Columbia, SC (SportsNetwork.com) - The top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats put their perfect record on the line on Saturday afternoon, as they invade Colonial Life Arena to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks in an SEC showdown. John Caliparis Wildcats are one of just two unbeaten teams left in the nation, with second-ranked Virginia being the other. Kentucky is off to its fourth-best start in school history at 18-0. The team moved to a flawless 5-0 in conference play with a hard-fought, 65-57 victory over Vanderbilt last time out. Frank Martins Gamecocks were rolling for awhile, with a seven-game win streak spanning the end of November into the new calendar year. Things have changed considerably since SEC play began, as USC has dropped two straight games and four of its last five outings, overall. Most recently, South Carolina fell at home to Tennessee on Tuesday, 66-62 and now stands at just 1-4 in the conference. Kentucky holds a 48-10 advantage in the all-time series with South Carolina. These two teams will meet again on Feb. 14 in Lexington. The Commodores gave the Wildcats all they could handle and simply wouldnt go away all game long. However, in the end, Aaron Harrisons big second half proved to be too much, as he led UK to yet another victory. All 14 of Aaron Harrisons points came in the second half to keep Vanderbilt at bay. Dakari Johnson was the only other Wildcat to notch double figures in the win, posting 10 points. Willie Cauley-Stein scored just six points, but did grab a game- high 10 rebounds. Kentucky held Vanderbilt to a modest .415 shooting effort, blocked 11 shots and outscored the Commodores 21-6 at the free-throw line. Defense is the name of the game in Lexington, as Kentucky ranks second nationally in scoring defense (50.8 ppg) and first in both field-goal percentage defense (.322) and blocked shots (146). With that kind of defensive wizardry, the team doesnt need to put up huge offensive numbers. Still, Kentucky enjoys a +24.7 scoring margin, as the team generates 75.5 ppg. Aaron Harrison leads the team with 11.5 ppg. Devin Booker is the only other Wildcat currently in double digits at 10.4 ppg, although Cauley-Stein (9.4 ppg), Johnson (8.5 ppg) and Karl-Anthony Towns (8.3 ppg) arent far under that mark. The Gamecocks fell behind by 17 points in the second half, but rallied down the stretch, pulling within two points, before bowing to the Volunteers in Columbia this week. Tennessee had a hot hand all game long, as the visitors shot a sterling .575 from the floor, bolstered by a 10-of-18 effort from behind the arc. USC made a game of it late however, despite shooting just .343 from the floor overall. Sindarius Thornwell led the way in defeat for South Carolina with 17 points. Demetrius Henry added 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Gamecocks, who remained competitive by forcing 18 turnovers and turning those miscues into 20 points. Strong defensive play has fueled South Carolinas success this season, as well. The Gamecocks are holding foes to just 61.0 ppg, as opponents are shooting a mere .366 from the field overall. In addition, USC holds a +6.4 rebounding margin and a +1.5 turnover margin. Three of the teams five starters are averaging double digits in the scoring column, led by Duane Notices 11.9 ppg. Thornwell and Tyrone Johnson round out the productive trio with 11.1 and 10.4 ppg, respectively. Ryan Jensen Jersey
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. Venus Williams advanced to the ASB Classic final in Auckland on a walkover when fellow American Jamie Hampton withdrew from their semifinal Friday with a right hip injury.TORONTO – Apparently, Black Friday knows no borders. Alex Anthopoulos, the Canadian general manager of Major League Baseball’s only Canadian team, spent America’s favourite shopping day putting the finishing touches on a deal with the Oakland Athletics, a trade which set the hot stove ablaze and left the principles involved stunned. Josh Donaldson is a Toronto Blue Jay. Going to the Athletics are Brett Lawrie, pitchers Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin, and shortstop prospect Franklin Barreto. The deal was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Anthopoulos spoke to Donaldson shortly after the deal was finalized, approximately 9:30 p.m. EST. “He was excited,” said Anthopoulos. “I told him he reminded me a little bit of (Jose) Bautista with his swing and, you know, he has the leg lift.” In Donaldson, the Jays get one of the game’s best third basemen, a 28-year-old who’s hit 53 home runs in his first two big league seasons. He’s done so in the regrettable pit that is the Oakland Coliseum, a cavernous monstrosity which gets bigger at night thanks to the marine layer which floats in off of San Francisco Bay and tends to keep fly balls from clearing the outfield fence. He’s posted Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) numbers of 147 in 2013 and 129 last year, good for second best among American League third basemen in both seasons. Donaldson is a solid defender at the hot corner. He may not be to Lawrie’s caliber, but he’s in a different offensive class and that more than offsets whatever Toronto is losing with the glove. Most importantly, Toronto has Donaldson under club control for the next four years. Despite being 28, Donaldson has a little more than two years of big league service time, which means he won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2018 seasons. When you consider that two third basemen in the same age range as Donaldson, Pablo Sandoval with the Red Sox and Kyle Seager with the Mariners, just signed $100-million contracts, the Jays are getting a player worth at least that much on the cheap. Donaldson is first-time arbitration eligible this winter. Lawrie couldn’t stay healthy, appearing in only 302 of 486 games in his first three full big league seasons for a 62-percent appearance rate. Given big billing when, as a prospect, he was acquired from Milwaukee, in a trade for Shawn Marcum, Lawrie shone defensively but was inconsistent with the bat. His brilliant two month trial run in late 2011, during which he posted a .953 OPS in 43 games, set tthe bar too high.dddddddddddd The general manager bristled when asked if Lawrie fell short of expectations. “No, I don’t think that’s fair at all. I think it’s wrong,” said Anthopoulos. “I think Brett is a very, very good player and he can get even better. He’s a gold glove caliber defender at third. He energizes his teammates. He plays hard. He plays to win.” Graveman, a college draft pick who shot through the farm system after developing a cut fastball, and Nolin, who seemed to get lost in the shuffle after a disastrous one-and-done debut in May, 2013, were expendable because the Jays envision a starting rotation featuring Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, Drew Hutchison and Daniel Norris. That Anthopoulos could acquire Donaldson without having to spin off any of aforementioned big arms makes the trade all the more impressive. Franklin Barreto, an 18-year-old shortstop, had worked his way to short season Vancouver, where he posted an .865 OPS in 73 games for the Canadians. He may have a long and successful career but the big league portion isn’t starting this year or next. Consider it the price of doing business. From Oakland’s point of view, general manager Billy Beane may feel he’s plugged a long-term hole created when he moved hotshot Addison Russell to the Cubs in the deadline deal that brought the Athletics Jeff Samardzija. Anthopoulos called Donaldson a “gamer,” which comes on the heels of his effusive praise of free agent signee Russell Martin, who Anthopoulos said “checked off all the boxes.” In the area of intangibles, the Jays have brought in two men who play key positions well above average and who have tasted postseason baseball in each of the last two years. Martin’s been to the playoffs seven times in nine big league seasons. Gone from a clubhouse some on the inside called “dysfunctional” are Lawrie, Adam Lind, Colby Rasmus and Anthony Gose. Make of that what you will. The bullpen and the outfield still need attention. Second base could use some certainty. This team still has holes. But Anthopoulos is spending the offseason being proactive and the savings on Donaldson, related to his actual on-field dollar value, are immeasurable. It’s cash that, arguably, can now be used in other spots. The Blue Jays are a better team today than they were on November 27, just as they improved the moment Martin put pen to paper. With the annual Winter Meetings in San Diego just over a week away, it’s reasonable to expect Anthopoulos’ work has just begun. Cheap Jerseys Online Wholesale Black NFL Jerseys Youth NFL Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping
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