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No. 13 Purdue goes old-school to roll past Nebraska 74-62

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Vincent Edwards scored 21 points and Isaac Haas added 14 to lead No. 13 Purdue past Nebraska 74-62 on Saturday for its 11th consecutive win.

The Boilermakers (15-2, 4-0 Big Ten) extended their home-court winning streak to 18 and won their 10th straight home game against a conference foe.

James Palmer Jr. finished with 22 points and Isaac Copeland had 16 to lead the Cornhuskers (11-6, 2-2), whose four-game winning streak ended.

It was never really close, though.

Purdue started fast, taking a 10-2 lead less than three minutes into the game and spent most of the first half pulling away. The Boilermakers extended the lead to 33-20 with 5:24 left, and it was only then that the Cornhuskers steadied themselves.

Nebraska cut the deficit to seven three times before Dakota Mathias’ 3-pointer gave Purdue a 41-31 halftime lead.

Matt Haarms’ layup with 14:05 to go made it 47-33 and after Nebraska closed the deficit to nine, the Boilermakers closed it out with an 11-3 run.

Nebraska never got closer after Purdue’s opening flurry.

BIG PICTURE

Nebraska: At home, the Cornhuskers have shown they can play with anyone. On the road, they still have a ways to go. Despite an impressive win Tuesday at Northwestern, Nebraska’s other two conference road games resulted in a 15-point loss at Michigan State on Dec. 3 and Saturday’s 12-point loss, in which they shot 40.7 percent from the field.

Purdue: The Boilermakers have been rolling through the Big Ten. Now they face more challenging tests. If Purdue is still unbeaten in conference play after visiting Michigan and Minnesota next week and hosting Wisconsin on Jan. 16, it would be in prime position to be playing for a second straight Big Ten crown. That certainly is doable.

KEY NUMBERS

Nebraska: After holding its first three conference opponents to 36 percent from the field, Purdue shot 44.3 percent. …The Cornhuskers were 6 of 17 from 3-point range and were outrebounded 39-30. The Cornhuskers came into the game averaging 6.1 blocks, third in the nation, but finished with just one. … Nebraska scored its fewest points since the Dec. 3 loss to the Spartans.

Purdue: Has won Big Ten titles six of the previous 12 times it started 4-0 in conference action. … The Boilermakers are 14-0 on American soil. Both of their losses came in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas … Purdue’s stretch of 30-point wins ended at three, its streak of games with 80 or more points ended at six and its streak of games with 10 or more 3s ended at three. … Edwards also had 10 rebounds and six assists while Haas grabbed six rebounds. … Mathias scored 11 points and had four steals.

UP NEXT

Nebraska: Returns home to face Wisconsin on Tuesday.

Purdue: Heads to Michigan on Tuesday.

Arizona lands Pitt transfer forward Ryan Luther

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Arizona landed a key addition for its frontcourt on Wednesday as Pitt transfer forward Ryan Luther pledged to the Wildcats.

The 6-foot-9 Luther is expected to receive a hardship waiver that would give him immediate eligibility, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com, as Arizona gets some much-needed help up front.

Playing in 10 games last season before a stress reaction in his right foot ended the season, Luther averaged 12.7 points and 10.1 rebounds per game for the Panthers. In his final game of the season, Luther went for 13 points and 12 rebounds in a Pitt loss to West Virginia. Luther shot 45 percent from the field and is a noted perimeter threat as he was 38 percent from behind the three-point line.

Luther hasn’t logged heavy minutes as a contributor through a full season. Mostly a role player at Pitt until last season, Luther was the team’s most productive player when he was on the floor. But that production also didn’t come during ACC play and through the course of a full season.

Thankfully at a program like Arizona, Luther should have a bit more help around him. He could be a nice addition to the Wildcats, particularly if he rebounds and spaces the floor in the frontcourt as he did at Pitt. Arizona needed someone like Luther to provide more stability after losing players like Deandre Ayton and Dusan Ristic.

