TIGERS ROAR TO PROGRESSIVE CBE TITLE

Kim English had 19 points to lead six Tigers in double figures and No. 21 Missouri dominated No. 20 California 92-53 on Tuesday night to win the Progressive CBE Classic.

Marcus Denmon added 18 points and was the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Matt Pressey had 13 points and Michael Dixon finished with 11 for the Tigers (5-0), who won the event just a couple hours’ drive from their campus in Columbia for the second time in four appearances.

Missouri built a 45-26 lead by halftime and the outcome was never in doubt over the final 20 minutes, with coach Frank Haith pulling his starters with a few minutes left in the game.

Jorge Gutierrez scored 11 points to lead Cal (4-1), but fouled out with 11:12 remaining. Richard Solomon also fouled out with more than 7 minutes left and finished with nine points.

The Tigers used relentless man-to-man, half-court pressure to force the guard-oriented Golden Bears into a plethora of early turnovers, and the result was a lot of easy points.

After a free throw by Allen Crabbe got Cal within 19-14 with just under 10 minutes left in the first half, the Tigers went on a 12-2 spurt in which five different players scored. Phil Pressey’s bucket with 7:29 left prompted Cal coach Mike Montgomery to call timeout, but Dixon added a 3-pointer moments later off a feed from Denmon to keep the run going.

Denmon’s two free throws made it 31-16 with 5:55 remaining in the half.

Missouri showed over two games in Kansas City that it has made a flawless transition from the fast-paced, “40 minutes of hell” style of former coach Mike Anderson to a style employed by Haith that values scrappy defense, transition baskets and lights-out shooting.

All of which was on display Tuesday night.

The Golden Bears never managed to get into a rhythm, settling for a series of off-balance jumpers, awkward shots at the rim and contested 3-pointers – when they got a shot off at all.

Just as often, it seemed, California was coughing up the ball. The 14 turnovers it had in the first half were two shy of its season high, set against Austin Peay last week, and one fewer than it had in the semifinals against Georgia the previous night. Jorge Gutierrez scored 11 points to lead Cal (4-1), but fouled out with 11:12 remaining. Richard Solomon also fouled out with more than 7 minutes left and finished with nine points.

In the consolation game, freshman guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Georgia (4-1) with a career-high 16 points and five rebounds as the Bulldogs took a 61-57 decision from Notre Dame. Caldwell-Pope has had double-digit point performances in every game this season.

The Bulldogs’ offensive effort was supported by freshman Nemanja Djurisic and sophomore Donte’ Williams who had 10 and nine points, respectively.

Sophomore forward Marcus Thornton led Georgia on the boards with eight rebounds.

“It was a hard fought win,” said head coach Mark Fox. “This is another terrific game for us to learn from, as was last night, but it’s good to leave here with a quality win.”

The Bulldogs’ offense was kick started by junior guard Vincent Williams who scored a career-high eight points in his first collegiate start.

“I felt like Vincent was going make an impact. He’s a tough little guy…He brought out a great competitive spirit to start the game for us tonight,” Fox said.

As a team, Georgia went 12-26 from behind the arc and was plus-14 in rebounding margin, both season bests.

Georgia jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead, but a stingy Notre Dame team brought the game to a 15-15 tie midway through the first half. Georgia trailed by as many as five in the half, but took the halftime lead, 31-29, off of a Sherrard Brantley 3-pointer with just three seconds remaining.

Early in the second half, Georgia extended its lead to 42-34 off of senior guard Dustin Ware’s third three-pointer of the night. However, Notre Dame went on a 10-2 run, capped off by a pair of free throws to tie the game at 53 with 5:11 remaining. Three Georgia possessions later, Caldwell-Pope hit his fourth triple of the night to put Georgia back on top for good, 56-53.

- Associated Press

VANDY RULES

Brad Tinsley hit a 15-foot jumper with 4.5 seconds to play and No. 18 Vanderbilt beat Oregon State 64-62 on Monday night in the championship game of the TicketCity Legends Classic at IZOD Center.

