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United States U18 team rolls to second win in FIBA Americas Championships

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One day after putting together a record-setting performance in their 156-58 win over Uruguay, the United States U18 national team rolled to its second victory with a 100-46 win over Mexico. Billy Donovan’s team, which is now 2-0 in the competition, built up a 56-13 lead at the half in a game they weren’t tested in after the first two minutes.

Five Americans finished the game in double figures, with Arizona signee Stanley Johnson scoring 18 points to lead the way. Also in double figures offensively were 2015 shooting guard Allonzo Trier (14 points), Duke signee Justise Winslow (14), 2015 point guard Jalen Brunson (11) and 2015 center Chase Jeter (ten).

2015 prospects Isaiah Briscoe, Luke Kennard (Duke commit) and Stephen Zimmerman all finished the game with eight points apiece, and Briscoe led the team with ten rebounds. The United States shot 56 percent from the field, scoring 66 of their 100 points in the paint against a team that didn’t have the size needed to keep them from scoring around the basket.

Victor Alvarez and Jose Arenas led the way offensively for Mexico, scoring 19 and 18 points respectively.

Next up for the United States in pool play is a matchup with Argentina, which is also 2-0 thus far after beating Uruguay 67-55 earlier Saturday. Jose Vildoza led the way for the Argentines with 16 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.

The United States isn’t the only team with players who will be playing college basketball either next season or in the near future, with Canada having multiple players of interest on its roster. Canada moved to 2-0 with a 79-67 win over the Dominican Republic, with 2015 four-star guard Montaque Gill-Caesar scoring 23 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field.

Chris Egi, a big man who will attend Harvard in the fall, finished the game with six points and four rebounds and Vermont signee Drew Urquhart tallied 11 points and five rebounds. Canada plays Puerto Rico in a Group A matchup Sunday afternoon.

As good as they’ve been, No. 3 Michigan State has yet to play their best

Bryn Forbes, Ryan Fazekas
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Sunday night’s Wooden Legacy title game matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence was billed as a matchup of the nation’s two best players, and rightfully so. Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine (17 points, six rebounds, five assists), who already has two triple-doubles to his credit this season, and Providence redshirt junior Kris Dunn (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) have more than lived up to the preseason expectations and more of the same was expected in Anaheim.

And while both had their moments, it was Michigan State’s supporting cast that made the difference in their 77-64 victory. The scary thing for future opponents on Michigan State’s schedule is that Tom Izzo’s team is nowhere near being a finished product.

With Valentine dealing with first-half foul trouble Bryn Forbes stepped up, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help the Spartans take a two-point lead into the half. As for the 11-0 run that Michigan State produced to take control of the game late, a host of players stepped forward in regards to scoring, rebounding and defending.

Freshmen Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid combined to score nine points over the final 5:32, with transfer guard Eron Harris adding six of his 12 points during that stretch. The Spartans outscored the Friars, who aren’t as deep, 22-7 during that stretch to close out the game, hunting for quality shots and hitting the offensive glass while making things difficult for Providence on the other end of the floor.

The end result was a final margin that does not indicate just how close the game was. While Providence seemed to run out of steam Michigan State received contributions from multiple players, which is undoubtedly a good sign for this group moving forward.

The Spartans will return the currently injured Gavin Schilling later this season, giving them another big man alongside Davis, Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman. He was a player they missed Sunday night, as he can defend opposing big men both in the post and on the perimeter. His absence was a main reason Michigan State didn’t have an answer for Providence’s Ben Bentil (20 points, seven rebounds) defensively.

The key for this group is going to end up being role definition, which is especially true in the case of Harris. A transfer from West Virginia, Harris came to East Lansing with the reputation of being a big time scorer. He’s struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but he got on a roll on Sunday night, finishing with 12 points, three boards and three assists. He showed he’s capable of doing a variety of things on the perimeter, and fitting into a “Swiss army knife” kind of role would make Michigan State that much more dangerous.

There’s no denying that Michigan State has been one of the nation’s best teams thus far.

But there’s also no denying that the Spartans have yet to hit their ceiling, which is definitely a positive moving forward.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady returns home with team

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.
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Wichita State forward Anton Grady was released from a hospital in Orlando on Sunday afternoon in time to return home with his Shocker teammates.

Grady suffered a spinal corn concussion on Friday when he collided head-first with an Alabama defender, snapping his head sharply to the side. He lay on the court motionless for 10 minutes after the injury and was taken off the floor on a stretcher.

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“I want to send out a big thank you to Shocker Nation and all of my friends and family for of the love and encouragement that I have received the past few days,” Grady said in a statement on Sunday morning. “I’ve been reading your tweets and posts and appreciate every last one of them. I have a lot of work to do to get back on the court, but with the help of such a great support system, I’m ready for the challenge.”

By Friday night, Grady had feeling in all of his extremities, but he has a long road of rehab ahead of him.