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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

Florida State picks up late commit from McDonald’s All-American

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The losses sustained by Florida State have been numerous and significant. Three players declared early for the NBA Draft. Another two contributors were lost to graduation. All in all, the Seminoles haven’t had the greatest of springs.

Wednesday, though, they got some good news.

McDonald’s All-American wing M.J. Walker committed Leonard Hamilton’s program to give Florida State a late, and important, addition to its 2017 recruiting class, beating the likes of Ohio State, Georgia Tech and UCLA.

Walker, a 6-foot-5 guard, gives the Seminoles yet another five-star prospect after landing Dwayne Bacon and Jonathan Isaac in the last two recruiting classes. Walker will help Hamilton and Co. reboot after both Bacon and Isaac, along with Xavier Rathan-Mayes, all left school to pursue professional careers after the Seminoles’ 26-9 season that saw them advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Walker becomes the sixth member of Hamilton’s 2017 recruiting class that was previously headlined by four-star 7-footer Ikechukwu Obiagu. That group will be tasked to retool a team losing not only major NBA-level talent, but also major production. The Seminoles won’t return a single player who averaged double-digit points per-game last year and just one who played at least 20 minutes per night.

Michigan returns Mo Wagner, loses D.J. Wilson

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The best-case scenario did not take place for Michigan this week.

The Wolverines waited for four weeks to hear back from their pair of mobile big men, and the news on Mo Wagner was positive. The 6-foot-10 junior from Germany announced on Wednesday that he will return to school after testing the NBA Draft waters.

The news was not as fortunate with D.J. Wilson, who announced less than ten hours before the deadline that he will be signing with an agent and turning pro. Wilson is projected as a late first round or early second round pick.

Without Wilson in the fold, Michigan lacks some front court depth, which will probably be enough to keep them out of the preseason top 25.

Gonzaga to return Johnathan Williams III

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Losing Nigel Williams-Goss and Zach Collins to the professional ranks probably torpedoed Gonzaga’s chance of making another run to the NCAA tournament national title game, but after Johnathan Williams III announced on Wednesday that he will be returning to school and withdrawing from the NBA Draft, Gonzaga does appear to be a favorite to win the WCC title again.

Williams is now Gonzaga’s leading returning scorer and rebounder, anchoring a front court that also loses Przemek Karnowski to graduation. He was expected to go undrafted.

With Williams back in the fold, the Zags should be right there with Saint Mary’s in the race for the WCC title. Josh Perkins, Silas Melson and Killian Tillie all return as well.

ESPN was the first to report the news.

Injured Gamecocks point guard Blanton gives up basketball

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina guard TeMarcus Blanton is giving up basketball after struggling with a serious hip injury he suffered before his freshman season.

Gamecocks coach Frank Martin says Blanton told him he could not get his body to respond to a level that would allow him to continue playing basketball. Blanton is a 6-foot-5 junior from Locust Grove, Georgia, who hurt his hip during preseason for the 2014-15 season. He needed surgery and could not return to the court until his sophomore year.

Blanton played in 29 games, averaging 1.4 points a game.

He said on social media he is grateful to his coaches, teammates and South Carolina fans, “but my journey of basketball has come to an end.”

Blanton received a medical exemption from the Southeastern Conference to remain part of the Gamecocks’ program moving forward.

North Carolina’s Tony Bradley to remain NBA Draft

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For the first time in a decade and just the third time in 14 seasons as UNC’s head coach, Roy Williams has a one-and-done player.

North Carolina’s Tony Bradley will sign with an agent and remain in the NBA Draft.

Bradley had an impressive freshman season, averaging 7.1 points and 5.1 boards in less than 15 minutes per game as the sixth-man for the national title-winning Tar Heels. He initially declared for the draft without signing with an agent, testing the waters, and the feedback was positive: He’ll likely be a late first round or early second round pick.

As the process dragged on, it became fairly evident that Bradley would keep his name in the draft, and that is a massive blow for a UNC team that is already losing Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks, not to mention Justin Jackson.

As it stands, Roy Williams will likely start the following lineup next season: Joel Berry II, Kenny Williams and Theo Pinson on the perimeter with Luke Maye and either Brandon Huffman or Garrison Brooks, both freshmen, alongside him. Williams is one of the few coaches left in the sport that still relies on playing two bigs and utilizing an overwhelming front court to win games, and that is not going to be an easy thing to do with that group of bigs.

UNC’s perimeter is strong. Berry will likely be a preseason all-american while Pinson and Williams are both above average role players on the wings.

But without that hoss in the paint — Bradley, like Berry, would have popped up on preseason all-american teams — the Tar Heels are going to have a tough time making a run at an ACC title, let alone a third straight trip to the national title game.

North Carolina is currently ranked 18th in the NBC Sports preseason top 25.