Spurrier, South Carolina get off to slow start

Spurrier, South Carolina get off to slow start

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) It wasn't the crisp start to bowl camp South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier hoped for Saturday with several players finishing up final exams and not at practice Saturday.

Spurrier said there was confusion about when his team would be wrapped up with fall semester exams so he cut short the planned workout as the 11th-ranked Gamecocks (10-2) began preparations for the Outback Bowl. The players, who hadn't practiced since a satisfying, 27-17 victory over rival Clemson on Nov. 24, were sent to the weight room after about 75 minutes.

``It was a helter-skelter type practice,'' Spurrier said. ``The guys that are going to play in the game, they're all taking finals.''

Exams end Monday, although Spurrier expected things back on track when the team reconvenes Sunday. Spurrier said preparations for No. 19 Michigan, the Gamecocks' New Year's Day opponent, will get going then.

Spurrier and his assistants have been on the road recruiting. Spurrier also spent time the past week consulting with injured Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore, who announced Wednesday he'd give up his senior year in college despite a second significant knee injury.

``Coaches have been traveling around, players taking finals and we'll really start getting into Michigan and getting game plans ready,'' the coach said.

South Carolina won't have senior receiver D.L. Moore for the bowl game because of a violation of team rules. Spurrier did not detail what rule Moore may have broken. Moore, who started five games this season, had eight catches for 139 yards. Two of his receptions went for touchdowns.

South Carolina's leading receiver, two-sport standout Bruce Ellington, would play one final game with the basketball team Wednesday night against Appalachian State before returning to the football team fulltime through the bowl game.

Ellington has 38 catches for 564 yards and six touchdowns, all coming in South Carolina's final seven games. It was originally thought Ellington would be all football once practice began, but ``we're going to turn him loose and let him play'' Wednesday night, Spurrier said.

Spurrier also said injured starter Connor Shaw would return to his role under center against Michigan, although backup Dylan Thompson was likely to see action as early as the opening quarter.

Shaw has a sprained left foot and missed the Clemson game. Thompson, though, threw for three touchdowns and 310 yards in the victory over the Tigers.

Spurrier said Shaw ran around some on Saturday and told the coach he'd be able to practice fully in the team's next workout.

``We'll just get both of them ready to play,'' Spurrier said. ``See how it goes.''

If South Carolina hopes to have success against Michigan - and reach 11 victories for a second straight season - it will need its highly regarded defense to lock up quarterbacks Devin Gardner and Denard Robinson.

The Gamecocks feature one of the game's best in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, a consensus All-America who got four first-place votes in Heisman Trophy balloting. One of those came from his coach, the 1966 Heisman winner at Florida who says he's always votes one of his players for the award.

Clowney, a sophomore, was tied with Florida State star Bjoern Werner for first in the country with 13 sacks, 4 1-2 of those coming in the victory over Clemson three weeks ago. Plenty of Heisman voters might join Spurrier next fall in putting Clowney on their ballots with a similar season.

``Oh, I don't need to worry about that. We're worried about Michigan right now,'' Spurrier said. ``But it would be hard for a defensive guy to win it, because (Notre Dame linebacker) Manti Te'o did have a super year.''

Te'o finished second behind Heisman winner quarterback Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M. Spurrier said he voted for Manziel and Te'o behind Clowney.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Friday his team, too, juggled practice and final exams. ``You go through all those kind of things and find the times that you can'' practice, he said. ``We like how they've come out. I know they've all had good weeks, lifting and running and technique work. It's all been positive.''

Spurrier says his early look at Michigan shows strength on defense and the ability to make big plays on offense. ``Hopefully, won't be too tough to hit a few (long) balls on, but who knows?'' Spurrier said. ``They're a very good team.''

Quick Links

Wizards at Heat Game: TV Channel, Live Stream, how to watch

USA Today Sports Images

Wizards at Heat Game: TV Channel, Live Stream, how to watch

Thursday’s 119-113 victory over the 76ers was by far the best victory the Wizards have had this season.

Davis Bertans was hot shooting 7-for-10 from three. He even set a career high of 25 points in 27 minutes.  

Miami, on the hand struggled Wednesday night and fell short to Boston 112-93. 

Who will get the victory Friday ngiht? Tune in to find out. 


What: Washington Wizards at Heat, Game 21

Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL

When: Friday, December 6, at 8:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards at Heat will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards at Heat on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM


7:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

7:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

8:00 PM: Wizards at Heat (LIVE)

10:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)

11:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

11:30 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE)


Wizards: John Wall (OUT, Left Achilles rehab), Ian Mahinmi (OUT, Right Achilles strain), C.J. Miles (OUT, Wrist), Thomas Bryant (OUT, foot), Isaiah Thomas (OUT, Calf)

Heat: Justise Winslow (OUT, Back), Goran Dragic (OUT, Groin), KZ Okpala (OUT, Achilles), Udonis Haslem (OUT, Illness)


Davis Bertans, PF, (13.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.7 app, ): Bertans went off in the first half against the 76ers shooting 6-for-6 from deep to get 22 points going into halftime. Bertans finished Thursday nights game with a season high of 25 points, one rebound, one steal and seven 3 pointers within 37 minutes.

