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Coffey’s 32 points helps Minnesota down No. 11 Purdue 73-69

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MINNEAPOLIS — Amir Coffey matched his career with 32 points, making two free throws with 2.5 seconds left Tuesday night to seal Minnesota’s 73-69 victory over No. 11 Purdue to give the Gophers a big boost for an NCAA Tournament berth and spoil the Boilermakers’ bid for an outright Big Ten title.

Carsen Edwards scored 22 points for Purdue (22-8, 15-4), but he needed 31 shots to get there and finished just 3 for 15 from 3-point range. The Boilermakers, who had their five-game winning streak broken and lost for only the second time in their last 15 games, fell into a three-way tie for first place in the conference with Michigan and Michigan State. The Wolverines and Spartans play each other this weekend, so the best the Boilermakers can do is tie for the regular-season title.

Jordan Murphy had all 13 of his points in the first half to go with 14 rebounds, with fellow seniors Dupree McBrayer (10 points, four rebounds, four assists) and Matz Stockman (nine points, six rebounds, seven blocks) also playing key roles for the Gophers (19-11, 9-10).

Ryan Cline scored 19 points for Purdue, making six of nine 3-pointers including a pair that came 23 seconds apart sandwiching a turnover by Minnesota and cut the lead to 64-61 with 3:06 left. The Gophers were up 68-61 after McBrayer made two free throws with 2:05 remaining, but Coffey missed three of four free throws on consecutive possessions before a 3-pointer by Edwards brought the Boilermakers within 71-69 with 5.2 seconds to go.

The Gophers nearly had the ball stolen on an errant inbound pass but maintained possession after a replay review. The next time they got the ball safely to Coffey, who was coming off his first career double-double with 31 points and 12 rebounds in a win at Northwestern, for the final pair of foul shots.

Nojel Eastern had 12 points and 10 rebounds and Grady Eifert added 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Boilermakers, who had won 47 of their last 57 regular-season Big Ten games. They were trying to become the first team since Ohio State in 2006 and 2007 to win two outright titles in a three-year span, having also taken the regular-season crown in 2017.

The Boilermakers had a 21-9 edge in second-chance points, including Eifert’s putback at the halftime buzzer to bring them within 37-27, and the Gophers sure weren’t counting on their opponent wilting down the stretch. Purdue’s 9-0 run tied the game at 54, the only time in the last 31:35 that Minnesota didn’t lead.

STELLAR SENIOR NIGHT

The Gophers honored with the requisite pregame ceremony their five seniors on the roster, including a rousing introduction as the “sixth man” of Jarvis Johnson, an acclaimed hometown recruit who was prevented from playing at all in college by a heart condition. McBrayer received an especially big ovation as he hugged his aunt, standing in for his late mother, Tayra McFarlane, who died Dec. 3 of cancer .

Murphy gave the Gophers his usual yeoman’s effort underneath to help offset their season-long struggle with the 3-point shot. Their high-low passing has been one of their best assets in a half-court offense that has often lagged, and Murphy was a frequent beneficiary.

Stockman, the 7-foot transfer from Louisville wrapping up his only season at Minnesota, ably assumed a much larger role in with backup big man Eric Curry lost for the season to a foot injury. Coffey just kept attacking the basket.

HOUNDING HAARMS

The Boilermakers have one of the most efficient offenses in the country by any statistical measure, but the Gophers gave them plenty of trouble in the first half, particularly in the paint. Matt Haarms, the 7-foot-3 sophomore who brought the best field goal percentage (64.5) in the Big Ten into the game, missed seven of his eight shots and finished with just three points.

BIG PICTURE

Purdue: Edwards, the leading scorer in the Big Ten, is bound to bounce back from this off-kilter shooting performance. More concerning for the Boilermakers, though, was the zero points they received from their bench.

Minnesota: With the pressure on coach Richard Pitino to reach the NCAA Tournament for only the second time in six seasons, this was one of the biggest wins of his career with the Gophers. After faltering at home last month against Wisconsin and Michigan, they finally put together a complete performance against a Top 25 team.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Plays at last-place Northwestern on Saturday afternoon. With a double bye and a spot in the quarterfinals secured, the first Big Ten tournament game for the Boilermakers will be on March 15.

Minnesota: Concludes the regular season conference schedule on Friday night at No. 24 Maryland, with a 2-8 record on the road this season. The Gophers will start the Big Ten tournament in the second round on March 14.

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

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

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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.