Tristan Shore Christian Clearwater College

#POSTERIZED: D-II player does a 360 over a motorcycle at midnight madness

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On Thursday morning, College Basketball Talk released our preseason preview on the top dunkers to watch for in 2012-2013. It’s a content–rich list previewing the most elite Division-I slam dunk artists in the country.

But if the past two NCAA Slam Dunk Contests have taught us anything, it’s that we cannot forget about the “little guys”.

In 2011, Jacob Tucker, a 5-foot-11 point guard from Illinois College (D-III) petitioned his way into the contest via social media, and stole the show, using his 50-inch vertical to capture the championship. In 2012, James Justice, a 5-foot-10 point guard from Martin Methodist (NAIA) defeated the likes of Auburn’s Kenny Gabriel and Miami’s DeQuan Jones to keep the Dunk Contest championship belt around the waist of the smaller schools.

If the “little guys” are to complete the three-peat, they will need to find a representative with elite athleticism, leaping ability and creativity.

Meet Tristan Shore, a 6-foot-4 sophomore at Clearwater Christian College  a Division-II member of the National Christian College Atheltic Association (NCCAA), in Clearwater FL.

He does 360-dunks over motorcycles.

I think the small schools may have found their representative.

On Wednesday night at CCC’s Midnight Madness event, Shore, a Division-II NCCAA All-American this past season, announced his candidacy for the 2013 NCAA Slam Dunk Contest with an emphatic one-handed 360-jam over a dark blue Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Not only was the dunk the main event of the Cougar’s midnight Madness, it was also done in honor of Nolan Price, a classmate of Shore who was killed in a motorcycle accident on August 24, 2012.  Shore used his 40-inch vertical to leap over the Harley with ease, despite never practicing or thinking about the dunk before hand.

Nothing says “College hoops season is almost here” quite like a 360-dunk over a motorcycle.

But a spot in the 2013 NCAA Slam Dunk Contest won’t be a cake-walk for Shore. Kwame Alexander of Cal State San Bernardino (D-II), tore down an entire basket stanchion last season, and will be a formidable foe throughout the year.

But that’s what is great about the build-up to the college hoops season. It’s not even Columbus Day yet and guys from places like Clearwater Christian College are already upping the ante and using hoops to support a good cause.

The bar has officially been set for the 2012-2013 #POSTERIZED series.

Troy Machir is the managing editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @TroyMachir.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.

Tyler Ulis injured as No. 1 Kentucky beats South Florida

Tyler Ulis, Ky Howard
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MIAMI (AP) Jamal Murray had 21 points and No. 1 Kentucky scored the final 15 points of the first half on the way to beating South Florida 84-63 in the HoopHall Miami Invitational on Friday.

Skal Labissiere added 17 points for the Wildcats (6-0), who led by as many as 31. Charles Matthews scored 11 points and Isaiah Briscoe finished with seven assists for Kentucky, now a winner of 37 consecutive regular-season games and 39 in a row against unranked opponents.

Chris Perry scored 14 points for USF (1-5), which has lost 18 consecutive games against teams ranked in the Top 25. Jaleel Cousins added 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting, and Jahmal McMurray scored 11 points for the Bulls.

Kentucky played the second half without starting guard Tyler Ulis, who departed with a right elbow injury after getting hurt while fighting for a ball loose on the floor.

Kentucky announced after the game that the injury was a hyperextension of the elbow and that he will be day-to-day.

The Bulls were within 27-21 with 6 minutes left in the first half after McMurray banked in a 3-pointer only a few feet away from where John Calipari was standing, and the look of anguish on the Kentucky coach’s face was clear.

It didn’t last long.

The Wildcats scored on seven of their next nine possessions and the game was over by halftime, Kentucky going into the break with a 42-21 lead.

It was a reunion for plenty of people on both benches. Calipari squared off with his former assistant Orlando Antigua, now in his second year leading USF. Antigua’s staff includes another former Calipari assistant in Rod Strickland, plus former Kentucky basketball staff members Mike Malone and Dominic Lombardi.

So the staffs have plenty of familiarity. On the court, there was plenty of disparity. Kentucky finished with a commanding 23-6 edge in points off turnovers and finished with 16 assists to the Bulls’ six.