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Iowa State upsets No. 17 Oklahoma 88-80

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AMES, Iowa — Trae Young might be the best freshman in America — but he wasn’t the best one in Ames on Saturday.

That distinction went to Iowa State’s Lindell Wigginton, who kept his undermanned team in contention before drilling the 3 that sent Young and the Sooners packing on the road yet again.

Wigginton upstaged Young by scoring 26 points and the Cyclones upset No. 17 Oklahoma 88-80 on Saturday, handing the Sooners their sixth consecutive loss on the road.

“In my mind, I feel like I’m one of the best guards in the country. Obviously Trae is one of the best guards in the country too,” Wigginton said. “We had a good matchup and I’m looking forward to the next one.”

Fellow rookie Cam Lard wasn’t bad either. He scored 19 points with 17 rebounds for the Cyclones (13-11, 4-8 Big 12), who beat a ranked team at home for the third time in a span of three weeks.

Iowa State built and then blew a 17-point lead, but Donovan Jackson’s 3 with 1:55 left put it ahead 80-77. Wigginton then beat the shot clock with a long 3 after a discombobulated possession, and Jackson hit a pair of free throws to clinch the win.

The Cyclones ran the Sooners (16-8, 6-6) out of the building in the first half, holding Young to just one 3 in the opening 19 minutes while building a lead that stretched to 40-23.

“We didn’t open the game like we wanted to. I thought Iowa State was sharp,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “We’ve got to do a better job (on defense). We’ve got to commit more to it.”

Young finished with 22 points and 11 assists, but he was just 1 of 8 on 3s with six turnovers.

“I had some open looks I didn’t hit, that I usually do,” Young said.

The Sooners fought back behind their defense. They held Iowa State without a field goal for eight minutes and eventually tied the game at 71-all on Young’s layup with 4:55 left.

Christian James also had 22 points for Oklahoma, which last won on the road at TCU on Dec. 30.

THE BIG PICTURE

Oklahoma: The Sooners are going to have a tough time convincing the NCAA Tournament committee that they deserve a high seed unless they can start winning some games away from Norman. This one was there for them late, but Young couldn’t find the magic he has so often shown this season.

Iowa State: The Cyclones were able to beat Young and the Sooners even without their own starting point guard, Nick Weiler-Babb, who was out yet again because of knee tendinitis. This was an admirable performance for a team with just eight players suited up to play. “Now we’ve got to string two together,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. Jackson also scored 19 for Iowa State.

ROOKIE VS. ROOKIE

Young set up for a short jumper with Wigginton guarding him early in the first half. But Young, sensing a better shot, changed direction and instead lurched forward for an under-handed layup. But Wigginton wasn’t fooled, and he swatted Young’s shot into the stands. “Lindell is a good player. But it’s not just him,” Young said.

NOT SO YOUNG ANYMORE

Young on Saturday became just the third Big 12 freshman to score at least 700 points, joining Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley. Young is also just the second Sooner with that many points in a season, as Wayman Tisdale scored 810 points in his historic 1982-83 campaign. What was so remarkable about Young’s performance on Saturday was that it felt as though he was having a terrible game — and yet he still finished with a double-double.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

After losing to West Virginia at home and to the Cyclones on the road, Oklahoma might find itself out of Monday’s poll.

UP NEXT

Oklahoma plays at Texas Tech on Tuesday.

Iowa State hosts Kansas on Tuesday.

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.”