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Jackson-Cartwright leads No. 5 Arizona past Washington State

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PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) No. 5 Arizona was down its starting point guard Kadeem Allen to a dislocated finger, but the Wildcats are no stranger to playing shorthanded this season.

The Wildcats played a lot of the season without suspended Allonzo Trier, lost top recruit Ray Smith with a torn ACL before the season and spent six games without point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright.

On Thursday night, Jackson-Cartwright, Allen’s understudy, came through with a career night.

He scored a career-best 20 points and Lauri Markkanen finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds to help Arizona overcome an early deficit and breeze past Washington State 78-59.

“I’ve never been a part of a team that’s been through more than we have. . I’ve also never been a part of a group that’s been as resilient, tough-minded, kind of find-a-way group that we’ve become,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said.

“We wouldn’t have the record we have if we didn’t have numerous times where players stepped up.”

Arizona (24-3, 13-1 Pac-12) trailed for just over 10 minutes in the first half, but carried a 16-6 run into halftime, when it led by nine.

“Sometimes it’s one of those nights when the ball is going in,” Jackson-Cartwright said. “I just credit my teammates for finding me. The basket just seemed to be much bigger tonight.”

The Wildcats shot 5 of 6 from 3-point range in the second half and forced 12 turnovers. They spent the majority of the second half with the lead above 20 points.

Washington State’s leading scorer Josh Hawkinson struggled against Arizona’s interior size. He finished with seven points on 3-of-9 shooting, and struggled in both matchups against Arizona this season.

Ike Iroegbu led the Cougars (11-15, 4-10) with 17 points. The guards accounted for more than 75 percent of WSU’s points.

“We played well in this game in the first half, we just missed layups,” Washington State coach Ernie Kent said.

The Wildcats started 3 of 9 from the field and Washington State took an early lead, which Arizona did not regain until its run late in the first half.

The win is Arizona’s 12th straight over Washington State.

BIG PICTURE

Arizona: The Wildcats lead Oregon by a game for first place in the Pac-12 standings, and checked in as the ninth overall seed in the selection committee’s top-16 projections. A road sweep in Washington would keep Arizona first in the conference, but it still needs to play USC and No. 6 UCLA next week.

Washington State: Losers of their last five, the Cougars currently sit 10th in the Pac-12 standings, two places behind Arizona State which it holds a win over and hosts Saturday. For Kent, there is still plenty to play for during the last four games of the regular season.

“Ultimately it falls on them to be successful,” Kent said. “You can tell me you want to be successful, but if I’m looking at the same tape again . getting blown by baseline, forgetting to block out, forgetting to run a play, that’s a problem.”

INJURIES

Allen dislocated his pinky on his shooting hand when it snagged onto Jackson-Cartwright’s jersey in practice on Tuesday. Allen received seven stitches and, according to Miller, initial indications were less than favorable.

“Kadeem’s bone popped out of his finger,” Miller said. “That’s enough to make you faint.”

Arizona’s starting center Dusan Ristic did not play in the second half after spraining his ankle. The team is unclear whether Ristic will play Saturday.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Wildcats jumped from No. 9 to No. 5 this week after a home sweep paired up with Louisville, Oregon, Wisconsin and Baylor taking losses. A potential road sweep of the Washington schools – two teams below 150 in the RPI rankings – should keep the Wildcats in the top 5.

UP NEXT

Arizona: The Wildcats play Washington in Seattle then return home to host USC and No. 6 UCLA.

Washington State: The Cougars host Arizona State on Saturday.

 

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.