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Freshman Lykes helps No. 15 Miami beat No. 24 FSU 80-74

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Not even a smack in the nose could stop 5-foot-7 Miami Hurricanes guard Chris Lykes against Florida State.

The freshman dynamo scored a season-high 18 points and shook off an accidental blow to the face, helping the No. 15 Hurricanes withstand a late rally from the No. 24 Seminoles to win 80-74 on Sunday.

Lykes was hit — with no foul called — as he drove for a layup midway through the second half. Dazed, he didn’t even see his shot go in.

“I just heard the crowd,” he said. “I got hit in my nose, and I couldn’t breathe through my nose for a minute.”

He quickly went to the dressing room accompanied by a trainer, but was back in the game moments later. His jumper to beat the shot clock with 4 minutes left slowed Florida State’s comeback.

Lykes finished 6 for 10 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers and baskets on two acrobatic drives.

“I told everybody before the season, don’t sleep on him,” teammate Bruce Brown said. “He does it in practice. I knew it was a matter of time before he did it in a game.”

Brown scored a season-high 23 points and Dewan Huell had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Hurricanes, who took the lead for good in the early minutes and made 13 of their first 14 shots.

The Hurricanes (13-2, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their first home game since Dec. 5. Florida State (12-3, 1-2) lost for the third time in the past six games.

Lykes made two highlight plays in the first half. He drove into the lane and scooped in a shot from knee level, and in the final seconds weaved past two defenders for a reverse layup to give Miami its largest lead of the half, 45-32.

“I know my teammates believe in me a lot,” Lykes said. “I just try to bring energy off the bench and make the right plays.”

Florida State cut a 16-point second-half deficit to four with 24 seconds left. Braian Angola then made a backcourt steal but missed a 3-pointer that would have left the Seminoles trailing by one.

Brown made five of six free throws in the final 45 seconds and finished 12-for-14 at the line.

“It was two Top 25 teams going at each other,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said.

Angola had 16 points and five steals for Florida State, which shot a season-low 36 percent. Miami, ranked second nationally in scoring defense, held the Seminoles below their season average of 85.4.

“In the second half we were a little more aggressive,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “But we had dug such a hole, it was hard to pull out of it.”

POUNDING THE BOARDS

Rebounding kept the taller Seminoles in the game. They had a 44-32 edge, with 21 offensive rebounds, and outscored Miami 13-2 on second-chance points. Freshman Mfiondu Kabengele tied a season high with 12 rebounds in 18 minutes.

Christ Koumadje returned from a foot injury that had sidelined him since the third game of the season. He had eight rebounds and five points in 13 minutes.

PEP TALK

Larranaga said Brown and the other Hurricanes shot poorly in practice Saturday. Later, Larranaga phoned Brown and recommended he watch video highlights of himself to restore his confidence.

“Right after the game, he said, ‘I did,'” Larranaga said with a laugh. “Guys just need to think positively.”

SLUMPING WALKER

Highly touted Hurricanes freshman Lonnie Walker IV started for only the second time this season, but that didn’t help him shake a slump. He hit a 3-pointer on the game’s first possession but finished with only five points in 15 minutes.

BIG PICTURE

The Hurricanes beat a ranked team for the second time this season. They won at then-No. 12 Minnesota on Nov. 29.

The Seminoles, who made 45 3-pointers in their three previous games, went 5 for 24 from beyond the arc.

TRASH CHANT

Fans near the Seminoles bench taunted them regarding the recent departure of their football coach, chanting “Jimbo left you!”

UP NEXT

The Hurricanes began a stretch of three consecutive games against ranked teams. They play at No. 25 Clemson on Saturday and face No. 2 Duke at home on Nov. 15.

“I ain’t looking ahead,” Larranaga said, “except to dinner.”

Florida State will try to bounce back from the loss when it faces Louisville at home on Wednesday.

“You can’t sit around and have a pity party,” Hamilton said.

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.”