Cleanthony Early

Wichita State continues to show toughness in 72-67 win over Alabama

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No. 11 Wichita State went on the road in Tuscaloosa to take on a quality Alabama program, led by senior point guard Travis Releford. In the first half Ron Baker, Cleanthony Early and Fred VanVleet all sat for much of the first half with foul trouble.

In the second half, Alabama took the lead on several occasions, but time and time again the Shockers quickly countered, and in the end they left with their 11th win in 11 games with a 72-67 victory over the Crimson Tide on Tuesday night.

Cleanthony Early, who started the game by taking the tip towards his own basket, elevating for a slam before realizing and correcting his mistake, led all scorers with 26 points off 11-of-11 from the line.

The Shockers entered this game knowing it was going to be a battle. The Crimson Tide have talent on that roster, their a quality SEC program. Alabama had 21 wins on Selection Sunday last March, but still did not get a bid in the NCAA tournament. What the Crimson Tide needed was a signature win, which they didn’t have. This season, Wichita State looked like a prime candidate for Alabama’s marquee non-conference win and the Tide threw everything it had at Gregg Marshall’s team, only to come up short.

For the Shockers this win continues to show its toughness as a team. The Shockers are sitting at a perfect 11-0 with road wins over both Alabama and Saint Louis, a neutral site win over BYU, in which they held the Cougars to a season-low 62 points, and last week knocked off another SEC program in Tennessee at home.

The Shockers were able to respond every time the Crimson Tide made a run at them, including the offensive rebound and layup by Darius Carter with under 40 seconds to go that put the lead to 69-66. Wichita State reduced the chance of a late-game comeback by connecting on 25-0f-27 from the line for the game.

Tuesday night was another good test for Wichita State, and once again the Shockers showed their talent, toughness and composure. It’s really hard to believe the Shockers will run the table, especially in the Missouri Valley Conference, but when the bracket is released on Selection Sunday, I wouldn’t want to see the Shockers on my side of it.

North Carolina to wear black jerseys December 19 vs. UCLA

UNC Athletic Communications
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While there have been some alterations made to North Carolina’s basketball uniforms over the years, there haven’t been too many drastic shifts. Of course there was the move to the Alexander Julian-designed argyle print during the 1990’s, and there were also those jerseys in 1999 that had the interlocking “NC” logo as opposed to “North Carolina” on the front.

Friday the program announced a major uniform change for its game against UCLA December 19 in Brooklyn. North Carolina will be wearing black jerseys for the first time in school history. Senior guard Marcus Paige showed off the new look to his teammates, and it’s safe to say that they’re happy with the new uniforms.

Traditionalists probably won’t like the uniforms, and that’s fine. Changes such as these tend to focus more on the younger crowd (especially recruits), which in some instances like the status that can come with having something that’s both new and exclusive.

Villanova forward to undergo hip surgery

Jay Wright
Associated Press
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Two-time defending Big East champion Villanova will be down a man in its front court, as the program announced Friday that freshman forward Tim Delaney will undergo hip surgery. According to the release a torn labrum in Delaney’s left hip is the reason for the surgery, and it has yet to be determined how long the freshman will be sidelined.

“I’m disappointed for Tim,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “Tim had a great summer and preseason. He’s a very coachable young man and was picking up everything we do. The good news is that the doctors tell us this is an injury that can be fixed and we know Tim will be fully committed to his rehab.”

Villanova’s front court rotation will be led by senior Daniel Ochefu, who averaged 9.2 points and a team-high 8.5 rebounds per game in 2014-15. Junior Darryl Reynolds and sophomore Kris Jenkins will also see minutes in the front court, with redshirt freshman guard/forward Mikal Bridges factoring into the competition as well.

Villanova also has Fordham transfer Eric Paschall, but he isn’t eligible to compete in games this season.