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Fort Wayne’s 3-point barrage shoots down Indiana, 92-72

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Fort Wayne coach John Coffman simply told his players to be themselves Monday night at Indiana.

He wanted them to use their 3-point shooters to attack Indiana’s defense. He wanted them to stick to the defensive game plan.

And after 40 minutes of waiting, watching and worrying about another poor stretch derailing the Mastodons’ latest upset bid, Coffman finally got another chance to celebrate a monumental victory.

Kason Harrell scored a career-high 28 points, Bryson Scott added 26 and the Mastodons made 17 3-pointers to blow out the Hoosiers 92-72 on their home floor.

“Our No. 1 priority was to play with an attack mentality,” Coffman said before thinking back to last season’s upset over Indiana. “That was the No. 1 thing that put us in position last year. Then it had to be toughness. We talked a lot about rebounding — tip, tip, tip and then we’ve got a garbage collector with a Matt Weir or a Bryson Scott rebounding.”

The Mastodons (6-5) did just enough on the glass to make it work.

But they were so dominant everywhere else, they didn’t even need overtime to win this time.

It’s the fifth time an in-state team, other than Notre Dame or Purdue, has posted consecutive wins over the Hoosiers, and Fort Wayne did it by matching Indiana State’s record-breaking total for 3s made by a visiting team at Assembly Hall.

“Again I told the guys on the staff, I’m not sure you can make 17 3s in a game once in a decade let alone a season, twice at home,” coach Archie Miller said. “It’s comprehensible.”

But it happened, and when the Mastodons’ long-distance shooters warmed up in the second half, the game turned quickly.

After watching Indiana rally from a 33-27 first-half deficit to take a 40-36 lead early in the second half, Fort Wayne reverted to its customary form.

It made three 3s during a 17-5 run that gave them a 53-44 lead with 14:03 to go.

Then, with Indiana trailing 58-51, they made four more 3s in a 1:41 stretch to extend the lead to 70-53. One more 7-0 scoring flurry put the Hoosiers in a 21-point deficit that it couldn’t rebound from.

Robert Johnson had 17 points and Juwan Morgan finished with 14 for Indiana (6-6).

“They felt the pressure of our poise on offense because we played our process for 40 minutes,” Coffman said. “We got great shot after great shot after great shot. Seventeen 3s, that’s a good night for us but that’s not surprising. We’ve done that before. What was really good was that for 40 minutes we stuck with being us.”

BIG PICTURE

Fort Wayne: The Mastodons proved last year’s stunning upset was no fluke. This time, they made the three-hour trek to Bloomington and went home with an even more impressive victory. The win will help fortify Fort Wayne’s resume but it has to continue to win.

Indiana: It took less than 72 hours for the biggest win of Miller’s first season to wear off. The Hoosiers now have two embarrassing losses to in-state mid-major teams. The Hoosiers gave up 34 3s in those losses and have allowed 51 in the other 10.

KEY NUMBERS

Fort Wayne: John Konchar had 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. … The Mastodons wound up 17 of 30 on 3s and 14 of 30 on 2s. … They scored 29 points off 18 Indiana turnovers while committing just 12. … Fort Wayne also had 13 steals. … Scott is 5-0 all-time against the Hoosiers, including three wins he had at Purdue. His twin brother, Brenton, plays for Indiana State and was part of season-opening win in Bloomington.

Indiana: Couldn’t take advantage of its 46-31 rebounding edge or the 20-6 advantage on the offensive end. … Indiana was 4 of 24 on 3s. … The other losing streaks against in-state teams other than Notre Dame and Purdue: Three straight to Butler from 1947 to 1948; two to the Bulldogs in 1957 and 1958 and two to Indiana State in 1999 and 2000. Butler also won the first three games in the series from 1901-02.

THEY SAID IT

Fort Wayne: “In the huddle one time, I said it looked like they weren’t confident and we wanted to take advantage of that and we did,” Scott said.

Indiana: “I think handling success is always a lot harder than getting kicked in the face,” Miller said when asked about the quick turnaround from the Notre Dame win.

UP NEXT

Fort Wayne: Opens play Thursday against Liberty in the first of two games at a tournament in New Orleans.

Indiana: Hosts Tennessee Tech on Thursday in the second-to-last non-conference game on the schedule.

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

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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.