On the other side of the court, freshman Ben McLemore was just focused on one thing. Nearly two months ago, in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, the Jayhawks had been in this same situation against Michigan State. In both games, the Jayhawks had called the play "Chop" - the play made most famous by Mario Chalmers' denouement miracle in the NCAA Championship game against Memphis in 2008.
Now they needed another one.
In both games, the Jayhawks had looked for McLemore. But when the time came against Michigan State, he had misread a defender and floated toward the wrong area.
"I was thinking about the mistake I did last time against Michigan State," McLemore said.
This time, McLemore was poised and calm. He had already scored 25 points, carrying the Jayhawks in the final stretches, helping them erase a six-point deficit with four minutes left. And as Johnson curled around toward the top of the key, McLemore read the defense perfectly and cut open off a screen from Travis Releford.
"He deserved that shot," Johnson said.
When the ball went in the air, Releford and Johnson turned to watch. ("I don't know what I was thinking," Releford said.) The ball would hit glass first, perfectly banking through the iron. And as Allen Fieldhouse began to detonate, McLemore began to run back on defense.
…The Jayhawks, meanwhile, improved to 13-1 and 1-0 in the Big 12. And they now have 17 conference games left to clinch their ninth straight Big 12 title. Maybe it won't be a cakewalk, as so many expected. But perhaps Wednesday's victory will make the Jayhawks take notice of the challenges to come.
"It's kind of a Catch-22," Self said. "You want guys to believe that they can't lose at home. That's good. But you also want them to understand that anybody can beat you."
By late on Wednesday night, McLemore came out of the locker room and began to sign autographs for a long line of Kansas fans. He had played the best game of his young career, a 33-point masterpiece. But in the minutes after, he thought back to Michigan State. This time, when his teammates needed him most, he had made the right read and run the play right.
"It was a good release," McLemore said. "I mean, it went in. So I'm glad."
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Earlier this season Kansas coach Bill Self said Ben McLemore makes plays he can't coach.
The freshman made the biggest play of the Jayhawks' season to date Wednesday banking in a game-tying, 3-pointer to tie Iowa State with 1 second remaining in regulation. The Jayhawks went on a 12-0 run with McLemore's shot and the first nine points in overtime and won 97-89.
McLemore scored a career-high 33 points and added to his resume as possible Freshman of the Year by hitting 10 of 12 shots and all six 3-pointers he attempted, including the big shot of the night in college basketball. He also hit a 3-pointer to start the scoring in overtime.
McLemore's shot ripped out the hearts of the Cyclones who hit 14 3-pointers and had six players score in double figures.
Ben McLemore came around a screen set by Travis Releford, took a pass from Elijah Johnson and then let a 3-pointer rip from well beyond the arc as the final seconds ticked away.
As soon as it left his hand, McLemore dutifully yelled, ''Bank!''
It would have counted even if he hadn't.
The shot banked off the glass and went through the net, pulling sixth-ranked Kansas into a tie with Iowa State with a single second left in regulation. Their game Wednesday night went to overtime, and the Jayhawks scored the first nine points to wrap up a stunning 97-89 victory.
''The way it left my hand, I knew it was going to hit the backboard,'' said McLemore, who finished with a career-high 33 points - and was apparently wise enough to call his dramatic shot off the glass, just in case anybody wanted to argue it was a lucky make.
Including his own coach, Bill Self.
''We executed perfectly,'' Self said. ''Travis set a great screen and Ben was fortunate, because he didn't call glass, I'm sure.''
…''We know we let one slip away,'' Hoiberg said. ''But at the same time, if you come in here and compete with a team that's won eight championships in a row, you can compete with anyone.''
Ben McLemore has played just 14 college games, yet the people who follow Kansas' basketball team closely -- including this writer -- have already concluded two things:
1. McLemore is the best player to wear a KU uniform since Paul Pierce.
2. There's no way the redshirt freshman will be in college after this year.
"He's unbelievable," Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. "He has the potential to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft."
…Coaches throw around that word loosely, but even Self will admit that he hasn't had a talent of this caliber during his nine-year tenure in Lawrence.
Players such as Thomas Robinson, Marcus Morris and Wayne Simien were first-team All-Americans. Brandon Rush, Darrell Arthur and Mario Chalmers led the 2008 squad to the 2008 NCAA title and, overall, Self has had 15 players drafted.
Still, no one ever predicted that any of them would be special at the next level.
No KU player under Self -- and, heck, none since Pierce in the late 1990s -- has ever been pegged as a "star."
