Late Night of the Snacks: No. 3 Arizona stays perfect, holds off UTEP, 60-55

1 Comment

GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 3 Arizona 60, UTEP 55

The Wildcats jumped out to a 15-2 lead in the early moments of the game. It looked as if No. 3 Arizona was going to run away with an easy win, however, the Miners bounced back after a slow start to tie the game at 21-all with three minutes remaining in the half. Arizona took a 3-point lead into halftime after Stanley Johnson got a shooter’s bounce to go for a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

UTEP took a 40-38 lead in the second half off a Vince Hunter layup, but in a 90 second span — from 9:28 to 8:12 — Hunter picked up his fourth and fifth fouls, leaving the game with 18 points. Over the next five minutes, Arizona stretched the lead to 10 at 56-46. UTEP would cut into the lead, but would never make it a one-possession game.

OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 20 St. John’s 53, St. Mary’s 47

St. Mary’s was looking to score its second win over a Big East opponent this month, jumping out to a 15-point halftime lead behind 19 first half points from Brad Wadlow. The senior forward didn’t shy away from the shotblocking ability of Chris Obepka. The Gaels opened him up with screens in the high post and Wadlow used ball screens to get open looks going to the basket.

In the second half, Sir’Dominic Pointer sparked a better effort out of the Johnnies. The Red Storm turned up the speed and in forced the Gaels to commit nine second half turnovers. St. John’s went on an 18-6 run with Pointer’s layup giving the Johnnies a 45-41 lead. St. John’s locked down in the final moments, not allowing Kenny Carter to get a decent look at a game-tying 3-pointer. Phil Greene IV and Pointer iced the victory from the line with 3-of-4 free throws.

STARRED

Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels knocked down 14-of-26 threes against No. 18 Miami in a 28-point win. Miami’s previous five opponents had shot a combined 27-of-104 from deep, but Eastern Kentucky continued to find open looks, especially early in the second half where four 3-pointers sparked a 14-0 run.

Brad Waldow, St. Mary’s: Despite the loss, Waldow was impressive. He attacked the St. John’s frontline for 19 first half points. He ended with a game-high 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. If it wasn’t for a reenergized Johnnies team in the second half, the Gaels would have walked away with another win over a Big East program.

Alex Mitola, Dartmouth: The junior guard could have ended up on the ‘Struggled’ list, but caught fire in the overtime, hitting 4-of-5 shots for 12 points in the extra frame, including the game-winner.

STRUGGLED

Miami: The Hurricanes came out flat after an 11-day layoff. They’ll likely drop from the rankings on Monday, the same day as they are scheduled to play Providence at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Angel Rodriguez, Miami: The transfer guard was 0-for-6 with a single point.

Clemson: The Tigers led by two at halftime. They were outscored 40-15 in the second half in a 68-45 loss to South Carolina. Clemson shot 29 percent from the field.

TOP 25

  • No. 3 Arizona 60, UTEP 55
  • Eastern Kentucky 72, No. 18 Miami 44
  • No. 20 St. John’s 53, St. Mary’s 47

NOTABLES

  • Tyrone Wallace scored 21 point and grabbed 11 rebounds in Cal’s 78-67 win over Eastern Washington. Tyler Harvey scored a game-high 31 points in the loss.
  • Colorado State Daniel Bejarano scored 15 of his 25 points after halftime, in addition to his eight rebounds in an 85-84 win over Denver.
  • Justin Moss went for 24 points and 11 boards in Buffalo’s 88-62 win over Niagara.
  • Alan Williams was one more board away from his seventh double-double of the season. UC Santa Barbara defeated San Diego Christian, 69-46, however, Williams has gone three games without a double-double.
  • Josh Richardson scored 11 of his 19 in the second half as Tennessee erased a six-point deficit and beat Tennessee Tech, 61-58.
  • Brett Comer recorded a double-double in Florida Gulf Coast’s 83-78 win over Furman. The senior point guard had a team-high 19 points, dished 10 assists and only committed two turnovers.
  • Carlos Morris had 19 points, Maurice Walker, Andre Hollins and Nate Morris each scored 15 in Minnesota’s 92-57 win over Seattle.
  • Austin Chatman’s 20 points led Creighton over UT Pan American, 75-60.
  • Luke Fischer was a perfect 8-for-8 from the field for 22 points in Marquette’s 83-49 victory over Alabama A&M. In two games, he’s 17-of-19 from the field.

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
4 Comments

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
1 Comment

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
7 Comments

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

Getty Images
4 Comments

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
4 Comments

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.