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No. 13 Purdue uses 3-point barrage to get past Rutgers 82-51

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue coach Matt Painter first started using his two 7-foot centers together as an experiment.

On Wednesday night, he went with them out of necessity. If Isaac Haas and Matt Haarms continue playing this well in tandem, they could become a big staple for the defending Big Ten champions.

Haas scored 14 points and Harams grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots, leading the 13th-ranked Boilermakers to an 82-51 rout over Rutgers for their 10th straight win.

“I like it because it provides a lot of length on defense,” said Haas, the 7-foot-2 senior. “I think it allows us to get more spread out on defense. On offense, you have guys that are long rebounders that can go high-low. I just can’t wait to see how that develops the rest of the season.”

So far, it’s worked beautifully.

The Boilermakers (14-2, 3-0) have won 17 in a row at Mackey Arena and are the only Big Ten team with three conference wins. No. 1 Michigan State and Ohio State can join them Thursday.

And Haas and the 7-3 Haarms played a huge role in turning the tables on Rutgers, which was ranked No. 3 nationally in total rebounds and No. 4 in scoring defense.

But with Haas and Haarms dominating the middle, Purdue outscored Rutgers 28-14 in the paint and had a 45-27 rebound advantage, giving the Scarlet Knights no chance.

“I think all of their lineups cause problems,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. “The two big guys do cause problems though each one is different. Haas is a monster down low and the other one is a good shot blocker.”

And the primary reason Painter went with the pairing was because starting forward Vincent Edwards was in foul trouble most of the night.

It wasn’t just the big men who got the job done for Purdue, which made 7 of 12 3-pointers in the first half and finished 10 of 23.

Geo Baker had 11 points to lead the Scarlet Knights (10-6, 0-3), who have lost three straight. Mike Williams added 10.

But the combination was simply too much for Rutgers’ young team.

The Boilermakers used an 8-0 run to take a 17-7 lead, later extended the margin to 32-17 and headed to the locker room with a 45-24 lead.

Rutgers got as close as 51-37 when Baker made Rutgers’ first 3 of the night with 13:27 left to play. Then Purdue answered with six straight and stretched the lead to as much as 33.

“For me, it’s more about learning how to play the 4 a little more,” Haarms said. “When Coach tells me to go get Vince, I get a big smile on my face.”

BIG PICTURE

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights are improving but don’t possess the size, depth or scorers to seriously challenge a team like Purdue. And when things went awry Wednesday, Rutgers even lost its poise. With nine freshmen and sophomores on the roster, brighter days are ahead.

Purdue: Showed everyone why it could repeat this season. The Boilermakers can win games by playing big or small, they can outscore opponents, shut them down defensively and can play through foul trouble.

KEY NUMBERS

Rutgers: Freshman Mamadou Doucoure scored eight points before fouling out with 12:55 to go and then picked up a technical on his way to the bench. … The Scarlet Knights allowed their second-highest point total this season (89 at Minnesota). … The last time the Scarlet Knights beat a Top 25 team on the road was Jan. 26, 2008 at Pittsburgh.

Purdue: Carsen Edwards had 12 points, five rebounds and four assists while Ryan Cline had 12 points and Vincent Edwards added 10. … Purdue is 3-0 to start conference play for the first time since 2010-11 and is 13-0 on American soil this season. It went 1-2 in the Bahamas. … The Boilermakers have scored 80 points in six straight games for the first time since Dec. 6-27, 1997.

GETTING AHEAD

Purdue honored former star Steve Scheffler by handing out bobble heads before the game and having him speak to the crowd at halftime.

The 1990 Big Ten player of the year, captivated the audience with stories about his playing days and former coach Gene Keady, who also attended the game. But he didn’t mince words.

“I should not be a bobble head, I should be a knucklehead,” Scheffler joked. “If they can make me a bobble head for throwing leather through metal, imagine what they can do with you.”

UP NEXT

Rutgers: Hosts Wisconsin on Friday.

Purdue: Faces Nebraska on Saturday at home.

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For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Former Penn coach allegedly took bribes from potential recruit’s father

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Former Penn head coach Jerome Allen allegedly took bribes from a Miami businessman who wanted his son to get into the school as a “recruited basketball player” — increasing his chances to gain entry to the Ivy League school.

According to a report from Bloomberg’s Michael Smith, David Voreacos and Eben Novy-Williams, Allen was involved with Miami businessman Philip Esformes, who had a son, Morris, who was allegedly recruited by several Ivy League schools. When Philip Esformes was accused of health-care fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and bribery, the government uncovered more than $74,000 in gifts that Esformes gave to Allen in 2013 and 2014.

Allen is identified strictly as “Coach-2” in the indictment that alleges that he took multiple cash payments, paid trips from Philadelphia to Miami, and a private jet trip that included Allen, Esformes and his son. The benefits are alleged to be $74,558 — including three separate wired payments of $15,000, $20,000 and $18,000 to Allen from Esformes.