John Jenkins, the tournament MVP, finished with 14 points for the Commodores (4-1), who led by eight points with 10:10 to play. Jeffery Taylor added 13 points and Tinsley had nine.

Devon Collier had 19 points for the Beavers (4-1), while Ahmad Starks added 16.

Vanderbilt, especially Taylor, did an outstanding defensive job on Jared Cunningham, who finished with nine points — two in the second half. The junior guard had scored 35 points against Hofstra and 37 in a semifinal win over Texas, but he just couldn’t get open looks against Vanderbilt. That included the game’s final play, when Cunningham drove to the basket as time ran out but Taylor stayed with him and the ball didn’t even hit the rim. The Oregon State bench was yelling for a foul, but replays showed it was a clean play by Taylor.

Oregon State used a 5-0 run to get within 57-56 with 4:37 to play. Steve Tchiengang hit a 3-pointer 13 seconds later.

The Beavers tied the game at 60 on a reverse layup by Joe Burton with 2:13 to go. Taylor, who finished with 10 points, gave the Commodores the lead with 1:42 left after gathering a loose ball under the basket.

Oregon State tied it for the last time on a jumper by Starks with 33 seconds to play.

Tinsley took an inbounds pass in the backcourt, dribbled patiently and then made the winning jumper.

Jenkins, who had 28 points in the semifinal win over North Carolina State, struggled from the field and finished 5 of 13.

Cunningham was 3 for 9 from the field against the defensive effort led by Taylor. Oregon State, which entered the game averaging 90.2 points, was just 2 of 14 from 3-point range, with Cunningham missing both of his attempts.

The Beavers were trying for their first 5-0 start since 1985-86.  In the consolation game, fueled by a dramatic 28-2 run, NC State erased an 18-point second half deficit to outlast Texas at the buzzer 77-74 Monday at the TicketCity Legends Classic.

After a miserable 9-26 shooting performance in the first half, the Wolfpack rebounded to the tune of 11-18  shooting from the field and a 3-of-5 showing from 3-point range.

Three Wolfpack players finished in double figures with C.J. Leslie leading the way thanks to a 17-point outing, going 4-8 and 9-16 from the line. Scott Wood made his return from an ankle injury suffered against Princeton in thrilling fashion, scoring 16. Lorenzo Brown scored 11 and lead the Pack with four assists.

Texas charged out of the locker room to snag a 53-38 lead early in the second half. At the 18:26 mark, the Longhorns had graduated the lead to 65-47. Then, what might have been NC State’s last gasp turned into a mammoth 28-2 run to take command of the game.

The turning point came with 8:16 to go, as Texas head coach was whistled for a technical foul for arguing a call. The Pack made four free throws to trim the Longhorn lead to 65-56. NC State’s next two possessions produced three-pointers from Wood and Alex Johnson to make it 66-62 with 7:00 on the clock.

The Wolfpack tied it up at 67-67, then ran away from the Longhorns, claiming a 75-67 lead to finish the incredible run with 2:58 remaining.

Texas snapped out of its daze coming out of the media timeout, but the Longhorns’ effort would not suffice. Julien Lewis’s buzzer beater three fell short to send the Pack home with a win 77-74.

The Longhorns seized control of the game early with a run to stretch a 9-8 lead to 20-13 in the first 10 minutes. NC State clawed back into the game with a pair of strong finishes by C.J. Williams and Jordan Vandenberg on consecutive plays. Williams capped the tail end of a give-and-go from the wing with an emphatic righthanded dunk over a Texas defender. Vandenberg crashed the offensive boards on the next play with a tip-in to cut the score to 20-17.

The Wolfpack’s run ended there, though, as Texas sustained its lead behind 15-26 first half shooting. By the 4:23 mark, the Longhorns owned their largest lead of the game at 43-30 and held a 43-33 advantage heading to the locker room. -           Associated Press

Kansas City Homecoming Bodes Well for Tigers

By, Eliza Smith

No. 24 Missouri improved to 4-0 on the season with a strong 87-58 win over Notre Dame in the championship round of the Progressive CBE Classic.

