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Johnson’s 20 helps No. 18 NC State rally past Miami 87-82

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Thanks to a big finish, the North Carolina State Wolfpack are off to a start that draws comparisons to their first national championship season.

Reserve Markell Johnson scored 20 points and the No. 18 Wolfpack shot 57 percent in the second half to rally past Miami 87-82 in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams Thursday.

The Wolfpack (13-1) won their seventh game in a row and are off to their best start since the 1973-74 team that won the NCAA title.

“We’ve got to follow their footsteps,” Johnson said with a grin. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”

The Hurricanes (8-5) built their biggest lead at 74-64 with 10 minutes left, but the Wolfpack responded by scoring 13 consecutive points, and Devon Daniels’ driving layup put them ahead to stay with 6 1/2 minutes to go.

Johnson made four free throws in the final 28 seconds to seal the win.

“Definitely a game to build on,” Johnson said. “Being down 10 on the road to come back and win is big. We feel like we can come back from anything.”

Miami went nearly five minutes without a point and missed eight shots in a row. Both coaches said North Carolina State’s superior depth took a toll on the Hurricanes, who rotate seven players and had two of them battling cramps in the second half.

“I thought we would eventually wear those guys down,” Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts said.

“That’s going to be the issue all season,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said.

Johnson shot 6 for 8, made four 3-pointers and added five assists.

“He was tremendous,” Keatts said. “He controlled tempo at the end. He pushed the ball in transition and made some big shots for us.”

Johnson played only 23 minutes, in part because of foul trouble in the first half.

“He was the most west-rested player on the court the whole second half,” Larranaga said. “He just played great. He had himself a complete game. He’s very good, and we knew it.”

Daniels finished with 19 points for the Wolfpack, who outrebounded the smaller Hurricanes 51-29. Miami shot 29 free throws but sank only 16.

“That was a heck of a game,” Larranaga said. “My guys played their hearts out. If we had just made a few more free throws, it would have been a different outcome.”

Miami sophomore Chris Lykes scored a career-high 28 points on only 15 shots. Zach Johnson added 21 points.

The Hurricanes outscored North Carolina State 17-2 in the final five minutes of the first half to lead 45-37. The Wolfpack shot 37 percent in the first half and 46 percent for the game.

“In the first half we got stagnant on offense,” Daniels said. “Then we started moving the ball around more.”

INJURY REPORT

Wolfpack guard Blake Harris sat out because of a hip-pointer.

WARM RECEPTION

New Hurricanes football coach Manny Diaz sat courtside and was introduced during a timeout.

BIG PICTURE

The Wolfpack, who late last month cranked the rankings for the first time in nearly six years, will likely move even higher next week .

Miami lost facing a ranked team for the first time this season.

UP NEXT

N.C. State: Hosts No. 15 North Carolina on Tuesday.

Miami: At Louisville on Sunday.

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

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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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

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
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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

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
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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.