Friday, November 16, 2007

November 16 News and Notes

UCLA junior point guard Darren Collison will miss three more games with a knee injury that has kept him out of the past two games, according to Ben Howland. Collison was expected to be back Monday against Maryland, but his recovery from a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee is going slower than expected. “He's not as far along as I'd hoped in terms of his conditioning,” Howland told Jill Painter of the Los Angeles Daily News. “Were he to play Monday and Tuesday, I'm not even sure he'd be very effective. He's so winded right now. He didn't do anything for 10 days. We're going to be very, very conservative and careful with this.” Collison will not be cleared to play for at least another 10 days and is targeting his return for a Nov. 28 game against George Washington. “(There's) not much (pain), but it comes and goes,” Collison said. “It's a real slight pain. Last week the pain was heavy. I could barely move my leg. It's getting better every day.” He injured the knee in an exhibition game against Azusa Pacific; sophomore Russell Westbrook will continue to start in Collison’s place.

According to Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News, USC freshman forward Davon Jefferson was suspended by coach Tim Floyd for two games for “team-related” reasons. Floyd said Jefferson did not play in the team’s opening loss against Mercer because he was not ready after a preseason injury, and Jefferson also did not play in USC’s win at The Citadel Thursday night. Jefferson did accompany the Trojans on their flight to South Carolina.

Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times writes that Floyd disputed reports that Jefferson was suspended, continuing to say the reasons for not playing Jefferson were conditioning and his lack of understanding team concepts. "If I was suspended," Jefferson said, "I wouldn't even be on the trip."

Kansas junior wing Brandon Rush played 12 minutes against Washburn on Thursday night in the Jayhawks’ 92-60 victory. Rush suffered an ACL injury in June, and had not appeared in a game until last night. He played all of his minutes in the first half, finishing with seven points, three rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal.

Dan Wolken of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes that Joey Dorsey was the difference in the Tigers' win over Oklahoma in the semifinals of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic. Dorsey missed the first two games of the season with a right shoulder injury, but stepped in last night and finished with nine points, 12 rebounds, and five blocked shots. "I was so amped up for this game, I couldn't wait to start playing," Dorsey said. "I love the physical play. This is what I want, right here. That's the type of player I am." Dorsey's post defense and rebounding had a major impact in what turned out to be a physical game. "It was like a slugfest," junior Chris Douglas-Roberts said. "This was a great game to have him back. This is his type of game. He's an intimidator, and it showed out there." The Tigers will face Connecticut in tonight's championship game.

Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald writes that Miami is showing great chemistry on the court and finally has depth. "This is the first time in a long time I can say we truly care for one another on the court and off the court," senior Anthony King said. "We truly stick together. This is just the start of us being really good together on the court." The Hurricanes knocked off defending MAAC regular-season champion Marist 85-61 in the first-round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. "There were times last year when I thought if Jack [McClinton] didn't have 25 points, we weren't going to win," coach Frank Haith said. "It feels good to know we got guys who can come in and we won't have any slippage."

Providence junior guard Jeff Xavier played a major role in the Friars' 66-64 comeback win over Temple in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, writes Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal. Xavier, a transfer from Manhattan who sat out last season, had 12 points, three rebounds and two steals and also played very good defense on Temple's leading scorer, Dionte Christmas. "Words can’t describe how I feel right now," Xavier said of his first game in a Providence uniform. "I couldn’t eat. I woke up at 5:30 this morning. I’m just happy we won."

Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl is not completely happy with the overall performance of the undefeated Volunteers this season, according to Mike Griffith of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. "Where we've dominated some statistical areas, our rebounding advantage is only three," Pearl said. "Another one of the things we did not do well was press, nor did we adjust well on the fly or at halftime." On the other hand, Pearl said he is pleased with the team's defensive effort and performance, but says the team is still a work in progress. "Every game, we get closer and more comfortable," Pearl said. "We just need to keep learning and getting exposed to different offenses and defenses and responding to different things. It's still about us, not about our opponent."

Mike Strange of the Knoxville News-Sentinel writes about senior All-America guard Chris Lofton and his shooting struggles so far this season. In two exhibitions and two regular-season games, Lofton is 2-of-18 from 3-point range. One of the potential reasons for his poor shooting is the absence of Dane Bradshaw, who graduated last spring. "No question, he probably misses Dane,'' coach Bruce Pearl said. "It was (Steven) Pearl (the coach's son) who actually got him a look tonight (the assist for his 3-pointer). I told Chris it took Bradshaw-reincarnated to get him a good look.'' However, the Volunteers are not worried about Lofton's early-season woes. "Whenever we need him, he'll be there,'' Pearl said.

Wisconsin sophomore point guard Trevon Hughes had another big game Thursday night, finishing with 21 points, five rebounds, one assist and one steal in a 79-32 win over Savannah State. Hughes also had 25 points, five rebounds, five assists and six steals in a victory over IPFW last week. He is not entirely happy with his performance, though. "Can I keep it up? Probably. But that's not my game. I'm supposed to get my teammates involved more and I didn't do that tonight," Hughes told Rob Schultz of the Madison Capital Times. "I feel bad. I think I can do a better job of that. One assist and two turnovers, I've got to take care of the ball more and dish it out even more." Coach Bo Ryan was content, saying Hughes took what the defense gave him. "Anytime you get that with a player with his penetration ability, that's a real plus," Ryan said. "He didn't need to pass. He was the guy who was open and he knocked down the short jumper."

Jim Lamar of the Tallahassee Democrat previews tonight's match-up between Florida State and UAB. It is the first of three games the Seminoles will play in the Glenn Wilkes Classic. "This gives us an opportunity to get a lot of games under our belts early," head coach Leonard Hamilton said. "The trade-off is that you don't really have enough practice time to carry forward what you learn in one game into the next game you play. But it helps you to play three straight like this. It's good at this point in the season." Florida State is 2-0 this season.

Steve Irvine of the Birmingham News writes the trip to Daytona Beach for the Glenn Wilkes Classic will test UAB's depth. "We do have options," head coach Mike Davis said. "We're going to have some nights where certain guys are going to score for us but they've got to score out of the offense. I don't want them jacking up shots. This team needs to be a patient team, a team of discipline." Junior big man Reggie Huffman said the Blazers are playing team ball and have shared the ball well. "Each guy on the team is pulling for the next guy," Huffman said. "With the system in place, there's really good spacing on the offense. If you just cut and screen, you'll get open no matter who you are. It's pretty good team ball."

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