With Belmont up next, Purdue basketball out to make tough first-half schedule count – Journal & Courier


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Journal & Courier Purdue insiders Mike Carmin and Nathan Baird break down the Boilermakers’ trip to Nashville to face Auburn.
Nathan Baird, jconline.com

Hidden within the Boilermakers’ 7-5 record is one of the nation’s toughest strength of schedule ratings. To capitalize, they need more wins, beginning Saturday against Belmont.

WEST LAFAYETTE — Evan Boudreaux’s Christmas gifts included six stitches near his right eye.

The Purdue forward suffered a friendly fire wound when fellow centers Trevion Williams and Emmanuel Dowuona fought for a rebound. Wrong place, wrong time.

Intensity over the break was apparently not a problem for a team acutely aware of the five losses next to its name.

“When you’re 7-5 and you’re searching for those big wins still, it’s got to be high,” Boudreaux said. “We haven’t really earned anything yet.”

That may not be entirely true. While the Boilermakers’ record lacks the value they prefer on the left side of the dash, it at least has substance.

On Belmont: Dylan Windler leads Bruins into Purdue in search of another statement victory

Preseason look: Texas highlights a Purdue non-conference schedule short on filler

According to analyst Ken Pomeroy’s metrics, Purdue takes the country’s 10th-toughest schedule into Saturday’s non-conference finale against Belmont. With the likely exception of Appalachian State, all of the Boilermakers’ road and neutral-court games have come against teams expected to contend for conference titles or postseason berths.

Yet other than an extra road trip to Texas, much of the Purdue schedule resembles previous years. Exempt tournament such as the Charleston Classic provide at least one or two NCAA Tournament-caliber opponents when things go according to plan. Same for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and Crossroads Classic.

Where the schedule deviates most from previous seasons is a lack of gimmes, as much as such a thing exists. That follows through on Matt Painter’s stated goal when the Big Ten Conference announced the move to a 20-game schedule. 

Using those same KenPom rankings, Purdue will re-enter Big Ten play having faced only two opponents ranked No. 200 or lower: Appalachian State and Robert Morris. Only Penn State (one) and Illinois (two) similarly restricted their potential for walk-over opponents.

The other 11 league teams combined for 58 such opponents. Iowa leads with seven, including four teams ranked 315 or lower. Michigan and Indiana are among the four teams with six such matchups.

Future considerations: As coaches remain concerned with schedule strength, Big Ten may surpass 20 league games

“Now that I’ve gone through it, I’m like, ‘Hey man, this has been tough,’ ” senior guard Ryan Cline said.

“For this young team, it’s really good, especially going into Big Ten play, to say we were in all these games and just weren’t able to finish it out. To be able to go into Big Ten with a head of steam.”

Belmont, 75th nationally on Ken Pom and only two spots behind Purdue at No. 40 in the NCAA’s NET rankings, fits Painter’s preference. Beating a team ranked in the 300s at home affects a team’s NCAA Tournament chances as much as a highly ranked road loss — which is to say it has no effect at all.

Painter believes the NCAA Tournament selection committee — should Purdue’s fate rest in their hands — will reward a tougher schedule based on the parameters they have already laid out.

“Even though we’ve had a tough schedule, we’re still in a position where if we keep getting better and we keep working we can reach that goal of getting to the NCAA Tournament and being a team that competes for a Big Ten title,” Painter said.

“… You never know what can happen. You’ve got to keep plugging and getting guys to understand how important each possession is.”

Of the nine teams currently ranked ahead of Purdue in strength of schedule, eight are mid or low-majors with losing records who played predominately on the road in non-conference. Their SOS scores will presumably worsen during conference play.

Only Kansas — whose 10-1 record includes neutral victories over Michigan State, Marquette and Tennessee — and 4-8 Illinois — with seven road or neutral games against KenPom top 75 teams — stand above the Boilermakers among Power 5 teams.