Marcus Denmon, one of three Tiger Kansas City natives, has averaged 23 points in his last three games at the Sprint Center, and he lit up the arena again with 26 points, just short of his career-high 27, going 9-for-11 from the field, 2-for-3 from deep and 6-for-7 from the charity stripe.

Mizzou has been hot from 3-point land in the opening rounds of the CBE against Mercer and Niagara, shooting 52.3 (23-of-44) percent from the arc — but the Tigers took it to the rim on Monday, hitting 8 of their first 11 field goals, only one of which came from their 3-point stomping grounds. The Tigers continuously got the ball to 6-foot-7 senior forward Ricardo Ratliffe in the opening minutes, who went 4-4 to score eight of their first 15 points.

Missouri continued to push Notre Dame’s defense, scoring 44 points in the paint by the final buzzer.

“Obviously we’re going to make three’s, and the 3-point shot is important for our team because we can shoot that,” head coach Frank Haith said. “But we must play inside-out because there’s going to be some games where we’re not going to make the three. Paint points are extremely important to our success.”

Notre Dame’s Tim Abromaitis lead the first half overall with 18 points in his season debut for the Fighting Irish after completing a four-game suspension, but the Tigers were able to find him and hold him to only six points in the second half.

The Tigers won the rebound game by 14 boards and had three players join Denmon in the double digits — Phil Pressey with 17, Ratliffe with 12 and Kim English with 10. They will play in the championship game at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday against either California or Georgia.

“To have a performance like that tonight obviously has to give these guys some confidence,” Haith said. “We’re here and we’ve got another game tomorrow. You look across the country and there are a lot of champions that are going to be named this week. We want to have a championship program; winning a championship like tomorrow is important to get our mentality of winning championships. There’s no question — tomorrow we’re going to play another great team and we’ll be excited about the opportunity.”

TIGERS AND BEARS, OH BOY

It’s Missouri and California for the Progressive CBE Classic title.

Missouri’s Marcus Denmon figured he had about 30 friends and family members inside the Sprint Center on Monday night, taking advantage of the chance to see the hometown kid made good. 

Denmon certainly gave them something to remember. 

Marcus Denmon and Mizzou were too much for the Irish

The senior guard poured in 26 points, Phil Pressey added 17 and the No. 21 Tigers used a big run spanning halftime to knock off Notre Dame 87-58 in the semifinals of the Progressive CBE Classic. 

Ricardo Ratliffe added 12 points and Kim English had 10 for Missouri (4-0), which shot 63.3 percent from the field while building a 52-37 lead by halftime. The Tigers scored the first six points out of the break to put things away early, punching their ticket to the championship game. 

Tim Abromaitis returned from a four-game suspension to score 22 points with seven rebounds for Notre Dame. Scott Martin added 12 points, the only other player in double figures, as the Fighting Irish shot just 25 percent (7 of 28) from the field in the second half. 

“Flat out, men versus boys,” Irish coach Mike Brey said. “They’re really good, they’re really mature. It was the varsity playing the JV at times.” 

In the evening’s second semifinal affair, Harper Kamp was perfect from the field and finished with 16 points, Jorge Gutierrez added 14 and No. 20 California cruised into the Progressive CBE Classic championship game with a 70-46 rout of Georgia.

Jorge Gutierrez contributed 14 points as Cal rolled past UGA.

Justin Cobbs added 10 points off the bench for California, which still hasn’t been tested this season. The Golden Bears led UC Irvine, George Washington and Austin Peay by at least 20 early on, and built their lead to that much against Georgia with 13:11 left in the second half.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 10 to lead the Bulldogs (3-1), but he shot just 4 of 13 from the field and the team wound up shooting 33 percent – including 4-19 from beyond the 3-point line.Gerald Robinson and Nemanja Djurisic each added nine points for Georgia.

