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Bane rallies No. 20 TCU in second half for opening 66-61 win

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Desmond Bane scored 13 of his 14 points after halftime when No. 20 TCU rallied for a 66-61 victory over Cal State Bakersfield on Wednesday night.

Bane’s tiebreaking driving layup with 2:48 left finally put TCU ahead to stay. The Horned Frogs had trailed by as many as 11 points before halftime.

TCU played an opener as a ranked team for the first time in 20 seasons, since 1998-99. That was after the Horned Frogs had gone to the 1998 NCAA Tournament, their last one before making it last March in the second season for coach Jamie Dixon at his alma mater.

Jarkel Joiner had 18 points and Damiyne Durham 11 for Bakersfield. Both had three 3-pointers.

JD Miller had 13 points for TCU, while Alex Robinson had 12 points and nine assists. Yuat Alok had 11 points.

Bane, who also had 10 rebounds, and Alex Robinson each had five points in a 19-6 run in the second half that pushed TCU ahead for the first time since less than seven minutes into the game. The Frogs led 49-47 when Bane drove for a layup and made the free throw after being fouled.

Durham and Lee had all of the points for the Roadrunners in a 10-1 run in the first half that pushed them ahead 23-15. Durham had a layup and Lee a jumper, then after a TCU free throw they each had a 3-pointer in a 34-second span that prompted Dixon to call timeout.

Bakersfield led 37-28 at halftime.

BIG PICTURE

Cal State Bakersfield has nine players on its roster who previously redshirted a season, matching the most in the nation. Joiner is a sophomore guard from Oxford, Mississippi, where Barnes was an All-SEC guard as a player for Ole Miss in 1988 before later becoming the SEC Coach of the Year for the Rebels. This is Barnes’ eighth season at Bakersfield.

TCU opened the season without junior point guard Jaylen Fisher, who will miss at least a couple of weeks while recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in September. He missed the final 16 games last season after torn meniscus in that knee.

UP NEXT

Cal State Bakersfield plays its home opener Friday against Antelope Valley, the only time the Roadrunners will be at home until Dec. 4.

TCU is playing its first six games at home, the next Sunday against Oral Roberts. They won’t leave campus for a game until making the 40-mile trip to play SMU in Dallas on Dec. 5.

Baylor suspends Mario Kegler for first six games

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Baylor will start the season without forward Mario Kegler, as the former Mississippi State transfer has been suspended for the first six games of the season.

Head coach Scott Drew announced the suspension of Kegler to reporters on Monday as Kegler will sit out due to a violation of team rules.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler is expected to be one of Baylor’s go-to players this season after he sat out last season following his transfer from the Bulldogs. As a freshman with Mississippi State two seasons ago, Kegler averaged 28.7 minutes per contest as he put up 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. A noted scorer and former four-star prospect, Kegler shot 42 percent from the field and 34 percent from three-point range.

Baylor’s schedule doesn’t start with many difficult games, so Kegler’s suspension shouldn’t hurt the Bears too much. Playing mostly buy games, except for a clash with SEC bottom feeder Ole Miss on Fri, Nov. 23, Baylor has a chance to win all of those games even without one of their best players.

But Baylor is definitely going to need Kegler to get up to speed and produce if they want any sort of successful season. Making matters more difficult for Baylor is an ankle injury that guard Makai Mason is dealing with at the start of the season. Although only a minor injury, Mason is expected to be a game-time decision for Baylor’s season-opener against Texas Southern on Tuesday.

Without Kegler and Mason, it’ll be interesting to see who Baylor turns to for offense as senior guard King McClure is the team’s returning leading scorer at 8.1 points per game.

Texas guard Andrew Jones faced ‘biggest fear’ in leukemia fight

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Even when his whole body ached just to walk, and everywhere he went meant taking along a chemotherapy bag attached to a tube going straight into his body, Andrew Jones had a goal: Get back to basketball.

That included a mission to dunk, which took about two weeks or three weeks and was celebrated with a video on social media.

“I never knew if I would dunk again. When I was finally able to flush a dunk easy, I thought, ‘OK, maybe I’ll be able to make a stronger comeback,’” Jones said Wednesday, nearly 11 months after he was first diagnosed with leukemia and had to leave the team for treatment last season.

Jones returned to school over the summer and rejoined his team for the upcoming season, which starts Nov. 6 against Eastern Illinois. Jones has been pushing himself hard to get back to playing shape but calls himself “day to day” in terms of being ready to return to live competition.

Coach Shaka Smart has said the team will want to make sure Jones is strong enough to play. He will also have to step away for several weeks for a scheduled treatment in December.

But just getting to this point, where he could sit in front a news conference to talk about a comeback from cancer, is a major victory for the 20-year-old guard.

“My biggest thing is never give up. Only the strong survive. If you’re strong-hearted and strong mentally, you can persevere through anything,” Jones said. “Every day I look in the mirror, I know I’m improving,”

Jones considered leaving for the NBA after his freshman season. He was diagnosed in January after he simply couldn’t keep up with his teammates in practice and felt unusually tired. After practice, he’d take himself to his room and sleep instead of socializing.

“It would take me a long time to recover. I didn’t want to hang out with anybody,” Jones said. “Usually I can get up and down the court with ease, I felt like I was tired, like I was moving slowly.”

Jones immediately went into treatment after the diagnosis. Told at first he would be in a two-year program, that prognosis was cut in half when he transferred his treatment to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

“The disease cancer has always been my biggest fear … I really had to face my fears,” Jones said. He refused to let himself be scared of dying.

