College hoops roundup
The college hoops roundup…
EAST LANSING, Mich. ó Austin Thornton is suddenly quite grateful he redshirted his freshman year at Michigan State.
Now he has one more season of eligibility left ó and a chance to take part in what is surely the most unique game of the upcoming college basketball season.
The Spartans face top-ranked North Carolina on Friday in the Carrier Classic ó on the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier. The carrier will be at its berth at North Island Naval Air Station in the San Diego area. President Barack Obama is expected to attend the game.
ěIím glad I redshirted,î Thornton said. ěItís just great, the whole experience. Itís truly an honor, and itís truly special to be a part of.î
Thorntonís older brother Thomas, a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, is expected to be there. Heís been stationed at Camp Pendleton recently.
The USS Carl Vinson is the aircraft carrier from which Osama bin Laden was buried at sea.
ěI hope itís a little red ëXí where they threw him off at, so I can see it,î Michigan Stateís Draymond Green said.
Both teams will wear camouflage uniforms for the Veterans Day game.
ěExcitement ó I donít know how much of an understatement that is,î Thornton said. ěThe whole experience is pretty special, and the way itís kind of turned out. The entire venue as a whole ó itís just going to be great.î
KENTUCKY 125, MOREHEAD 40
LEXINGTON, Ky. ó Terrence Jones scored 22 points for No. 2 Kentucky and the Wildcatsí five starters made their first 26 shots to lead the Wildcats to a 125-40 exhibition victory over Division II Morehouse on Monday night.
The Wildcats went on separate runs of 10-0, 16-0 and 29-0 while forcing Morehouse into 18 first-half turnovers to take a 74-13 lead at halftime.
In one sequence, Marquis Teague flipped the ball off the backboard across the rim to Jones for a dunk. Kentucky followed moments later with four straight 3-pointers before coach John Calipari pulled most of his starters, who received a standing ovation.
Kentuckyís largest margin of victory in a game that counted is 77 against Georgia in 1956. The Wildcats open their season on Friday night against Marist.
PITT 76, KENT. WESELYN 67
PITTSBURGH ó Lamar Patterson scored 22 points and Ashton Gibbs added 20 to lead No. 10 Pittsburgh over Division II Kentucky Wesleyan College 76-67 in an exhibition game Monday night.
Kentucky Wesleyan led for most of the first half and by as many as seven, but Pitt took the lead for good after back-to-back layups by Patterson made it 32-29 with 3:30 to go in the first. Gibbs hit two 3-pointers in the final minute to give the Panthers a nine-point lead at halftime.
Pittsburgh led by as many as 19 in the second half.
Senior forward Nasir Robinson returned to the Pitt lineup following surgery Oct. 14 on his torn right meniscus. A starter the last two seasons, Robinson had six points and four rebounds.
Cardell McFarland scored 16 to lead Kentucky Wesleyan.
ST. JOHNíS 74, WILLIAM & MARY 59
NEW YORK ó It took one of the nationís least experienced teams 20 minutes to start looking like a team of veterans.
Nurideen Lindsey scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half to lead St. Johnís to a 74-59 victory over William & Mary on Monday night in the opening round of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.
The Red Storm has only one player back from last seasonís squad that went 21-12 and made the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002. It looked that way as William & Mary took a 33-26 halftime lead.
St. Johnís shot just 32.3 percent from the field (10 for 31), including 2 of 9 from 3-point range, in the first half and forced only nine turnovers, a staple of the pressure defense that allows the Red Storm to take advantage of its speed and athleticism.
The stats were decidedly different in the second half as the Red Storm forced 12 turnovers ó turning them into 21 points ó and shot 67.9 percent (19 of 28) from the field.
ěI think in the first half the guys came out a little tight. We were definitely excited about the game but we werenít ready to play,î said Lindsey, one of six newcomers on the roster. ěIn the second half we turned it up a notch and got more intense.î
Godísgift Achiuwa and Moe Harkless both added 17 points for the Red Storm (1-0), who were without head coach Steve Lavin, who is recovering from prostate cancer surgery on Oct. 6. Assistant coach Mike Dunlap has been in charge of the program while Lavin recovers.
Quinn McDowell had 20 points for William & Mary (0-1), which made seven 3-pointers in taking the seven-point halftime lead.
McDowell scored to open the second half for a nine-point lead but the Red Storm went on a 22-5 run that saw them make 10 of 14 shots, all but two from inside. SiríDominic Pointerís 3 gave St. Johnís a 48-40 lead.
Julian Boatner hit a 3 for William & Mary, but the Red Storm scored the next nine points for a 57-43 lead with 9:30 to play.
ěWe were disappointed in the first half, then came out with intensity and the crowd got behind us,î said freshman DíAngelo Harrison, who had 14 points. ěThis brought us together. Almost every game will be an experience for us. We got the jitters out. That will carry over to practice tomorrow and to Wednesdayís game, too.î
St. Johnís, which didnít commit a turnover in the second half, will host Lehigh on Wednesday.
Lindsey said the difference in St. Johnís defense was energy.
ěThe guys knew defensively our energy level wasnít where it was supposed to be,î he said. ěWe put a lot of pressure on those guys in the second half. That was the reason the press turned out the way it did.î
William & Mary returned four starters and 12 letter winners from last season and it looked that way in the first half.
ěGood 20 minutes and bad 20 minutes,î William & Mary coach Tony Shaver said. ěWe were composed for the first 20, then they extended the pressure and we didnít handle it very well. They made some good adjustments and we gave up too many layups.
ěThey may be young but they are also very talented. My concern was how we would play and for 22 minutes we were good at it. We just didnít handle their higher level of intensity.î
Harkless, the most heralded member of St. Johnís recruiting class, said there was no way to predict how the first game would go.
ěBut itís a great feeling,î he said. ěIf we play team basketball like that weíll be fine this year.î
Former Purdue coach Gene Keady serves as Lavinís special assistant and adviser.
ěI hope heís happy with tonight,î said Keady, who gave Lavin his first coaching position. ěHeís starting to get back to normal. He laughs a lot now. He walks a lot. Heís making some progress about getting back to a normal life. Weíre anxious to get him back but Coach Dunlap has done a tremendous job of leading us. I canít say enough about that.î
The Associated Press