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St. John's cruises by South Carolina 89-65

St. John's cruises by South Carolina 89-65

NEW YORK (AP) One of the toughest things to watch is an athlete being taken off the court on a stretcher. Whether it's a teammate or a player from the other team, it's tough to watch.

South Carolina junior guard Brenton Williams injured his neck when he fell after being fouled. His neck was placed in a brace, he was put on a backboard and taken to a hospital for evaluation. A school spokeswoman said he was moving all his extremities.

``You feel for the guy obviously and you feel bad but we had to finish the game,'' St. John's D'Angelo Harrison said after he led the Red Storm to an 89-65 victory Thursday night in the SEC-Big East Challenge. ``You hope he gets well. When he came out I talked to coach Martin and said to tell him to get well soon and hopefully he does.''

About an hour after the game the school announced that Williams was released from the hospital and would travel home with the team.

South Carolina coach Frank Martin said after the game that he ``didn't know a heck of a whole lot.''

``I know what my trainers said after the game that he never lost feeling in his extremities and he had movement. Any time you're dealing with a neck situation that's God's send when you get that news,'' Martin said. ``He had pain in the base of the neck. That's all I know.''

Williams was fouled on a drive to the basket with 13:34 to play and the Gamecocks trailing 51-41. Williams finished with 10 points.

He drove the lane and was fouled by Phil Greene. As he was falling St. John's 6-foot-9, 223-pound freshmen forward Chris Obekpa also fell and landed on Williams.

``I didn't know what happened,'' Obekpa said. ``Someone fouled him and I went to block the ball and he was there. When I tried to get up I had pain in my arms so I stayed down. When I went to get up I realized it was serious.''

Harrison broke the 20-point mark for the sixth time in seven games this season, finishing with 26.

``I give credit to my teammates,'' Harrison said. ``I made a couple of shots but I had so many easy layups and got to the free throw line. It wasn't me in a hot streak. It was me cutting and they found me and I made the layup. Anybody could have had 26 today.''

Harrison, like his teammates and coach, wanted to talk about the other end of the court.

``We played good defense,'' Harrison said. ``Holding them to 36 percent from the field, we feel we can win these games if we are a defensive team first.''

The Red Storm (5-2) led 38-26 at halftime and pulled away over the final 10 minutes, leading by as many as 28 points in the final minutes.

Amir Garrett had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Red Storm while Phil Greene had 13 and JaKarr Sampson 11.

``Our defense has been pretty good but our defense today was really good,'' Garrett said. ``When we want to take a little breather we go zone and when we want to pressure them we go to the man.''

The Red Storm, who were coming off a season-high 55 percent from the field in the last game against Florida Gulf Coast, shot 56.9 percent (33 for 58) against the Gamecocks. Harrison was 8 of 13, including 3 of 6 from 3-poiunt range, while Garrett was 7 of 8 from the field.

``I think there were some stretches where we played good basketball and naturally there was also some poor play but I think big picture we're making some progress,'' Red Storm coach Steve Lavin said. ``We held them to 36 percent shooting and we did it with changing defenses.''

Michael Cabrera had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Gamecocks (5-2), who were playing their first true road game of the season.

``I can tell you we were disheartened and that's how we played the rest of the game,'' Martin said of Williams' injury. ``I won't sit here and tell you that the injury affected us. We should be ashamed if it did. St. John's just kind of made us go away and we went away before the 40 minutes expired.''

Bruce Ellington, a running back for the South Carolina football team, made his season debut against St. John's and had seven points on 3-for-10 shooting - missing all four 3-point attempts - in 29 minutes.

``He's had a day and a half of practice,'' Martin said. ``I don't care how much film you watch, it's different out there. He did some things to help today but he hasn't had any time with us.''

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Bradley Beal thoroughly impressed by LeBron James after being his teammate at All-Star Game

Bradley Beal thoroughly impressed by LeBron James after being his teammate at All-Star Game

As a member of the Washington Wizards, Bradley Beal has had many battles with LeBron James over the years, first with the Miami Heat and now with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Over the weekend, Beal got to experience having James as a teammate for the first time at the All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

It was an eye-opening endeavor. Beal got to see up close and personal James' abilities and his routine to maximize them. In a group of the best players on the planet, James stood out.

"It was surreal at first, just being around all the guys," Beal said. "Even just being on his team for two days, that was an unbelievable experience."

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Beal, 24, is six seasons in to his NBA career and from experience has learned how to train for the rigors of an 82-game regular season. What James does at 33 years old to stay in peak form, however, is next level.

"To see his preparation, his focus and his mentality and what he does to take care of his body before and after games," Beal said. "That's the true testament to a Hall of Famer and one of the best to ever play the game."

James actually assisted Beal's first points in the All-Star Game, a two-handed dunk in the first quarter. James attacked the rim on a fastbreak to draw attention, then found Beal with a dump-off pass for an easy bucket.

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It was an example of James' tricks of the trade. He is not just the most athletic player on the court, he is also the smartest when it comes to the game of basketball.

"His approach and his leadership and everything, it's top notch. It's crazy because you always play against him and to play with him, you get experience the other side of it," Beal said.

Beal, however, did note that much of what he gleaned from James was by watching him. At the end of the day, they are competitors and James isn't going to give away all of his secrets.

"He's not disclosing that information," Beal joked.

The Wizards happen to play James and the Cavs in their first game back from the All-Star break on Thursday night. Once again, Beal will be on the other side. 

RELATED: 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT HAS LOADED CLASS

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Walt Williams talks Wizards, his NBA career and life after basketball

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NBC Sports Washington

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Walt Williams talks Wizards, his NBA career and life after basketball

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes was joined by former NBA player Walt Williams for a wide-ranging discussion. Williams talked about the Wizards, his show on NBC Sports Washington and his playing career.

Williams also projected the NBA prospects of Maryland Terrapins stars Bruno Fernando and Kevin Huerter.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!