That explains Purdue’s favorable overall KenPom (19) and NET (38) rankings despite a mediocre 7-5 record.

Yet the Boilermakers’ non-conference slate also seemed especially tough because of what comes next. Seven Big Ten teams currently sit above Purdue in the NET rankings. More than any season in recent memory, the league schedule provides no semblance of relief.

Of the Boilermakers’ nine Big Ten road opponents to come, only Penn State (78) currently resides outside the NET top 60.

Algorithms will only help partially help Purdue in its bid for a fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. At some point the math becomes simple. The Boilermakers must starting adding up wins — especially the valuable road wins which have thus far eluded them.

“It’s frustrating for us to know we had some of those wins kind of slip away from us,” Boudreaux said. “Obviously you can’t just say you had a really good strength of schedule and get in. You’ve got to get the wins and you’ve got to prove to the country and the committees you can beat people here, you can beat people away from your home building and beat people who are really good.”

After back-to-back losses to Notre Dame and Texas, it remained unclear whether the tough schedule had helped make Purdue better. A home win over Maryland remains an outlier as far as defensive performances against upper-echelon opponents. Offensive efficiency remains inconsistent game to game.

On the other hand — and a high-scoring, opportunistic Belmont team should reinforce this point — the Boilermakers will not end December with an undeserved sense of self. Warts which otherwise may have remained hidden against a softer schedule are fully exposed.

“I don’t think we’re walking in there with any falsehood towards who we are,” Painter said. “We understand our weaknesses, like anybody else has weaknesses, but have your weaknesses really been exposed? That’s what you want to be able to do. You want to have those weaknesses exposed.

“You don’t want them to cost you losses, but if that loss can make you better and help you win games down the road, you’ll take it.”

Painter calls the coming Big Ten schedule “a monster.” However, Wednesday’s practice at Mackey Arena obviously focused on the challenge of beating the NCAA Tournament-caliber team up next on the schedule: Belmont.

The Bruins feature a Hall of Fame-nominee coach in Rick Byrd, an NBA prospect wing in Dylan Windler and a confident squad which already went to UCLA and knocked off John Wooden’s other team this season.

The combination of the 20-game Big Ten schedule and Painter’s non-conference preferences made it unlikely a still-jelling Purdue team could repeat last season’s No. 2 seed. A win over Belmont, however, could provide a push into a league gauntlet both challenging and potentially lucrative.

“We’re going to play a lot of tournament teams here — a handful of them twice,” Painter said of the Big Ten schedule. “It’s what you want. You want to be able to help yourself and help your league and put yourself in that position where our league is getting eight, nine, 10 teams. I know that sounds crazy, but in a perfect storm, things like that can happen.

“We just want to be a part of it.”

Contact Journal & Courier Purdue men’s basketball insider Nathan Baird at nbaird@jconline.com or 765-420-5234. Follow him on Twitter: @nbairdjc



Girls Basketball: Schedule, results and links for Wednesday, Dec. 26 – NJ.com


WEDNESDAY, DEC. 26

• Complete holiday tournament schedules and results

FEATURED COVERAGE

Newark Tech 47, Morristown 35
Lady Knights Showcase at Paterson Kennedy
• Terriers ready to prove it again this season
• Box Score

Immaculate Heart 55, Indian Hills 17
Joe Poli Tournament at Pascack Valley
• Game recap
•  Photo gallery
• Box score

Old Tappan 61, River Dell 28
Joe Poli Tournament at Pascack Valley
• Game recap
•  Photo gallery
• Box score

Stuart Day 73, Pingry 48
• Nia Melvin continues hot start
•  Photo gallery
• Box score

Hunterdon Central 41, Westfield 18
Lee Sepanak Memorial Tournament
• Game story
•  Photo gallery
• Box score

