Late Night Snacks: Jahlil Okafor sets new career high in Duke win, Myles Turner gets first start for Texas

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Duke’s Jahlil Okafor (Getty Images)

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Fairleigh Dickinson 85, Towson 84, overtime

Marques Townes made the game-winning layup with five seconds left to give Knights an unlikely overtime road win over Towson. Fairleigh Dickinson trailed Towson by 14 at the half and allowed the Tigers to shoot 57 percent from the field (27-for-47) but still won by forcing 25 Towson turnovers. The Knights, meanwhile, only turned the ball over three times as Darian Anderson had 23 points and five rebounds to lead the effort. Townes finished with 18 points, five rebounds and five steals.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 11 Texas 66, Rice 55

The Longhorns had to get through a very odd Monday afternoon tip-off as freshman big man Myles Turner made his first career start and scored a team-high 16 points for Texas. Turner was 6-for-7 from the field and Texas turned up its defense in the end to hold off a feisty Owl team that had upset on their minds. Rice was held scoreless for 5:46 near the end of the game until scoring with six seconds left as that stand gave Texas enough to win.

2. No. 2 Duke 86, Toledo 69

It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t always easy for the Blue Devils after 11 days of rest, but Duke led comfortably for much of the second half and put away Toledo after only a three-point halftime deficit. Jahlil Okafor finished with a career-high 27 points to go along with eight rebounds and once again stepped up his play when Duke looked a big sluggish. Quinn Cook also finished with 20 points for Duke while Tyus Jones added 15 points and eight assists.

3. TCU 60, Tennessee State 40

The Horned Frogs earned another easy victory to remain unbeaten as they moved to 13-0 on the season. Guard Kyan Anderson had 16 points to lead TCU in the win and we still haven’t seen this team play anybody tough all season. We’ll see if the Horned Frogs are legit on Jan. 3 when they host West Virginia in their first Big 12 game of the season.

STARRED

1. Boston College’s Aaron Brown

The senior had a strong outing in an afternoon win over UMass Lowell. Brown went 9-for-12 from the field and 4-for-5 from three-point range to finish with 22 points, four assists and three rebounds.

2. LSU’s Jarrell Martin

The sophomore big man had 24 points and nine rebounds as the Tigers picked up an easy win over Southern Miss. Martin was also 10-for-15 from the field and added four assists on the night.

3. Tennessee Tech’s Charles Jackson

The Golden Eagles needed all of Jackson’s 28 points and 16 rebounds to get past North Florida for a three-point win. Of Jackson’s rebound total, seven came on the offensive end and he was 10-for-15 on the season.

STRUGGLED

1. James Madison’s offense

Monday night was a chance for James Madison to pick up a nice mid-major home win over Valparaiso, but instead, the Dukes’ offense went ice cold as they shot 23 percent from the field (13-for-55) in a 79-52 blowout loss. The Crusaders, meanwhile are 13-2.

2. SMU

The Mustangs pulled out a win on Monday night over Division II Midwestern State, but Larry Brown’s team was actually trailing in the second half and turned the ball over 19 times while shooting 38 percent from the field. A really sluggish outing for a SMU team that hasn’t looked like a NCAA Tournament team so far this season.

3. CS Northridge

Leading 34-25 at the half on Stephen F. Austin, the Matadors looked like they were in good position to pick up a big home win on Monday. But CS Northridge quickly relinquished its nearly double-digit lead and trailed for most of the second half in a 61-57 loss.

NOTABLES

  • Treveon Graham had 20 points, nine rebounds and two assists to lead VCU to a win over Cleveland State.
  • North Carolina Central had four scorers in double figures as they earned an easy win over IUPUI.
  • Rider posted a road win at Wagner as Jimmie Taylor had 25 points and six rebounds in the win.
  • Quinnipiac got past Maine with a home win as Ousmane Drame had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the victors.
  • Old Dominion moved to 11-1 on the season with a win over Mt. St. Mary’s. Javonte Douglas led three Monarchs in double figures with 16 points.
  • Texas Tech outlasted North Texas as Devaugntah Williams led the Red Raiders with 14 points.
  • Darrell Bowie had 22 points and 10 rebounds in a Northern Illinois win over Hampton.
  • Pepperdine had 17 points and seven rebounds from Jett Raines in a win over Loyola Marymount.
  • St. Mary’s picked up a WCC win over San Francisco as Brad Waldow had 21 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Antoine Mason picked up 19 points as Auburn got past Middle Tennessee.
  • Three guys with 20-plus points for BYU in a WCC win over Portland as Tyler Haws (24 points), Anson Winder (22 points) and Kyle Collinsworth (21 points) all had good nights.
  • A nice overtime win for Denver at home over Saint Joseph’s as Brett Olson had 27 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Louisville challenges NCAA over recruiting allegations

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville has refuted NCAA allegations against its men’s basketball program in the wake of a federal corruption scandal, requesting that the highest-level violation be reclassified.

The university also is challenging that former coach Rick Pitino failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance in his program.

Louisville filed a 104-page response last week to the Notice Of Allegations sent to the school in May. The document stated that college sports’ governing body seeks to ignore wire fraud convictions against several people involved in the scheme – including a former Adidas executive – by suggesting they were representing its athletic interests. Louisville’s contract with the apparel maker was a standard sponsorship agreement rather than a promotional deal, the response added.

“This argument is as novel as it is wrong,” the school wrote in its response. “Even if an institution has some responsibility for the conduct of its suppliers, that responsibility plainly does not extend to acts of fraud perpetrated against the institution itself.”

Louisville also seeks to have several second-tier violations reclassified even lower. The NCAA has until Nov. 15 to respond with the school responding 15 days after before a decision is made whether the case will proceed through the traditional Committee on Infractions or Independent Accountability Review Process (IARP).

The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations states that Louisville committed a Level I violation, considered the most severe, with an improper recruiting offer and extra benefits along with several lesser violations. Those lesser violations also include Pitino failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance.

The NCAA notice completed a two-year investigation following a federal corruption probe of college basketball announced in September 2017. Louisville acknowledged its involvement in the federal investigation related to the recruitment of former player Brian Bowen II. Pitino, who’s now coaching Iona, was not named in the federal complaint and has consistently denied authorizing or having knowledge of a payment to a recruit’s family.

Louisville has previously indicated it would accept responsibility for violations it committed but would contest allegations it believed were not supported by facts. The school also noted corrective measures taken in the scandal’s immediate aftermath, such as suspending and then firing Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich.

Louisville also dismissed the NCAA’s contention that former Adidas executive James Gatto and amateur league director Merl Code represented the school while funneling illegal payments to recruits at several schools.

“The enforcement staff’s remaining allegations lack factual support and overread the relevant Bylaws,” the response stated, “and rest on the erroneous contention that the conspirators were representatives of the University’s athletics interests.

“For these reasons and others set forth, the panel should reject the enforcement staff’s dramatically overbroad theory, and classify this case as involving a Level II-Mitigated violation.”

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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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
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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.