Pittsburgh forward Taylor loses ball while guarded by Wichita State forwards Early and Hall during first half of their second round NCAA tournament basketball game in Salt Lake City

Shockers heed Big Dog’s advice, pound Pitt

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Gregg Marshall stood and addressed his Wichita State team today, making reference to a legendary Shocker as he attempted to pump them up for their NCAA tournament game against Pitt. He told the black-and-gold clad group that Antoine Carr had contacted him earlier that same day and told him that his team should “play angry”.

The Shockers did that, with Carl Hall (11 points, 6 rebounds) channeling the Big Dog, and Cleanthony Early (21 points, 7 rebounds) as a milder version of Xavier McDaniel in a 73-55 rout of the departing Big East power. The more mobile Wichita State big men went over, under, around and through behemoth Panther Steven Adams (13 points, 11 rebounds) on the way to a “second round” win over Jamie Dixon’s tough club.

As good as the Wichita State big men were, the best indicator that the Shockers may be ready to advance deeper into this tournament came from the perimeter. Not only did Oregon transfer Malcolm Armstead (22 points, 5 assists, 3 steals) run the team efficiently, he was also the game’s leading scorer, hitting on a variety of drives and jump shots. In addition, Armstead and backcourt mates Tekele Cotton, Demetric Williams and Ron Baker harassed Pitt’s star guard Tray Woodall into a miserable performance: Two points, one assist, five turnovers and a very early exit on five fouls.

Looking ahead, the Shockers are likely to have a much tougher time with No. 1 seed Gonzaga (making the relatively safe assumption that the Zags will get past 16-seed Southern), a team that fields mobile and experienced big men in Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris. The perimeter defense will be vulnerable to slicing and dicing by Gary Bell and sharpshooting Kevin Pangos.

The Bulldogs will have the personnel advantage in the round of 32, but Gregg Marshall’s Big Dogs will never be an easy out, as long as they continue to “play angry.”

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Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

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.


POSTERIZED: Jaylen Brown throws down hard in transition

Albert Almanza, Jaylen Brown, Jalin Barnes
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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Jaylen Brown is a top five player in the Class of 2015 and a kid projected as a top ten pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.


Because he does things like this:

He also did this: