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Reed leads Miami past reeling Pittsburgh in Larrañaga’s 600th win

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PITTSBURGH (AP) Davon Reed didn’t think to look up even as the minutes passed and Pittsburgh struggled to find any sort of open look against Reed and the rest of his Miami teammates.

“We weren’t even playing the score,” Reed said. “We were just playing defense and the score just reflected it.”

And then some.

Reed finished with 18 points, Bruce Brown added 17 and the Hurricanes held the Panthers without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes in a 72-46 blowout victory on Saturday. Miami (12-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) snapped a two-game losing streak by outrebounding Pitt 37-23 and holding the Panthers (12-6, 1-4) to just 34 percent shooting (18 of 53).

Less than 48 hours removed from a difficult loss at home to Notre Dame, the Hurricanes responded emphatically. Troubled early by undermanned Pitt’s zone defense, Miami found a rhythm late in the first half.

The Hurricanes scored 14 straight during a run that spanned the end of the first half and the beginning of the second to get all the breathing room they would need then kept pouring it on to hand the Panthers their worst loss in the 15-year history of the Petersen Events Center.

“(Our guys) had a chip on their shoulder and it really helped,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said after picking up his 600th career victory. “It was just a great physical effort as well as a great focus and mental preparation.”

Jamel Artis led Pitt with 15 points a game after going for a career-high 43 in a loss to Louisville on Wednesday. Chris Jones scored 10 points for the Panthers but Pitt struggled with reserve forward Ryan Luther out with a sprained foot and senior forward Michael Young wearing a mask to protect a fractured bone near his right eye.

Young missed all 10 of his shots and finished with just two points on a pair of second-half free throws, 20 below his season average.

“We didn’t have really any margin for anything to go wrong in the game and plenty went wrong,” first-year Pitt coach Kevin Stallings said.

Stallings ceded things early. Young and Artis – one of the highest-scoring duos in the country – spent the last eight minutes on the bench as things got out of hand.

OUCH

Young injured the eye after getting hit in the second half of a loss at Louisville on Wednesday. He told Stallings he would give it a shot if doctors cleared him. It came at a high price.

The primitive mask Young donned limited his field of vision, an issue at both ends of the floor. Still, he tried to make a go of it even after it became readily apparent he was nowhere close to 100 percent. The team hopes to have a better-fitting mask in time for Tuesday’s visit to N.C. State.

“He looked like he’d been in the ring with (Mike) Tyson,” Stallings said. “I didn’t even know if he could see out of it to be honest.”

While Young will attempt to play on Luther is likely out at least two weeks to let his foot heal. Luther is Pitt’s first player off the bench, averaging 6.6 points in 20 minutes for a team with serious depth concerns.

SEE BALL, GET BALL

The Hurricanes can clean the glass with just about anybody. They’re averaging nearly seven boards a game more than their opponent and turned eight offensive rebounds against the Panthers into 12 second-chance points while on their way to outscoring the Panthers in the paint 34-20.

“We’re a good defensive rebounding team,” Larranaga said. “We had 29 defensive rebounds to their 15. Our strength is in clearing the defensive backboards. We had good balance in our rebounding and when you rebound, you can run.”

BIG PICTURE

Miami: The Hurricanes still need to learn to take care of the ball. They threw it away 18 times against the Panthers, many of the miscues coming on careless passes, offensive fouls or traveling violations rather than any sort of defensive pressure.

Pitt: There could be some serious issues for the Panthers going forward with Young limited and Luther out. The Panthers have trailed by at least 20 points in each of their last three games and the next three weeks include a visit from Louisville and a trip to North Carolina to face the Tar Heels and Duke.

UP NEXT

Miami: travel to Wake Forest on Wednesday. Hurricanes are 3-2 against the Demon Deacons under Larranaga.

Pitt: heads to N.C. State. The Panthers are 1-4 against the Wolfpack since joining the ACC in 2013.

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Cal promotes assistant Wyking Jones to head coach

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Cal will promote interim head coach and former assistant coach Wyking Jones to head coach, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The story was first reported by Jon Rothstein of FanRagSports.com

A native of Inglewood, California, Jones has been an assistant coach for the Golden Bears for the past two seasons as he replaces former head coach Cuonzo Martin, who departed to take the Missouri job. This promotion comes as a bit of a surprise for some since Jones has never been a head coach at the Division I level.

Jones has spent 15 years as an assistant coach at the Division I level at places like Cal, Louisville, New Mexico, Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount — where Jones spent his playing career.

Helping Louisville to the Final Four in 2013, Jones is a respected coach and recruiter who gets a great opportunity for his first head coaching job at the Division I level with Cal.

The Golden Bears made the NCAA tournament last year but finished 21-13 this season as they missed making the field of 68. Sophomore big man Ivan Rabb has already declared for the NBA Draft and it will be interesting to see what kind of roster Jones gets to work with right away.

One of the reasons Jones might have been retained is to help Cal keep its solid five-man recruiting class from bolting. While the Golden Bears don’t have any five-star talents coming in, it is a solid foundation for the program’s future led by a four-star guard in Jemarl Baker.

Florida State freshman forward Jonathan Isaac declares for 2017 NBA Draft

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Florida State freshman forward Jonathan Isaac has declared for the 2017 NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-10 Isaac was a five-star prospect out of high school as he averaged 12.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. One of the most versatile defenders in the country, Isaac could protect the rim (1.5 blocks per game) and also switch out to the perimeter and cover smaller wings as well (1.2 steals per game). Also showing a solid skill level, Isaac shot 50 percent from the field, 34 percent from three-point range and 78 percent from the free-throw line.

That kind of versatility is what Isaac is banking on in the NBA Draft as he’s expected to be a top-15 pick. If Isaac can prove that he’s a reliable perimeter shooter then teams could be intrigued by him as a matchup nightmare in the front court.

