Champions Classic: Kansas outlasts Duke


CHICAGO — America certainly got what it wanted in the second game of Tuesday Night’s State Farm Champions Classic: A close game between No. 4 Duke and No. 5 Kansas that saw two of the country’s top freshmen square off.

Both Kansas freshman forward Andrew Wiggins and Duke freshman forward Jabari Parker have entered college basketball with an insane amount of preseason hype and in their first major collegiate game, they each came away impressive showings.

Parker, in front of his hometown of Chicago, finished with 27 points and nine rebounds while Wiggins, and the Jayhawks, got the last laugh, finishing with 22 points and eight rebounds as he scored on a step-back jumper with 1:30 remaining and followed that up with an open-court dunk that drew Parker’s fifth foul and gave Kansas the 87-81 lead with 1:11 remaining as the Jayhawks held on for the 94-83 win.

Parker, who buried 4-of-5 first-half three-pointers and set the tone early, helped Duke to an early 42-40 halftime lead, but Kansas relied on their size, depth and athleticism to outlast the Blue Devils.

Sophomore forward Perry Ellis came up big for the Jayhawks, scoring 24 points and adding nine rebounds, while at lead guard — a question spot for the Jayhawks — junior Naadir Tharpe (seven points, five assists) and freshman Frank Mason (15 points) combined for only three turnovers between them. Freshman guard Wayne Selden also had 15 for the Jayhawks.

Kansas outrebounded the undersized Blue Devils 39-24.

Amile Jefferson scored 17 points for Duke to contribute in the scoring column and Rasheed Sulaimon (13 points), Rodney Hood (11 points) and Quinn Cook (10 points) also finished in double-figures.

The Blue Devils can score in many different ways, but they’ll need to shore up their interior defense and rebounding in order to beat elite teams that future a post presence.

Kansas can build on this early win and should be thrilled by performances off the bench by guys like Mason and freshman forward Brannen Greene (eight points).

Joel Embiid also had trouble scoring for Kansas with only two points, but contributed seven rebounds and five assists.

Boise State loses guard Harwell to torn ACL

Leon Rice
Associated Press
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Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman¬†that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.

Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.

Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.

Knee injury sidelines Illinois forward Leron Black

Josh Hart, Leron Black
Associated Press
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Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.

Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.

Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).

In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.