TOP 20 SCOREBOARD
• No. 4 Saddle River Day 70, Life Center 59
• No. 7 Trenton Catholic 72, Trinity Hall 35
• No. 12 University 76, Newark East Side 4
• No. 14 Red Bank Catholic 76, Mount St. Dominic 34
• No. 16 Rutgers Prep 67, Piscataway 49
• No. 20 Bishop Ahr 52, Randolph 39

KEY LINKS
 Season stat leaders through Dec. 20
 NJ.com Top 20, Dec. 20: Early season shuffle with one new team
 Beyond the arc: Highlights, statement wins from the opening week
 Complete season preview

COMPLETE SCOREBOARD

* notes a league game

# notes a tournament game

DATE TEAMS TIME SCORE CONTENT SHARE
12/26

Bordentown @

Shore

12/26

St. Joseph (Hamm.) @

West Deptford

12/26

Hunterdon Central @

Westfield

41

18

Box Score
12/26

Middle Township @

Mainland

41

45

Box Score
12/26

Morristown @

Newark Tech

35

47

Box Score
12/26

Wall @

Donovan Catholic

36

52

Box Score
12/26

Snyder @

Lincoln

24

58

Box Score
12/26

Millville @

Holmdel

37

56

Box Score
12/26 *

Bergenfield @

Passaic Valley

12:30 AM

23

44

Box Score
12/26 *

Jackson Liberty @

Ocean Township

10:00 AM

37

27

Box Score
12/26

Pleasantville @

Mater Dei

10:00 AM

12/26

Pleasantville @

Mater Dei

10:00 AM

18

56

Box Score
12/26

Shabazz @

Newark Central

10:00 AM

12/26 *

Shabazz @

Newark Central

10:00 AM

43

41

Box Score
12/26

Cresskill @

Clifton

11:00 AM

63

31

Box Score
12/26 *

Lakewood @

Lacey

11:00 AM

10

52

Box Score
12/26

Perth Amboy Tech @

North Plainfield

11:00 AM

38

43

Box Score
12/26

University @

Newark East Side

11:30 AM

12/26 *

University @

Newark East Side

11:30 AM

76

4

Box Score
12/26

West Side @

Arts

11:30 AM

9

78

Box Score
12/26

Brick Township @

Long Branch

12:00 PM

42

38

Box Score
12/26

Point Pleasant Beach @

Monmouth

12:00 PM

40

24

Box Score
12/26 *

Wayne Valley @

Ridgefield Park

12:30 PM

40

22

Box Score
12/26

Teaneck @

Payne Tech

12:30 PM

63

39

Box Score
12/26 *

Indian Hills @

Immaculate Heart

1:00 PM

17

55

Box Score
12/26

Union @

West Morris

1:00 PM

29

69

Box Score
12/26 *

Waldwick @

Leonia

1:00 PM

41

25

Box Score
12/26 *

Harrison @

Wallington

1:00 PM

47

3

Box Score
12/26

Point Pleasant Boro @

Sayreville

1:00 PM

45

52

Box Score
12/26

North Bergen @

Rutherford

1:30 PM

27

48

Box Score
12/26

Montville @

Hackensack

1:45 PM

38

54

Box Score
12/26

Trenton @

New Providence

2:00 PM

59

56

Box Score
12/26 *

Stem Civics @

CSI/McCown (NY)

