Thursday’s Shootaround: UNLV survives in 2OT in an exciting night of hoops

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No. 20 UNLV 94, UC-Santa Barbara 88 2OT: This game had about as wild of a finish as you’ll see in a basketball game. After Mike Moser hit his sixth and final three of the game, UNLV took a ten point lead with just two minutes left in the game. But thanks to a series of turnovers and missed free throws from UNLV and a little bit of luck for the Gauchos down the stretch, UCSB was able to force overtime. Down three with just two seconds left on the clock, Orlando Johnson — who finished with 36 points — was fouled by UNLV. He made the first and missed the second, but 7’3″ Greg Somogyi got the loose ball and scored on the putback (see the 30 second mark).


There was a bit of controversy that the game even got to that point. Joe Nunnally was called for a charge on a dunk that would have given the Gauchos a one point lead with a free throw coming. In the first overtime, UCSB hit back-to-back threes to take a three point lead. After Bellfield tied the game with 40 seconds on the clock with a three of his own, Nunnally was fouled shooting a three with 13 seconds left. At the other end of the floor, however, Chace Stanback hit a fadeaway three-pointer — that was described by Moser as “a beauty. I almost cried watching that ball go in” — that sent the game into a second overtime, where UNLV pulled away down the stretch to win it.

Mike Moser was unbelievable. He finished with 34 points (25 of which came after halftime), 10 boards and three assists, carrying the Rebels in the second half. It was Moser’s sixth double-double of the season and easily his most impressive scoring output. But the most important part of Moser’s game tonight was the six threes he hit. He came into the game shooting just 2-17 from beyond the arc, which was the only weakness in his game.

Also of note: both of the up-three, late-game strategies failed here. UNLV fouled, and UCSB got an offensive rebound. UCSB opted to play straight up, and UNLV hit a tough three.

ACC/Big Ten Challenge Day 2: After going 6-0 on Day 1 and winning the first two games of the night, I missed on three of the last four games. 9-3 ain’t bad, though.

No. 5 North Carolina 60, No. 7 Wisconsin 57: See here.

Indiana 86, North Carolina State 75: This was an important win for the Hoosiers. They went on the road and knocked off a good-if-not-great Wolfpack team in front of a national audience, and did so while getting impressive performances out of Jordy Hulls, Cody Zeller and Christian Watford. But if you are a Hoosier fan, don’t take this win to mean that Indiana is going to compete for the Big Ten title. They can score, that’s for sure. And Indiana has a shot to make the NCAA Tournament. But right now they aren’t good enough defensively or physical enough in the paint to be anything more than in the same hodge-podge that Michigan State, Purdue and Illinois currently find themselves in.

Michigan State 65, Florida State 49: Tom Izzo finally got some scoring from their perimeter, as Keith Appling went for 24 points and Brandon Wood added 16, 10 boards and five assists. That’s a good sign. For Florida State, there aren’t many good signs. This team still cannot score.

Minnesota 58, Virginia Tech 55: Ugly loss for Virginia Tech, who lost to a Minnesota team that was missing Ralph Sampson and Trevor Mbakwe. If the Hokies have any hopes of making the NCAA Tournament, losing games like this aren’t going to help. The game was lost when, down one with 8.5 seconds left, Virginia Tech threw an inbounds pass that bounced off of Robert Brown’s hands and into the back court for a turnover.

Wake Forest 55, Nebraska 53: The Demon Deacons picked up a road win against Nebraska, and while Nebraska is still Nebraska, a road win for Wake Forest is not easy to come by these days. CJ Harris won it with a wide-open layup that came off some atrocious pick-and-roll defense.

Penn State 62, Boston College 54: Tim Frazier had 22 points and five assists. He was on my FanDuel fantasy team. That’s all I got from this mess.

The rest of the top 25:

No. 14 Kansas 77, Florida Atlantic 54: This is the same Kansas team, just on the mainland now. Thomas Robinson had 19 points, 17 boards and four blocks, but shot 4-13 from the floor. Tyshawn Taylor had 18 points and four assists, but Elijah Johnson? He went scoreless and had seven of the Jayhawk’s 17 turnovers.

No. 17 Pitt 80, Duquesne 69: Dante Taylor returned to the Panther lineup to score 15 points and 11 boards as Pitt pulled away from Duquesne in the second half.

No. 18 Gonzaga 73, Notre Dame 53: It is going to be a long, long season in South Bend without Tim Abromaitis. The Irish simply don’t have anyone that can score. David Stockton had 15 points and three assists off the bench while Elias Harris went for 11 points, 15 boards and four assists.

No. 22 Creighton 85, San Diego State 83: See here.

George Mason 61, Bucknell 57: The Patriots, believe it or not, actually out-executed the Bison down the stretch. Ryan Pearson led the way with 16 points as George Mason picked up a much needed win against Patriot favorite Bucknell.

Denver 67, Utah State 54: Can we call the Pioneers for real yet? I know that the Aggies were without Brady Jardine, but behind 15 points each from Chris Udofia and Rob Lewis, Denver became the first team since Feb. 21st, 2009, to win at the Spectrum in Logan.

Elizabeth City State 69, Norfolk State 57: Yes, that’s the same Norfolk State that almost beat Marquette.

St. Joe’s 62, Drexel 49: The Hawks knocked off Drexel, dropping the Dragons to 2-3 on the season. More impressive? They did it with Carl Jones and Langston Galloway both having off nights. CJ Aiken, however, went for 13 points and nine blocks.

Brown 65, URI 56: Jim Baron benched his starters trying to light a spark under this team, but nothing. Rhody dropped to 1-6 on the year as they lost to an Ivy also-ran.

Northern Iowa 69, Iowa State 62: Anthony James had 17 points and five boards to lead the Panthers to an impressive win over the Cyclones in Ames. UNI also has a win over Old Dominion on the road.

Other notable games:

– Ohio 70, Marshall 68
– Colorado State 65, Colorado 64
– Oral Roberts 68, Missouri State 63
– South Alabama 55, UAB 47
– Washington State 69, Grambling 37
– Boise State 108, Drake 64
– New Mexico 65, Idaho State 41
– BYU 87, Northern Arizona 52
– USC 56, UC Riverside 35

Top performers:

Keith Appling, Michigan State: Appling had 24 points and seven boards, providing a perimeter punch for the Spartans as they knocked off Florida State.

Orlando Johnson, UC-Santa Barbara: As impressive as Mike Moser’s 34 points and 10 boards were, Orlando Johnson may have been better, finishing with 36 points and 10 boards as the Gauchos forced UNLV to double-overtime.

Alfonzo McKinnie, Eastern Illinois: McKinnie had 24 points and 14 boards as EIU knocked off Maine in overtime.

Doug McDermott, Creighton: McDermott played like an all-american, going for 25 points and 12 boards as the Bluejays came from behind twice to knock off San Diego State.

LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State: The talented freshman had 21 points after playing just 11 minutes the day after Thanksgiving, leading the Cowboys to a win over a talented-but-underperforming Tulsa team.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

STORRS, Conn. — UConn swingman Tyrese Martin, who transferred from Rhode Island in April, has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play for the Huskies this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and started every game last season for URI, where he was recruited by current UConn coach Dan Hurley.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers to sit out a season, but the organization has been more lenient in granting waivers during the pandemic.

Martin, 21, is expected to compete for playing time at UConn on the wing as both a guard and small forward.