Sunday’s Snacks: St. John’s, Arizona State, Syracuse earn solid afternoon victories

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source: AP
St. John’s D’Angelo Harrison (AP)

GAME OF THE DAY: Texas Southern 58, Kansas State 56

The final score may not scream the word “classic,” but the finish in Manhattan sure did. Texas Southern found a way to score six points in the final 3.8 seconds to stun the Wildcats, with Jason Carter’s shot as time expired providing the final margin. Prior to Sunday Kansas State had won 38 straight home games in the month of December, but their mistakes combined with Texas Southern taking advantage of those miscues ended the streak.

Kansas State made just two of its final eight free throws, and there was also the inability to rebound an intentionally missed Texas Southern free throw and a turnover in the game’s final seconds. Chris Thomas, who tied the game after rebounding the aforementioned missed free throw, scored 15 points to lead the way for Texas Southern and Kansas State’s Marcus Foster led all scorers with 17 points.


1. No. 17 St. John’s 82, Tulane 57

I thought this one would have been a little closer with Tulane entering at 9-2 and giving Washington a close game on the road a week ago, but the Red Storm had a tremendous defensive performance as Sir’Dominic Pointer had 24 points, seven steals, four assists, four rebounds and four blocks in the win. D’Angelo Harrison added 21 points in the win.

2. Arizona State 55, Harvard 44

This was yet another chance for Harvard to have an impact non-conference win, but the Crimson once again struggled from the field in a road loss. Arizona State had four double-figure scorers in its starting lineup, led by Shaq McKissic’s 13 points and the Sun Devil defense held Harvard to 36 percent shooting on the afternoon. A solid home win for Arizona State while the Crimson need to regroup and focus on winning the Ivy League if they want to make the NCAA Tournament.

3. Syracuse 85, Long Beach State 67

Nice win for the Orange at home as the 49ers actually came into this game with a higher RPI due a difficult non-conference schedule. Rakeem Christmas and Michael Gbinije each finished with 24 points as Christmas added 10 rebounds and Gbinije had eight assists and six rebounds.


1. Marquis Wright, Siena

Wright had a solid outing of 24 points and six assists in a two-point Siena win over Bucknell, but he also carried the Saints down the stretch, as he scored the team’s final eight points in the win.

2. Luke Fisher, Marquette

The sophomore once again provided a spark off the bench as he went a perfect 6-for-6 from the field for 15 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three blocks in an afternoon win over Morgan State.

3. D.J. Balentine, Evansville

The junior guard had to put up 32 points to help the Purple Aces escape with a close home win over Coppin State. Balentine has now scored 20 or more points in eight consecutive games.


1. Harvard’s frontcourt

While Siyani Chambers and Wesley Saunders combined for 25 points, the other three members of the starting lineup, Kenyatta Smith, Steve Moundou-Missi and Agunwa Okolie combined for eight points on 1-for-9 shooting from the field.

2. Norman Powell and Kevon Looney (UCLA)

Powell and Looney combined to score seven points on 3-for-15 shooting in the Bruins’ 56-50 loss at Alabama.


  • UConn senior guard Ryan Boatright had 18 points, five assists, three rebounds and a block, to go along with no turnovers, in a win over Central Connecticut State.
  • A.J. English had a team-high 19 points and David Laury had 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead Iona to an 81-62 win over Drexel.
  • East Carolina picked up a win over UNC Greensboro as Terry Whisnant had 17 points and six assists.
  • Reserves Nate Buss (14 points), Wes Washpun (12) and Paul Jesperson (ten) all reached double figures in No. 23 Northern Iowa’s 74-63 win over South Dakota State.
  • Devin Thomas’ tip-in as time expired gave Wake Forest a 65-63 win at Richmond. Codi Miller-McIntyre scored 17 points for the winners, with T.J. Cline leading the way for Richmond with 22.
  • Remy Abell led three Musketeers in double figures with 13 points as Xavier beat FGCU 71-57 in Cincinnati.
  • Ricky Tarrant scored 24 points and Levi Randolph added 15 in Alabama’s 56-50 win over UCLA in Tuscaloosa.
  • Frank Kaminsky scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in No. 3 Wisconsin’s 68-56 win over Buffalo. The Bulls, which led No. 1 Kentucky at the half earlier this season, led 27-26 at the half in Madison.
  • Jameel Warney scored 15 points and Kameron Mitchell added 12 big second-half points as Stony Brook upset No. 13 Washington 62-57 in Seattle. The Seawolves trailed by as much as 16 in the second half.
  • Aly Ahmed scored 19 points and grabbed ten rebounds in Bakersfield’s 55-52 win at California. The Golden Bears committed 18 turnovers, which the Roadrunners converted into 20 points.

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

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

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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.