Spokane Produces Lively Action

SPOKANE, Wash. — Arkansas and Southern California had a tough act to follow on Friday, in terms of the entertainment value of the first three games at Spokane Arena.

No. 11 seed Winthrop of Rock Hill, S.C., took a 54-36 lead over sixth-seeded Notre Dame, then fell behind 63-62 before pulling out a 74-64 win over the Irish in the opener.

Craig Bradshaw, a poised 6-foot-10 center from Wellington, New Zealand, sparked Winthrop with 24 points, while fancy senior guard Torrell Martin finished with a double-double 20 points and 11 rebounds.

Stingy defensive team Miami, Ohio, a No. 14 seed, then scared third-seeded Oregon before succumbing 58-56 in the second game. That deprived the tournament of Abe Vigoda look-alike Charlie Coles, the intense Miami coach, and a spirited Redhawks pep band after Friday.

Alex Moosman of Miami misread the clock and missed a 75-foot shot with five seconds left in the first half. The Redhawks' Michael Bramos made a 50-footer as the game ended, one possession after he had narrowly missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer.

Quietly efficient Oregon senior guard Aaron Brooks of Seattle, Wash., delighted a strong contingent of Ducks fans by gathering 18 points, 5 assists and a steal in 40 minutes.

New Mexico State, seeded 13th in the East, led fourth-seeded Texas for much of the first half in Game 3, before silky Kevin Durant sparked a rally that pushed the Longhorns ahead 33-30 by halftime.

Active Aggies coach Reggie Theus, who consults five staff confederates during every timeout, kept calling, "Iverson post!" to lefty senior guard Elijah Ingram, who heated up with 11 second-half points to lead a comeback from a 49-38 deficit.

Theus, wearing a "GQ"-worthy suit, had received a technical foul with 15:51 left, resulting in two A.J. Abrams free throws and a 42-33 UT lead. The Aggies responded by taking a 60-57 lead, but Texas righted itself to win 79-67. Durant scored 27 points, including 15 of 16 free throws.


Before the UA-USC game, Arkansas cheerleaders passed out pompoms and foam sticks to Hogs fans and some leftover New Mexico State fans who were willing to cheer for Arkansas.

While that was going on, Boss Hog narrowly missed a dozen shots (from his snout) from about 35 feet away, delighting all the fans in the arena.


Freshman Michael Washington's 26th game of the season marked his first start Friday night. Washington, of McGehee, was the first starter introduced.

Charles Thomas, recovering from a sprained ankle, entered with 15:12 left in the first half and soon drained a 3-pointer, after having made just 6 of 37 3-point tries this season.


To USC coach Tim Floyd, the coaching box seems to be just a suggestion, rather than a confined area.

Like many coaches these days, Floyd strays well past the box while delivering instructions to his players.

Memo to officials: either enforce the coaching box or get rid of it.


With USC leading 34-23 late in the first half, Hogs freshman guard Patrick Beverley jabbered an objection to Trojans freshman guard Daniel Hackett, who listened impassively awhile, then told Beverley to shut up.


With 1:18 left in the half, Arkansas' Vincent Hunter went to the scorer's table to check in, only to be rebuffed because teammate Steven Hill had already made two free throws. So Hunter was called back to the bench.

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