Tag: Pac-12

Andy Enfield
Associated Press

USC holds on to beat No. 20 Wichita State

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With guards Fred VanVleet and Landry Shamet both sidelined due to injury, No. 20 Wichita State arrived at the Advocare Invitational shorthanded. But even with that being the case the highly successful Shockers represented quite the opportunity for USC, and Thursday afternoon the Trojans took advantage.

Despite turning the ball over 23 times Andy Enfield’s team found a way to win, hanging on to beat the Shockers by the final score of 72-69. Freshman forward Bennie Boatwright, a tough matchup for most teams as a 6-foot-10 stretch forward who can score from the perimeter, shot 5-for-9 from three and scored a team-high (and career-high) 22 points.

The tandem of he and junior Nikola Jovanovic, who added 14 points and 11 rebounds, outplayed the Wichita State front court on a day in which the Shockers needed greater contributions from those players. Add in 15 points and four assists from Jordan McLaughlin, ten points off the bench from Katin Reinhardt and a 12-for-23 afternoon from three, and the Trojans were able to do enough to make up for their high turnover count and Wichita State’s 24 points off of turnovers.

Given the absence of VanVleet and Shamet there’s no reason to panic regarding Wichita State. Ron Baker, who was exhausted by the end of the game due to the heavy load he was asked to shoulder, scored a game-high 25 points and the play of freshman Markis McDuffie was a positive to build on.

McDuffie, who entered Thursday’s game without a made field goal in his first two appearances as a Shocker, shot 5-for-9 from the field and contributed 14 points and three rebounds off the bench. With their current perimeter rotation being what it is McDuffie will have opportunities to contribute, and the Shockers will need him to take advantage as they await the returns of VanVleet and Shamet (and the addition of Conner Frankamp).

Doing so will not only help Wichita State in the short term but in the long-term as well, thus giving Gregg Marshall another option to call upon on his bench.

Thursday’s outcome, even with the desire to see more from Anton Grady (eight points, seven rebounds), says more about USC at this point in time than Wichita State. Enfield’s first two seasons at the helm were about amassing the talent needed to compete in the Pac-12 while also gaining valuable (and at times painful) experience. In year three the Trojans hope to take a step forward within the conference, and wins like this one provide evidence of the program’s growth.

Five-star forward T.J. Leaf commits to UCLA

TJ Leaf (adidas)
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UCLA continued its pipeline to the Compton Magic grassroots program on Thursday as talented five-star forward T.J. Leaf committed to the Bruins during a televised announcement.

The 6-foot-10 Leaf becomes the third member of UCLA’s Class of 2016 to come from the Magic and two more Class of 2017 UCLA commitments are also from the storied AAU program.

A former Arizona commit, Leaf is a very skilled forward who can hit jumpers from all over and also put the ball on the floor a little bit. Regarded as the No. 15 overall prospect in the national class, Leaf picked UCLA over his other finalists of Oregon and San Diego State.

During 12 games with the Magic this spring and summer, Leaf averaged 21 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. Leaf joins five-star point guard Lonzo Ball, four-star big man Ike Anigbogu and three-star guard Kobe Paras in the Bruins’ Class of 2016.

Stanford loses expected starting PG Cartwright for season

Jordan McLaughlin, Robert Cartwright, Nikola Jovanovic
Associated Press
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With Chasson Randle having moved on, sophomore point guard Robert Cartwright was expected to slide into the starting point guard position for Stanford this season. However injury has led to a change in plans, as Stanford announced Wednesday that Cartwright will miss the entire season after suffering a compound fracture of his right arm in practice on Monday.

Cartwright is the fourth Stanford player to be hit by injury ahead of the upcoming season, with three of those players being expected contributors on the perimeter.

Malcolm Allen, who redshirted last season with a broken wrist, reinjured the wrist during the team’s summer trip to Italy. Marcus Allen, Malcolm’s twin brother and a starter in 23 games last season, is expected to be out of the lineup until December due to a stress fracture in his foot. Also expected back in December is center Grant Verhoeven, who only played in eight games last season due to a hip injury and is currently sidelined after re-aggravating a heel injury suffered in the spring.

That’s quite the list of sidelined players for a team that has to account for the losses of Randle, fellow guard Anthony Brown and center Stefan Nastic from last year’s Postseason NIT champion squad.

With Cartwright out of the lineup it remains to be seen who can take the reins for Johnny Dawkins’ team. Senior Christian Sanders and sophomore Dorian Pickens are the available holdovers on the perimeter, but neither would be classified as a point guard and the same can be said for freshman guard/forward Marcus Sheffield.

Among the games on Stanford’s schedule in November are SMU (November 19), Saint Mary’s (November 22) and Villanova (November 26).