Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald via AP

Motley’s 25 points lead No. 6 Baylor in 70-52 win over TCU

Leave a comment

WACO, Texas (AP) After Johnathan Motley grabbed a rebound and no defender got in front of him, Baylor’s 6-foot-10 forward was going all the way.

Motley’s full-court drive for a layup in the second half was part of his 25 points and the sixth-ranked Bears had little trouble this time with TCU in a 70-52 victory on Saturday.

“I was going until someone cut me off,” Motley said.

And TCU really never did that all day against Motley, who was 12-of-15 shooting with all of those makes in the paint. The breakaway drive was in a stretch when he scored nine straight points for Baylor (22-3, 9-3 Big 12), including a three-point play after getting fouled while making a layup.

“He’s long, he just plays hard,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said.

“Mot was tremendous. He’s had some good games, but when you shoot 12 for 15, those are special,” Bears coach Scott Drew said. “And he was really effective. It was fun to watch him.”

Baylor never trailed in winning its 11th straight game in the series since the former Southwest Conference rivals were reunited in the Big 12 when TCU (17-8, 6-6) moved into the power league four years ago.

Manu Lecomte added 17 points for the Bears, and King McClure scored all 13 of his before halftime.

Jaylen Fisher had 18 points for TCU while Kenrich Williams had 10.

When they played about 100 miles away on Jan. 21 in Fort Worth, there were 16 lead changes, with 13 in the second half along with five ties, before Baylor pulled out a 62-53 victory. The rematch was tied only once, at 2-2.

“We definitely were expecting better,” Williams said. “It’s a little bit of an embarrassment, with me being from Waco. We’ve just got to keep working.”

BIG PICTURE

TCU: After their first three-conference winning streak since 2008, the Frogs suffered their largest loss of the season. They still have six Big 12 wins, their most ever in the league, and would likely get back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998 by splitting their last six regular-season games.

Baylor: The Bears have their best-ever record through 25 games overall (22-3) and best through 12 Big 12 games (9-3). Drew said his team was intent to erase what happened in its last home game, when the Bears were down by 17 points in the first half last Saturday against Kansas State before a late rally came up two points short.

KING-SIZE SHOTS

McClure had back-to-back 3-pointers for Baylor to make it 15-6 during a first-half stretch when TCU went more than 7 minutes without a field goal. McClure started his second straight game in place of suspended Al Freeman, who is out for what the school called a violation of team policy. It is unclear when Freeman may be reinstated. McClure has 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting in those two starts.

OVER THE SHOULDER – AND IN

Baylor’s last field goal of the first half was Jake Lindsey’s over-the-shoulder layup with his right hand and his back to the basket after driving the baseline. That put the Bears up 32-17.

BEEN A LONG TIME

The Frogs have lost their last 20 games against Top 25 teams since a win over then-No. 21 Oklahoma State on Valentine’s Day two years ago. Their road losing streak against ranked teams is 39 straight since a win at No. 24 Hawaii in January 1998.

NOT MUCH HELP

TCU had only one assist at halftime. Then again, the Frogs had only six field goals by then. “I’ve never been around a team with one assist in a first half,” Dixon said. They trailed 32-17 at the half, their lowest-scoring half this season. They had nine assists on 14 field goals in the second half.

UP NEXT

TCU: Home against Oklahoma State on Wednesday

Baylor: Plays on Monday night at Texas Tech, which lost by one at home Saturday to Big 12-leading and third-ranked Kansas. The Jayhawks are in Waco next Saturday.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Louisville challenges NCAA over recruiting allegations

Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
Leave a comment

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
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.