"I don't see any reason why (McLemore) can't be the top guy, the No. 1 guy," an NBA scout told me Wednesday night. "The upper part of (this summer's) draft is weak, but that's not the only reason.
"He's a freak athlete, he's got a smooth stroke and he handles (the ball) pretty well. And I love his temperament. He's the best player I've seen at Kansas in a long, long time."
ESPN Jason King
Observations: Kansas is still the heavy favorite to win the Big 12 title, but the championship may not come as easily as initially thought. Iowa State is obviously an excellent team. Kansas State and Oklahoma State have both proved salty in recent weeks and Baylor is the league's most talented team other than KU. The Bears, who visit Allen Fieldhouse on Monday, have played their best basketball of the season in recent weeks.
Miscellaneous: McLemore's game-tying 3-pointer came on the same play that KU used to get Mario Chalmers a shot in the 2008 NCAA title game against Memphis. Like McLemore, Chalmers made the basket to force the extra period, and the Jayhawks eventually won the championship. Wednesday's version of the play featured an extra handoff, but the end result was the same.
ESPN Rapid Reaction
Who knows how far and how good Kansas will go and get this season, but if we get to late March and realize that Ben McLemore is this team's best player, by far, then it's going to be Jan. 10 we look back on as the watershed night when he passed Jeff Withey for that distinction.
22: How many years in a row Kansas has won its Big 12 opener.
When the ball left McLemore’s hand, Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg thought the game was over. Looking back on it, he wished the shot would have just swished through the net instead of kissing off the glass.
“It wouldn’t have seemed quite so lucky,” Hoiberg said.
Certainly, there was some luck — and probably some Allen Fieldhouse magic — involved in KU’s comeback. There also was the otherworldly talent of McLemore, who went 6-for-6 from 3-point range and scored a career-high 33 points. That included a four-point play when the Jayhawks (13-1, 1-0 Big 12) had fallen behind by six, the game-tying 3-pointer and the first basket of an overtime session dominated by KU.
“It’s one thing for guys to play the first 35 minutes of the game,” Self said. “It’s another thing for players to make plays the last five. That’s something we haven’t seen, so that was great to see.”
…Lucious hit both free throws, putting the Cyclones on top 79-76 and presenting Hoiberg with a choice. He opted not to foul KU on the final sequence, reasoning that forward Georges Niang had just fouled out and the Cyclones might be vulnerable to an offensive rebound.
“If they did hit one free throw and tap one out, it was a way we could lose the game,” Hoiberg said. “We also thought we knew the play they would run, and they did run it.”
Self said he probably wouldn’t have fouled either, although in hindsight, he was glad Hoiberg opted not to.
“I would have said, ‘Let’s hunker down and guard them,” Self said.
Just when everyone thought any Big 12 basketball team would need a miracle to beat Kansas, the miracle was pulled off Wednesday by the Jayhawks.
Ben McLemore, ladies and gentleman. How good is this kid?
Everything he touches — including the backboard with the ball — turns to gold.
No, the last-second shot he made in regulation will not go down alongside Mario in KU lore.
Yet for a conference opener that had everything no one imagined (what with KU predicted to take over every Whataburger as it pillaged the Big 12), the ending was as good as it gets. Somehow, McLemore overturned an inevitable defeat with his improbable make and Kansas outlasted Iowa State, 97-89.
Left untouched by an Iowa State defender, thus leaving a 3-pointer to tie as a possibility, McLemore came off a great screen from Travis Releford and knotted the score with a second to spare.
That, for all practical purposes, was the ending. A few chips of mortar peeled off Allen Fieldhouse from all the noise.
Sure, five overtime minutes were put on the clock. Yet KU scored the first 11 points of the OT and won.
“A lot of it (in OT) was momentum,’’ KU coach Bill Self said. “That would be a punch in the gut the way we tied it up.’’
…Self examined the stat sheet and noticed McLemore got his season high on relatively few attempts.
“When a guy gets 33, that’s impressive,’’ said Self, “but when he does it on 12 shots, he’s got to take more than 12 shots.’’
Sometimes McLemore defers to teammates and, as Self put it, “doesn’t get himself plugged in.’’
Yet he starts alongside four seniors. Freshmen react that way sometimes to veterans. When Jeff Withey was asked to comment on McLemore, the KU center touched on various superlatives.
“Thanks,’’ said McLemore, “I appreciate it.’’
No need, really, to say that. Everyone these days is enamored with the freshman. Yet his contagious smile and irresistible charm only make him more of a phenom.
