[ {"id":"77569862-b9a0-56b7-9d3d-c4b73b585b8f","type":"article","starttime":"1487969581","starttime_iso8601":"2017-02-24T14:53:01-06:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"college":"sports/basketball/college"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Pitt seniors look to go out on high note","url":"http://qctimes.com/sports/basketball/college/article_77569862-b9a0-56b7-9d3d-c4b73b585b8f.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/sports/basketball/college/pitt-seniors-look-to-go-out-on-high-note/article_77569862-b9a0-56b7-9d3d-c4b73b585b8f.html","canonical":"http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2017/Pittsburgh-seniors-Jamel-Artis-Mike-Young-Chris-Jones-and-Sheldon-Jeter-will-play-their-final-game-at-the-Petersen-Events-Center-on-Saturday-when-the-Panthers-host-No-8-North-Carolina/id-0a02bc1962c54f69b88bd19aaa811b11","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":2,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By WILL GRAVES\nAP Sports Writer","prologue":"PITTSBURGH (AP) \u2014 The four players tasked with overseeing a transition they never asked for and never saw coming can't quite explain what went wrong.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","sports","elderly welfare","human welfare","social issues","social affairs","ncaa men's division i basketball championship","men's college basketball","college basketball","basketball","college sports","men's basketball","men's sports"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"c1c07bca-43ed-5dfb-ab6f-5e176d6e704d","description":"FILE - In this March 5, 2016, file photo, Pittsburgh's Jamel Artis, left, and teammate Michael Young walk on the court in the final seconds of a 63-59 loss to Georgia Tech, in an NCAA college basketball game in Atlanta. Artis and Young have spent the last four years enduring the ups and downs at Pittsburgh. The two friends and seniors will play their final home game at Petersen Events Center on Saturday against powerhouse North Carolina hoping to end a frustrating season on a high note. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)","byline":"David Goldman","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"512","height":"333","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/1c/c1c07bca-43ed-5dfb-ab6f-5e176d6e704d/58b0a49eb41dd.image.jpg?resize=512%2C333"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"65","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/1c/c1c07bca-43ed-5dfb-ab6f-5e176d6e704d/58b0a49eb41dd.image.jpg?resize=100%2C65"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"195","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/1c/c1c07bca-43ed-5dfb-ab6f-5e176d6e704d/58b0a49eb41dd.image.jpg?resize=300%2C195"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"666","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/1c/c1c07bca-43ed-5dfb-ab6f-5e176d6e704d/58b0a49eb41dd.image.jpg"}}},{"id":"f34d3fbf-aee1-5679-8c71-185c16df7104","description":"FILE - In this March 20, 2014, file photo, Pittsburgh forwards Jamel Artis, left, and Michael Young celebrate their team's 77-48 victory over Colorado in a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament, in Orlando, Fla. Artis and young have spent the last four years enduring the ups and downs at Pittsburgh. The two friends and seniors will play their final home game at Petersen Events Center on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, against powerhouse North Carolina hoping to end a frustrating season on a high note. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)","byline":"Phelan M. Ebenhack","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"512","height":"391","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/34/f34d3fbf-aee1-5679-8c71-185c16df7104/58b0a49eea022.image.jpg?resize=512%2C391"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"76","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/34/f34d3fbf-aee1-5679-8c71-185c16df7104/58b0a49eea022.image.jpg?resize=100%2C76"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"229","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/34/f34d3fbf-aee1-5679-8c71-185c16df7104/58b0a49eea022.image.jpg?resize=300%2C229"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"782","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/34/f34d3fbf-aee1-5679-8c71-185c16df7104/58b0a49eea022.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":1,"commentID":"77569862-b9a0-56b7-9d3d-c4b73b585b8f","body":"

PITTSBURGH (AP) \u2014 The four players tasked with overseeing a transition they never asked for and never saw coming can't quite explain what went wrong.

It wasn't, Pittsburgh seniors Jamel Artis, Mike Young, Sheldon Jeter and Chris Jones insist, longtime head coach Jamie Dixon's abrupt departure for TCU last spring or Kevin Stallings' inelegant arrival a couple of weeks later. It wasn't, they believe, the lack of a true point guard or ACC-ready big man. It wasn't any sense of doubt about their ability, or Stallings' for that matter.