2:00 PM

46

59

Box Score
12/26

Belleville @

Paterson Charter

2:00 PM

47

18

Box Score
12/26 *

River Dell @

Old Tappan

2:30 PM

28

61

Box Score
12/26

Manville @

Middlesex

2:30 PM

15

70

Box Score
12/26

Mendham @

Edison

2:30 PM

46

31

Box Score
12/26

Central Regional @

Neptune

2:30 PM

12/26 *

Central Regional @

Neptune

2:30 PM

30

46

Box Score
12/26

Dwight-Englewood @

Dumont

3:00 PM

25

65

Box Score
12/26 *

Park Ridge @

Manchester Regional

3:00 PM

59

45

Box Score
12/26

Dickinson @

North Star Academy

3:00 PM

50

31

Box Score
12/26 *

Paramus @

Tenafly

3:00 PM

29

47

Box Score
12/26

Saddle Brook @

Kearny

3:00 PM

34

49

Box Score
12/26 *

East Brunswick Tech @

Woodbridge Academy

3:00 PM

27

33

Box Score
12/26

Lenape @

Southern

3:00 PM

12/26

Lenape @

Southern

3:00 PM

49

43

Box Score
12/26 *

Life Center @

Saddle River Day

3:30 PM

59

70

Box Score
12/26

Bayonne @

Montclair Immaculate

3:30 PM

70

40

Box Score
12/26

Pingry @

Stuart Day

4:00 PM

48

73

Box Score
12/26

Asbury Park @

Clayton

4:00 PM

12/26 *

Highland Park @

Dunellen

4:00 PM

26

57

Box Score
12/26

Plainfield @

Keyport

4:00 PM

40

48

Box Score
12/26 *

Holy Angels @

Pascack Valley

4:15 PM

43

47

Box Score
12/26

Cristo Rey (formerly Christ the King) @

Garfield

4:15 PM

12

42

Box Score
12/26

Timothy Christian @

Roselle Park

4:30 PM

18

44

Box Score
12/26

Rutgers Prep @

Piscataway

4:30 PM

67

49

Box Score
12/26 *

Becton @

Elmwood Park

4:30 PM

25

47

Box Score
12/26

West Windsor-Plainsboro North @

Winslow

5:30 PM

35

51

Box Score
12/26

Trinity Hall @

Trenton Catholic

5:30 PM

35

72

Box Score
12/26

Bishop Ahr @

Randolph

5:30 PM

52

39

Box Score
12/26

Bergen Tech @

North Arlington

5:30 PM

12/26

Bergen Tech @

North Arlington

5:30 PM

54

32

Box Score
12/26

Lodi Immaculate @

Paterson Kennedy

5:45 PM

Live
12/26

Northern Highlands @

Secaucus

5:45 PM

44

62

Box Score
12/26

South Brunswick @

East Brunswick

6:00 PM

Live
12/26

Hunterdon Central @

Chatham

6:00 PM

Live
12/26

Red Bank Catholic @

Mount St. Dominic

6:15 PM

76

34

Box Score
12/26 *

Washington Township @

Highland Park (IL)

7:00 PM

48

31

Box Score
12/26 *

Ocean City @

Windmere

7:00 PM

36

44

Box Score

* notes a league game

# notes a tournament game

DATE TEAMS TIME LOCATION SHARE
12/26

Bordentown @

Manalapan

11:45 PM Manalapan
12/27

Boonton @

Morris Hills

Morris Hills
12/27

Dickinson @

Newark Collegiate

Newark Collegiate
12/27

Florence @

Burlington Township

Burlington Township
12/27

Bordentown @

Shore

Shore
12/27

Holy Cross Prep @

Williamstown

12/27

Moorestown Friends @

Palmyra

Palmyra
12/27

Irvington @

Somerville

Somerville
12/27

Lenape Valley @

Belvidere

12/27

People’s Prep @

Glen Ridge

Glen Ridge
12/27

Fair Lawn @

Mahwah

12/27

High Point @

Sparta

Sparta
12/27

Gov. Livingston @

Whippany Park

Whippany Park

Brian Deakyne may be reached at bdeakyne@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @BrianDeakyne. Like NJ.com High School Sports on Facebook



Fostering a love for academics and basketball – Times Union



Troy

LaKissa Martin went home for Christmas, but returning to Las Vegas has more significance than it might for a typical 21-year-old college student.


Martin, a senior at RPI and a starter on its women’s basketball team, spent the holidays with her foster mother, Barbara Dahl.

It was no doubt a happy time, but getting to that point is a story in perseverance and resolve.

