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Elijah Stewart three gives No. 11 USC a win over No. 6 SMU


No. 11 USC led for a grand total of 50 seconds against No. 6 SMU on Friday afternoon, but boy, were those 50 seconds important.

For the second straight game, the Trojans erased a double-digit deficit to advance in the NCAA tournament, erasing SMU’s 12-point first half lead and, eventually, getting to the second round of the NCAA tournament with a 66-65 win.

Bennie Boatwright gave USC their first lead of the game with 1:47 left, but just 14 seconds later, SMU responded with a three from Shake Milton to take the lead back. Elijah Stewart capped off USC’s come back with 36 seconds left on the clock, burying a three from the corner and sending the Mustangs, a team that just about everyone had advancing past No. 3 seed Baylor and into the Sweet 16, home with an upset loss.

In addition to the game-winning shot, Elijah Stewart scored 22 points, leading the way for the Trojans. Chimezie Metu and Boatwright both added 14 points in the win.

With the win, USC advanced to the second round of the tournament after playing in the First Four. Since the First Four was implemented in 2011, there has been at least one team in the second round of the tournament that played in the First Four.

SMU took control early on the back of Semi Ojeleye, who finished with 24 points and 10 boards, but USC switched to a zone in the second half that took the Mustangs totally out of what they wanted to do. It wasn’t the best zone you’ll ever see, but it sure was effective, as the Trojans head SMU to just 27 second half points.

There was some discussion about the final possession of the game for SMU. After USC missed a front-end, SMU very nearly dribbled out the entire and settled for a tough layup that Shake Milton missed. Ojeleye never touched the ball on the final possession. In hindsight, I’m sure that the SMU coaching staff wishes they used one of their three timeouts, but I’m not sure that they would have gotten a markedly better shot even with the chance to draw something up.

They got their second-best player attacking the rim, nearly finishing and potentially drawing a foul. That’s more or less what you want in that situation:

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.