\"I look at those as kind of excuses,\" Young said. \"You've got to be able to get it done. In my career we've always had a good team, camaraderie and chemistry. We haven't been able to get over that hump.\"

One that looks as daunting as ever for the Panthers (15-13, 4-11 ACC) as the seniors prepare to say goodbye to the Petersen Events Center on Saturday when No. 8 North Carolina (24-5, 12-3) visits.

Any semblance of a chance for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament evaporated in the final minutes against Wake Forest on Wednesday, when a 19-point lead turned into a 63-59 loss.

The team that once flew so high in the Big East is struggling in the nation's toughest conference. It's not the going away party any of the seniors envisioned.

\"It hasn't been a smooth ride,\" Young said.

Yet the four players who will be walk onto the court with family members on Saturday, shake hands with Stallings and wave one last time to the Oakland Zoo aren't ready to bail following a season of unmet expecations, much of them out of the core four's control. No group in the ACC has been asked to do so much to cover so many holes.

Artis slid from forward to point guard because Dixon failed to recruit an experienced and capable ball handler following James Robinson's graduation. The 6-foot-7 Jeter is one of the shortest power forwards in the country, though it hasn't stopped him from leading the Panthers in rebounds, blocks and steals. Young was a double-double machine as a sophomore and junior and worked hard last summer to stretch his game offensively, becoming a competent 3-point shooter in the process.

When it became apparent Pitt needed Young down low, the kid who watched the Panthers more than hold their own in the Big East while growing up just down the Monongahela River from the school's Oakland campus dutifully accepted the reassignment. Young practically willed the Panthers out of an eight-game freefall despite spending a month in a protective mask after fracturing the orbital bone in his right eye.

Asked how he wants to be remembered and Young \u2014 the seventh-leading scorer in school history \u2014 says simply \"a Pitt legend.\" Only he understands that reaching such a lofty status requires something besides performing with stoic efficiency. You need to win, and Young understands Pitt hasn't done it nearly enough.

If Young's being honest, it's the close calls and not the blowouts that hurt the most. Pitt is just 1-6 in ACC games decided by five points or less. Flip that number and the Panthers are in the thick of the NCAA race. Only they're not, and the inability to close out tight games at times has shaken their confidence.

\"You have moments where you think about things, you doubt things,\" Young said. \"I think that's with all people. That's just human.\"

Don't confuse introspection with resignation. The Panthers and their coach stress they have not given up. Last Saturday Pitt responded to a home loss to Virginia Tech by blowing past No. 17 Florida State in the second half. A week later they'll be asked to bounce back one more time.

Maybe things haven't turned out the way Young, Artis, Jeter and Jones planned. All year they've walked by a large banner outside the Pete trumpeting the home schedule, silently crossing out each game as it passed. There are no more after Saturday afternoon. There's also nothing left to lose.

\"These next three games,\" Jeter said, \"the resiliency we'll show will have an impact on what our legacies are going to be.\"

___

More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) \u2014 Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker only seemed as if they were at Wichita State forever.

The pair of guards led the Shockers to the Final Four. They put together an undefeated regular season and helped earn the team a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They led the program to heights folks in southeastern Kansas hadn't known since the 1960s, when Wichita State was a household name.

No wonder their graduation sent expectations for the program plummeting.

Yet if there's one thing fiery coach Gregg Marshall's team relishes, it's playing with a chip on its shoulder. So when pundits pegged the Shockers for a massive rebuilding effort this season, they responded by compiling a 26-4 record, and can clinch a share of the Missouri Valley title on Saturday.

\"A lot of people doubted us coming in,\" said Markis McDuffie, last year's conference freshman of the year, \"but we just continue to grind and get better every day.\"

\"Grind\" is a good word to describe the Shockers' season. They lost close games to Louisville and Michigan State early on, dropped a game to likely NCAA Tournament team Oklahoma State and lost to Illinois State for their only league defeat. Throw in the already low expectations, and the Shockers have spent most of the year grinding away beneath the national radar.

It wasn't until this week that they finally broke into the Top 25.

At No. 25.

But they validated their ranking Wednesday night, when they ran roughshod over Evansville in a 109-83 victory. It was the third time this season the Shockers have eclipsed the 100-point mark, their most since Xavier McDaniel's teams had four of them during the 1982-83 season \u2014 which is all-the-more impressive when you consider the hallmark of Marshall's teams tends to be suffocating defense.