“They’re hard to guard,” Self said of the Cyclones, who shot 14-for-38 from 3-point range in the Jayhawks’ 97-89 victory.
“They’re really good … we defended the 3 well tonight, and they got off 38. They’re athletic at all spots and do a really nice job.”
“I’ll go back and watch, and I could be mistaken, but I think they shot some shots where if you were to ask me if that was the best shot they could get that possession — we’d live with that,” Self added. “They can shoot it. They’ve got some players.”
Much of the Cyclones’ success, indeed, was all about hitting shots. Six different players hit treys for Iowa State, which came into the game making 35.8 percent of its 3s.
Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg, too, knows good shooting when he sees it. Probably more so than most.
But Hoiberg also felt like some of his team’s success from the perimeter stemmed from how they game-planned for Jeff Withey.
…Better to try shooting over the Jayhawks’ crop of wings than take it inside and contend with Withey.
But the Cyclones feature two post players who double as outside shooters, Georges Niang and Melvin Ejim, moving Withey out of the paint and onto the edge.
Withey started the game guarding Niang, who promptly hit his first three shots — two 3s and another jumper — before switching over to Ejim.
“I have seen that a lot this year, and the first eight points (by Niang) were on me,” said Withey, who still managed three blocks. “They just spread it out, and they were shooting really well tonight. They shot 38 3s, so they definitely tried to take me away from the basket.”
By forcing Withey out from under the basket, Iowa State had plenty of room to drive and swing the ball to open shooters. It also gave the Cyclones ample opportunities on the offensive glass, especially down the stretch as the Jayhawks scrambled to tie the game.
“We wanted to pull Withey away from the basket,” Hoiberg said. “And it worked out pretty well for us. To score 89 against this team is not easy to do, especially in this building.
“A lot of it had to do with us lifting their bigs, I thought, and inverting the floor.”
nbadraft.net mock draft: Ben McLemore #1
“It has a lot of options,” Self added of the chop play. “They went under the fade screen. We told our guys if they go under, I want you to stop and change the angle of the screen. Travis did it perfect. Travis got him open. They ran under the fade. We had it against Michigan State. They went under it. Ben didn’t feel it and didn’t see it. He did a better job this time.”
ISU pretty much had no chance in overtime, not with the way the game entered OT.
McLemore — he had a huge four-point play, a trey and foul shot, with seven minutes left in regulation to cut a 63-57 deficit to 63-61 — opened OT with a three. After that, Releford hit three free throws, Withey two free throws and a bucket and Releford put in one of two free throws, giving KU a 90-79 lead with 2:30 left. ISU finally hit a free throw at 2:11.
“A lot of it is momentum,” Self said of KU rolling, 18-10, in OT. “Without saying any disrespect, that would be a punch to the gut the way we tied it up and everything. The building ... we had an opportunity to try to take advantage of the emotion and the building and we did. We played pretty well in overtime. We ran an out of bounds play to start it, Ben makes a three and the next thing you know we’re off to the races.”
“Hey, they’re good,” KU coach Bill Self said of ISU. “I can’t believe they have lost three games, well four games now (against 10 wins). They are good. They play with so much freedom offensively and they always play great in this building. Every time Iowa State comes here, it seems like they give us all we want.
“It’s a tough matchup for us because they can all shoot. We actually defended the three pretty well and they still got 38 up. It's hard for Jeff (Withey). The guy out there who can really shoot it (Iowa State’s Georges Niang), Jeff guards him, and he just gets out behind the arc and we have a couple of screw-ups and he has eight points (to open the game). He’s ahead of us, 8-3, before the game starts.
“How we finished the first half was deplorable,” added Self, whose squad allowed a Chris Babb three at the buzzer to slice a late nine-point deficit to 42-38. “We were up nine playing two-for-one (in possessions) and you go in up four. That is as bad as you can possibly play and as dumb. They out played us in the second half until the last several minutes.
“That was a man’s game. There were some men out there playing down the stretch,” Self added, noting he was “proud” KU gutted out the win.
…Self on Elijah Johnson’s decision to go for a quick two instead of a three when Kansas was down, 77-74, late in regulation. Johnson converted with :14.5 left to make it a one-point game.
"I think there was 24 or 23 (seconds) left and we could have run a three point play, but we said, ‘Go get a quick two,’ and he did. He just went down and got a quick two and made some plays,” Self said.
…Elijah Johnson's 10 assists were a career high.
Now that McLemore showed what he can do when his team needs somebody to take the game by the throat, look for the days of long field-goal droughts to be a thing of the past for this Kansas team.