The Bulldogs actually led 25-22 with about five minutes left in the first half when Caldwell-Pope scored on a dunk in transition and Djurisic was credited with a basket after goaltending.

Brandon Smith’s only points of the first 20 minutes stopped the Bulldogs’ brief flurry and began California’s half-ending 14-0 run. Allen Crabbe hit a go-ahead 3-pointer, Kamp converted a three-point play and Gutierrez added another short basket.

Cal and Missouri will play for the Progressive CBE Classic championship following the consolation match between Notre Dame and Georgia, which starts at 7:45pm (ET). That game will air on ESPNU while the title game will be seen on ESPN2.
 
- Associated Press

Irish Look to Remain Unbeaten Against Mizzou

By, Matthew Lang

Coming off a perfect 4-0 start to the season, Notre Dame will take on the Missouri Tigers Monday in the semi-finals of the CBE Classic at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Playing without star forward Tim Abromaitis due to a misunderstanding of an NCAA eligibility rule, the Irish have received big performances from sophomore guards Eric Atkins, Alex Dragicevich, and Jerian Grant.

Atkins, along with junior forward Joey Brooks, have been battling illness and both missed action in each of the past two games as a result. With Atkins and Brooks unavailable in addition to Abromaitis’ absence, an opportunity for younger players to perform was created.

“I hope it is a blessing in disguise,” Head Coach Mike Brey explained. “Some of our other guys have had to play long minutes, and we’ve found out about them. I think it can help in the future, and I hope that future is Monday night.”

Brey will have Abromaitis, and likely Atkins and Brooks available to play significant minutes against the Tigers. Missouri is led by a talented backcourt duo in Marcus Denmon and Kim English, along with three other returning starters. Their experience and chemistry figures to challenge Brey and his young corps of players.

“They’re really good and really fast,” said Brey. “We’re going to have to pick up the tempo.”

In last Friday’s win against Delaware State, four different players scored in double figures for Notre Dame led by co-captain Scott Martin’s career-high 23. Dragicevich, Grant, and junior forward Mike Broghammer also set or tied career highs in points during the game. This balance and early experience should provide a huge boost when the Irish face their first ranked opponent Monday. Brey’s squad understands it needs to capitalize on an early season opportunity against a highly rated team.

“I think [these first four games] speaks a lot about our team,” said Martin. “We were able to get through that, and we’re excited to be at full strength. We’re looking forward to the next challenge and excited to get out there.”

‘DORES AND BEAVS TO PLAY FOR LEGENDS TITLE

20111120-063103.jpg

No. 20 Vanderbilt will face Oregon State for the TicketCity Legends Classic title.

C.J. Leslie gave North Carolina State all he could in his first game of the season until leg cramps kept him on the bench at the end and No. 18 Vanderbilt pulled away for an 86-79 victory Saturday night in the semifinals of the TicketCity Legends Classic.

He made his first seven shots from the field as the Wolfpack stayed even with the Commodores.

With about six minutes left he started cramping and he spent the rest of the game on the floor next to the bench being treated by trainers.

“I thought in the first half he was exceptional but he got tired,” North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried said. “It’s one thing to practice every day and another to being in game shape. He started cramping late and he was playing well when he started cramping. He was really good early.”

Leslie averaged 11.0 points as a freshman and he had that many in the first 10 1/2 minutes of his first game as a sophomore.

John Jenkins scored 28 points for the Commodores, who closed the game on a 10-2 run. Jenkins, who missed the Commodores’ last game with a sprained right ankle, had 20 points in the first half. The junior guard wasn’t even sure about playing Saturday night until the morning shootaround.

“The ankle really wasn’t an issue. I did feel a little better at the shootaround,” Jenkins said. “I was going to go tonight no matter what. I wasn’t letting my teammates down. But I never thought I’d be this productive. Coach got in my face a little in the shootaround, because I thought I wouldn’t feel good at all. But once I started shooting, I felt better.”

Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings told Jenkins to stop worrying about his injury.