These alleged incidents took place in 2013 and 2014, when Allen was still head coach at Penn and Morris Esformes was a high school basketball player trying to make it to the Division I level. Esformes was eventually granted admission to Penn as he was allegedly going to be on the basketball team. But Allen was fired before Esformes enrolled at the school. So Esformes went to school at Penn, but he never played for the basketball team. Esformes is currently still a senior at Penn.

Allen has been an assistant coach under Brad Stevens with the Boston Celtics since leaving Penn in 2015. He hasn’t been criminally charged for any of these alleged benefits while the NCAA also hasn’t been involved with anything yet.

But this is yet another black eye on college basketball — and this time coming from a prestigious Ivy League institution. It shows that cheating and using leverage happens at all levels of Division I college basketball. Lately, the schools have been paying to get players. This shows there are instances of wealthy people attempting to gain influence through athletics.

This case at Penn is certainly a rare one. Esformes tried to exploit a loophole that would allow his son entry into a great school under the guise that he was a potential Division I-caliber basketball player. And Morris Esformes did end up at Penn — and seems to be doing well. So, this didn’t end poorly for Morris or Allen.

Since Allen is coaching at the NBA level, this likely won’t alter his coaching career, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the NCAA get involved with Penn and Allen going forward.

Elite Class of 2020 point guard to reclassify

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Nico Mannion, a five-star point guard from Arizona, announced on Friday that he will be reclassifying into the Class of 2019.

Mannion was a top 20 player in 2020 but, according to 247 Sports, he will be ranked No. 11 in 2019. The athletic, 6-foot-3 Mannion was long-rumored to be considering a move up a class because of his age. He’ll turn 18 in March of next year, meaning that he’ll arrive on campus the same age as a typical college freshman.

Mannion cut his list to ten schools in June — Duke, Arizona, Villanova, Kansas, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Vanderbilt, Marquette and Utah — but Duke and Arizona appear to be the favorites at this point.

Mannion plays his high school ball for Pinnacle High School in Phoenix and with West Coast Elite on the Under Armour Association circuit. He played for Team USA’s youth ranks, but his mother is Italian and, in June, he was called up to the Italian men’s senior national team, scoring nine points in 29 minutes of a FIBA World Cup Qualifier.

Nebraska to lose junior big man to transfer

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Nebraska’s frontcourt depth took a blow on Thursday as junior big man Jordy Tshimanga informed the program that he will be transferring.

“Jordy called me tonight and asked for his release,” head coach Tim Miles said in a statement that was given to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “The University of Nebraska and our program wish Jordy and his family the best.”

Tshimanga averaged 4.0 points and 4.6 boards in 13 minutes this past season, and a source close to the program told NBC Sports he wasn’t expected to play much more than that this season.

Miles’ has spent the better part of the last two seasons on the hot seat, and this certainly doesn’t make his job easier, but with the talent the Cornhuskers have on their roster, they look like an NCAA tournament team already. They bring back their top four scorers, including former five-star prospect Isaac Copeland and potential first-team all-Big Ten wing James Palmer. With or without Tshimanga, Nebraska has a shot to finish top four in the Big Ten.

North Carolina, UCLA, Michigan State part of Las Vegas event

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — North Carolina, UCLA, Michigan State and Texas will play in an early season basketball tournament in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Invitational will include games at campus sites, then the final two rounds on Nov. 22-23 in Las Vegas. North Carolina takes on Texas in one semifinal, and Michigan State faces UCLA in the other.

UNC, UCLA and Michigan State are all top 20 teams in the NBC Sports preseason top 25.

The championship is Nov. 23, and the semifinal losers also play each other that day.

NCAA to study possible effects of widespread legal wagering

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA plans to study how the expansion of legalized betting could affect college athletics and member schools.

The NCAA announced Thursday it will create a working group of “subject matter experts” to assess areas such as officiating, NCAA rules, federal and state laws, and the use of integrity services. NCAA leadership has already called for federal regulation on sports betting. NCAA rules prohibit sports wagering by athletes and athletic department employees.

The Supreme Court opened the door for states to have legal wagering on sporting events when it struck down a federal ban in May. Schools in some states such as West Virginia, Mississippi and New Jersey are already exploring the possibility of collecting integrity fees in anticipation of legal sports books opening in their states.

“While we certainly respect the Supreme Court’s decision, our position on sports wagering remains,” said Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer. “With this new landscape, we must evolve and expand our long-standing efforts to protect both the integrity of competitions and the well-being of student-athletes.”

The NCAA Board of Governors has already suspended the association’s ban on holding championships in states with legalized sports betting, a policy that only affected Nevada.

“Legalized sports gambling across the country is rather new, but the NCAA and its members have committed significant resources over the years to policy, research and education around sports wagering,” said Joni Comstock, senior vice president of championships and alliances. “With student-athlete well-being as the centerpiece, we will continue to build upon these efforts to assist members as they adapt to legalized sports wagering in their states and regions.”