After leaving home at age 15, Martin had two other foster families before getting placed with Dahl nearly six years ago.

Her first foster family had to give her up to focus on its biological triplets. The second moved out of state, and Martin wanted to remain in the Las Vegas area.

That made her a child of the state, a pool of uncertainty that no teenager should endure.

“That was the hardest separation I had to go through,” Martin said as she choked back tears, “because after that I had to go to Child Haven for two days. I can’t explain to you how terrifying that is for a child, to have nowhere to go. It was tough.”


This story has a happy ending.

Martin, who has started 52 of 82 career games for RPI, will graduate on time in May with a degree in civil engineering.

“When it comes to make a success of her life,” Dahl said, “so few children who come out of the foster system actually even go to college, and even fewer finish. She is slated to finish. That puts her in very rare company.”


Getting a degree at Rensselaer is a feat for any student. Few, if any, have successfully navigated the road Martin had to take.

Her father died when she was young, and her mother was fighting substance-abuse problems. Martin comprehended at a relatively young age that her upbringing wasn’t typical.

“I would say that was around fifth grade for me,” Martin said. “That’s when I started hanging out with people and going to their houses, and not having people come over. That’s when I started to realize, OK, why am I uncomfortable with people coming over to my house, or why does it feel so different when I’m at other people’s houses?”

By age 15, she made a decision that would alter the path of her remaining childhood.

Martin left home. On her own.

“There was a lot of drugs and violence in my household,” she said. “I didn’t know at the time that I wouldn’t be coming back.”

She added that she doesn’t think a kid would leave their home if they knew they wouldn’t come back.


Basketball provided some stability in her life. Her first foster family included one of Martin’s teammates, and the girl’s mother was her middle-school coach.


Her foster families did what they could to provide a traditional home environment. “Everything was as normal as it can be when you know you’re not in your natural habitat,” Martin said.

It wasn’t until she met Dahl, who had taken in foster children twice previously, that Martin’s career purpose came into focus.

“Even though she may have been going through disruptive times in her life, basketball was something that gave her a touchstone,” Dahl said. “It gave her a sense of community and family. It gave her purpose to get out of her own head and to focus on something else.”

Dahl had numerous discussions with Martin about her future, and that playing professionally wasn’t a viable option.

“My feeling is, ‘You’re going to be in your career a lot longer than you’re going to be playing basketball, and that’s what we need to focus on,’ ” Dahl said.

Martin had an affinity for math, and Dahl recognized that the best path for Martin to continue playing basketball would be at the Division III level.

They narrowed the list to five schools, and RPI was among them. “I didn’t know much else about it other than it was a historic, well-respected engineering school,” said Dahl, who cold-called women’s basketball coach John Greene.


On the day after Thanksgiving in 2014, Greene led Martin and her foster mother on a five-hour tour of campus.

“Kissa had never seen snow before, and she had never seen icicles,” Dahl said. “The coach spent five hours with us, walking around campus and telling us about the school and the history of the team. He was amazing.

“She got some offers from other schools, too, but Rensselaer just checked all the boxes. I felt comfortable that if she had a coach who was that willing, I mean, it was his holiday, to take that time to spend with us, I felt this was someone I could leave my kid with, that he would take care of her, and he did.”

After flying to Nevada to recruit her, Greene had a better idea of what type of player, student and person he was getting.

“She has the idea of what she wants to do,” Greene said. “Coming in from a difficult background in terms of getting that route whereas the average student, if they get good grades and are a good student, they’re not worrying about where they’re going to sleep tonight, where they’re going to eat tonight, those kind of things. It’s a much easier progression for someone like that.”


Martin, who has career totals of 768 points and 381 rebounds, already knows what next year will bring. It won’t be basketball.

She already has signed an offer in Washington with Hensel Phelps, a construction company.

No one doubts her ability to remain successful.

