Butler. The Paladins were the preseason conference favorite in voting by media covering the league.

      So the Paladins expect to have good moments.

      "These guys are just tough," Richey said. "The power of playing hard and being connected defensively and being able to get out and run and having the shooters we have, you can make runs quick."

  • OSU's Carroll reportedly back vs. No. 16 Texas A&M
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, November 19, 2017

    The college basketball season is in its second week, but according to multiple reports, it's just about to begin for Oklahoma State standout Jeffrey Carroll and Texas A&M NBA lottery pick prospect Robert Williams.

    • Carroll and Williams reportedly will be in uniform Monday night when Oklahoma State (3-0) and No. 16 Texas A&M (2-0) meet each other in Brooklyn, N.Y., in the Legends Classic at the Barclays Center.

      Carroll, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound senior wing player, was withheld from the first three games by Oklahoma State pending an ongoing review of the basketball program in the wake of the FBI investigation of bribery involving an agent that led to the arrest and indictment of former associate head coach Lamont Evans.

      Carroll, a preseason All-Big 12 pick who averaged 17.5 points and 6.6 rebounds last season, was on the bench for the first time this season Thursday when the Cowboys routed Oral Roberts 91-48.

      "He's bought into the team," Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said after the game. "Tonight, his role was to be a cheerleader for us. I thought he was a pretty good one. In fact, the officials told me to make him sit down a few times. But I'm OK with that. That means he's bringing positive energy to us."

      Boynton did not confirm the media reports of Carroll's return to the floor Monday, saying, "As soon as we know more, we'll pass that information along."

      Williams, a 6-foot-10, 241-pound sophomore rated as a potential lottery pick by some NBA scouts, is expected to make his debut after missing the Texas A&M's first two games because of an undisclosed violation of university policy.

      The Aggies have looked impressive without Williams and point guard J.J. Caldwell, who was also suspended for a different violation. Caldwell, who was arrested for driving intoxicated during the offseason, is in the middle of a five-game suspension.

      Texas A&M has routed then-No. 11 West Virginia 88-65 in Germany and UC Santa Barbara 84-65.

      Junior forward DJ Hogg, who missed the last seven games last season with a foot injury, scored 19 points with seven rebounds and six assists against the Mountaineers and 24 points with six rebounds, three assists and two blocks against the Gauchos.

      "DJ Hogg has matured in a lot of areas," Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said. "He's not just relying on his jump shot. He did some things defensively and rebounded. He shared the ball. When he does other things, that's when he can be special."

      Texas A&M is balanced with four starters were in double-figure scoring against Santa Barbara. Tyler Davis had 14 points, all in the first half, Admon Gilder had 13 and Tonny Trocha-Morelos scored 10.

      Oklahoma State is fueled by stellar point guard play.

      Brandon Averette has an 18-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, and has reached double-figures in scoring in all three games. He is coming off a career-best 21-point, nine-assist game against Oral Roberts that featured zero turnovers.

      Kendall Smith, a graduate transfer from Cal State Northridge, is averaging 12.7 points and seven assists per game. Averette and Smith combine for 27.4 points, 10.7 assists, 8.4 rebounds and just 3.0 turnovers per game on 45.1 percent shooting.

  • Michigan State F Bridges leaves game with leg injury
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, November 19, 2017

    EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State star Miles Bridges suffered a leg injury with 8:32 remaining in his team's game against Stony Brook on Sunday at Breslin Center.

    • Bridges, a preseason contender for National Player of the Year, suffered the injury while driving to the basket and his team leading 71-56. Bridges, who was fouled on the play, hobbled to the basket under his own power. He sat briefly, went to the foul line, then decided against taking the free throws.

      The sophomore forward then headed to the locker room with the team's medical personnel.

  • Much scoring expected when No. 23 UCLA meets Creighton
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, November 19, 2017

    Two undefeated, high-scoring offenses square off as Creighton (3-0) faces No. 23 UCLA (3-0) in the first semifinal game of the 2017 CBE Hall of Fame Classic Monday night at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

    • The winner will face the winner of Monday night's second game between Wisconsin and Baylor.

      Creighton brings an experienced squad, led by senior Marcus Foster, who played in Kansas City multiple times in his first two seasons as a member of the Big 12's Kansas State. Foster is averaging 19.3 points per game on 60.6 percent field-goal shooting. He was a unanimous first-team all-Big East selection last season, when he scored 18.2 points per game.

      But Foster is not the only scoring threat for the Blue Jays, as Khyri Thomas (17.7 points per game) and Martin Krampelj (12.0) average in double-figures. Krampelj also is pulling down 8.7 rebounds per game.