“This morning, he said his foot was hurting again and he was shooting and missing,” Stallings said. “I told him that he was thinking too much about his foot and I said something to remind him.”

Saturday night’s game was close on the scoreboard and stat sheet until Vanderbilt (3-1) took the lead for good with the deciding spurt that started with 2:16 to play.

Jeffrey Taylor added 17 points for Vanderbilt and Lance Goulbourne had 15, including 10 in the opening 7 minutes of the second half.

Richard Howell had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Wolfpack (2-1).

In the nightcap, Jared Cunningham scored a career-high 37 points to lead Oregon State to a 100-95 overtime victory against Texas.

Cunningham, a junior guard who had 35 points in his previous game against Hofstra, played the last few minutes and the overtime with a split lip. He made several hustle plays down the stretch and went 8 for 8 from the free throw line in overtime.

The Beavers (4-0) will play No. 18 Vanderbilt in the championship game Monday night at the IZOD Center. The Commodores beat North Carolina State 86-79 in the other semifinal.

Devon Collier added 17 points for Oregon State, which trailed 72-64 with 7:11 left in regulation.
Cunningham tied the game at 80 with a layup with 1:40 left. Myck Kabongo of Texas (2-1) broke the tie with two free throws with 1:20 to play. Cunningham then made three free throws around one by Kabongo over the final 18 seconds to send the game to overtime tied at 81.

Alexis Wangmene made a reverse layup 54 seconds into overtime to give Texas the lead, but the Beavers went on a 9-0 run that started with 3-pointers by Ahmad Starks and Angus Brandt and ended with two free throws by Cunningham with 1:43 to go.

Cunningham was 20 of 23 from the free throw line and Oregon State was 31 for 43 overall.

J’Covan Brown had 25 points – 18 in the first half – and nine assists for the Longhorns, while Kabongo had 13 points.

Oregon State and Vanderbilt will play for the TicketCity Legends Classic championship after NC State and Texas square off in the consolation match at 6:30pm (ET). Both games will air on ESPN3.

- Associated Press

Dogs Top ‘Cats, Crowned Kings Of NYC

By: Hunter Richardson

“King of the hill, top of the heap.”

Frank Sinatra’s classic lyrics are ringing in the ears of Mississippi State (4-1) faithful Friday as the Bulldogs wrapped the 2K Sports Classic Championship trophy in Maroon and White, defeating No. 16 Arizona (4-1) 67-57 at Madison Square Garden.

Led by Tournament Most Valuable Player Arnett Moultrie and a solid team defensive effort, State was able to oust the No. 16 Wildcats in a close-fought matchup in sport’s most prestigious arena.

Moultrie’s fourth double-double of the season powered State to knock off its second-consecutive ranked opponent, a feat the Dogs hadn’t accomplished since beating Florida and South Carolina in 2004.

Just like Thursday night’s matchup against the No. 18 Texas A&M Aggies, MSU came out with a blistering start, scoring the game’s first seven points and dominating the entire game. And just like Thursday’s contest, State never once trailed.

“We came out with the intensity you have to have to win games like this,” MSU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “It was our most complete game offensively, while we really locked them down on defense in the final half.”

State’s impressive start did gain a response from the Wildcats, who had a large fan base at MSG fueling their fire. A 12-2 run by the ‘Cats tied the game at 23 in the first half, but a couple of baskets by freshman Rodney Hood and a three from guard Brian Bryant put the Dogs back in the driver’s seat. However, Arizona proved, as it did all night, that it wouldn’t go away without a fight, only trailing by one at the half, 34-33.

When State entered the second half, they picked up where they left off. With the offense still firing, the defensive intensity kicked into a new gear, holding Arizona to 23 total points and eight field goals in the final half.

Arizona’s scrappiness showed greatly in the second half, cutting the lead to one in two instances. After closing it to 44-43, Moultrie took over and slammed the ball home, fueling a 6-0 run for the Dogs to jump out to a seven-point lead. Later in the game, they would close it to 54-53, but the trio of Renardo Sidney, Dee Bost, and Moultrie silenced the ‘Cats and built up a six point lead.

