Adreian Payne

The Secondary Break: Thursday’s Links

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The Adreian Payne Story: How Michigan State star became the ultimate role model (Bleacher Report)
The story of Michigan State senior forward Adreian Payne is one that anyone can draw inspiration from. From his path to Michigan State, which included a lot of hard work in the classroom, to his relationship with 8-year old Lacey Holsworth as she fights cancer, Payne has become a man we all can learn from.

Iowa State’s DeAndre Kane making the most of second chance (Sports Illustrated)
Iowa State’s enjoyed a great deal of success during Fred Hoiberg’s tenure when it comes to adding transfers to the program, with senior guard DeAndre Kane being the most recent. Kane’s path to Ames was anything but smooth, as he lost his father and also had bouts with immaturity at Marshall before head coach Tom Herrion informed him that his scholarship would not be renewed.

Friday Preview: Wildcats lead from within (Phila Hoops)
No. 6 Villanova has exceeded preseason expectations, winning 20 of their first 22 games and currently sitting in a tie for first place in the Big East. One of the reasons for that: the leadership that begins with head coach Jay Wright, and on the floor a solid group of upperclassmen led by senior James Bell.

Amid talk of NBA prospects, KU’s Tarik Black gets NFL attention (Lawrence Journal-World)
While Kansas has two freshmen in Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins who have been the focus of much NBA chatter, they aren’t the only Jayhawks with designs on a professional career. One of those other players is senior forward Tarik Black, with head coach Bill Self stating that the big man should consider trying out for an NFL team.

No. 22 UConn can make a statement against No. 7 Cincinnati (Hartford Courant)
One of the biggest games on Thursday’s schedule is UConn’s trip to Cincinnati, with the Bearcats currently holding a two-game lead in the American Athletic Conference. And the game represents an opportunity for the Huskies, who can add another quality win to their resume while closing the gap at the top of the conference.

Washington takes on Utah and Colorado, the toughest road trip of the Pac-12 season (Seattle Times)
Conference realignment has forced many schools to adjust the way in which they attack their schedules, and the Pac-12 would be one example of this. With the addition of Colorado and Utah, this two-game swing has become the toughest according to a number of the league’s coaches. Not only is there the travel to be concerned with but also the altitude, a challenge that no other road trip in the Pac-12 poses.

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.

No. 24 Cincinnati beats George Washington 61-56

Troy Caupain
AP Photo
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NEW YORK (AP) Troy Caupain scored 16 points, including the go-ahead three-point play with 1:38 to play, and No. 24 Cincinnati beat George Washington 61-56 on Saturday in the championship game of the Barclays Center Classic.

The fact the game came down to a three-point play was ironic as both teams took 22 3-point attempts and there were times it seemed a 3-point shooting broke out.

Caupain’s traditional three-point play gave the Bearcats (7-0) a 55-54 lead. After a missed 3 by the Colonials (6-1) Octavius Ellis, who chosen the tournament MVP, scored on a tip-in. Patricio Garino scored on a drive for George Washington with 29 seconds left.

The Colonials let the Bearcats pass the ball around and they finally fouled when Ellis touched the ball with 14 seconds to play. Ellis, a 56 percent free throw shooter, clinched his MVP award by making both for a 59-56 lead. Two free throws by Caupain with 6.1 seconds left capped the scoring.

Farad Cobb and Kevin Johnson both had 11 points for the Bearcats while Ellis had nine points and seven rebounds.

Garino had 15 points for George Washington, Tyler Cavanaugh had 13 and Joe McDonald 11.

The Colonials finished 11 of 22 from 3-point range, not bad for a team that came in shooting 27.9 percent (29 of 104) from there. The 50 percent doesn’t look so good when you consider the Colonials made five of their first six 3-point attempts and were 8 of 11 from beyond the arc in the first half. They went 16:42 between 2-point field goals but led 30-27 at halftime.

The Bearcats were 7 of 22 from 3-point range but their advantage came at the free throw line where they were 10 of 12 compared to George Washington’s 3 of 4.


George Washington: The Colonials beat Tennessee in the opening round and they were 3 of 15 on 3s. … George Washington was off to its best start since it was8-0 in 2005-06. … The Colonials finished 10 for 34 from 2-point range.

Cincinnati: The win gives the Bearcats a 13-1 all-time record against George Washington and this was their sixth straight. The last win came on Jan. 31, 1976. … Cincinnati is 7-0 for the fourth time in the last six seasons. … The Bearcats are 51-8 in and have won 24 of 25 in November under coach Mick Cronin. They have won 49 straight games when scoring over 60 points. The 60th point against the Colonials came with 6.1 seconds to play.


George Washington hosts Seton Hall on Wednesday.

Cincinnati hosts Butler on Wednesday.