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Williams helps No. 18 Tennessee outlast South Carolina 70-67

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Grant Williams scored 22 points and made a big basket in the closing seconds Tuesday as No. 18 Tennessee edged South Carolina 70-67 to hand the Gamecocks their sixth consecutive loss.

Tennessee (19-6, 9-4 SEC) has won seven of its last eight and 10 of its last 12. The Volunteers got back on track three nights after losing 78-50 at Alabama for their most lopsided defeat of the season.

South Carolina (13-13, 4-9) continued its slide as the Gamecocks have spent the last three weeks falling out of NCAA Tournament contention one season after their first Final Four appearance.

The Gamecocks made this one interesting, though.

After trailing 68-59 with 2 ½ minutes left, South Carolina scored eight straight points and got to within one on Chris Booker’s driving basket with 36 seconds remaining.

Tennessee answered on its next possession as Williams made a move around Chris Silva and scored with 11 seconds left.

After calling a timeout with 8.6 seconds remaining, South Carolina worked toward a potential game-tying 3-pointer. But Justin Minaya’s attempt from beyond the arc fell short of the front rim as the buzzer sounded.

Booker scored 19 points to lead South Carolina, while Silva and Hassani Gravett added 12 points each. Jordan Bowden scored 14 and Admiral Schofield added 13 for Tennessee.

The game was physical from the start, as the two teams combined for more fouls (25) than baskets (21) in the first half. South Carolina’s Maik Kotsar and Felipe Haase already had picked up three fouls each by halftime.

South Carolina tied the game 40-all on an Evan Hinson jumper with 18:29 left, but Tennessee answered with six straight points. After South Carolina got back to within 48-45, Tennessee went on a 10-0 run. Lamonte’ Tuner capped that spurt with a 3-pointer that extended Tennessee’s lead to 58-45 with 11:05 remaining.

But the Gamecocks refused to go away and managed to stay in the game all the way up to the final shot.

THE TAKEAWAY

South Carolina: Although the Gamecocks lost again, they deserve credit for staying close most of the way despite dealing with foul trouble. South Carolina had lost by an average margin of 21 points in the three games leading up to this one. The Gamecocks were much more competitive this time.

Tennessee: While the Vols did a nice job of recovering from their poor performance at Alabama, their inability to put away an inferior opponent at home offers some cause for concern. Tennessee seemed to have the game in hand before struggling in the final three minutes, though the Vols did respond by getting the ball to Williams when the lead had dropped to one and the game was on the line.

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.”

Arizona releases non-conference schedule

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A trip to Maui, a home date against Baylor and trips to UConn and Alabama highlight Arizona’s non-conference schedule, which the school released Thursday, this season.

Despite losing nearly the entirety of last year’s talented-but-troubled group, Sean Miller still scheduled aggressively. The first test will come the week of Thanksgiving in Hawaii at the Maui Invitational. It’s an extremely competitive field with Duke, Auburn, Gonzaga, Iowa State, Illinois, San Diego State and Xavier. The bracket for the event has yet to be released.

The Wildcats travel to Storrs to face UConn in Dan Hurley’s first season on Dec. 2, and then a week later visit Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

The marquee home game will be Saturday, Dec. 16, when Scott Drew and Baylor come to Tucson.

Here’s the full schedule:

Day Date Opponent Location

Sunday Nov. 11 Cal Poly Tucson, Ariz.

Wednesday Nov. 14 UTEP Tucson, Ariz.

Monday Nov. 19 vs. TBA Lahaina, Hawai’i

Tuesday Nov. 20 vs. TBA Lahaina, Hawai’i

Wednesday Nov. 21 vs. TBA Lahaina, Hawai’i

Wednesday Nov. 28 Texas Southern Tucson, Ariz.

Sunday Dec. 2 at UConn Hartford, Conn.

Thursday Dec. 6 Utah Valley Tucson, Ariz.

Sunday Dec. 9 at Alabama Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Saturday Dec. 15 Baylor Tucson, Ariz.

Wednesday Dec. 19 Montana Tucson, Ariz.

Saturday Dec. 22 UC Davis Tucson, Ariz.