Brady Heslip scored 18 points and hit five threes and Isaiah Austin chipped in with 14 points as No. 23 Baylor overcame a hideous 22-for-43 performance from the free throw line to knock off South Carolina in Waco, 66-64.
As has been the case with seemingly every game played early on this season, the Bears struggled with foul trouble throughout much of the contest, but a no-call on the final play of the game is what ended up earning Scott Drew’s team a win.
Down by two with 16 seconds left, South Carolina’s freshman sensation Sindarious Thornwell drove to the rim and missed a couple shots right around the rim before Michael Carrera gathered the ball and seemingly was fouled as the buzzer sounded. The referees reviewed the call, however, and determined that the foul came after time had expired, sending Baylor home with a win.
The Bears have some typical Baylor issues, but at the end of the day, if they had made their free throws, Scott Drew’s club would have beaten the Gamecocks fairly handily.
That said, South Carolina certainly made a positive impression on the folks that had a chance to watch the game. Thornwell looks like he has a chance to be an excellent player in the SEC, Villanova transfer Ty Johnson was a monster addition as he was ruled eligible immediately last week, and the combination of Demetrius Henry and Michael Carrera has a ton of promise up front.
Frank Martin’s team is young, and with that comes the expectation of mistakes.
What is clear, however, is that South Carolina is headed in the right direction. And given the fact that they play in a very weak SEC this season, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they can make a push to finish in the top half of the conference.
Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.
With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.
“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”
Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.
While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.
LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.
While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.
Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?
Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.
Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.