Getty Images

Williamson scores 30, No. 1 Duke routs Wake Forest 87-65

Leave a comment

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Nobody in college basketball attacks the rim quite like freshman sensation Zion Williamson does. His Duke teammates started doing it in the second half, and suddenly the top-ranked Blue Devils had yet another blowout victory.

Williamson scored a season-high 30 points with 10 rebounds, and Duke won its first road game of the season by beating Wake Forest 87-65 on Tuesday night.

RJ Barrett finished with 21 points and matched a season high with seven assists, and Cameron Reddish added 10 points during his best game in a month, helping the Blue Devils (13-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) win their eighth in a row.

The high-flying Williamson was 13 of 16 from the field with three 3-pointers — he entered with four all season — in surpassing the 28 points he scored in his debut against No. 2 Kentucky. While he was 3 of 4 from 3-point range, his teammates were a combined 4 of 19.

“Coach is always telling me to shoot the ball, and at first I was like, if it’s not falling, I’m really not going to shoot it,” Williamson said. “Even when I miss, they say, `Keep shooting. You can make it.’ … Even after I shot one over the rim, they were like, `Z, shoot another one,’ and I got it right back and made it. I think my confidence shooting 3s is getting a lot better.”

Duke pulled away in the second half, outscoring Wake Forest 45-31 and shooting 63 percent in the final 20 minutes while making 17 of 22 shots from inside the 3-point arc. The Blue Devils finished with 13 blocked shots while having none of theirs rejected and outscored Wake Forest 58-22 in the paint.

“Any time we rebounded defensively, we had a fast break,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “So there was going to be stuff in the lane, and when we didn’t (rebound on defense), they got second shots. When we get our transition going, we’re better. We’re just better. That’s an integral part of our game.”

The Blue Devils took command when they began driving to the basket with a vengeance, hitting five consecutive layups to start the second half to push their lead into double figures for good. The margin grew from there, with Barrett stretching it into the 20s with a 3 with about 11 minutes left.

Freshman forward Jaylen Hoard scored 13 points, and Sharone Wright Jr. and Brandon Childress had 12 apiece for the Demon Deacons (7-7, 0-2), who have lost three of four to fall to .500 for the first time since November.

BIG PICTURE

Duke: There might have been a concern about how the highly touted freshmen would handle their first game on an opponent’s home floor — especially considering the Blue Devils had lost six of their last nine ACC road openers. Nothing to worry about in this one, but tougher tests are coming.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons haven’t been able to get over the hump against the best teams on their schedule. They’ve lost nine straight against Top 25 opponents and have dropped 25 of 26 against ranked teams, with the lone victory an upset of No. 8 Louisville in March 2017. And they’re a combined 0-14 against rivals Duke and North Carolina under fifth-year coach Danny Manning.

“Disappointed to lose. That’s always the mindset, but you’ve got to dig yourself out of it,” Manning said. “It’s the best league in college basketball. This is the league we signed up for.”

KEY STATS

Duke had 24 assists on 36 baskets, while Wake Forest had just six on its 22 buckets. . The Blue Devils put up 15 3-pointers in the first half (making five) but took just eight in the second half (making two). . Reddish was in double figures for the first time since he scored 10 points against Yale on Dec. 8. . Marques Bolden added 12 points for Duke.

HE SAID IT

“`You’re a bad guy because you haven’t done it,’ or `We’re not as good because we haven’t done that yet.’ Ludicrous, really. . When I see stuff like that, come on. It cheapens that person’s . knowledge of the game. Come on, man. We come up with a top-10 schedule every year.” — Krzyzewski, when asked about not playing a true road game until now.

UP NEXT

Duke: Faces a more challenging road test Saturday at No. 13 Florida State.

Wake Forest: Visits Miami on Saturday.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
4 Comments

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
1 Comment

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
7 Comments

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

Getty Images
4 Comments

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
4 Comments

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.