“I’ll be optimistic,” Jones said he told himself. “It’s not my time yet.”

Jones also was inspired by the outpouring of support that came in from Texas fans, Big 12 opponents and from across college basketball.

“That’s when I realized people are really fighting for me to survive. People are really rooting for me, Jones said. “I knew I just can’t give up.”

Jones would offer peeks at his progress on social media. He’d post short videos of him dribbling or shooting baskets. Sometimes he’d still be wearing surgical mask to help prevent infection.

“Being able to play basketball really drove me,” Jones said.

Jones re-enrolled in online classes by the summer and returned to training camp with his teammates this fall. A broken toe was a bit of a setback, but he called it a “blessing in disguise” because it allowed him time to put on more weight. He warned his teammates not to take it easy on him in practice.

“They have no choice. I’m coming at them full throttle,” he said.

Jones said when the Longhorns get into the Big 12, he’ll thank opposing players and coaches who sent him get-well greetings and offered support. Then it will be time to play.

“I’m grateful. Before the game I will thank them, but between those lines … it can’t be no buddy-buddy,” Jones said. “Between those lines, we’re competitors.”

Kansas releases official statement regarding corruption trial verdict

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The University of Kansas released an official statement after Wednesday’s guilty verdicts were passed down during the college basketball corruption trial in New York. During the trial, Kansas men’s basketball, including head coach Bill Self, assistant coach Kurtis Townsend and current and former Jayhawks, were brought up in testimony.

Earlier on Wednesday, the school announced that sophomore Silvio de Sousa will be held out of competition due to eligibility concerns after being a key part of the trial.

De Sousa was connected when former Adidas AAU coach and bag man T.J. Gassnola testified that he agreed to pay De Sousa’s guardian, Fenny Falmagne, $20,000, so Falmagne could reimburse a Maryland booster that had already paid him.

Texts and transcripts revealed during the trial between Kansas staff and Gassnola appear to make the school at least aware that Gassnola was speaking with Falmagne. Adidas and Kansas had recently agreed to a 12-year, $191 million apparel contract.

Since this college basketball corruption trial is only the first in a series of three major trials, the Kansas statement from Chancellor Douglas A. Girod and Director of Athletics Jeffrey P. Long isn’t saying much with regard to how Kansas will handle the future. The statement does mention that the Adidas and Kansas sponsorship deal remains intact despite Adidas representatives being on trial throughout this process.

Most importantly, Kansas is still supporting everyone involved in the trial, as it doesn’t appear anyone is in any kind of trouble quite yet.

From the Kansas statement:

While that work continues, we remain fully supportive of our student-athletes, our coaches and our men’s basketball program. Coach Self and Kansas Athletics are committed to maintaining a culture of compliance, and we will continue these efforts. Kansas Athletics has been, and will continue to be, committed to excellence and integrity.

The Kansas statement is likely to be a model for how many other schools will follow these trials. There are still two more cases to play out in 2019. The NCAA hasn’t even gotten involved with anything yet.

So we’re still a long time away from any potential issues for these schools from a penalty standpoint. With new information likely to come out in those two cases as well, we still have to wait to sift through all of this to figure out the final ramifications.

For now, De Sousa is being held out of competition, and it is unclear when, or how, he might clear his name to return.

West Virginia lands five-star 2019 center Oscar Tshiebwe

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West Virginia pulled in a major commitment on Saturday as five-star 2019 center Oscar Tshiebwe pledged to the Mountaineers.

A late-developing, high-motor big man who ascended into a national recruit this summer, the 6-foot-8, 230-pound Tshiebwe represents an important grab for West Virginia. Tshiebwe represents a potential replacement for Sagaba Konate in the middle as the Mountaineers beat some pretty impressive programs to land him. That includes Baylor and Kentucky.

Tshiebwe is quick off the floor and a good athlete, as he could be a very dangerous player in Bob Huggins’ system because of his brand of basketball. Regarded as the No. 21 overall prospect in the Rivals Class of 2019 national rankings, Tshiebwe also took official visits to Baylor, Illinois and Kentucky during the recruiting process.

Tshiebwe joins three-star guard Miles McBride in West Virginia’s 2019 recruiting haul.

Injury bug biting Iowa State as Solomon Young the latest Cyclone to get hurt

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Iowa State has dealt with a lot of injuries and illnesses this preseason as the Cyclones are trying to get healthy with the regular season only weeks away.

The latest Iowa State player to go down is starting center Solomon Young, as the junior is out indefinitely with a groin strain. The 6-foot-8 Young has been a key cog on the interior for the Cyclones the past two seasons as he put up 7.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season.

Young is also far from the only key Iowa State player currently dealing with an issue. Veteran forward Zoran Talley just had surgery to repair a broken nose as he’s hoping to return faster than a 4-to-6 week window that doctors gave him. Talley will be required to wear a protective face mask once he’s cleared to return.

Iowa State’s highly-touted freshman class is also trying to overcome illness and injury. Big man George Conditt and guard Tyrese Haliburton are both recovering from mono. Forward Zion Griffin just returned from a knee sprain while wing Talen Horton-Tucker has been in a boot at times during the preseason.

While none of these injuries seem to be for an excessive amount of time, it’s clear that Iowa State just needs to get healthy before they start their season on Nov. 6. With all four freshmen missing some time, it will be vital to make sure they catch up and understand everything before they are thrust into the spotlight.