“As coach Wooden would say,” Greene said, quoting the late legendary UCLA coach, John Wooden, ‘Athletics don’t build character. They reveal it.’ Whatever you’re doing in life reveals your character. She has intelligence. It’s what do you do with that intelligence, what do you do with that skill. When you’re in situations that are difficult, how do you respond do those things?”

“Kissa’s resilient,” Dahl said. “Resiliency is a good quality to have when you’re navigating your way through the foster system. Absolutely Kissa is grateful every single day for the opportunity that she has been given.”

“Having Barbara in her life is a tremendous benefit,” Greene continued. “I’m not sure if she would have been on the track she ended up on if Barbara hadn’t come into her life. I know that since she has been in her life, she was a huge advocate for her and provided her with the environment to allow her to grow, particularly on the academic side.”

“I love Barbara,” said Martin, who has been in contact with her biological mother. “What’s different about Barbara is that she showed me a different life that I could have. Before I met Barbara, college was just an idea. When I met Barbara, it became real, and she showed me how to get to things I really wanted. Dreams just weren’t dreams anymore, they started to become real and concrete.”

pdougherty@timesunion.com518-454-5416@Pete_Dougherty



Granite Falls girls basketball team robbed during trip to California: 'It was crazy" – KOMO News


Thieves smashed windows on this SUV as the Granite Falls girls basketball team stopped to take photos of the Golden Gate Bridge during a recent trip to California to play in a tournament. Photo courtesy: Granite Falls Girls Basketball)

GRANITE FALLS, Wash. — The Granite Falls High School girls’ basketball team is back home after a memorable trip to California that was nearly ruined by thieves.

The team had only been in the Bay Area for a couple hours late last week when they decided to stop to take some photos of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge as the sun began to set.

“Just a normal day. We were having fun and we went to the Golden Gate Bridge,” player Nicole Jocobi told KOMO News on Monday night.

It was during those few minutes that thieves decided to strike.

The thieves smashed some windows on the team’s SUVs and stole bags filled with the girls’ uniforms, shoes, wallets, money, and IDs right before they were set to play in a tournament.

“We were like 10-20 feet away from the cars,” said player Jasmin Myers. “It was crazy. Just happened to fast. We didn’t know what to do.”

“It was quick. It was within seconds. We were outta the car in like a couple minutes,” added Winter Brown, JV Head Coach & Varsity Assistant Coach. “I was in shock, honestly. It didn’t feel like real.”

Deputies told them that getting everything back wasn’t likely.

The Nike store stayed open late on short notice so the girls could get new shoes and shirts to play in.

The team had spent months fundraising for the trip and the equipment that was stolen.

“We worked really hard to fundraise for this stuff and it was really heartbreaking getting it taken away,” Jocobi said. “It was really scary for me. I was in tears.”

Instead of letting the setback get them down, the team turned the trip into something positive.

They won their first game the morning after the thefts, a parent told KOMO News.

They soon learned that deputies had found many of their belongings dumped in a parking lot not too far away.

“The fact that we got most of our stuff back besides money and wallets, I was like ‘Wow.'” Myers told KOMO News.

The team is relieved no one was hurt.

It was a hard lesson learned so many miles away right before Christmas.

“I guess – Lesson learned,” Brown said. “Don’t leave anything in the car ever.”

The team won a third of its games.

They ended up returning most of the replacement items they got after the thefts happened, a parent told KOMO News.



Top 10 boys basketball performances last week in Greater Cincinnati, Dec. 24 – Cincinnati.com


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The Crusaders won 66-44 behind a 19-point performance from Alec Pfriem.
John Snodgrass and Jon Richardson, Cincinnati Enquirer

Top 10 performances for both boys and girls basketball will be published each Monday. To nominate a deserving athlete, report scores to prepsports@enquirer.com or contact prep writers John Snodgrass (jsnodgrass@enquirer.com) or Shelby Dermer (sdermer@enquirer.com). The same athletes will not be highlighted in consecutive weeks.

