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Grantham’s 23 points, 14 boards helps No. 25 Clemson beat BC

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BOSTON (AP) — Clemson came onto the court with a national ranking for the first time in nearly eight years and completely controlled Boston College in the opening half.

In the second, they made just enough plays to hold off the Eagles.

Donte Grantham scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and Marcquise Reed hit two key free throws to help No. 25 Clemson beat Boston College 74-70 on Wednesday night.

“Our team just locked in defensively,” Grantham said. “Tonight, in the first half, it was special. When we get locked in like that, I don’t see too many teams beating us.”

Reed finished with 17 points for the Tigers (13-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). Clemson’s last time in the AP poll came on Jan. 23, 2010.

But the Tigers had to withstand an incredible shooting performance by BC’s Jerome Robinson in the second half. He went 10 for 14 from the field, hitting 6 of 9 from beyond the 3-point line.

“That’s why when you have a lead you need to keep building it because you never know when a guy can take over a game,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “Robinson had some unbelievable confidence. We couldn’t get him under control.”

Robinson led Boston College (10-5, 1-2) with 28 points, scoring 26 in the second half. Ky Bowman had 19 with nine rebounds and six assists.

Reed nailed his two from the line with 48 seconds left to move Clemson ahead 70-68. Robinson’s 3 from the right wing rimmed out on the next possession.

“I got some space and I was like: ‘I’m going to let it go,'” Robinson said. “I had already hit two or three from that spot and we needed that one and unfortunately it didn’t go.”

Gabe DeVoe and Shelton Mitchell each hit two from the line in the final 21 seconds for Clemson.

Bowman’s driving basket cut it to 68-66 with 2:19 to play, the third time BC sliced a big deficit to two points, before he tied it with two free throws with 1:02 left.

Trailing by 15 at halftime, the Eagles relied on a strong start by Robinson, a second team preseason all-ACC selection, after the break. The 6-foot-5 junior guard scored 19 points, including going 5-for-5 on 3-point attempts in the opening 10 minutes to slice the deficit to 53-50.

“We became who we are,” BC coach Jim Christian said. “In order to win in this league, you have to play more than 20 minutes.”

The Tigers had used a 16-0 run midway into the first half en route to their 38-23 halftime.

Grantham, who had a team-leading 11 points and nine rebounds in the half, scored eight straight points in the opening 20 minutes.

BIG PICTURE

Clemson: The Tigers’ emergence in the poll may last a while. Entering the game, they had all five starters averaging double figures in scoring. … Won its sixth straight against BC.

Boston College: Facing their third consecutive ranked team looked like it took a lot out of the Eagles. They appeared flat at the start – something an average team can’t afford. After that, they showed they can compete – like in their win over then-No. 1 Duke in the league opener and a one-point loss at No. 8 Virginia on Saturday.

“We can’t take our eye off the prize,” Christian said. “We can’t have a 3-minute lull or a 4-minute lull like we had in the first half. You can’t dig those type holes.”

NICE NUMBERS

Grantham, a 6-8 senior forward, became the sixth player in school history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 200 assists.

WEAK SHOWING

BC didn’t have an offensive rebound in the opening half, was outrebounded 20-10 overall and went over 5 minutes without a basket.

Eagles starting forward Nik Popovic picked up three fouls in 5 minutes in the half.

TWENTY SOMETHING

It was Robinson’s seventh game with 20 or more points.

UP NEXT

Clemson: Hosts Louisville on Saturday.

Boston College: Hosts Wake Forest on Saturday.

___

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

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.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

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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.