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Hall’s 17 lead No. 1 Virginia past Irish, 62-57

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Virginia has known for a while it had the top seed in the ACC Tournament locked up.

Now that the tournament is the top-ranked Cavaliers’ next stop, Isaiah Wilkins thinks it’s time to knuckle down even more.

“I think we have to have like a full reset,” the senior forward said Saturday after celebrating his final home game at John Paul Jones Arena with a 62-57 victory against Notre Dame. “It’s a chapter, and it closed. Now we just have to be extra prepared and play free.

“It’s just time to lock in and just go out there and you can’t be tight. You have to play free but you’ve got to give a little more.”

The Cavaliers had to do that against the Irish, who came in looking to enhance their NCAA Tournament resume, but Devon Hall scored 17 points in his final game at John Paul Jones Arena and the Cavaliers won their second nail-biter in three days.

Ty Jerome added 13 points for the Cavaliers (28-2, 17-1), who won their fifth in a row.

“I think it’s most important just not to overcomplicate things,” Jerome said. “Keep trying to get better and keep knocking.”

As the game ended, the Cavaliers gathered at midcourt, where coach Tony Bennett spoke privately with the team, then walked out of the huddle, clapping to thank the fans and, hand raised and fist pumping, headed for the locker room.

“That was for us to thank the crowd,” Bennett said of the gesture, which drew raucous cheers of celebration.

Bonzie Colson, playing in just his second game since missing 15 with a broken foot, had 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Irish (18-13, 8-10). Martinas Geben added 14 points and 10 rebounds, but only three other Notre Dame players scored. They shot 19 of 53 (35.8 percent).

Still, with Colson back in the lineup, coach Mike Brey was encouraged.

“In the midst of trying to put ourselves back together, I told them, `I think we’re back’ with Bonzie and playing like we were before the injury,” he said. “Even though we didn’t win, I really like what we got out of that today.”

Virginia led 55-54 with just over 3 minutes to play before Hall scored on a tough drive. After Notre Dame missed, Wilkins hit a pair of free throws, pushing the Cavaliers’ lead to five. A 3-pointer by Matt Farrell got Notre Dame within 59-57 with 2:24 to play.

Still trailing 59-57,the Irish had a chance to tie, or take the lead, in the final minute, but Colson couldn’t get free from Wilkins’ defense and, in his bid to pass the ball out, the Irish committed a 30-second shot clock violation with 23 seconds to play.

De’Andre Hunter, whose banked-in 3-pointer gave Virginia a stunning victory at Louisville on Thursday night , hit 3 of 4 free throws to finish it.

BIG PICTURE

Notre Dame: The Irish are not a middle-of-the-pack ACC team with Colson healthy. He dominated the first half with 18 points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes. Conditioning may have been a factor for him in the second half as he picked up three personal fouls in the first 11 1/2 minutes. “He was cramping a little bit, but you know what, even before the injury, we’ve always had a little bit of a cramping issue in the skinniest calves in the history of a power forward,” Brey joked. “No one has skinnier calves. They’re non-existent.”

Virginia: The Cavaliers got a big scare when scoring leader Kyle Guy (14.3 ppg) went down hard and stayed down for a few minutes late in the first half. He was eventually helped off the court and into the tunnel favoring his left leg. He did not join the team for warmups after halftime, but joined the team huddle before play began to rousing cheers with a brace covering his left knee. He played some in the second half but had his second straight game without a 3-pointer after making one in 28 straight games. Bennett said afterward he had no update on Guy’s injury or status going forward.

UP NEXT

The Irish will play Wednesday in the ACC Tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The top-seeded Cavaliers open play in the ACC Tournament on Thursday.

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn swingman Tyrese Martin, who transferred from Rhode Island in April, has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play for the Huskies this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and started every game last season for URI, where he was recruited by current UConn coach Dan Hurley.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers to sit out a season, but the organization has been more lenient in granting waivers during the pandemic.

Martin, 21, is expected to compete for playing time at UConn on the wing as both a guard and small forward.