Following two Wendell Lewis baskets that increased the lead to ten, Moultrie, celebrating his 21st birthday, slammed the door on Arizona with two clutch free throw in the closing minutes.
State won the shooting battle, hitting 26 of 58 shots from the field (44.8 percent) compared to Arizona’s 23 of 58 (39.7 percent). Once again a telling stat, the Dogs won the battle at the charity stripe, hitting 11 of 17 free throws (64.7 percent), where the Cats hit 5 of 9 from the foul line (55.6 percent).

Similar to Thursday’s matchup, State held the rebounding advantage, 36-31, and the two teams held similar stats in assists (MSU 10, Arizona 11) and turnovers (nine turnovers each).

Hood posted nine points, where Sidney put up eight for the Dogs. Bost, who was named to the all-tournament team with Moultrie, scored eight points and a team-best six assists.

For the ‘Cats, Solomon Hill led the way with 12 points, while Jesse Perry contributed 11 points.

The time for celebration is short for the Dogs, as they’ll get right back to work in preparation for a Monday game against Louisiana-Monroe at Humphrey Coliseum, the start to a six-game homestand.

State is hoping that since they made it in NYC, that they can make it anywhere…perhaps, New Orleans?

MISSISSIPPI STATE WINS 2K SPORTS CLASSIC

20111118-230115.jpg

Arnett Moultre, a junior from nearby Queens, N.Y., celebrating his 21st birthday, tallied a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead Mississippi State to a 67-57 victory over Arizona. The win handed State the 2K Classic championship and completed a very successful visit to Madison Square Garden and the Big Apple for MSU.

Moultrie was also named the tournament’s MVP.

Friday’s win came on the heels of State’s upset of Texas A&M Thursday night in the semifinals.

State got out to a 7-0 lead from the opening tip Friday and the Wildcats would only tie the game once the rest of the way – 23-23 at the 9:26 mark of the first half.

But the game was fairly close throughout, and State led by just two, at 54-52 with 6:30 to go in regulation. Leading 59-55 with under five minutes to go, Moultrie tipped in a ball and the Bulldogs never looked back from there, outscoring UA 6-2 down the stretch.

Rodney Hood (9), Dee Bost, who was named to the all-tournament team, and Renardo Sidney (8 each) followed Moultrie in scoring for MSU. Bost had six assists.

Solomon Hill paced Arizona with 12 points. Jesse Perry an all-tournament team selection, had a double-doubles with 10 points and 11 boards.

In the consolation game, Elston Turner hit a 12-foot jumper with six seconds to play for his only points of the second half and Texas A&M beat St. John’s, 58-57.

Nurideen Lindsey of St. John’s missed two free throws with 2.3 seconds left and Turner grabbed the final rebound to give the Aggies (3-1) the win at Madison Square Garden.

Lindsey’s misses capped a horrible final few minutes at the line for the Red Storm (3-2), who went 5-13 on free throws over the closing 6:21.

Ray Turner had 16 points and seven rebounds for the Aggies, who are playing the first month of the season without Big 12 All-Conference pick Khris Middleton. He had surgery on his right knee Nov. 11.

Lindsey, who was named to the all-tournament team, and D’Angelo Harrison both had 12 points for the Red Storm, who seemed to overcome every failure except for the missed foul shots, something that has plagued them so far this season.

Lindsey made two free throws with 4:23 left to tie the game at 55. David Loubeau, hampered by foul trouble all game, scored down low to give the Aggies a 56-55 lead but he missed the free throw that could have given him a three-point play. That play came 14 seconds after God’sgift Achiuwa missed two free throws for St. John’s.

Lindsey made one of two free throws to tie it with 2:21 to go and Harrison did the same for a 57-56 lead with 21 seconds left.

Elston Turner, who finished with eight points, dribbled on the right side before heading toward the basket only to pull up for the game-winner.

- Associated Press

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.