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Alabama outlasts No. 19 South Carolina in 4OT slugfest

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The first four overtime game of the college basketball season also happened to be one of the worst games of the college basketball season.

No. 19 South Carolina, playing in their first game as the sole possessors of first place in the SEC, lost at home in quadruple-overtime, 90-86, to Alabama, a team that seems destined to end up in the NIT this season.

The Gamecocks dug themselves a 32-16 hole at the break after missing their final 17 shots of the half and entering halftime a crisp 3-for-30 from the floor. It took until the under-four timeout for South Carolina to make their 10th field goal of the game, and they didn’t crack 20 percent from the field until the final minute of regulation, when the Gamecocks used a late 13-3 rally to force overtime.

Sindarius Thornwell broke Pete Maravich’s record for free throws attempted in an SEC game, going to the line 33 times in a game where he finished with 44 points and 22 boards. But Thornwell, missed eight free throws on the night, including one with 13 seconds left in regulation that would have put South Carolina into the lead.

Avery Johnson Jr. led the way with 23 points for the Crimson Tide and Armond Davis added 19 as Alabama moved within two games of first place in the league standings. The Tide had four chances – at the end of regulation and the end of each of the first three OTs – to win the game at the buzzer, but South Carolina’s defense rose to the occasion each time.

But the story of this game was South Carolina, who had more than enough chances to take control of a critical game in their chase of an SEC title.

Frank Martin’s club had slid into sole possession of first place in the conference thanks to Kentucky’s loss at Florida on Saturday night, a lead that they needed to hold onto with three of their next four games on the road, a stretch that culminates in their return trip to Gainesville; South Carolina beat Florida at home earlier this season.

The knock on South Carolina this season is their issues on the offensive end of the floor. They entered Tuesday night as the nation’s best defensive team, and that’s not going to change after this performance. But they also ranked 145th in offensive efficiency, and that number is surely going to take a nosedive after they shot 26.1 percent from the floor and 5-for-31 from three against the Tide.

Simply put: this team cannot score.

They had more than enough chances to win this game down the stretch, but missed free throws, wide open threes clanging off the rim and an over-reliance on Thornwell and Dozier as the only two guys that can score will be the ultimate demise of this team.

Virginia, Seton Hall, Rhode Island, Vandy in NIT Tip-Off

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NEW YORK (AP) — Virginia and Vanderbilt will meet in one semifinal of the NIT Preseason Tip-Off on Thanksgiving Day at Barclays Center.

Rhode Island and Seton Hall face off in the other semifinal with the winners meeting on Friday, Nov. 24.

This is the third straight year the Tip-Off has been held at Barclays Center. Eventual NCAA champion Villanova won the event in 2015. All games will be televised on ESPNU.

Non-bracketed teams in the NIT Season Tip-Off who will play games at campus sites are: Austin Peay, Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, Oakland City and UNC Asheville.

Miles Bridges explain why he returned to Michigan State

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Miles Bridges changed the landscape of the 2017-18 college basketball season on April 13.

The Michigan State forward spurned the NBA for another year in East Lansing. The decision not only meant that Bridges was a frontrunner for national player of the year, but solidified the Spartans as a national title contender.

But Bridges’ choice to return was still puzzling to many. The 6-foot-7 forward was projected as a lottery pick. Bridges explained his decision to Mike Decourcy of Sporting News in a story published on Thursday.

“He says, ‘You know what, Coach? I want to get better. I don’t want to be in the D-League. I’ve got buddies that are, and I just want to make sure when I go, I’m ready,’ ” Izzo recalled to Sporting News. “I looked at him and I said, ‘Done deal.’ For me, that was a done deal. It was a reasonable, sensible argument.”

Agents, friends, reporters, scouts, acquaintances, fans, strangers and family members — oh and, as we said, coaches — all had one opinion about how Bridges should spend the next year of his life. Miles had another, opposing, viewpoint.

Bridges told Decourcy that support came from his teammates, many of whom were returning to the team as well. Assuming the backcourt of Cassius Winston and Josh Langford make a leap forward, as well as incoming freshman Jaren Jackson providing an immediate impact, the Spartans’ title hopes could become a reality.

Bridges averaged 16.9 points, 8.3 boards, 2.1 assists and 1.5 blocks as a freshman at Michigan State. He’s rated as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.

Four conferences sign on to basketball officiating alliance

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Four more Division I conferences will join a men’s basketball officiating alliance formed last year by the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, the Atlantic 10 and Colonial Athletic Association.

The Big South, the Ivy League, the Northeast and the Patriot League are joining ahead of the 2017-18 season, according to announcements from the leagues Thursday. The alliance launched last summer for conferences to work together on officiating matters and enhance training, development, recruitment, retention and feedback for officials.

John Cahill, the Big East’s supervisor of officials, and Bryan Kersey, the ACC’s coordinator of men’s basketball officiating, will continue to lead the alliance operations.

ACC commissioner John Swofford says the new additions to the alliance “provide an even greater opportunity to build chemistry and quality” across the officiating ranks.

North Carolina to unveil national championship banner in October

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The latest addition to the rafters of the Dean Dome will be unveiled this fall.

North Carolina will raise the banner for its 2017 national championship on Oct. 13, according to a report from Inside Carolina.

The event will coincide with the Tar Heels’ “Late Night With Roy” event that marks the public start to the season for the program and also serves, like many other top programs, as a recruiting tool.

North Carolina won its sixth NCAA national championship in April by defeating Gonzaga, 71-65, in Phoenix to avenge its last-second loss in the title game to Villanova the year prior. It was the Tar Heels’ first championship since 2009.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

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It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.