RTC Live: Coaches vs. Cancer SemifinalsPosted by rtmsf on November 17th, 2011
RTC Live is back in MSG tonight as the next week-plus of pre-conference tournaments start tipping off everywhere around the country. Texas A&M will take on Mississippi State in the first game, with Arizona visiting a young but talented St. John’s squad in the nightcap. Join the conversation from the Garden, after the jump.
No. 18 Texas A&M (2-0) vs. Mississippi State (2-1) — MSU has a ton of talent, but no direction and the Bulldogs will take on a legitimate NCAA Tournament team in the Aggies in the first game of the semifinals. If this was a real tournament, the Bulldogs wouldn’t even be here, having fallen to Akron during the regional rounds, 68-58. Enigmatic forward Renardo Sidney is currently recovering from a groin injury and may or may not play. It should be a fun Big 12 vs. SEC battle this evening.
Mississippi State is going to drive other teams and its coach crazy this season. Against Texas A&M on Thursday night in the semifinals of the 2K Sports Classic benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer, it was Aggies coach Billy Kennedy who had to deal with enigmatic Bulldogs. While Renardo Sidney struggled from the field, shooting 0-8 and scoring three points along with three fouls, Dee Bost scored 20 points and MSU used a 17-shot advantage on the free throw line to take home a 69-60 victory. Rick Stansbury’s club pulled away early in the game, leading by as many as 22 points with 10:12 remaining in the first half. The Bulldogs then withstood a late charge by Texas A&M, which was playing without injured star Khris Middleton. In the process Stansbury might’ve found another piece to his rotation, DeVille Smith – a 5’11” freshman with a dynamic handle and the ability to get to the basket. Smith went 4-6 from the field and scored eight points for the Bulldogs on Thursday.
While Arizona has veterans to turn to in crunch time, St. John’s has to rely on its dynamic recruiting class to make all the difference and tonight it finally caught up with the Red Storm. Steve Lavin’s crew committed 17 turnovers, which led to 22 Arizona points, and allowed the Wildcats to shoot 14-29 (48.3%) from three-point range in an 81-72 loss in the second semifinal of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. The Wildcats had five players in double-figures, led by junior Solomon Hill who scored 15 points. While the Wildcats do have talented freshmen like Josiah Turner (eight points, four turnovers) and Nick Johnson (11 points, 3-5 shooting from three), it was veterans like Solomon Hill (15 points, seven rebounds) and Kyle Fogg (13 points, six assists) that Sean Miller went to after St. John’s made its final run. Once Nurideen Lindsey, who led the Red Storm with 18 points, fouled out of the game with 4:02 remaining, the Wildcats were able to seize control and finish out the victory.
Friday’s tournament schedule is now set. The 4:30 p.m. ET consolation game will be St. John’s vs. Texas A&M. The championship game will immediately follow that game and be Arizona vs. Mississippi State. We’ll have all the action again tomorrow on RTC Live.