In the last few weeks, Arizona has rebounded nicely to land three commitments for next season — including freshmen Devonaire Doutrive and Omar Thielemans. The group isn’t as heralded as some past Arizona recruiting efforts. Given where the Wildcats were in recruiting a few weeks ago, however, this isn’t a bad turnaround.

TCU extends Jamie Dixon’s contract by two more years

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TCU has given head coach Jamie Dixon a two-year contract extension through the 2023-24 season, according to a release from the school.

Dixon took the Horned Frogs to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 20 years this season as he’s done a great job of turning around his alma mater. The release also notes that TCU had the highest average attendance in program history this season. Fans are also taking notice of a revitalized team.

With back-to-back 20-win seasons and postseason appearances, Dixon and TCU have a lot of positive momentum going on right now. The two-year extension for Dixon should help a bit in recruiting when it comes to overall stability, as well, as he’s been able to attract some quality talent so far.

Report: Kevin Ollie claims UConn violated rights with firing

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Fired former UConn head coach Kevin Ollie is claiming that the school violated his constitutional rights during his departure.

Ollie sent a letter to UConn school president Susan Herbst which was obtained by ESPN’s Myron Medcalf in a report released on Wednesday. Ollie’s lawyers are claiming the school proceeded with his firing before giving Ollie a proper chance to contest his termination — which was guaranteed in his contract and also the collective bargaining agreement with the University of Connecticut’s branch of the American Association of University Professors. Ollie was fired, with cause, in late March as the school mentioned an NCAA inquiry as the reason why. According to Medcalf’s report, the NCAA has not sent a notice of allegations to the school.

Ollie’s union membership includes thousands of faculty members around the country as the collective bargaining agreement demands a hearing process before any employee can be terminated for allegations of serious misconduct. Ollie claims he didn’t receive a letter he was supposed to get to begin the termination process.

“From our review of the facts and circumstances relating to Coach Ollie’s employment status, it is apparent that the University of Connecticut has already violated [Coach Ollie’s] rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution by subverting Coach Ollie’s opportunity to respond to charges and evidence in a meaningful way in advance of the decision to terminate his employment,” said the letter dated April 3.

“The public record, action taken, and authorized communications by representatives of the University of Connecticut, demonstrate that the decision to terminate Coach Ollie has already been made and therefore the University of Connecticut has effectively negated Coach Ollie’s property right protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

This letter to UConn likely begins a long legal battle to try to get an eight-figure payout back as Ollie is going to do everything he can to clear his name.

South Carolina’s Brian Bowen, still ineligible, to declare for draft

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Former Louisville forward and current South Carolina Gamecock Brian Bowen will declare for the NBA draft without signing with an agent as a safety measure in case the NCAA does not clear him to play in the 2018-19 season.

Bowen is the former top 25 prospect that was forced to leave the Louisville program after the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college hoops turned up evidence that his family had accepted the first payment of what was supposed to be a $100,000 fee to get him to be a Cardinal.

That investigation was ultimately what got Rick Pitino fired.

“I just felt that it was the right decision,” Bowen told ESPN. “My goal is still to play college basketball, but I felt as though it makes sense to cover my bases.”

Bowen is in a tough spot right now.

On the one hand, he has already missed an entire season of college basketball and there is no guarantee that he will be cleared to play next season, if at all.

On the other hand, the fact that he has not played in a year and that he has not played against any collegiate level competition is one of the reasons that NBA front offices are going to be hesitant to draft him, and that’s not a good thing for a player that was considered a second round pick before he spent a year on the sidelines.

North Carolina’s Cam Johnson undergoes hip surgery

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For the second time in the last six months, North Carolina wing Cam Johnson has undergone the knife.

On Wednesday, North Carolina announced that Johnson underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his hip on Monday, and that he is expected to make a full recovery and return to school in time for the start of the 2018-19 season.

The 6-foot-9 Johnson was UNC’s third-leading scorer a season ago, averaging 12.4 points while shooting 34.1 percent from three. He only played 26 games, however, after missing time due to a surgery to fix a torn meniscus.