Michael Carter-Williams,  Gorgui Dieng

Michael Carter-Williams leads No. 6 Syracuse to win over No. 1 Louisville


Michael Carter-Williams responded to missing a game-tying free throw quite nicely, as he got a steal off of an errant Peyton Siva pass and went the other way, dunking on Gorgui Dieng to put the Orange up 69-68 with 25 seconds left.

Wayne Blackshear would get his shot blocked at the rim on the next possession, and after Carter-Williams once again hit just one-of-two free throws, Siva again threw the ball away trying to hit Dieng under the rim, and the Orange hung on, beating the No. 1 team in the country on the road, 70-68.

Brandon Triche was the best player on the floor for much of the game for the Orange, scoring 23 points and hitting five threes as he kept Syracuse within striking distance during a stretch early in the first half where it seemed like the Orange were more comfortable throwing the ball to Louisville than to their own team.

Carter-Williams was the main culprit. While he finished with 16 points, seven assists, four steals and the game-winning play, he was one of the biggest reasons that Syracuse was in that position late down the stretch; 4-13 shooting and eight turnovers for your starting point guard is a good way to dig a hole. But towards the end of the second half, all that changed. The Orange stopped turning the ball over.  They had 13 turnovers in the first 24 minutes of the game. They had two in the last 16 minutes, outscoring Louisville 30-20 during that stretch. Limiting turnovers stopped Louisville from getting out in transition, which forced the Cardinals to try and beat the Syracuse zone in the half court.

Louisville couldn’t do that.

And Syracuse got the win.

Perhaps the most impressive part about this win was the Syracuse was able to do it without James Southerland on the floor. Southerland, Jim Boeheim’s second-leading scorer and best three-point shooter, is out indefinitely as a result of an academic issue and it’s unclear when he will be back in the lineup. This win is an indication that not having Southerland at their disposal is not as big of an issue as we might have anticipated.

The win vaults Syracuse to 5-0 in the Big East, while Louisville drops a game behind the Orange and Marquette (who play at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday) in the loss column.

No. 10 Gonzaga outlasts No. 18 UConn despite late offensive struggles

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No. 10 Gonzaga survived a furious rally from No. 18 UConn to win the third place game in the Battle 4 Atlantis, 73-70.

The Zags were up by as much as 21 points early in the second half, leading 48-27, but UConn slowly chipped away at the lead. Kyle Wiltjer led four players in double-figures with 17 points while Eric McClellan added 15 points, making a number of key plays in the second half when it looked like the Zags were in danger of giving away the lead.

As good as Gonzaga looked in the first 22 minutes of this game — and they looked really, really good — the second half exposed the concerns that many had with this group entering the season. Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., who both shot around 40 percent from beyond the arc and started for four years, graduated, meaning that Gonzaga’s point guard situation is, more or less, Josh Perkins.

Perkins was terrific in the second half of a loss to Texas A&M on Thursday. He played 17 foul-plagued minutes against UConn. When UConn’s defense ratcheted up during the second half, Gonzaga struggled finding a way to consistently get good shots on the offensive end. Part of that was due to ineffective point guard play and part of it was a result of not really having anyone on the offensive end that can create a look on their own. As skilled as Wiltjer is, his impact can be limited when pick-and-pop actions aren’t working and he’s getting doubled in the post.

Perkins is talented, but this is essentially his first season of college basketball; he was a medical redshirt last season after breaking his jaw last November. There are going to be ups-and-downs, and that’s problematic on a team where he is essentially the only point guard on the roster.

The good news?

Gonzaga beat a good UConn team on a day when their best players struggled in crunch-time. It was McClellan and Kyle Dranginis that made the big plays down the stretch, not the big names on the Gonzaga roster.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady ‘awake, alert’ after getting stretchered off court

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Wichita State big man Anton Grady was stretchered off of the floor in the second half of a loss to Alabama after a nasty collision with Dazon Ingram.

The video can be seen above. There was nothing malicious about the way that Grady was injured. When he turned to run up the floor after missing a shot in the lane, he went face first into Ingram’s shoulder. He neck bent in an awkward directions and, after stumbling a few steps, he laid motionless on the floor.

It took 10 minutes for the training staff to strap Grady to a backboard and wheel him out of the arena.

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A Wichita State spokesman told NBCSports.com that Grady was taken to a local trauma center for evaluation and that he is “awake, alert and is answering questions appropriately”.

We will have more updates as they come available.

From a basketball perspective, the No. 20 Shockers lost their second game in a row and are now 2-3 on the season.

While for some the Shockers’ résumé is up for questioning following losses to USC and Alabama, two teams projected to finish in the bottom half of their respective leagues, the team’s health is the biggest concern.

Fred VanVleet has been dealing with a hamstring issue since the season began, and an ankle injury limited him in a loss at Tulsa earlier this month. He won’t play again until at least Dec. 5th. and who knows when he’ll be back to full strength. The same can be said for back up point guard and freshman Landry Shamet, who underwent surgery to address a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. Their injuries have led to even more being asked of senior guard Ron Baker, and the loss of Grady for any significant amount of time certainly isn’t going to help matters..

These early-season losses won’t help Wichita State when it comes to the NCAA tournament, but it’s important to make note of the circumstances surrounding those defeats. To be shorthanded, with one of the absent players ranking among the nation’s best point guards, has an impact that has to be accounted for when evaluating Wichita State. The Shockers will add Conner Frankamp in mid-December, which will help them on the perimeter.

But with their rotation currently being in flux, it’s tough to make any definitive statements on what Wichita State will have to do in order to make another trip to the NCAA tournament. At this point Gregg Marshall and his staff will look for other contributors, one of whom being Markis McDuffie (14 points, seven rebounds vs. Alabama), to emerge and show themselves capable of picking up the slack.