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Top 25 Ranking
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 Marcus KEENE
  Cent.Mic.
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 2. Daum, S.Dakota St.25.1 
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 Angel DELGADO
  Seton Hall
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 Maurice WATSON
  Creighton
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Steals Per Game
 Ehab AMIN
  Texas A.
  (190-G-95)
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 6. McCall, Tennesse.2.8 
 7. Carter, W.Virginia2.5 
 8. Robinson, Portland.2.4 
 9. Fernandez, Jacksonv.2.4 
 10. Nelson, American2.4 
Blocks Per Game
 Liam THOMAS
  Nicholls St.
  (213-F-)
  Avg: 4.2
 1. Thomas, Nicholls St.4.2 
 2. Lynch, Minnesota3.5 
 3. Lammers, Georgia .3.4 
 4. Odiase, Ill.-Chicago3.0 
 5. Gilbeck, W.Illinois3.0 
 6. Washington, E.Car.2.9 
 7. Tuoyo, Chattanooga2.9 
 8. Watkins, Penn St.2.7 
 9. Wiley, E.Washington2.7 
 10. Kingsley, Arkansas2.6 

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USC wipes out 17-point deficit to defeat Providence, 75-71 - Mar 16, 2017


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Nikola
Rakocevic
March is a good time to make an introduction, and 30 minutes into an improbable USC comeback victory on Wednesday, 75-71 over Providence, the college basketball world met Nick Rakocevic (6'11''-F-97). The best way to watch Rakocevic is to watch his teammates. Halfway through the second half of the NCAA tournament 'First Four,' two of his best teammates, forwards Chimezie Metu (6'11''-F-97) and Bennie Boatwright (6'10''-F-96), were on the bench, watching with visibly surging enthusiasm. Rakocevic, a 6-foot-11 double shot of espresso from Chicago, had been trying to perfect a specific move against the pair countless times in practice. It had never worked in a game. As they looked on against Providence, Rakocevic jabbed, pumped up, scooped under and then shot. 'He finally did it,' a grinning Boatwright said after. Metu jumped up. The whole bench erupted. Boatwright waved a towel, 'like I was the last player on the bench,' he said. In an unlikely win from 17 points down, which avenged USC's crushing loss to Providence in last season's tournament opener and sent the Trojans to Tulsa, Okla., to play Southern Methodist, there were players who scored more points than Rakocevic. There were players - most of them, in fact - who played more minutes. But all anybody wanted to talk about in a relieved USC locker room was Rakocevic, his energy and his 13 minutes of ecstasy that saved USC's season. When he entered, USC was down 12. When he exited, USC was up five. He scored only nine points and had just one rebound but recorded the best plus-minus in the game: plus-10. There was energy, like a puppy after a nap. 'This win's probably his,' guard Elijah Stewart (6'5''-G-95) said. 'Honestly, we should be at the crib right now.' Statistically, Rakocevic has been a rather quiet presence for USC this season. Otherwise, Rakocevic has been anything but. 'A big 12-year-old,' said walk-on Kurt Karis, who played basketball against Rakocevic during a childhood in Illinois. 'He always wants to play around.' 'Fearless, man,' point guard Jordan McLaughlin said. 'He's from Chicago.' Often, USC needs the jolt. USC's other regulars are laid back, mirroring Coach Andy Enfield 's relaxed demeanor off the court. Rakocevic sticks out. 'We're a very chill team,' guard Jonah Mathews (6'3''-G-98) said. 'He's the picker-upper.' USC was too chill early against the Friars, which was nothing new. USC has now come back to win from 10 points down or more 12 times this season. But the margin was alarming. The Friars used a 15-0 run and led at halftime, 44-29. They flummoxed USC with a zone. They found space in USC's on the perimeter, where they made eight of 15 first-half attempts. At the half, the coaching staff performed a familiar ritual: lighting into a team that lacked fire. 'I think it's just - give Coach a heart attack or something,' Rakocevic said. 'I don't really know why we do it.' Enfield asked his players, 'What are you scared of?' Stewart recalled. Then he set a goal: Get to single digits by the 12-minute mark of the second half. The Trojans met that goal with about 12 minutes left on a Boatwright three-pointer. 'We were just getting more and more hope,' Mathews said. A pair of Rakocevic free throws made cut the deficit to three. A steal set up a go-ahead jumper from Metu. When a Metu block lead to another score, Providence called timeout. The game, Metu said, had swung dramatically. 'The other team, they kind of got a little shook,' Metu said. 'And we saw that. Smelled blood in the water. And we just pounced on it.' To emphasize the swing, Metu strolled, unintentionally, he said after, through Providence's huddle. Providence took offense. Metu said he was shoved. Then he flexed and yelled. 'From there, it was game on,' Metu said. 'They're on the East Coast, they think we're just some preppy beach boys because we're in Southern California. We just toughened up.' Metu finished with 15 points. Boatwright led USC with 24, and McLaughlin scored 18 with 10 rebounds. But the king of the evening strolled through the locker room, sheathed in an NCAA-branded towel instead of a robe, cracking jokes and taking grief. Rakocevic had not exhausted his energy. 'And thank God,' Metu said, 'because we really needed that.'
Courtesy of: latimes.com   




Wesley Myers
South Carolina adds Maine grad-transfer Myers - 1 day ago
South Carolina is adding some immediate help in its follow-up season to a Final Four run. Wesley Myers (6'2''-G-95), a graduate transfer from Maine, is joining the Gamecocks' program, according to FanRag Sports' Jon Rothstein. The 6-foot-2 guard gives Frank Martin's team an instant infusion of scoring as they look to replace SEC player of the year Sindarius Thornwell and PJ Dozier. Myers 16.9 points per game last year on 43.7 percent shooting, including a 34.3 percent mark from 3-point ra...   [read more]

Marvin
Bagley
III
Top prospect Marvin Bagley III commits to Duke, to enroll for 2017-18 season - 2 days ago
Marvin Bagley III(6'6''-F-99) III, who may just be the best basketball prospect in the world that is not in the NBA, announced on Monday night that he will be attending Duke and enrolling at the school for the fall semester. Bagley is the seventh member of Duke's 2017 recruiting class, joining top ten prospects Trevon Duval and Wendell Carter, another five-star recruit in Gary Trent Jr., four-star wings Alex O'Connell and Jordan Tucker, and three-star point guard Jordan Goldwire. The Ariz...   [read more]

Brevin
Pritzl
Wisconsin Badgers defeat NZ Breakers squad 85-75 in tour opener - 2 days ago
Wisconsin got off to a winning start on its five-game trip to New Zealand and Australia on Tuesday, beating an NZ Breakers squad 85-75. The Badgers were tied 57-57 after three quarters but pulled away to win the first of their two games in New Zealand. Wisconsin, the alma mater of current Breakers shooting guard Kirk Penney, will next play a Breakers selection in Tauranga on Thursday before playing three games in Australia on the 12-day trip. Sophomore Brevin Pritzl (6'3''-G) led Wisconsi...   [read more]


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