Josh Jones, Langston Galloway

Creighton’s Josh Jones had an atrial flutter, out at least a month

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Last week, Creighton guard Josh Jones passed out on the court about 35 minutes before the Bluejays were supposed to take on in-state rival Nebraska. If that wasn’t scary enough, Jones had undergone open heart surgery back in 2007 and his collapse happened less than a week after Utah State’s Danny Berger had to be resuscitated on the court by an AED during practice.

On Wednesday afternoon, Jones and head coach Greg McDermott held a press conference to talk about what happened and what Jones’ future as a basketball player looked like.

Jones experienced an atrial flutter in the upper portion of his heart, which more or less means that Jones heart began to beat at a dangerously fast pace, especially for someone with heart issues. McDermott did state, however, that there was definitive answer as to whether or not Jones’ previous cardiac problems and this atrial flutter were connected.

On Tuesday, Jones will undergo a radiofrequency ablation to try and fix the problem. A month after that, doctors will check to see if their diagnosis was correct  and the procedure was successful. At that time, the they will evaluate whether he is able to return to the floor.

That means Creighton is probably looking at, at the least, two months without Jones in uniform.

If he ever returns.

“I don’t think any of us can speak to what Josh has been through the last five or six  years,” McDermott said. “If he decides he’s done playing, than he’ll have my support 100%.”

“Basketball is only a little hobby within life, which is so much bigger,” Jones said. “And it all can be taken away because of something I love to do.”

The biggest point that Jones wanted to stress was that long-term, he’s going to be just fine, regardless of whether or not basketball is in his life. But the real reason he held the press conference, Jones said, was to address all of the Creighton fans that were pulling for him. The people that mentioned him on twitter and messaged him on facebook.

“First of all, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that has supported me the last couple of days through this process,” Jones said. “I’m holding back tears now,” something that didn’t last for long:

Best of luck, Josh.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

USC holds on to beat No. 20 Wichita State

Andy Enfield
Associated Press
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With guards Fred VanVleet and Landry Shamet both sidelined due to injury, No. 20 Wichita State arrived at the Advocare Invitational shorthanded. But even with that being the case the highly successful Shockers represented quite the opportunity for USC, and Thursday afternoon the Trojans took advantage.

Despite turning the ball over 23 times Andy Enfield’s team found a way to win, hanging on to beat the Shockers by the final score of 72-69. Freshman forward Bennie Boatwright, a tough matchup for most teams as a 6-foot-10 stretch forward who can score from the perimeter, shot 5-for-9 from three and scored a team-high (and career-high) 22 points.

The tandem of he and junior Nikola Jovanovic, who added 14 points and 11 rebounds, outplayed the Wichita State front court on a day in which the Shockers needed greater contributions from those players. Add in 15 points and four assists from Jordan McLaughlin, ten points off the bench from Katin Reinhardt and a 12-for-23 afternoon from three, and the Trojans were able to do enough to make up for their high turnover count and Wichita State’s 24 points off of turnovers.

Given the absence of VanVleet and Shamet there’s no reason to panic regarding Wichita State. Ron Baker, who was exhausted by the end of the game due to the heavy load he was asked to shoulder, scored a game-high 25 points and the play of freshman Markis McDuffie was a positive to build on.

McDuffie, who entered Thursday’s game without a made field goal in his first two appearances as a Shocker, shot 5-for-9 from the field and contributed 14 points and three rebounds off the bench. With their current perimeter rotation being what it is McDuffie will have opportunities to contribute, and the Shockers will need him to take advantage as they await the returns of VanVleet and Shamet (and the addition of Conner Frankamp).

Doing so will not only help Wichita State in the short term but in the long-term as well, thus giving Gregg Marshall another option to call upon on his bench.

Thursday’s outcome, even with the desire to see more from Anton Grady (eight points, seven rebounds), says more about USC at this point in time than Wichita State. Enfield’s first two seasons at the helm were about amassing the talent needed to compete in the Pac-12 while also gaining valuable (and at times painful) experience. In year three the Trojans hope to take a step forward within the conference, and wins like this one provide evidence of the program’s growth.

No. 25 Texas A&M outlasts No. 10 Gonzaga

Billy Kennedy
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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No. 25 Texas A&M made a statement on Turkey Day, as they knocked off No. 10 Gonzaga 62-61 in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Danuel House led the way with 19 points for the Aggies while Tony Trocha-Morales finished with 14 points as Texas A&M picked up the win despite the fact that they did not score for the final eight minutes of the game.

Billy Kennedy’s club looked the part of an SEC contender, playing tough defense and keeping Gonzaga’s massive and talented front line in check. Perhaps most impressive was that they were able to hang on despite blowing a lead late in the second half, and that they did it with their defense. Gonzaga can score. They have big bodies inside and shooters to surround them, but Domantas Sabonis struggled with foul struggle throughout the game while Kyle Wiltjer did not score in the final 12 minutes.

Kentucky, at this point, is the clear-cut favorite in the SEC, and while Vanderbilt looked really good in Maui this week, A&M looks like they’re going to end up giving the Commodores a run for their money for second-best in the league.

On the other hand, this loss wasn’t a total disaster for the Zags. They had the final possession with a chance to be a good team on a day when Domantas Sabonis was rendered completely ineffective. And, more importantly, point guard Josh Perkins was terrific. He did have a late turnover, but he scored all 15 of his points in the second half as he helped keep the Zags within striking distance.

Texas A&M will play the winner of Syracuse and No. 18 UConn for the title.