Late Night Snacks: No. 21 Oklahoma State tops No. 16 Baylor; No. 4 Duke holds off Florida State

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 17 Oklahoma 93, No. 14 Iowa State 84

Oklahoma overcame a hot start from Iowa State, who hit 10 threes in the first half, and blew out the Cyclones in the second half of what was a wildly-entertaining, up-and-down game. Tashawn Thomas and Ryan Spangler finished with a combined 36 points, 23 boards and seven assists in the win, which moved the Sooners into second place in the Big 12 standings, a half-game in front of the Cyclones. Both teams are two games back of Kansas in the loss column, which almost assures the Jayhawks of extending Bill Self’s streak of winning the league to 11 seasons. The Jayhawks have just four games left on the road — Texas Tech, West Virginia, Kansas State and Oklahoma — and they have already played both Iowa State and Oklahoma State twice. In other words, to see them blow a two game lead in the final four weeks, is not likely.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 21 Oklahoma State 74, No. 16 Baylor 65

After a home win over Kansas on Saturday, Oklahoma State came up with a big road win at Baylor to keep a nice stretch of conference play going. After a close first half, the Cowboys took control early in the second half and never let up as LeBryan Nash had 22 points to lead four double-digit scorers. The Bears couldn’t get much going from its starting five outside of 16 points and 16 rebounds for Rico Gathers as sixth man Taurean Prince led Baylor with 20 points and four rebounds off the bench. Oklahoma State continues to look like a tournament team in recent weeks with three straight wins over good Big 12 teams, two on the road.

2. No. 4 Duke 68, Florida State 59

The Blue Devils held off a feisty Seminoles team to pick up an ACC road win. Florida State cut the Duke lead to one with under a minute left but the No. 4 team in the country was able to outlast the Seminoles. Quinn Cook came through with 26 points on the night while Tyus Jones added 16 points and 12 rebounds and Jahlil Okafor tallied 13. Devon Bookert kept Florida State in the game with 23 points and six assists.

3. No. 17 Oklahoma 94, No. 14 Iowa State 83

In a high-scoring Big 12 contest, the Sooners put up great offensive numbers in both halves as they ran past the Cyclones. Oklahoma shot 50 percent from the field (39-for-77) and 48 percent from 3-point range (10-for-21) as TaShawn Thomas had 22 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. After dropping four of five Big 12 games early in the conference season, the Sooners have now won five consecutive conference games.

STARRED

1. Saint Peter’s Marvin Dominique

The senior forward put together a great offensive outing in a win over Siena as Dominique had 26 points and four rebounds. With Saint Peter’s trailing by nine at the half, Dominique put the team on his back with 18 of his points in the second half.

2. Lamar’s Kevin Booze

The freshman guard got going from the perimeter for the Cardinals in a road win at Abilene Christian. Booze had 35 points and was 9-for-13 from 3-point range to go along with four assists. Before Monday’s game, Booze hadn’t scored more than 17 points in a game or hit more than three 3-pointers all season in a game.

STRUGGLED

1. Baylor’s Lestor Medford

It was not a night to remember for the junior guard as Medford finished with only one point in 33 minutes. Medford was 0-for-5 with four turnovers and four fouls on the night, but did have five assists.

2. Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes

The high-scoring freshman guard was held to only five points in 30 minutes on Monday as he was 2-for-7 from the field with six turnovers.

NOTABLES

  • Virginia Tech escaped with a win over Georgia Tech as Malik Muller had 17 points in the win.
  • Stephen F. Austin is now the winner of 32 consecutive conference games with a Southland win over Northwestern State. Ty Charles had a career-high 19 points while Jacob Parker and Thomas Walkup each had 16 points.
  • UNC Asheville had three free throws from Andrew Rowsey with three seconds left to secure a 92-89 overtime win over Gardner-Webb for first place in the Big South. Rowsey finished tied with a team-high 19 points along with center Giacomo Zilli.
  • Alabama State moved to 10-1 in the SWAC with a win over Mississippi Valley State.
  • With 21 points each from Christavious Gill and Kevin Hill, New Orleans was able to outlast McNeese State in the Southland.
  • Houston Baptist had 22 points from Anthony Odunsi in a Southland win over Texas A&M CC.
  • Delaware State kept Florida A&M winless on the season as Amere May had 24 points and Tyshawn Bell added 23 points. Jermaine Ruttley had 30 points and nine rebounds in a losing effort for the Rattlers.
  • Maryland-Eastern Shore trailed Norfolk State at the half but blew it wide open in the second half as Devin Martin had 25 points and Mike Myers had 18 points and 13 rebounds.
  • Deron Powers and Brian Darden each scored 18 points as Hampton held off Howard for an overtime win.
  • Boston got past Lafayette for a Patriot League win as John Papale had a team-high 14 points. Blaise Mbargorba also had this monster dunk: 

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.