As the local high school scene takes a pause for the holiday season, here’s a look at some of the players making headlines around Greater Cincinnati in the late days of 2018.

10. Aiken’s Greg Stewart vs. Shroder

The Aiken Falcons are flying high at 6-1 and atop the standings of the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference with a 3-0 conference record. Aiken played just a single game this past week, but they made a statement during it, defeating Shroder 92-63, Dec. 21. Junior Greg Stewart was a key part of the victory, leading Aiken with 21 points while adding seven rebounds and three assists.

9. CHCA’s Jack Kolar vs. Conner

Jack Kolar made seven 3-pointers in one game for the second time this season, this past week. The Eagles’ senior sank 7 of 12 deep balls in CHCA’s 62-46 win against Conner Dec. 22. He finished with 25 points in the win. He also had seven triples on Dec. 11 against MVCA.

8. Calvary Christian’s Mason Rusch vs. Silver Grove

Calvary Christian scored triple digits against Silver Grove on Dec. 20 in their 104-66 victory. Mason Rusch had a huge game, scoring 32 points on 13-of-16 shooting from the field. He also finished with eight rebounds. The junior guard ranks second in the area in points per game with 26.5 per outing.

7. Little Miami’s Cole Spencer vs. Northwest

Little Miami kept its Southwest Ohio Conference championship hopes alive Dec. 21 with a tight 47-45 win against Northwest. Panther senior Cole Spencer accounted for 32 of LM’s 47 points, including six 3-pointers as they improved to 2-1 in conference play.

6. Blanchester’s Brayden Sipple vs. East Clinton

It was a big week for Blanchester sophomore Brayden Sipple. On Dec. 18, he scored 40 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in an 86-58 win at East Clinton. The double-double was Sipple’s fifth of the year in seven games. Three days later he received his first college offer. The invite came from Detroit Mercy. Sipple is currently leading the area in scoring, averaging 27.4 points per game.

5. Woodward’s Dionte McBride vs. Shroder

Woodward picked up its first win of the season this past week with a 72-43 victory against Riverview East on Dec. 18. Senior Dionte McBride had a monster night, scoring 35 points and adding three rebounds, three steals, and two assists. The game was McBride’s third of four-straight 30-point outings. He currently leads the CMAC with 24.1 points per game.

4. Lloyd’s Treshawn Cody vs. Boone County, South Dearborn, and Bishop Brossart

Lloyd went 3-1 this past week including two wins at the Grant County Holiday Tournament. In the three wins, Treshawn Cody accounted for 69 points and 29 rebounds. His biggest output came against South Dearborn where he scored 30 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.

3. Wyoming’s Evan Prater vs. Madeira

Known more for his talents on the football field, Evan Prater is a legitimate Division I basketball prospect, too, holding an offer from Wright State. On Dec. 21 he showed why scoring 22 points in the Cowboys’ 47-32 win against Madeira. He also added three assists, six rebounds and a steal in the victory.

2. Newport’s Tahj Harding vs. Highlands, Conner, Ludlow and Bracken County

Newport won the Swauger Holiday Classic this past week, picking up wins against Ludlow (Dec. 21) and Bracken County (Dec. 22) to improve to 9-1 on the season. Those two victories closed out a 4-0 week for the Wildcats in which they also had wins against Highlands (Dec. 17) and Conner (Dec. 20). Senior Tahj Harding made big contributions in all four games, including three double-doubles. He started the week with 15 points and 11 rebounds against Highlands. Three days later he scored 15 and grabbed 17 rebounds against Conner. The following night, against Ludlow, he recorded a massive double-double of 26 points and 20 rebounds. The next day, against the Polar Bears, he scored 14 and snatched up nine rebounds.