Oh, the Shockers can play defense, too. Just ask LSU, which managed 47 points against them in a blowout loss. But the Tigers shouldn't feel bad, considering six other teams have failed to score 50 in a game against Wichita State. One of them didn't even reach 40.

So how have the Shockers managed to defy so many expectations, despite VanVleet earning paychecks from the Toronto Raptors and Baker playing for the New York Knicks these days?

Start at the top: Marshall has proven to be one of the best in the business. The school's winningest coach led Winthrop to seven NCAA Tournaments and has the Shockers headed for their sixth straight.

Not surprisingly, his name is already surfacing for high-major jobs. That seems to happen every year.

Then consider the talent on the roster: McDuffie is a 6-foot-8 forward already generating some NBA interest, freshman point guard Landry Shamet could start for most high-major programs, Shaq Morris and Darral Willis Jr. provide some beef in the paint, and sharpshooting guard Connor Frankamp has finally hit his stride after transferring from Kansas and sitting out.

Finally, consider the fact that Wichita State may be the deepest team in the country. Ten players average at least 10 minutes a game, and nine of those average at least five points. It also means the Shockers can slap on full-court pressure and crank up their stingy defense without having to worry about wearing anybody out.

\"We all kind of have a chip in our shoulder,\" said Shamet, who grew up in the Kansas City area but spurned interest from bigger-name programs to head south on I-35. \"We blew some opportunities early in the season, so we found ourselves outside the Top 25. But everybody in our locker room knows we're an NCAA Tournament team. The fact that's it's a conversation about whether or not we should be in ...\"

At that, Shamet lets his voice trail off.

Yes, there is a very real conversation going on about whether the Shockers deserve to be in the field of 68 next month. And the reason isn't entirely their fault.

When they built their schedule, they couldn't predict the Spartans would struggle through injuries in a down year for coach Tom Izzo's bunch. Or that Oklahoma would go 9-18 in a major rebuilding year. Or that the Missouri Valley would be worse than usual.

But the result has been a strength-of-schedule below 200 nationally, few marquee wins to dazzle the NCAA selection committee and an RPI figure that is hardly representative of their play.

They pass the eye test. They might not pass the written test.

The Shockers finish their regular season at Missouri State on Saturday, then head to the Missouri Valley tournament next week in St. Louis. Win it and they don't have to worry, lose along the way and they will have an uncomfortable week waiting for Selection Sunday.

\"The only thing I can say to anyone who doesn't think we're an NCAA Tournament team is they don't watch enough basketball,\" Marshall said. \"All you have to do is watch our team.\"

___

More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) \u2014 Kansas star freshman Josh Jackson has been charged with misdemeanor criminal damage after allegedly vandalizing a woman's car outside a Lawrence bar.

A press release from the district attorney's office says police responded to a report Dec. 9. The case against Jackson was filed in Douglas County District Court on Friday.

The release says witnesses told investigators that Jackson had kicked a door and rear taillight during an argument with the owner of the car.

About $1,200 of damage was done to the door and taillight. Damage exceeding $1,000 can be charged as a felony, but the release says Jackson was charged with a misdemeanor because the state couldn't prove he was responsible for all the damage.

___

More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

"}, {"id":"edbb5f41-1037-51b1-ab55-2d82cf453d01","type":"article","starttime":"1487967635","starttime_iso8601":"2017-02-24T14:20:35-06:00","priority":0,"sections":[{"college":"sports/basketball/college"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Winthrop, suspended women's hoops coach agree to 'part ways'","url":"http://qctimes.com/sports/basketball/college/article_edbb5f41-1037-51b1-ab55-2d82cf453d01.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/sports/basketball/college/winthrop-suspended-women-s-hoops-coach-agree-to-part-ways/article_edbb5f41-1037-51b1-ab55-2d82cf453d01.html","canonical":"http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2017/Winthrop-athletic-director-Ken-Haplin-says-suspended-women-s-basketball-coach-has-amicably-agreed-to-leave/id-494b231cc5fd460e9c7bda27f2c538f7","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) \u2014 Suspended Winthrop coach Kevin Cook is no longer with the school.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","sports","college basketball","basketball","college sports","women's basketball","women's sports","women's college basketball","school discipline","education issues","education","social affairs","social issues","coaching"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":1,"commentID":"edbb5f41-1037-51b1-ab55-2d82cf453d01","body":"

ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) \u2014 Suspended Winthrop coach Kevin Cook is no longer with the school.