Alabama loses Nick King, Brandon Austin to transfer

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Alabama is losing a pair to transfer as junior Nick King and sophomore Brandon Austin are planning to transfer, according to a release.

The 6-foot-7 King is expected to graduate and be eligible to play anywhere right away as a graduate transfer while the 6-foot-5 Austin will likely have to sit out a season before playing.

King started his career at Memphis but transferred to Alabama. A former starter at small forward, King played the first seven games of the season until a lung infection shut down his season. He averaged 3.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per game before shutting it down.

A former top-50 recruit from the Class of 2013, King will look to jumpstart his career elsewhere during his final season of college basketball.

Austin only appeared in six games and played a total of 44 minutes this season as he also dealt with injuries like an early bone bruise.

The Crimson Tide are bringing in one of the best recruiting classes in the country next season as their freshmen could see a lot of playing time. So it comes as no surprise that players like King and Austin would transfer to assure more playing time.

Candidates Georgetown could target for head coach

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Georgetown moved on from head coach John Thompson III after 13 years at the helm on Thursday as the move sent shockwaves throughout college basketball.

The Thompson family has been a major institution for Georgetown basketball, dating back to the ’70s when John Thompson Jr. was head coach. So this new hire for the Hoyas will be a fascinating process.

Here’s a list of some early names that could be involved with Georgetown.

Tommy Amaker, Harvard — With a successful tenure at Harvard that at one point included four NCAA tournament bids in a row, Amaker has won at his latest job while coaching at an elite academic institution.

Put together with previous stops at Seton Hall and Michigan and Amaker has run a big-time program while also winning at an Ivy League school. Leaving Harvard might be tough though when Amaker is beginning to recruit at a national level at the program.

Jamion Christian, Mount St. Mary’s — Five years at Mount St. Mary’s has produced two NCAA tournament appearances for Christian as the 34-year-old would represent a bold, young hire for Georgetown.

Also an assistant coach for a season at VCU under Shaka Smart, Christian has recruited in that area before and he’s regarded by many as one of the bright, young head coaches in a low-major league. Coming from Smart at VCU, it should come as no surprise that Christian plays an uptempo system and presses on defense.

It would be a bit risky for Georgetown to hire someone as young as Christian but he also has the kind of enthusiasm to lead the tough rebuild that the Hoyas potentially face.

Nathan Davis, Bucknell — After leading Bucknell to the NCAA tournament in only his second season as a Division I head coach, Davis is someone to keep an eye on for the future.

The Washington D.C. native has quickly established himself as a potential young star in the coaching ranks but he also might be too inexperienced to take one of the Big East’s prestige positions. As a Division I head coach for only two seasons, Davis hasn’t faced the pressure of the high-major level at any of his previous coaching stops. Davis certainly deserves credit for his Division III coaching success and Final Four appearance with Randolph-Macon (Bo Ryan was pretty good in DIII before moving to Division I) but that’s a long way from the Big East.

Davis would have to prove that he’s capable as a coach and recruiter at the Big East level and he would be a risk if hired by the Hoyas.

Patrick Ewing Sr., Charlotte Hornets assistant  — The Hall of Fame center and Georgetown alum would be an intriguing name. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported that the Hoyas are considering Ewing as a potential head coach.

This wouldn’t just be a Chris Mullin at St. John’s type of scenario where Mullin had no coaching experience before taking the job. Ewing has been grinding as an NBA assistant coach for the past 15 years in the hopes of getting an NBA head coaching job. Georgetown represents an unique opportunity for Ewing to rebuild his former program and his son, Patrick Ewing Jr., would potentially work for him.

Recruiting would obviously be a major question mark but Ewing has the playing and coaching pedigree to be a wild card in this.

Dan Hurley, Rhode Island — The Rams finally broke through and made the NCAA Tournament in Hurley’s fifth year as head coach this season as Rhode Island made the second round before falling to Oregon in a close game.

Of the coaches on this list, the Rams have recruited a lot of top-100 prospects and futures pros like E.C. Matthews and Hassan Martin, so we know that Hurley knows how to navigate elite recruiting.

As the son of legendary high school coach Bob Hurley and younger brother of Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley, Dan Hurley comes from a long line of basketball coaches. He’s made Rhode Island one of the premier programs in the Atlantic 10. Although he’s only made one NCAA Tournament appearance in seven seasons as a head coach, Hurley has things trending in the right direction.

Shaka Smart, Texas — This isn’t likely going to happen but Georgetown is at least going to call. Since Smart was so successful at nearby VCU before taking the Texas job, the Hoyas are going to see if he’d be interested in returning to the area after this season’s disappointing last-place Big 12 finish.

If this Georgetown coaching position had been made available two years ago, before Smart had taken the Texas job, then it would have been intriguing to see where things might stand between the two. But now that Smart has at least four, four-star prospects entering Texas next season, while returning most of the current roster, he has a chance to build from this season’s last-place finish.

VIDEO: Why did the NCAA ban dunking in 1967?

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With UCLA playing in the Sweet 16 tonight, it’s a fitting time to bring up the story of the time that the association banned dunking.

It was in 1967, and it was because there was a kid named Lew Alcindor (who would change his name to Kareem Abdul Jabbar) at UCLA who led the Bruins to a 30-0 record and a national title.

And just think, that rule change, which lasted until 1976, kept some of the game’s greatest dunkers from showing what they could really do in college. Imagine David Thompson rattling rims, rather than his assortment of finger-rolls and layups. Dr. J soared at UMass, but never like Dr. J really could. And so on.

So as you’re watching the rest of the NCAA tournament, thank the rule-makers who brought the dunk back. We’re better for it.