1. Moeller’s Miles McBride vs. Covington Catholic and Wilmington

Moeller has not just looked like the best team in Greater Cincinnati; the defending state champions look like no-doubt favorites to win a second-straight state championship. A big reason for that success is West Virginia signee Miles McBride. In two games this past week McBride combined for 31 points, nine assists, five rebounds, three steals and a block against Wilmington (Dec. 22) and defending Kentucky state champion Covington Catholic (Dec. 21). The Crusaders are 6-0 on the season with wins against two reigning state champions and their smallest margin of victory was a 22-point win against Wayne on Dec. 14.



UT Vols basketball turns to walk-on Lucas Campbell in Lamonte Turner's absence – Knoxville News Sentinel


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Tennessee center Kyle Alexander scored a career-high 19 points against Wake Forest
Mike Wilson, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee

Tennessee basketball is still playing the waiting game with injured guard Lamonte Turner.

But it’s not a passive waiting game for the Vols, who have been Turner-less for the past five games as they await his return.

“It’s up to him,” UT coach Rick Barnes said Saturday. “We are going to move forward.”

Turner has battled the after-effects of offseason shoulder surgery throughout the season. He missed three games and played in three games before dropping from the lineup again.

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He watched from the bench as the No. 4 Vols (9-1) won their sixth straight game – an 84-63 victory against Wake Forest that featured a new option at guard to add depth and defense.

“We made up our mind (Thursday) that we were going to use Lucas Campbell to help us defensively because he is a guy that is going to go out and play hard,” Barnes said.

Campbell, a senior walk-on from Knoxville, played one minute. The 6-foot-4 guard checked in twice – both focused on defensive possessions.

His role is an obvious one: Tennessee needs more backcourt help.

“We just need another guy in the rotation,” Barnes said. “Lucas can defend. He is going to play hard and do that. We hope that Lamonte can get back.”

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Tennessee beat Wake Forest 83-64 on Saturday
Mike Wilson, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee

A year ago, Tennessee routinely played five guards: Turner, Jordan Bone, Jordan Bowden, James Daniel III and Chris Darrington. Daniel graduated and Darrington transferred, leaving the Vols with fewer bodies at their disposal.

Without Turner, the Vols have relied heavily on Bone and Bowden through the season’s first 11 games. Barnes said the big minutes are wearing on the junior pair, as well as sophomore Yves Pons.

But Barnes wants what UT’s defense had last year at the guard position, thus the addition of Campbell as the Vols await Turner’s return.

“What we were able to do is keep constant pressure on the point guard,” Barnes said. “We haven’t been able to do that. (Saturday) was probably as good a job as we’ve done in quite some time. Just adding him there and knowing that we needed to do that, we could do it.”

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Barnes confirmed the Vols will continue to use Campbell in the same role moving forward if Turner’s absence continues. UT wraps up its December slate against Tennessee Tech on Saturday (1 p.m. ET, SEC Network-plus) before opening SEC play on Jan. 5 against Georgia.

Campbell played in three games before checking in against Wake Forest, largely at the end of blowout victories.

Bone praised Campbell’s contributions to the Vols and his ability to “bring great ball pressure.”

“In practice (Friday), he picked me up and I felt him the whole time,” Bone said. “He is more than capable of guarding other guards in this conference as we are heading into SEC play. …

“We are confident with him out there. Lucas brings a lot.”

Turner, the reigning SEC co-sixth man of the year, seemingly is physically ready to play and has practiced recently. But Barnes said last week that Turner mentally needs to feel that he can play.

At this point, the decision rests with Turner, who Barnes called “a big part of this team.”

For now, the Vols are looking elsewhere to continue rounding into the team they hope to be by the end of the season.

“We want to get back to that defensive team,” Bone said. “We haven’t been that team in a minute. We are trying to implement that on the defensive end. We are going to do whatever it takes.

“If it takes playing Lucas or Brad (Woodson) or somebody else off the bench that hasn’t been playing many minutes, we are going to do it because we want to get back to that defensive team we used to be.”