…He couldn’t have scored during the field-goal drought that lasted 9:18. Know why? Because he didn’t attempt a shot during the stretch in which Kansas went 0-for-10 from the field and had five turnovers. Elijah Johnson took four shots and had four turnovers. Kevin Young took two shots and turned it over once. Naadir Tharpe and Jeff Withey put up two shots apiece.
McLemore sat for 2:36 of the drought and played the rest of it. And thanks to a 14-1 Iowa State run that gave the Cyclones a lead, we all were afforded the treat of seeing how McLemore plays when his team plays under a scoreboard that spells out long odds.
…McLemore scored 13 points in the final 6:49 of regulation and five in overtime, bringing Kansas back from a six-point deficit. Remarkably, he attempted just 12 field goals and made 10. Showing phenomenal range, he made all six three-point shots and didn’t miss from the line, where he scored seven points.
“He’s very efficient, but it’s kind of sad,” Kansas coach Bill Self said after the thrilling victory. “I mean, this is coaching, but we’ve got to do a better job. When a guy gets 33, that’s impressive. But when he does it on 12 shots, we’ve got to get him more shots.”
…In the first half, McLemore passed up a shot and gave the ball to Perry Ellis, who was fouled and had to earn the points on the line. Self hollered his name, and McLemore instantly knew what message he was about to hear. The freshman from St. Louis mimed tossing an underhanded layup and Self nodded affirmation. A shot, not a pass, was the right call, even if McLemore’s heart was in the right place.
McLemore’s an eager pupil, and this thriller of a game sent into overtime by a rare off-target McLemore shot, a three-pointer that banked in with one second left, serves as a good lesson for the entire team.
1. Ben McLemore: Was it the best individual performance in Allen Fieldhouse since Paul Pierce scored 31 against Oklahoma? The freshman hit the game's biggest shot — a banked-in three with 1.3 seconds left in regulation to tie it — and ended with 33 points on just 12 field-goal attempts, making six of six threes and seven of seven free throws. That was the most posts by a KU freshman since Danny Manning had 35 on March 2, 1985.
Kansas senior Elijah Johnson finished with a quiet double-double, finishing with 12 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. He also recorded six turnovers. But his biggest assist may have come in the first half, when he took McLemore aside and apologized for not getting him the ball more.
“I just told him, ‘It’s my fault if you don’t get going,’ ” Johnson said. “So take the ball. I kept giving it to him.”
Welcome to life as a Cyclone. Iowa State’s 97-89 overtime loss to Kansas was a perfect indoctrination into the hopeful joy and lingering pain that results from wearing the Cardinal and Gold. Unfortunately the latest chapter in Cyclone Nation rug pulling was more agonizing than most of the previous episodes.
Iowa State fans are a cautiously optimistic bunch. They entered the Big 12 opener against Kansas with the realistic expectation of not having enough horses to run with the KU thoroughbreds in their barn. Few, if any, had a cursory thought that the Cyclones could end the Jayhawks’ 30 game home winning streak. After all KU hadn’t lost a conference home opener since 1983, when Hall & Oates, “Maneater” topped the charts. Iowa State was expected to be another guest who added to the Phog’s unfathomable tally.
The men on the floor with Iowa State on their chest had other plans.
With 21 seconds on the clock, the fellas from Ames held a 77-74 lead and had possession of the ball. I had this Twitter post all lined up to post as the game ended: “As Jamaal Tinsley once said, JUST ANOTHER GYM.” I should have known better.
The final ticks of regulation played out like a recurring Cyclone nightmare. Korie Lucious game clinching free throw rolled off the rim like Jamaal Tinsley’s layup against Hampton. Kansas had life. A room service layup cut the Cyclone advantage to one. Here we go again.
Lucious returned to the stripe and converted two massive free throws with place-kicker pressure to put Iowa State back up three—hope was restored if only for a moment. That’s the thing about Iowa State, they always give themselves one final gasp of auspicious air before the balloon explodes.
The next sequence plays out in panicked slow motion. KU pushes the ball, Babb gets caught up in a back-pick, Tyrus McGee tries to challenge, Kansas’ McLemore rises and so does the lump in the throat of Cyclone Nation. We’ve felt this before, the same sickness that struck during the lob from Mateen Cleaves to Morris Peterson in the Elite Eight. McLemore’s hoisted three floats helplessly like Cameron Dollar’s last ditch attempt over Kelvin Cato in the 1997 Sweet Sixteen.