      Creighton is averaging 97.7 points per game this season, shooting 55.4 percent from the floor and 43.2 percent from three-point range. The Blue Jays also own a plus-8.7 rebounds margin and 57-39 assists-to-turnovers ratio.

      "We are who we are; we have our warts," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. "We're not a team that grabs rebounds at the top of the square. We lack a little length and athleticism at a few spots. But there is a bond, a togetherness about this team."

      UCLA, meanwhile, is learning who it is with a whole new starting five from last year. The top four scorers from last year are gone, with Aaron Holiday as the leading returning scorer.

      The Bruins are still short-handed, as three prized freshmen are suspended indefinitely following their arrest for shoplifting on a recent trip to China.

      LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were arrested more than a week ago on suspicion of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store while their team was in the Chinese city of Hangzhou. They did not accompany the team on the trip home but were released later, allegedly after President Donald Trump intervened.

      Without that trio, UCLA has used just 10 players this season. Even though they're new in the spotlight, the Bruins can still score. Kris Wilkes (17.3 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game) leads UCLA in scoring and has drained 7 of 13 3-point shots. Holiday (14.3 points and 5.3 assists), Thomas Welsh (13.0 points and 11.3 rebounds) and Jaylen Hands (15.3 points) also average double figures in scoring.

      "It's just one of those things that you have to work through," Welsh said about playing short-handed. "The guys that we have on the court are the guys we have on the court right now."

      Coach Steve Alford added, "We're asking a lot, and we've got to do a good job in prep."

      The Bruins average 88.3 points per game while out-rebounding foes by 10.3 boards per contest. UCLA shoots 41.0 percent from 3-point range, but just 59.7 percent from the free-throw line.

      Creighton leads the series with UCLA 2-1, though the teams have not met since 1963. McDermott is 3-3 in head-to-head matchups with Alford, with all of those taking place when Alford was at Iowa.

  • Holder leads Arizona State past UC Irvine
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, November 19, 2017

    Arizona State senior guard Tra Holder had a career-high 35 points and Shannon Evans II had 22 points in the Sun Devils' 99-78 victory over UC Irvine at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz., on Sunday.

    • Holder, who was 13 of 15 from the field, made six 3-pointers and Evans made four for the Sun Devils (4-0), who shot 61.2 percent from the field and made 14 of 23 shots from long range, 60.9 percent.

      Forward Romello White had 14 points and 11 rebounds and guard Kodi Justice had 18 points and three 3s for the Sun Devils, who have scored at least 90 points in each of their four games. That had not happened since a Lionel Hollins ASU team did it in February-March of 1975.

      Forward Tommy Rutherford, guard Evan Daniels and guard Max Hazzard had 15 apiece for the Anteaters (2-3), who were never closer than 11 in the second half. Guard Eyassu Worku had 14 points.

      Hazzard made five 3-pointers as Irvine went 12 of 25 from distance for the game. Leonard had three 3s.

      Evans had seven assists, Holder had five and Justice had four.

      Holder had 11 points, including two 3-pointers, when Arizona State assumed control early with a 20-2 run.

      Holder's four-point play gave the Sun Devils a 20-6 lead with 13:49 remaining in the half, and freshman Remy Martin's layup made it 22-6 before Irvine scored six straight points.

      ASU was up 56-38 at halftime on Holder's 3-pointer with two seconds left.

  • Trump responds to LaVar: "I should have left them in jail"
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, November 19, 2017

    After LaVar Ball downplayed President Donald Trump's involvement in getting his son and two other UCLA teammates released from China for their recent shoplifting arrest, Trump shot back that "I should have left them in jail."

    • UCLA freshmen basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were arrested on Nov. 7 for allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team's hotel in Hangzhou, where the Bruins had been staying before leaving for Shanghai to face Georgia Tech.

      On Sunday afternoon, Trump tweeted: "Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!"

      Trump, while visiting Beijing last week as part of a five-nation Asia tour, personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the case of the three UCLA players.

      Days after Trump discussed his involvement, LaVar Ball, LiAngelo's father, suggested the president had little to do with the matter.

      "Who?" LaVar Ball told ESPN on Friday when asked about Trump's involvement in getting the players released from China and back to the United States. "What was he over there for? Don't tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out."

      LiAngelo Ball, Riley and Hill landed in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening and addressed the media on Wednesday before being indefinitely suspended by the team.

      UCLA coach Steve Alford said at the news conference that the trio will not take part in practice or games while the school performs a review of the situation.

      UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said the players admitted stealing from three stores. They were released from custody after posting bail on Nov. 8 on the condition that they surrender their passports. They stayed at a lakeside hotel in Hangzhou before flying home.

      "As long as my boy's back here, I'm fine," LaVar Ball told ESPN on Friday. "I'm happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, 'They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.' I'm from L.A. I've seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn't define him. Now if you can go back and say when he was 12 years old he was shoplifting and stealing cars and going wild, then that's a different thing.

      "Everybody gets stuck on the negativity of some things, and they get stuck on them too long. That's not me. I handle what's going on, and then we go from there."

  • No. 21 Saint Mary's visits San Jose State
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, November 19, 2017

    Back-to-back 29-win seasons might be hard to improve upon, but the Saint Mary's Gaels believe they're up to the challenge.

    • The Gaels return four starters from a team that went 29-5 last season. Three of those losses were to Gonzaga, which lost in the NCAA championship game.

      And after three games this season, the Gaels look like they haven't lost a step. The preseason favorite to win the West Coast Conference has opened the season with wins of 17, 18 and 19 points.

      The next step for Randy Bennett's No. 21-ranked squad comes Sunday when the Gaels hit the road for the first time this season and take on San Jose State.

      Saint Mary's defeated the Spartans 81-64 last year, and a win on Sunday would make it seven straight in the series.

      Calvin Hermanson, Emmett Naar and Jock Landale carry the load for the Gaels. All three were preseason All-WCC picks.

      Hermanson is off to a torrid start. He's hitting 74.1 percent of his shots from the field (20 of 27) and leads the team in scoring at 20.7 points per game.

      Landale is coming into Sunday's game averaging 16 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. He's just about as efficient as Hermanson connecting on 67.7 percent of his field-goal attempts.

      Earlier in the week, Landale was named to the 2018 John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50.

      Naar follows in the footsteps of Australian guards (current NBA players Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova) whom Bennett has imported. And like his predecessors from Down Under, Naar is a star in the making. He is averaging 13.7 points per game, 8.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 58.1 percent from the field.

      The calling card for Saint Mary's over the years has been its defense. Last season, the Gaels ranked second nationally in scoring defense at 57.5 points per game. In the first three games of this season, the Gaels are allowing 66.3 points per contest.

      And Bennett's not too happy.

      "We were no more athletic last year, but we were more disciplined defensively," Bennett told SFGate.com after the Gaels beat Cal State Fullerton. "And we were very good defensively last year. We need to get back to that if we want to have a really good year."

      Even though Saint Mary's forced 21 turnovers in that game, the players know they have to tighten up on defense.

      "They turned the ball over a lot," Hermanson said, "which I think was what got us a lead in the first half. But we gave up again a high percentage from the field. It's something we've got to work on as a team."

      Under first-year coach Jean Prioleau, the Spartans are off to a 1-2 start. The Spartans have six freshmen and just five upperclassmen on the roster.

      "We have to get better at guarding the ball and getting stops," Prioleau said after a loss to Southern Utah on Thursday. "And we turned the ball over too much.

      "We've got Saint Mary's, and we have our work cut out for ourselves," he added.

      Saint Mary's will have its hands full with Ryan Welage, San Jose State's leading scorer through three games, averaging 22.7 points per game. And like his Gaels counterparts, he has shown a deft, accurate touch, hitting almost 58 percent of his attempts.

      Welage's game has undergone a serious transformation. After averaging 4.5 3-point attempts in his first two seasons, Welage has taken only six 3-point shots in his first three games this season.

      After a 52-point season-opening win against Antelope Valley, the Spartans have dropped two straight to San Diego and Southern Utah.

      "Quite clearly it's the difference between two exhibition games and then playing against a Division I-caliber team that is a very good team and could shoot the ball," Prioleau told the Daily Spartan. "We knew that coming in, we tried to prepare our guys for what was coming today and we had to collectively get our mentality right."

      Players also lamented a lack of concentration at the beginning of the Southern Utah game, and they paid for it in the loss column.

      "We came out with a lack of urgency," Welage said, adding it was "inexcusable. We didn't come out with any energy and we turned the ball over way too much.

      "We played good defense in the first and really bad offense. In the second half we played good offense and just couldn't get a stop."

      The Spartans' play in the paint has been one bright spot. San Jose State has outrebounded each of its three opponents, with much of the work being done by guards.

      Point guard Isaiah Nichols is the team leader averaging 8.3 boards per game and 3.3 assists per game.