NCAA

Mississippi State beats Central Arkansas 79-72

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Mississippi State beats Central Arkansas 79-72

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) Freshman Gavin Ware scored a career-high 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead Mississippi State to a 79-72 win over Central Arkansas on Saturday.

The 6-foot-9 Ware was unstoppable in the paint, making 8 of 9 shots from the field, 6 of 8 free throws and grabbing four offensive rebounds. Trivante Bloodman scored 12, Colin Borchert 11 and walk-on Tyson Cunningham added 10 points, including two 3-pointers in the second half that helped the Bulldogs (4-6) pull away.

Mississippi State won for just the third time in eight games. The Bulldogs dominated on the glass, outrebounding the Bears 43-29. They also shot 48.1 percent (25 of 52) from the field.

Central Arkansas (4-5) has lost two in a row. The Bears were led by Robert Crawford's 26 points. Jordan Harks and Jarvis Garner added 11.

Mississippi State has had a rough start to the season thanks to a fairly difficult schedule and a roster that's down to six scholarship players after injuries to four - including starters Jalen Steele and Wendell Lewis.

So it was encouraging for the Bulldogs to see some of the remaining healthy players - like Ware - show some improvement before Southeastern Conference play begins in a few weeks. Ware could be one of the cornerstones of Ray's rebuilding project, with a wide body, soft hands and knack for finding good position and scoring at the rim.

The 270-pounder from Starkville, Miss., hit a few shots early and then the plan became obvious - feed him the ball whenever possible. The Bears didn't have anyone big enough to stop him.

While Ware was dominating inside, the Bulldogs got some surprising help on the perimeter from Cunningham, a junior walk-on who has been forced into the regular rotation because of the constant injures.

He came into the game averaging just 1.7 points per game, but nailed two crucial 3-pointers in the second half that helped Mississippi State push out to a 60-49 lead with nine minutes remaining.

Central Arkansas could never make a serious run after that point.

Crawford tried to keep the Bears in the game, making 8 of 18 shots from the field, including 7 of 14 from 3-point range. But outside of Crawford, Central Arkansas shot just 3 of 21 from 3-point range and shot just 11 free throws compared to Mississippi State's 36 attempts.

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Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

Old Dominion at Syracuse Basketball: Date, Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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USA Today Sports

Old Dominion at Syracuse Basketball: Date, Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Following a thrilling 72-71 win over rival Georgetown, Syracuse (7-2) returns to the floor on Dec. 15 and welcomes Old Dominion (7-3) to town. The Orange will play four more non-conference games before starting ACC play on Jan. 5 at Notre Dame.

Old Dominion has won five-straight games entering their game against Syracuse. In the Monarchs' last game, B.J. Stith led the way with 28 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. 

Tip-off is scheduled for noon ET and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Old Dominion at Syracuse How to Watch

What: Old Dominion Monarchs at Syracuse Orange
Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
When: Noon ET
TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Old Dominion at Syracuse Preview

Conference: ACC (Syracuse), C-USA (Old Dominion)
Record: 7-2 (Syracuse), 7-3 (Old Dominion)
Last Game: 72-71 win vs. Georgetown, 12/8 (Syracuse), 79-69 win vs. Fairfield, 12/9 (Old Dominion)
Leading Scorers: Tyus Battle, 18.0 ppg (Syracuse), Ahmad Caver, 18.5 ppg (Old Dominion)
 

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Drew Gooden describes playing with LeBron James: It was 'like a traveling rock band'

Drew Gooden describes playing with LeBron James: It was 'like a traveling rock band'

LeBron James and the media circus that comes along with him is coming to Washington, D.C., as the Lakers will face off with the Wizards at Capital One Arena.

Drew Gooden played with James for the better part of four seasons in Cleveland from 2004-08, and so he knows exactly what it's like when one of the NBA's greatest players comes to town. 

"It's only real until you actually see it," Gooden said during Thursday's edition of the Wizards Talk podcast. "We used to joke and call ourselves not the Beatles, but the 'Cleatles,' because it was almost like a traveling rock band. And everybody played their part."

Gooden recounted one particular incident during a day off in Detroit in 2006, when he, James and a couple of their teammates went to a shopping mall to buy some watches.

"When we walked into the shopping mall in Detroit, it was like Michael Jackson had entered the shopping mall," Gooden explained. "Kids were running up, grownups were running up, everybody ran into the store we were in. They had to shut it down with mall security, and wouldn't let anybody in."

"The only thing I was thinking of is like, 'How are we gonna get out of here?' Because we came on our own with no security, so we were just thinking of how we were gonna get out of the mall now. And when I saw that star power of LeBron James back in 2006, this was before he won a championship, I couldn't imagine how it is now, and what he's become in today's game."

James' star power has only grown since then, and many have already declared him the greatest basketball player of all-time.

This label in reference to James is nothing new to Drew Gooden: he heard it when they were both teenagers playing AAU baskeball. 

"Calvin Andrews, who was a sports agent of Carmelo Anthony, Calvin Andrews told me when LeBron was 15 years of age, he said, 'You see that guy right there?'" Gooden recalled. "I said, 'Yeah, what about him?'"

"'He's gonna be the best basketball player ever.'"

"So it's no surprise to me, and this is not new to me, it's just I'm more amazed that it actually happened," Gooden concluded. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, he's gonna be the best ever or he has an opportunity of being the best ever.' But I literally heard a man tell me that in Calvin Andrews, and that guy actually becoming one of the best ever, or the best ever." 

For more on LeBron James and the Lakers' upcoming visit to D.C. to take on the Wizards, listen to the full Wizards Talk podcast below.

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