Eagles athletic director Ken Halpin said Friday that the university and Cook have \"agreed mutually and amicably to part ways.\"

Cook was suspended last month for what the school said was a personnel matter. Assistant Lynette Woodard has been the acting coach since then.

Cook said in a statement he enjoyed his time at the school and will always pull for the Eagles.

Cook, who was an assistant coach of the four-time WNBA Houston Comets, has been Winthrop's coach for five seasons. He took the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament in 2014.

Cook has Parkinson's Disease and needed brain surgery in the summer of 2015 because of its symptoms.

"}, {"id":"c8d5133f-dcdc-5736-971d-bbbe03c8a01e","type":"article","starttime":"1487967191","starttime_iso8601":"2017-02-24T14:13:11-06:00","lastupdated":"1487969107","priority":0,"sections":[{"college":"sports/basketball/college"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Gacmecocks' Alaina Coates 'day-to-day' with ankle sprain","url":"http://qctimes.com/sports/basketball/college/article_c8d5133f-dcdc-5736-971d-bbbe03c8a01e.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/sports/basketball/college/gacmecocks-alaina-coates-day-to-day-with-ankle-sprain/article_c8d5133f-dcdc-5736-971d-bbbe03c8a01e.html","canonical":"http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2017/South-Carolina-coach-Dawn-Staley-says-center-Alaina-Coates-is-day-to-day-with-a-right-ankle-sprain-that-kept-her-out-of-the-7th-ranked-Gamecocks-victory-over-Texas-A-M/id-e829dda3699b4b41894bd30932c8f70b","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) \u2014 South Carolina coach Dawn Staley says center Alaina Coates' status is uncertain heading into the final regular-season game against No. 22 Kentucky on Sunday.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","sports","women's basketball","basketball","women's sports","college basketball","college sports","women's college basketball"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":2,"commentID":"c8d5133f-dcdc-5736-971d-bbbe03c8a01e","body":"

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) \u2014 South Carolina coach Dawn Staley says center Alaina Coates' status is uncertain heading into the final regular-season game against No. 22 Kentucky on Sunday.

Coates missed the Gamecocks' 80-64 win at Texas A&M on Thursday night with a sprained right ankle. She was injured in the third quarter of a loss at Missouri on Sunday, although Staley says the team did not learn of the extent of the injury until they returned to Columbia.

Coates, a 6-foot-4 senior, leads the Southeastern Conference with 11.2 rebounds. She is second on the Gamecocks in scoring, averaging 13.4 points a game.

Coates is expected to be honored Sunday in her last regular-season home game. South Carolina could capture a fourth straight SEC regular season crown with a win over the Wildcats.

"}, {"id":"b0b37fc1-597b-54c8-b614-8fa144dc38e3","type":"article","starttime":"1487964997","starttime_iso8601":"2017-02-24T13:36:37-06:00","lastupdated":"1487967682","priority":0,"sections":[{"college":"sports/basketball/college"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"UCLA to honor Ann Meyers Drysdale with court naming","url":"http://qctimes.com/sports/basketball/college/article_b0b37fc1-597b-54c8-b614-8fa144dc38e3.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/sports/basketball/college/ucla-to-honor-ann-meyers-drysdale-with-court-naming/article_b0b37fc1-597b-54c8-b614-8fa144dc38e3.html","canonical":"http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2017/The-practice-court-for-the-UCLA-women-s-basketball-team-will-be-named-for-Bruins-great-Ann-Meyers-Drysdale-when-the-facility-opens-next-year/id-517cad03ae784d3086857946b8c6ff7c","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"LOS ANGELES (AP) \u2014 The practice court for the UCLA women's basketball team will be named for Bruins great Ann Meyers Drysdale when the facility opens next year.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","sports","women's sports","college sports","school athletics","education","social affairs","individual giving","philanthropy","women's basketball","basketball","college basketball","women's college basketball"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":2,"commentID":"b0b37fc1-597b-54c8-b614-8fa144dc38e3","body":"

LOS ANGELES (AP) \u2014 The practice court for the UCLA women's basketball team will be named for Bruins great Ann Meyers Drysdale when the facility opens next year.