Ish Smith, G, Wizards (8 ppg, 3 rpg, 3.9 apg): With IT out Ish Smith stepped up to the plate dishing out a season high of eight assists with 19 points and one rebound in 34 minutes in Thursday nights win over the 76ers. Smith is averaging

Jimmy Butler, G, Wizards (20.1 ppg, 6 rpg, 6.5 apg): Jimmy Butler was on fire in Miami’s 112-93 loss to Celtics on Wednesday. Butler made 12-of-18 from the field and set a season high of 37 points.


Quick Links

Davis Bertans reinforces status as Wizards' best offseason addition in win over 76ers

Davis Bertans reinforces status as Wizards' best offseason addition in win over 76ers

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards beat the Philadelphia 76ers 119-113 on Thursday night at Capital One Arena. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. The Wizards entered this season with the understanding they probably wouldn't make the playoffs. They wanted to play hard and be a team capable of pulling off upsets on nights their effort and scrappy play caught opponents off guard.

They wanted to have games like they had on Thursday night. For the first time this season, the Wizards jumped all over a very good team and held on for a victory.

The Wizards took out the Sixers 119-113 for what is so far their signature win of the season. Philly is one of the best teams in the East at 15-7 and it was mostly healthy, unlike the Wizards.

Washington snapped a three-game skid as it now flies to Miami for battle with the Heat, who may be the surprise team of the NBA so far this season with a 15-6 record.

2. Though it's not showing in the standings, the Wizards did a nice job in the offseason in flipping their roster and creating long-term financial flexibility. Their most impressive move may have been trading for Davis Bertans.

Bertans was essentially stolen from the San Antonio Spurs for Aaron White, who was likely to never play for the Wizards. And all Bertans has done is thrive in an expanded role with the green light to shoot as often as he wants.

Bertans was lights-out on Thursday with 25 points on 9-for-16 shooting. He set a career high with seven threes, going 7-for-13 from the perimeter. Bertans had 20 points and was 6-for-6 from three in the first half, tying his previous career high for makes.

As I've mentioned before, Bertans is going to be a commodity come the trade deadline and that is going to force a tough decision for the Wizards, whether to trade him or keep him and try to work out an extension in the offseason. If they are offered a first-round pick, it will be hard to pass up.

But there is an argument either way to hold on to him because he is such a good shooter. Just imagine how well he would fit with John Wall.

3. Rookie Rui Hachimura also had a huge game in what was his first career meeting with the Sixers. He popped off for 15 points in the second quarter and ended up with 27 points and six boards.

Hachimura did all of this while dealing with Al Horford and Joel Embiid down low and guarding those guys on the other end. He also spent some time checking Tobias Harris, so there was a lot on his plate.

Hachimura got many of his points with his bread-and-butter midrange game. He made one three and found trouble getting around Embiid at the rim. 

Hachimura took what the defense gave him and it worked. There were several occasions where defenders just let him take long twos and he made them.

Head coach Scott Brooks was just talking pregame about why the Wizards are okay with him living in the midrange, if that's what he is most comfortable with at this point. Good timing with those comments.

Hachimura, by the way, is averaging 22 points over his last four games while shooting 54.4 percent from the field (37-for-68).

4. The Wizards shared some good news on the injury front before the game as both of their backup centers returned. Moe Wagner, who was nursing a left ankle injury, came back after missing two games. And Ian Mahinmi made his season debut after missing two-plus months with an Achilles strain.

Wagner was put in the starting lineup due to Thomas Bryant's absence and, though he did not have his usual scoring numbers, he did what he could to bother Embiid and give the Wizards energy. Wagner finished with five points and 11 rebounds.

Mahinmi played surprisingly well, all things considered. He had some bad moments, some due to rust. Be he did a solid job guarding Embiid, which is no easy task. The Wizards also helped him out with double teams.

The best part of Mahinmi's night, though, was right when he checked in. He has developed a reputation for getting in foul trouble and, sure enough, he got one on his very first play.

5. Though the Wizards got two players back from injury on Thursday, they also lost two. Jordan McRae will be out a few weeks after having a second surgery on his right ring finger. And, in a bigger surprise, starting point guard Isaiah Thomas was a late scratch with a left calf strain.

The Thomas one is a newly disclosed injury and at this point it's unclear if he will miss any more time. But it was enough for him to sit after he had played in 17 straight.