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November 29, 2007Where all others failed, the Rider Broncs succeeded - even though they lost the game.
Rider is the only team to date to hold Kansas State freshman sensation Michael Beasley to less than 28 points and worse than 60 percent shooting. The Wildcats won their meeting at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., but it had little to do with Beasley. He was limited to 13 points on 5-for-11 shooting as K-State prevailed 82-69.
"I think our guys did a good job of executing our scouting report," Rider coach Tommy Dempsey told Rivals.com. "He (Beasley) was the focus of everything we did defensively.
"We changed up a lot, played some man and some zone, and we fronted and backed him at all times. Our goal was to force them to shoot 30 3-pointers, and they shot 23."
Dempsey's strategy kept the Broncs (3-3) in the game until the final minutes. Ryan Thompson's layup with 3:31 to play cut K-State's lead to four, but Rider went stone cold and didn't hit a shot the rest of the way.
Wildcats forward Andre Gilbert picked up the slack from Beasley, scoring a career-high 22 points. His play, particularly his outside shooting, caught the Broncs off-guard.
"He killed us. He hit five '3s' (actually four), and they made eight," Dempsey said. "He hadn't made one all year (Gilbert was 0-for-6 on the season before hitting 4-for-6 against Rider). He really made us pay."
Beasley's 11 shots were easily the fewest he has taken in a game so far. He also had 10 rebounds, a solid total for anyone but pedestrian for a guy who entered the game averaging 16.3.
"Whether we were in man or zone, we bracketed him the entire game and tried to limit his touches," Dempsey said. "If they can't get it to him easily, a lot of times they don't go to him.
"So many of his points come on the offensive glass, too, so we boxed him out with two guys. We gave them three steps at the 3-point line and said go ahead, and we had two guys block out Beasley and told the other three guys to go like hell to the glass."
It also didn't hurt Dempsey that he has Jason Thompson, a 6-foot-11 senior forward who is one of the best players in the nation you don't know. Thompson frequently was one of the players on either side of Beasley, and he finished with 24 points, seven rebounds and four blocks - a couple of which came against the 6-9 Beasley.
"We have a high-major big guy," Dempsey said. "He blocked (Beasley) a couple of times and altered some shots. Jason was terrific."
Thompson averaged 23 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.3 blocks in his three Old Spice Classic games.
"Scouts are always saying he's a mid-major player and that's where he gets his numbers, but he went down there against an ACC team (NC State), a Big 12 team and a Big Ten team (Penn State) and pretty much did what he wanted," Dempsey said. "That was not a fluke."
ACC again dominates challenge with Big Ten
The ACC and Duke ran their records to 9-0 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge this week.
The ACC won eight of the 11 games played over the past two days. It leads the series 56-30.
Duke kept its unblemished record Tuesday night with an 82-58 rout of Wisconsin.
The Blue Devils are the only team that's undefeated in the series. They also handed the Badgers their worst loss since Bo Ryan's first season in Madison. On Jan. 23, 2002, Illinois beat Wisconsin 80-48, though the Badgers went on to a tie for the conference's regular-season championship.
The Big Ten's best win in the challenge this season came from Michigan State, which was favored to beat visiting NC State on Wednesday night but did so in convincing fashion. The Spartans drilled the Wolfpack 81-58 despite 21 points and 10 rebounds from five-star freshman J.J. Hickson.
The Big Ten's other victories came from Indiana and Penn State.
Maybe the Big Ten should consider challenging another league with an A and a C. MEAC anyone?
FSU's Mims carries tune - and team
Hamilton obliged Tuesday for the Seminoles' nationally televised game against Minnesota in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. So Mims made his debut on ESPN2 and in front of 9,349 at the Tucker Center.
"He hadn't done it before in that kind of arena, but he said he had sung in high school and in gospel choirs and in his church," FSU basketball spokesman Chuck Walsh said.
By all accounts, Mims made sweet music on the mic and followed it with the same on the court. He scored 13 points and grabbed a career-high eight rebounds as the suddenly hot Seminoles (6-2) beat the Golden Gophers 75-61.
"We shot around before the game from 2:30-3:30," Walsh said. "He had class and got there about 3. He was initially going to do it cold, but we talked him into rehearsing it. He rehearsed once after we shot, and he came back at 5:30 and rehearsed it again. I thought he did a great job.
"He said he was more nervous singing than playing."
The Seminoles could ask Mims for an encore, possibly on Senior Night.
The term "3-point specialist" may have been invented for Butler senior forward Pete Campbell.
Campbell has managed to average 15.2 points per game by shooting almost nothing but 3-pointers. Campbell has made 26-of-49 attempts (53.1 percent) from beyond the arc. He's taken only 10 attempts inside the arc (making six), and his only other points have come on one free throw.
Twice this season, Cambpell has gone a full game shooting only 3-pointers. He went a combined 11-of-18 from the field ? with every attempt coming from behind the arc ? in Butler's wins over Michigan (79-65) and Texas Tech (81-71) in the Great Alaska Shootout last week.
Wink Adams, Jr., G, UNLV
Claim to fame: UNLV's leading scorer this season at 12.7 ppg. ? Former Rivals.com five-star prospect.
Favorite player growing up: Allen Iverson.
Best arena in the conference (other than your school): BYU's Marriott Center. "Their fans are great, great atmosphere. It's a great place to play."
What's he's listening to: "Everything. Jay-Z, some local artists from Houston (Adams' hometown). They're a couple of guys I know ? rappers ? Tre and Big Hawk."
Best video game: Halo 3.
Favorite food: Shrimp.
If I could be Coach Kruger for a day I would ? " probably go play golf. I've never played before. I hear Coach is pretty good."
LSU got used to playing without junior small forward Tasmin Mitchell in the Maui Invitational. Now, they might have to get used to it for the rest of the season.
Mitchell, who played just six minutes during an 83-77 loss to Oklahoma State and missed the other two games in Hawaii, will have surgery this week for a stress fracture in his left ankle and is expected to miss at least six weeks. Mitchell said he probably won't be back this season in a press release, in which case the Tigers would apply for a medical redshirt.
Mitchell is the Tigers' most experienced and most versatile player. Mitchell had started every game of his career, a streak of 71 consecutive games, and averaged 14.5 points and 5.9 rebounds a game last season.
Tigers senior guard Dameon Mason returned to practice Tuesday after missing four games with a viral infection on his heart muscle. Doctors have cleared Mason, who averaged 5.4 points last season, to play.
Staff writer Andrew Skwara contributed to this report.
Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.