Trojans to host Bears

first_imgWin number two of the season has proved to be more elusive than the USC men’s basketball team would have liked.The Trojans (1-3) have been competitive in their first three attempts to earn their second victory, but each time have come up short.The Trojans come off a home loss to Cal Poly in which they blew an eight-point lead in the second half, which followed a double-overtime loss to Nebraska and a narrow two-point defeat at San Diego State.“The unfortunate thing is that we are getting our lessons from losing, and we need to take some lessons from winning,” USC coach Kevin O’Neill said. “Losing is a difficult thing to deal with, but it does grow you up.”The Trojans have been relying heavily on inexperienced players. Three starters, freshman guards Alexis Moore and Byron Wesley and sophomore forward Dewayne Dedmon, did not have any Division-I experience before this season, and have experienced some ups and downs.Moore scored 11 points against Nebraska, but has only combined for 11 points in his other three games.Wesley is tied for the second-most assists on the team but has yet to connect on his five attempts from beyond the arc.Dedmon scored 16 points in the season opener against Cal State Northridge, but then recorded a total of 15 points in his next three games.“It is not time to get down on ourselves,” Moore said.In close games, USC is missing the leadership and experience of senior guard Jio Fontan, the Trojans’ leading returner in points and assists, who suffered an ACL tear during an exhibition game this summer in Brazil that could sideline him for the entire season.“The second Jio went down in Brazil, I knew there were going to be some nights like this,” O’Neill said after the game against Cal Poly. “That is not changing. He is not coming back anytime soon.”The Trojans face Morgan State tonight at home at 7 p.m. The Bears (0-3), who compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, return four starters from a team that went 17-14 last season, led by junior forward Dewayne Jackson, who averaged 14.5 points per game.Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the Trojans will travel to Las Vegas for two games as part of the Las Vegas Invitational.USC will first compete against UNLV on Friday at 4:30 p.m. The Rebels (4-0) are averaging 85.25 points per game, whereas the Trojans are scoring 54.25 points per contest.The winner of that game will advance to face the victor between top-ranked North Carolina and  South Carolina on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and the two losing teams will play at 4:30 p.m.The Trojans then have two more road games before returning home to face New Mexico on Dec. 10.“There is a lot of basketball yet to be played,” O’Neill said. “We have to get tougher and better.”last_img read more

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Fast reaction: 3 takeaways from Syracuse’s 99-77 win over Boston University

first_imgSyracuse (6-3) returned to its winning ways, plastering 99 points on Boston University (4-6) in a 99-77 win in the Carrier Dome on Saturday afternoon. The Orange’s recently stagnant offense woke up, led by John Gillon’s 23 points, Taurean Thompson’s 22 and Andrew White’s 19.Here are three takeaways from Syracuse’s sixth win of the season.Thompson has career-best daySU head coach Jim Boeheim has said multiple times that Thompson is Syracuse’s best low-post player. On Saturday, though, the freshman made a living out of the post on offense, scoring 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting and even stepping out to hit a 3-pointer early in the second half.With Thompson playing at center with Dajuan Coleman and Paschal Chukwu only getting single-digit minutes in the first half, the freshman was able to catch the ball at the foul line and have a bevvy of options in front of him. He hit several jumpers from the foul-line area and also showed why he’s arguably SU’s best passing big man.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThompson exited to a sizable ovation with 14:17 left in the game and didn’t return as the Orange pulled away. But when seated in between SU assistant coaches Mike Hopkins and Gerry McNamara on the bench, the freshman had already done his part.Gillon shines as primary point guardAfter going scoreless in Syracuse’s last two games, the fifth-year senior led SU’s offense in the first half with 14 points on 4-of-4 shooting from deep. He overtook Frank Howard as the Orange’s primary point guard in the first half after the sophomore played 27 minutes to Gillon’s 16 on Monday.Gillon finished with 23 points with a 7-of-9 mark from the field and 6-of-7 clip from deep, mixing his long-range efforts with penetration only Howard has been able to flash from the point guard spot in the past several games.While Howard did finish with 11 assists, reaching double digits in that category for the third time this season, he went 0-for-5 from the floor and now hasn’t made a shot in the last two games.BU hurts Syracuse from deepDespite Syracuse scoring five fewer points in the first half than it did the entirety of Monday’s game against Connecticut, Boeheim was often irate in the opening 20 minutes, and for good reason.Cheddi Mosely’s long ball with four seconds left in the first half prompted Boeheim to scold Gillon for not locking Moseley down, a familiar script for the SU zone that surrendered 16 3-pointers on the afternoon, including seven in the first half. The Orange led by only six at the break despite its offensive outburst, and Cedric Hankerson’s five first-half 3-pointers were to credit.Hankerson led the Terriers with 34 points, and he didn’t attempt a single two-point shot while chucking up 20 3-pointers. He made 10 but could only do so much for a BU offense that received production from one player. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 10, 2016 at 2:06 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidmanlast_img read more

