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Koumadje has double-double as No. 17 Florida St. routs Wake

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Christ Koumadje hasn’t had many chances to make an impact on games this season. But he used his long, 7-foot-4 frame to dominate Wake Forest for the best night of his college career.

Koumadje recorded his first career double-double, with a season-high 20 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, to help No. 17 Florida State rout Wake Forest 88-66 on Wednesday night.

“He did a really good job of going to the offensive glass early on, especially in our zone,” Wake Forest coach Danny Manning said. “We didn’t turn and go hit him, he brought the contact to us. When he gets within four feet of the basket, when he jumps, he’s right there at the rim.”

Koumadje, who is playing in his 109th career game, played just 24 minutes but was efficient from start to finish. He made 10 of 12 shots from the floor as the Seminoles won their sixth straight game.

While he has been an effective rebounder this season, Koumadje didn’t score in Florida State’s last game and hadn’t produced more than nine points in his previous 10 ACC games this season. But he was a significant part of the game plan from the start on Wednesday, scoring 12 points and pulling down eight rebounds as the Seminoles took a 38-31 halftime lead.

“The coaches demand energy from me,” Koumadje said. “Coming out, I was just trying to be aggressive. My teammates found me. I was crashing the glass.”

Phil Cofer scored 13 points and Mfiondu Kabengele had nine points and seven rebounds for Florida State (19-5, 7-4 ACC), which enjoyed its most lopsided win against an ACC team this season. The Seminoles’ previous best performance was an 80-62 win at Syracuse on Feb. 5.

Florida State outrebounded Wake Forest 43-27. Koumadje had five of the Seminoles’ 12 offensive rebounds.

“We didn’t rebound the ball the way we had typically rebounded in league play,” Manning said. “We have to do a better job on the backboard.”

Chaundee Brown scored 20 points on 7 of 12 shooting and Brandon Childress had 11 points for Wake Forest (9-14, 2-9). The Demon Deacons are just 1-6 against ranked teams this season.

Wake Forest shot 38.6 percent (22 of 57) from the floor.

Cofer and P.J. Savoy each made three 3-pointers as the Seminoles shot 38.5 percent (10 for 26) from beyond the arc.

The Seminoles shot 56.5 percent (35 of 62) from the floor. They had 13 players score in the game as Florida State’s bench produced 41 points.

“We intended to get them in regardless,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said of using the reserves. “They were very effective when they went in.”

Florida State has won six straight ACC games for the first time since the 2011-12 season in which the Seminoles also won the league tournament.

STRENGTH IS DEPTH

Koumadje is the eighth Florida State player to lead the team in scoring in a game this season. Others who have led the way for the Seminoles are Cofer, Kabengele, P.J. Savoy, Terance Mann, M.J. Walker, Trent Forrest and David Nichols.

SOME IMPROVEMENT

Wake Forest came in shooting 29.8 percent from 3-point range. But Childress and Brown each made 3-pointers on Wednesday as the Demon Deacons shot 44 percent (11 of 25) from beyond the arc.

“They hit some 3s that we contested very well,” Hamilton said.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Few ACC teams have been as impressive as Florida State the past three weeks. The Seminoles could move up into the top 15.

BIG PICTURE

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons battled for a half but lost for a sixth straight time in Tallahassee, where they haven’t won since 2008.

Florida State: The Seminoles shot 64.5 percent (20 of 31) in the second half and only committed four turnovers in the final 20 minutes.

UP NEXT

Wake Forest hosts North Carolina on Saturday.

Florida State plays at Georgia Tech on Saturday.

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.