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McIntosh scores 24, Northwestern beats No. 20 Michigan 61-52

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ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — Maybe it was too soon to write off Northwestern.

The Wildcats finally appear to be finding the rhythm that had them dancing all the way to the NCAA tournament for the first time last year.

Bryant McIntosh tied a season high with 24 points, and Northwestern beat No. 20 Michigan 61-52 on Tuesday night.

“I know there’s so much wrong with us and it’s a disastrous season and everybody’s writing our obituaries,” coach Chris Collins said, tongue in cheek. “And it’s a lot of fun. But I’m not sure I’m quite seeing that at 6-6, 15-10.”

The Wildcats (15-10, 6-6 Big Ten) won for the fourth time in five games, suffocating Michigan with their zone defense down the stretch while McIntosh nailed big shot after big shot. He scored 14 in the second half.

Scottie Lindsey added 19 points and seven rebounds in the game, and Northwestern returned the favor after losing at Michigan last week.

Moe Wagner led the Wolverines (19-7, 8-5) with 20 points and nine rebounds. But Michigan hit just 5 of 20 shots in the second half while missing 9 of 10 3-pointers. The Wolverines weren’t great at the foul line, making 13 of 19.

“We didn’t get a lot of stops, so we couldn’t get running,” Wagner said. “We couldn’t get in the flow in transition. We missed a lot of free throws, too, and didn’t make shots (in the field). Yep, that’s how it goes.”

Northwestern shook off a slow start to pull within three at halftime and scored 10 straight early in the second to grab its first lead of the game.

The Wildcats went ahead 35-33 on a 3-pointer by Vic Law, who was just 1 for 8 from long range and shot 2 of 10 overall. Layups by Dererk Pardon and a driving Lindsey finished the run and made it a six-point game.

McIntosh carried Northwestern down the stretch, scoring 14 points in the final nine minutes. He started that onslaught by nailing a 3 to make it 47-41 and never let up the rest of the way.

There was McIntosh pulling up for a floater after Pardon blocked a layup by Jordan Poole, and he hit another 3 and a jumper to bump the lead to 54-44 with 3:43 remaining.

McIntosh also drove for a layup off a crossover to make it 58-52 with 1:25 left after a three-point play by Wagner, and the Wildcats hung on from there.

“We try not to – as best we can – listen to the outside noise, talking about how our season’s over, that we let it slip away and all that, we’re failures,” McIntosh said. “We just try to stay locked in. We know there’s still a lot to play for right now and the things we want to do aren’t out of reach quite yet.”

LIVERS HURT

Michigan F Isaiah Livers played just two minutes before leaving the game with a left ankle injury. Coach John Beilein said it stiffened on him at halftime and he was unable to return.

“We said, ‘Go out and try it, and if you can go, go. But if you’re in a lot of pain, don’t go,'” Beilein said. “That’s all we know right now.”

BIG PICTURE

Michigan: The Wolverines need to find their stroke from long range and the foul line. They are 20 of 79 over the past three games after going 5 of 22 in this one. And on free throws, they’re 25 of 47 over the past two outings.

Northwestern: The Wildcats simply need to keep this up the rest of the way.

UP NEXT

Michigan: The Wolverines visit struggling Wisconsin on Sunday.

Northwestern: The Wildcats play at Maryland on Saturday.

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More AP college basketball: https://collegebasketball.ap.org and https://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.”