ACC

John Swofford

ACC non-commital on HB2 stance

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With North Carolina unwilling to rescind their controversial so-called bathroom bill, the NBA has withdrawn its All-Star Game from the state this year and numerous high-profile music acts have canceled performances as a result.

The ACC is declining to join them with a hard-line, or really any, position.

“We don’t want to damage our league with any premature decisions,” commissioner John Swofford said on The David Glenn Show. “We’ll just see how it plays out.”

The ACC, of course, has quite the presence in the state with North Carolina, N.C. State, Duke and Wake Forest all in the Tar Heel State. Swofford’s comments are sure to draw the interest of the LGBT community, which has roundly been critical of the bill, which requires people to use the bathroom which corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate, and has recently been active in college athletics, opposing the Big 12’s potential inclusion of BYU in its expansion plans over concerns of the Church of Latter Day Saints school’s honor code.

North Carolina’s bill has also drawn the eye of the NCAA, which is requiring potential championship sights to provide information on local anti-discrimination laws.

One of the loudest voices in the ACC, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, has come out against the law.

“It’s an embarrassing bill,” Coach K said last month.

Florida State adds Class of 2017 forward

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Florida State added a Class of 2017 forward RaiQuan Gray on Monday after the playmaker took an official visit to campus. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Gray had a solid summer playing for the Florida Vipers as he’s a bigger wing forward who can create mismatches with his size and ability to handle the ball.

Regarded as a three-star forward and No. 127 overall player in the Rivals Class of 2017 rankings, Gray is a nice addition to the Seminole frontcourt. He joins three-star guard Bryan Trimble Jr. in Florida State’s Class of 2017.

Florida State has done a great job of adding playmaking talent the last few classes and it’ll be interesting to see how Gray fits in with the other ball handling options on the roster.

Young scores 25, No. 24 Pittsburgh beats Notre Dame 86-82

Pittsburgh’s Jamel Artis (1) shoots between Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia (32) and V.J. Beachem (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Michael Young scored a season-high 26 points and No. 24 Pittsburgh held on after wasting a big lead for an 86-82 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday.

The Irish used a 9-0 run to cut a 16-point deficit to 79-77 on a 3-pointer by Demetrius Jackson and layup by Steve Vasturia. James Robinson ended a 1-of-9 shooting streak for the Panthers with a basket inside.

The Irish (10-5, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) closed to 83-80 on a dunk by Jackson and had a chance to tie it on a 3-pointer by Matt Ryan, but it missed badly. Young hit a free throw with 11.5 seconds left. The Irish closed to 84-82 on a layup with 6 seconds left, but Robinson made a pair of free throws with 5 seconds left to clinch the win for the Panthers (14-1, 3-0).

Jamel Artis added 19 points for the Panthers and Sheldon Jeter had 18 as the Panthers dominated inside, outscoring the Irish 40-24 in the paint and outrebounding the Irish 34-24.

Jackson led the Irish with 26 points, Bonzie Colson and Steve Vasturia added 13 and Zach Auguste added 12.

Notre Dame cut Pittsburgh’s 18-point lead to four-points late in the first half, but the Panthers, playing their first road game, led 49-43 at halftime and regained control by opening the second half on a 9-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Artis as the Panthers won their 10th straight.

The Irish, who lost at home for the first time this season, used a 14-1 run to cut the lead to 73-64 on a basket inside by Bonzie Colson. Young ended the run by the Irish by making 3 of 4 free throws, and Sheldon Jeter had a three-point play to extend the lead to 79-68.

Young started the game with a three-point play 15 seconds in when he was fouled by Bonzie Colson and had 14 points in the first seven minutes on 5-of-6 shooting. He sat the first 10 minutes of the second half, though, after picking up two fouls in the final 64 seconds of the first half.

The Panthers overwhelmed the Irish early, jumping to a 13-0 lead as the Irish missed their first four shots and the Panthers made it 15-2 when Young made his fourth straight shot. Pittsburgh hit 10 of its first 12 shots, extending the lead to 28-10 on a 3-pointer by Chris Jones. Demetrius Jackson began getting the Irish back into it by making four straight 3-pointers, cutting the lead to 33-22.

TIP-INS

Pittsburgh: The Panthers entered the game leading the nation in free throw shooting at 79 percent. They made 20 of 24 on Saturday. … The Panthers were 10 of 19 from 3-point range. … Pitt’s reserves outscored Notre Dame’s bench 26-10.

Notre Dame: Jackson had a career-high five 3-pointers. … Notre Dame scored 43 points in the first half, the most allowed by Pitt in a half this season. … Notre Dame’s first turnover came 81 seconds into the second half when Rafael Maia stole the ball from Beachem. … Zach Auguste fouled out with 5:53 to play.

UP NEXT

Pittsburgh: travels to Louisville on Thursday.

Notre Dame: hosts Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

Indiana rallies past Notre Dame with 17-2 second half run

Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell (11), right, drives on Notre Dame guard Demetrius Jackson (11) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Following a Demetrius Jackson tip dunk with 6:32 remaining that gave Notre Dame a 71-63 lead, Indiana looked to be in serious trouble at the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis. They weren’t stringing together stops defensively, thus preventing them from making a dent in the Fighting Irish advantage despite knocking down shots on the other end.

But Indiana went to a zone defensively and received a much-needed spark from Troy Williams, sparking a 17-2 run that turned the eight-point deficit into an 80-73 victory.

The junior wing scored seven of Indiana’s final 17 points, finishing with 18 points and ten rebounds on the afternoon. Williams’ intensity, like that of his teammates, hasn’t always been present this season especially on the defensive end of the floor. But that changed down the stretch against Notre Dame, with Bonzie Colson (24 points, eight rebounds) and V.J. Beachem (18 points) both going quiet as a result. Notre Dame shot a respectable 45.5 percent in the second half, but a lot of that damage was done early in the stanza.

Mike Brey’s team led by as much as 16, but the Hoosiers managed to avoid the play that could have served as the knockout blow. Ultimately the Hoosiers would take advantage of Notre Dame’s missed opportunities, and their play in the final six-plus minutes should be something for Tom Crean’s team to build upon.

But the question that begs asking is a simple one: why can’t Indiana play that way on a consistent basis?

There’s no question that the talent is present, with Ferrell running the point and multiple players capable of scoring on the wings such as Williams, James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson. But there hasn’t been a consistent commitment to getting stops instead of simply relying on their offensive talents and the mindset that “we’ll just get the points back on the other end.”

If Indiana is to compete with the likes of Michigan State, Maryland and Purdue in Big Ten play, they have to play with greater consistency and commitment on defense. Colson and Zach Auguste were a big reason why Notre Dame scored 46 points in the paint, as Indiana continues to struggle with its interior defense and that may be a trend the Hoosiers simply have to deal with. The move to zone helped Indiana account for this issue, and unlike their failed comeback attempt against UNLV last month the Hoosiers finished the job this time around.

The last six-plus minutes showed, to a certain extent, what Indiana is capable of when fully engaged. But the fact that they don’t play that way consistently is why there’s been so much frustration with this group. Can Saturday’s win serve as the spark Indiana needs? That remains to be seen.

Broken left foot to sideline Louisville’s Mangok Mathiang

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, right, talks to Mangok Mathiang during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Western Kentucky, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in Louisville, Ky. Louisville won 78-56. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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No. 17 Louisville’s 78-56 win over Western Kentucky Saturday afternoon came with a price, as a key member of their front court rotation was lost due to injury.

Junior forward Mangok Mathiang left the game in the second half and did not return, with it being revealed following the game that he’d broken a bone in his left foot. Due to undergo surgery to repair the break in the coming days, Mathiang is expected to miss anywhere from six to eight weeks.

Mathiang is the third Louisville front court player to suffer an injury over the last month. Freshman Deng Adel has been out since mid-November due to a sprained knee, and sophomore center Anas Mahmoud has missed the last two games with a sprained ankle.

Without Mathiang there will be even more minutes to distribute amongst freshman Raymond Spalding and sophomores Chinanu Onuaku and Jaylen Johnson. Onuaku posted a double-double against WKU with ten points and 12 rebounds, and Johnson added eight points and six rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench.

No. 11 North Carolina runs past No. 22 UCLA

North Carolina's Brice Johnson (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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After a slow start that saw them down by 11 in the first half, No. 11 North Carolina rallied to run past No. 22 UCLA, 89-76, on Saturday at the Barclays Center.

Using another huge effort from senior big man Brice Johnson, the Tar Heels soundly outplayed UCLA on the interior, even without starting junior Kennedy Meeks. Johnson finished with 27 points and nine rebounds and Isaiah Hicks added 12 points off the bench as North Carolina had UCLA big man Thomas Welsh in foul trouble for much of the game.

Perimeter and transition defense was also problematic for UCLA as the Tar Heels were able to run at will in the second half. Joel Berry finished with 17 points on the afternoon while Marcus Paige added 10 points. North Carolina shot 52 percent from the field on the afternoon as they slowly wore down the UCLA defense.

The Bruins had 23 points from Isaac Hamilton, but the UCLA offense wasn’t strong enough to match the Tar Heels. Bryce Alford contributed 15 points, but he was only 4-for-14 from the field while Tony Parker had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Johnson continued his strong week for North Carolina. After scoring an initial career high of 25 against Tulane earlier this week, Johnson had 27 points and made 11 straight field goals against a front line that featured two McDonald’s All-Americans. With Johnson playing like that, it takes North Carolina to another level, even if they struggle to 4-for-19 3-point shooting like they did on Saturday.