The improbable seems inevitable. Glass, net, overtime.
The extra five minutes were a formality, the damage had been done.
1/9/13, 8:01 PM
I'll say it again ... Ben McLemore ... Dat. Boy. Good. Wow.
1/9/13, 8:02 PM
Don't tell me Phog Allen and James Naismith weren't cooking up a withces' brew. Holy Rock Chalk Batman.
1/9/13, 8:13 PM
Wrap it up !!! It's over !
Rock Chalk baby!!
1/9/13, 8:42 PM
Ben is an ABSOLUTE BEAST!
1/9/13, 8:42 PM
All Allen Field House does is #TurnUp
1/9/13, 8:47 PM
One thing you've gotta love about Lawrence....only place in the country that keeps the bank open until 8 #RockChalk @Humb1e_Hungry23
1/9/13, 8:53 PM
Turnnnn uppp #JayhawkNation!!!
1/9/13, 8:55 PM
Annnnd that's why the fieldhouse is the best place to play in the nation! #RCJH #kubball
1/9/13, 9:01 PM
Big win for Tilton & For Kansas ! #RAMNation #KUCMB
1/9/13, 9:15 PM
My young boy Ben did work. Congrats to my Jayhawks on the win.
1/9/13, 9:17 PM
Hand off, ball screen, flare screen... Bill Self is like Vince Lombardi. You know what's coming end of game. But it somehow always works.
1/9/13, 9:59 PM
Young fella ben went ham today happy for them Jay Hawks rcj
A: Travis Releford's shooting stats -- There's no reason the Kansas guard should be taking a back seat to Jeff Withey and Ben McLemore in terms of publicity. Along with being KU's top perimeter defender, Releford leads the country in the two most important advanced shooting statistics. The first is effective field goal percentage, which gives a player 1.5 times the credit for 3-pointers. The next is true shooting percentage, which calculates free throw shooting into the equation, as well.
Releford is shooting .727 in the first category and .756 in the next. That's incredible for a player who ranked 244th and 306th in those fields a year ago. Releford averages 13.4 points per game. My good friend Jesse Newell of the Lawrence Journal-World put together a riveting chart chronicling Releford's success and how it stands up both nationally and in KU history.
…Ranking the best freshmen in college basketball, in order of total points, with number of first-place votes in parentheses (voters: Eamonn Brennan, Andy Katz, Myron Medcalf, Dana O'Neil and me).
1. Anthony Bennett, UNLV -- 47 (4)
2. Ben McLemore, Kansas -- 44 (1)
3. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State -- 34
4. Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA -- 33
5. Jordan Adams, UCLA -- 17
6. Isaiah Austin, Baylor -- 16
7. Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke -- 13
8. Jahii Carson, Arizona State -- 12
9. Glenn Robinson III, Michigan -- 11
10. Archie Goodwin, Kentucky -- 10
…One of his players takes a charge but is whistled for a block. An out-of-bounds call goes the wrong way and, twice in the waning minutes, officials miss traveling violations that would've given his SMU team possession.
Larry Brown has had enough.
The only coach in history to win both an NBA and NCAA title rises from his seat on the bench at Moody Coliseum. With fewer than 3,500 fans watching from the stands, Brown asks an assistant for the name of the referee standing on the other side of the court.
Darron, he's told.
"Darron!" the 72-year-old Hall of Famer barks. "DAR-RON! Come over here!"
Official Darron George trots to the sideline, and Brown leans toward him and lowers his voice. "Hey," the coach says, "can't I get a little frickin' respect?"
That's never been a problem for Brown in the past. Whether he was stalking the sidelines at Kansas' Allen Fieldhouse or UCLA's Pauley Pavilion, coaching Allen Iverson in the NBA or working with the U.S. Olympic team, Brown has always been given his due regard.
None of that matters here, though. Not as he begs for calls in the closing moments of a 59-56 loss to Wyoming. And not when he's on the practice court the following day at SMU, where Brown is facing a whole new kind of challenge.
…His current task may be more difficult than others. The players at SMU aren't as talented as the ones he coached in Lawrence or Westwood. At least not yet. Maddening as that can be at times, Brown knows he'll be all the more gratified once they experience success.
"With his background," guard Nick Russell said, "I thought he'd come into our practices and think, 'Oh my gosh, what am I getting myself into?' But I think he's enjoying it.
"X's and O's-wise, I'm learning things I never even fathomed. I've been playing basketball my whole life but have never thought about some of the stuff he says."
