T.J. Brown, former San Diego assistant, sentenced for role in game-fixing scandal

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T.J. Brown, a former assistant coach at San Diego who acted as a middleman in a game-fixing scandal that included former USD point guard Brandon Johnson, was sentenced to 12 months in prison Thursday afternoon.

Brown’s lawyers argued that their client should only receive probation while federal prosecutors wanted him to serve 30 months behind bars.

According to prosecutors Brown acted was the connection between bookmakers, bettors and the student-athletes themselves.

“Mr. Brown was the linchpin in the whole episode,” U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia said Thursday. “If not for his relationship with Johnson, none of this would have gotten off the ground.”

Brown pleaded guilty without a formal plea agreement, admitting to introducing a current member of the USD team to bettors in 2011 in an unsuccessful attempt to fix games after Johnson’s departure.

Johnson, the school’s all-time leading scorer, would be the only player implicated in the scandal. For his role Johnson was sentenced to six months in prison on March 1.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune report there were at least nine co-conspirators involved. Brown will begin serving his sentence on June 5.

Photo credit: University of San Diego Athletics

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)