The university's athletic department said Friday that an anonymous donor made a \"significant financial contribution\" to the Mo Ostin Basketball Center project. As part of the gift, the donor requested that the practice court be named in Meyers Drysdale's honor.

Meyers Drysdale says she was \"at a loss for words\" when athletic director Dan Guerrero told her.

She helped lead the Bruins to the AIAW national championship in 1978 after becoming the first woman to receive a full athletic scholarship from the university. Meyers Drysdale was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1993.

The 61-year-old former player is a vice president of both the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and NBA's Phoenix Suns.

The facility located near Pauley Pavilion will include separate courts for the men's and women's programs, locker rooms, athletic training areas, a strength and conditioning facility, coaches' offices, team meeting rooms, equipment rooms and video rooms.

The university has received over $18 million in private funds toward a goal of $25 million toward the facility, which broke ground last August. Ostin, a music industry executive, contributed $10 million.

"}, {"id":"e80b1ff3-c3f5-5bf7-afcf-d64102642553","type":"article","starttime":"1487963308","starttime_iso8601":"2017-02-24T13:08:28-06:00","lastupdated":"1487965650","priority":0,"sections":[{"basketball":"sports/basketball"},{"college":"sports/basketball/college"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"SMU winning without Brown with another NCAA bid in sight","url":"http://qctimes.com/sports/basketball/article_e80b1ff3-c3f5-5bf7-afcf-d64102642553.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/sports/basketball/smu-winning-without-brown-with-another-ncaa-bid-in-sight/article_e80b1ff3-c3f5-5bf7-afcf-d64102642553.html","canonical":"http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2017/SMU-is-still-winning-after-the-departure-of-Larry-Brown-who-can-t-imagine-that-any-coach-is-doing-a-better-job-this-season-than-Tim-Jankovich/id-aa6ee25e41884ae5bb8cef3ddf2991bd","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By STEPHEN HAWKINS\nAP Basketball Writer","prologue":"DALLAS (AP) \u2014 Larry Brown can't imagine that any coach is doing a better job this season than Tim Jankovich is with short-handed SMU.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","sports","men's college basketball","college basketball","basketball","college sports","men's basketball","men's sports","ncaa men's division i basketball championship","sports governance","nba basketball","professional basketball","coaching"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"49024730-31e4-52da-a675-ce8c6503c96c","description":"File-This Feb. 12, 2017, file photo shows SMU head coach Tim Jankovich walking the court after an NCAA college basketball game against Cincinnati in Dallas. Larry Brown can\u2019t imagine that any coach is doing a better job this season than Jankovich with short-handed SMU. \u201cOh, it\u2019s remarkable,\u201d Brown said. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)","byline":"LM Otero","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"512","height":"357","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/90/49024730-31e4-52da-a675-ce8c6503c96c/58b08af50621c.image.jpg?resize=512%2C357"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"70","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/90/49024730-31e4-52da-a675-ce8c6503c96c/58b08af50621c.image.jpg?resize=100%2C70"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"209","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/90/49024730-31e4-52da-a675-ce8c6503c96c/58b08af50621c.image.jpg?resize=300%2C209"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"714","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/90/49024730-31e4-52da-a675-ce8c6503c96c/58b08af50621c.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":4,"commentID":"e80b1ff3-c3f5-5bf7-afcf-d64102642553","body":"

DALLAS (AP) \u2014 Larry Brown can't imagine that any coach is doing a better job this season than Tim Jankovich is with short-handed SMU.

\"Oh, it's remarkable,\" Brown said.

While it has taken a while for most people to notice, the 17th-ranked Mustangs are doing quite well after the sudden and somewhat unexpected departure last summer of Brown, the Hall of Fame coach who two years ago took SMU to its first NCAA Tournament since 1993. He left after a contract dispute.

\"Just a good group of guys and I think now that they've been through a lot, and they've been together through so much, it has really resulted in what you're seeing on the court,\" SMU athletic director Rick Hart said.