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Adrian Gonzalez sparks Dodgers’ victories over Giants

first_imgOn Monday night he slammed a tying home run to douse the embers in the Giants’ hearts. On Tuesday morning he had a bases-loaded, no-out, game-winning situation in the 14th and hit the fly ball he needed to hit.On Tuesday night he served Madison Bumgarner’s high fastball into left field and let rookie teammate Jose Peraza run until the Dodgers led 1-0. Then he stretched himself into the hamstring-endangerment zone to take Justin Turner’s throw that nipped Marlon Byrd by a gnat’s heartbeat, with two on and none out in the seventh.In the eighth he rammed a double off Tim Hudson. That hit was almost like calisthenics for Adrian Gonzalez, who has been as proximate a cause as you can find for these two Dodgers wins.But be careful about saying he’s rising to the occasion. Maybe it’s rising to him. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error After the Dodgers held off San Francisco, 2-1, to push their NL West led to 5 1/2 games Tuesday night, Gonzalez inadvertently explained why not all contact is equal, and not all batting situations are equal, and why guys should indeed be judged by how they handle themselves with runners waiting to score.“When you drive the ball, your batting average is going to go down,” Gonzalez said. “Normally when you look at how I do with men in scoring position, my average goes up. Sometimes you need singles.”Taking a caveman rip at Bumgarner, with Peraza on second and Turner on first, would have been impolitic with one out in the third. Such chances are rare against Sportsmen of the Year, just as they were against Zack Greinke.So Gonzalez shortened up. “I think it’s important for the pitcher to get the lead in a situation like that,” he said.Greinke did not give up that 1-0 lead, which Joc Pederson converted into 2-0 with a line-drive home run in the seventh off Bumgarner.center_img More notably, the bullpen didn’t give up that lead, either, although rookie Peraza had much to do with that.The Giants had bunched three singles in the eighth off Greinke and knocked him out. With one out and Giants on first and second, lefty Luis Avilan tried to squeeze a fastball past Brandon Belt, who had awakened everybody with some cymbal-clash foul balls.Belt almost got it through the infield, but Peraza, the second baseman, dove and shoveled it, from his glove, to Jimmy Rollins covering. Rollins sent it to first for the double play, and the crowd reached its apex, knowing they were within three Kenley Jansen outs of another victory.“We got the ball in on him (Belt), and he didn’t get out of the box too well,” manager Don Mattingly said. “Pretty big double play, huh? And then he drops a popup (in the second) and then catches the next one hit to him.”“You can’t really tell what kind of player he is when he’s only been up here a week,” Rollins said. “But he’s got speed and real good hands. You expect a young guy’s eyes to get big when the games are like this, but we’ve got a lot of players in this room who have been through it. I think the young guys are doing a good job of slowing everything down.”If Peraza is not a very good player, many baseball people will be surprised. He was hitting .294 for Atlanta’s Triple-A team as a 21-year-old when the Dodgers got him, plus Avilan and Jim Johnson, from Atlanta. It cost the Dodgers Hector Olivera, but Peraza will be in the mix at second base next year, especially if free agent Howie Kendrick moves on.The goal, of course, is to groom a 10-year position player. Shortstop Corey Seager is supposed to become that, although Rollins obviously can still play, whether it’s here or elsewhere. And Pederson can become that. Slumps are ugly and unwelcome, but surviving slumps is the key to the kingdom. Pederson hit three hard shots against Bumgarner, with the third one crash landing into the right-field pavilion.“He’s changed his approach,” Gonzalez said. “He looked good all night. It’s nice to see him making those adjustments.”“Our guys have been on him,” Mattingly said. “But when he responds, it means there’s a lot of guys in there who are happy for him. They’ve been working with him all season.”A month remains, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough healthy Giants to take this to the limit, or to make those four games in San Francisco meaningful in the final week of the season. To prolong the fight, they had to win the 14-inning game they lost and then have Bumgarner beat Greinke.“Zack’s just a great pitcher,” Gonzalez said, with his usual veteran shrug. “He doesn’t make mistakes, he throws strikes, and then his chase pitches are good enough to finish you off.”Clayton Kershaw pitches tonight and has not lost since June 27. If he does what one expects, the rest of this race will be a low-speed chase.last_img read more

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