SMU is averaging 3,222 fans for home games, which is up significantly from the 2,013 average it posted last season. The Mustangs are confident that number will rise even higher once students return from winter break and conference play kicks into gear.
"We know a lot of people will come to our games just to see him," Williams said. "But when they come to see him, they've got to see us too. Things are definitely working out in our favor."
…Brown also has a staff that includes two of college basketball's top young recruiters in Jerrance Howard and Ulric Maligi. And former Kansas assistant and Illinois State head coach Tim Jankovich has been named the program's coach-in-waiting.
"I knew this would be an uphill climb," Brown says, "but I'm thrilled with everything we have in place."
So pleased is he with the situation that Brown doesn't even mind the four-hour bus rides to cities such as San Marcos and Houston. While he grew used to taking charter flights in the NBA, Brown is enjoying the old-school feel and the opportunity to bond with his team.
"When Michael Jordan was playing minor league baseball," Brown says, "he said the greatest fun he had was when the bus stopped at a convenience store with all of the playing getting out to buy soft drinks and chips. I love it, too.
"I love being around these players. I love being around the game."
ESPN Jason King
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West Virginia’s first Big 12 victory was a memorable win in a most forgettable overtime game.
Fighting back from a 13-point deficit in a game where they could have been down 30, the Mountaineers could not clinch the victory until Aaric Murray stole a Texas pass and sank two free throws with 6.5 seconds left for a 57-53 final score.
Texas Coach Rick Barnes had won all 14 of his previous home openers.
West Virginia had missed 14 consecutive 3-point shots and was in jeopardy of seeing its streak of 436 consecutive games with a 3-point basket broken when Kevin Noreen, of all people, hit a 3 to get them back into contention, a struggling Jabarie Hinds who had missed all five of his 3-point tries then tied the game at 47 with a 3 and then nearly won it in regulation.
But the Longhorns, who now have dropped each of their first two conference games this season in overtime, tied the game when Jonathan Harris dropped his own 3 on top of that to force overtime.
In overtime they crushed the offensive boards, allowing them to run one possession for almost two minutes. In all they had 17 offensive rebounds, Noreen leading the way with 13 boards.
“This is what we do,” Huggins said of the rebounding. “This is what I’m accustomed to seeing us doing. I wasn’t accustomed of seeing what they had been doing. If we play this way, we’re going to be all right.”
The Mountaineers now are 8-6 and even their Big 12 record at 1-1.
A few weeks ago he put out a message on Twitter indicating he was having second thoughts about coming to UCLA. But after Saturday’s victory over the Stanford Cardinal he said that he’s committed to seeing it through -- at least for this season.
“I’ve been hurt. I’ve been nicked up,” said Parker, who averaged 16.8 points and 11 rebounds as a senior in high school. “I just have to get healthy so I can actually play and help my team. I haven’t been able to show what I can do because I haven’t been able to do it.”
…“I think he’s good about taking instruction, but he needs to see it and learn from it and get better,” Howland said. “He’s going to be a good player. He just has to stay the course.”
It remains to be seen if he will. Parker indicated that after the season, he would weigh his options as far as returning to UCLA.
“I don’t know yet,” Parker said. “I have to talk to my parents and see what they say.”
Asked if he regretted coming to UCLA, Parker said, “No comment.”
Greene led Tift with 14. Donell Tuff had 13 and Tadric Jackson, 10.
In the latest polls released by Score Atlanta, MaxPreps and The Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Tift County boys are ranked as the No. 1 team in the state in Class AAAAAA.
The Blue Devils now boast a five-game win streak and will meet the Coffee Trojans Friday night at 7 p.m. in another Region 1-AAAAAA game. Coffee is 9-3 and winners of their last seven. They defeated Camden County Tuesday, 80-32.
The Tilton Rams got back on the winning track as they hosted and raced past Rise Academy of Philadelphia, PA. Little scoring happened for either team in the first four minutes of the matchup but behind their pressure defense Tilton was able to take the lid off the basket and build a 44-33 halftime advantage. In the second half, the Rams pulled away even more and got several strong performances from players. Wayne Selden (36pts, 12reb, 7assists, 3blocks), Jon Joseph (12pts, 8assists, 3steals) and Terance Mann (19pts, 5rebs) were all particularly productive. Cam Durley (10rebs, 7pts) and John Witkowski (11pts) were also strong contributors. The 96-71 win puts Tilton at 8-3 on the season heading into a Saturday game at the Kroc Center in Boston vs. Brimmer and May. The NEPSAC AA contest tips at 2:15.
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