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Delgado’s 15 points and 18 rebounds lead No. 23 Seton Hall

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard likes where his 23rd-ranked Pirates are entering Big East play.

“I think we’re excited about being 11-2,” Willard said Saturday after a 74-62 victory over Manhattan. “I think we’ve put ourselves in good position heading into the Big East.”

But Willard has a lot on his plate, namely the suspension of senior forward Ismael Sanogo before the game, the loss of sophomore guard Myles Powell to an ejection during the game and the near-loss of freshman guard Jordan Walker, who left the program and returned last Tuesday.

“I’m not a happy camper,” Willard said. “It’s been a tough week. You put time and effort into kids and you hope that you’re guiding them the right way. When it goes off the rail a little bit, it’s like a stab in the heart. I’m disappointed and sad. I’m not going to have a merry Christmas.”

Sanogo was suspended for something “off the court, not basketball-wise,” Willard said.

“I’m in no rush to bring him back,” Willard said. “You have to act in a certain way at this university. When you don’t, then it’s a big issue with me.”

Willard said that he had no real problem with Powell’s ejection. He left with 40 seconds remaining in the first half, along with Manhattan’s Rich Williams, after an altercation under the Manhattan basket, after scoring 13 points in the first half.

“Both teams were playing hard and aggressive,” Willard said. “Sometimes we have situations like this.”

Angel Delgado scored 15 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to lead the way for the Pirates. It was the ninth time this season and the 59th time in his career that Delgado reached double figures in both points and rebounds.

“We just came here and took care of business,” Delgado said. “The Big East are real games now. We have to play hard and be aggressive and get ready for Creighton (the Pirates’ next opponent Dec. 28).”

“I think Angel has been as consistent as any big man in the country,” Willard said. “He loves the physicality from other teams. He would much rather play against a team that is going to whack him because he gets to whack him back.”

Khadeen Carrington added 15 points and Desi Rodriguez scored 13 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had five assists, as the Pirates had all five starters score in double figures. Michael Nzei had 10 points and five rebounds for the winners.

The victory was the seventh in eight games for the Pirates (11-2).

The Jaspers (5-7) were led by Zane Waterman who had 18 points and Calvin Crawford who had 10.

Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello, who served as an assistant at Louisville with Willard for three seasons, gave his team credit for playing tough against the bigger Pirates.

“The first half was bit of a disappointment,” Masiello said. “But we battled hard in the second half. We need to clean up some things now that it’s down to conference play. But I’m very proud of the way we competed today.”

The Pirates put the game away with a 13-0 run in the first half, keyed by five straight points from Powell on a 3-pointer and a steal and thunderous slam and capped by Powell’s layup off a drive, giving the Pirates a 36-20 lead.

Rodriguez and Powell paced the Pirates with 13 points each at the half, with the Pirates holding a 49-27 lead.

Delgado scored on a dunk and a free throw that pushed the lead to 54-31 with 17:40 left.

Patrick Strzala hit two straight 3-pointers to bring the Jaspers within 74-56 with 2:52 remaining.

The Jaspers then scored four straight points with the Seton Hall starters on the bench to slice the lead to 74-60 with 2 minutes remaining.

SENIOR LEADERSHIP

The Pirates are the only Division I team to have three players who have scored 1,000 or more points during their career in Carrington, Delgado and Rodriguez.

FRIENDLY FACES

Willard and Masiello were assistant coaches on Rick Pitino’s staff at Louisville from 2005 through 2007. “I learned so much about scouting and how to prepare for games from Kevin Willard,” Masiello said. Willard said that he might face Manhattan in the future because of his good relationship with Masiello. “We’ve talked about it for a couple of years,” Willard said. “We might have a long-term series and we might go there (to the Bronx) to face them. I respect him and how they play. It’s all about what makes this area good for college basketball.”

STRANGE SERIES LEAD

Although Saturday marked the first time the schools faced each other since 2005, Manhattan leads the all-time series 27-21. But the teams have faced each other only three times since 1985.

WELCOME BACK JORDAN

Walker, who apparently left the team for two days over his lack of playing time, then was talked back into returning by Seton Hall officials, returned to action with 13:30 in the first half and received a warm welcome from the Seton Hall faithful in attendance. Walker responded with a wide smile. Walker had two points and two assists in 16 minutes Saturday.

ALTERCATION AND EJECTIONS

With just 40 seconds left in the first half, Seton Hall’s Delgado and Manhattan’s Waterman locked arms in a wrestling match under the Manhattan basket going for a rebound. The altercation got heated and eventually Powell and Williams were ejected from the game. But according to Big East assistant commissioner John Paquette, Powell will not be suspended for the Pirates’ next game, the Big East opener against Creighton on Thursday.

DOUBLE TROUBLE

The 59 double-doubles by Delgado is the top figure in the nation. Delgado is the only active Division I player with more than 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.

THE BIG PICTURE

Seton Hall: The Pirates have won 23 straight games against non-conference opponents and 28 straight non-conference wins at the Prudential Center.

Manhattan: Waterman became the 38th player in Manhattan history to reach the 1,000-point plateau with a basket Wednesday night in a win over Hofstra.

UP NEXT:

The Pirates break for the holidays and return Thursday, Dec. 28 to face No. 25 Creighton in the Big East regular season opener.

The Jaspers are off until next Saturday when they host Fairfield in the MAAC regular season opener.

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

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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.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
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STORRS, Conn. — UConn swingman Tyrese Martin, who transferred from Rhode Island in April, has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play for the Huskies this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and started every game last season for URI, where he was recruited by current UConn coach Dan Hurley.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers to sit out a season, but the organization has been more lenient in granting waivers during the pandemic.

Martin, 21, is expected to compete for playing time at UConn on the wing as both a guard and small forward.