The Mustangs (24-4), one of the nation's top defensive teams allowing 59 points a game, went into this weekend with 20 wins in their 21 games since November and a share of the American Athletic Conference lead.

\"I don't want to say they've exceeded expectations because we always think big,\" said Jankovich, who then went on to describe his team as \"pretty amazing.\"

If not for NCAA sanctions that included a one-year postseason ban, SMU would have been back in the NCAA Tournament last year after winning 25 games in the senior season for two-time American Athletic Conference player of the year Nic Moore and AAC top sixth man Markus Kennedy.

With those key seniors and Brown gone, SMU is limited this season because of the NCAA penalties \u2014 down at times to only six available scholarship players. But those sanctions, related to a September 2015 ruling against Brown involving a case of academic fraud , won't keep the Mustangs out of another NCAA Tournament.

\"We just looked at this season as an opportunity to, not necessarily get back on the map, but just to get what we owe ourselves,\" sophomore guard Jarrey Foster said. \"We owe ourselves a lot, just how much we've been through.\"

The Mustangs were 20-4 before finally breaking into the AP Top 25 for the first time this season on Feb. 6. They then avenged a January road loss with a home win over Cincinnati, and moved up again in the poll after consecutive victories in games they trailed by double digits before halftime.

Jankovich was SMU's associate head coach the past four seasons. He was also head coach-in-waiting, a title he didn't particularly like, but a necessity to leave a head coaching job at Illinois State for a spot on Brown's staff.

\"They're two totally different coaches. When they were coaching together, they found a way to come together and use their coaching styles together,\" Foster said. \"We (now) play a little bit more loose.\"

Sophomore guard Shake Milton said Jankovich lets the Mustangs push the ball more and shoot more \u2014 especially 3-pointers, averaging seven more attempts a game than the past three seasons \u2014 but the coach demands the same kind of focus on defense and rebounding as Brown did.

Milton, Foster, seniors Sterling Brown and Ben Moore, and former Duke transfer Semi Ojeleye all play more than 32 minutes per game as starters. Ben Emelogu, a transfer from Virginia Tech, averages more than 21 minutes and was the only sub used the past four games except for a walk-on senior being in for less than a minute just before halftime one game.

\"They've been one of the hardest-working teams I've been around,\" said Jankovich, who was 104-64 at Illinois State from 2007-12 after serving as an assistant for Bill Self at Illinois (2002-03) and Kansas (2003-07). \"They've been one of the most mature and focused groups.\"

SMU started this season with 10 scholarship players, three under the NCAA limit. That included a transfer from Arkansas sitting out this season, and two freshmen from Australia who left the team after only 10 games. Another scholarship freshman has dealt with concussion symptoms much of this month.

Even though the Mustangs still have to give up a total of four more scholarships over the next two seasons, Jankovich feels great about the program's future. There are six expected returning scholarship players, plus four recruits already signed for next season.

\"Of course, I wish we didn't have the sanctions that we have and the limitations, but you know what, we're not going to use this as an excuse,\" he said. \"We've just learned to deal with the hand that we're dealt.\"

Brown, the only coach to win both NBA and NCAA titles, won nearly 1,600 games in a coaching career that spanned more than four decades and included a record nine NBA jobs and three college stops. The last for the 76-year-old coach was at SMU, where Jankovich and the Mustangs keep winning.

\"It's the greatest thing ever,\" Brown said. \"They've been through hell with the sanctions, the injuries, and yet they kept getting better.\"

___

AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta contributed to this report.

___

More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) \u2014 Tennessee coach Rick Barnes says guard Jordan Bowden has \"a little bout of pneumonia\" and likely will miss a second straight game Saturday at South Carolina.

Barnes said Friday that Tennessee is \"not counting on him playing at all\" against South Carolina.

Bowden's illness prevented him from playing Wednesday in a 67-56 loss to Vanderbilt as Tennessee recorded its lowest point total and field-goal percentage of the season. He played only one minute in a 90-70 victory over Missouri on Saturday and hasn't appeared in a game since.

The 6-foot-3 freshman has made 26 starts for Tennessee this season. He is averaging 8.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 22.6 minutes.

Tennessee (15-13, 7-8) has lost three of its last four games. South Carolina (20-8, 10-5) has dropped three straight.

___

More AP College Basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

"} ]