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Johnson’s Heave Lifts NC State Past UNC Greensboro 80-77 (VIDEO)

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Markell Johnson knew there were only a few seconds left in a tie game as the inbound pass came his way with North Carolina State facing overtime.

“Get it up before the time went out,” Johnson said, “that was the only thing that was going through my mind.”

Johnson did just that, launching a running heave from beyond halfcourt that dropped cleanly through the net at the horn to give the Wolfpack an 80-77 win against UNC Greensboro on Sunday.

Johnson was immediately mobbed by teammates and nearly tackled into the scorer’s table, though he eventually caught his feet well enough to start waving his left arm toward the crowd in the Greensboro Coliseum.

“It just felt like it was right,” Johnson said of the shot.

It was a remarkable play that came immediately after a tough tying basket from Isaiah Miller over Johnson with 2.1 seconds left in what turned into a wild finish between instate programs.

Johnson finished with 19 points for the Wolfpack, who blew a 13-point second-half lead but hung on thanks to the senior’s final heave. It’s the second one from near halfcourt that he’s hit this year, the first coming just before halftime in a win against Wisconsin in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Miller had banked in a tough shot over Johnson from the paint to tie the game at 77, capping his own at-times dominant second-half performance. Jericole Hellems fired the inbound pass to Johnson, who took one dribble then jumped off his left foot to launch.

“I never think those shots go in,” Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts said, who added that he started thinking it looked good during its flight.

It was a thought shared farther down the Wolfpack bench, too.

“I think probably two or three of the guys sitting next to me … at the time it went up, everybody pretty much said, ‘It’s going in,” graduate transfer Pat Andree said.

Miller scored 21 of his 26 points after halftime for the Spartans (8-3), who lost for the second time on a shot from beyond halfcourt at the buzzer.

“We’re really invested,” Spartans coach Wes Miller said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys that really work at it and really care. So emotionally this will be difficult today. But I think it would be a lot more difficult if that was the last game of the year.”

BIG PICTURE

N.C. State: N.C. State had been off since last weekend’s win at Wake Forest to even its Atlantic Coast Conference record at 1-1. N.C. State shot 60% for the game and hit 13 of 26 3-pointers, the last standing out as a highlight-reel moment in the building the Wolfpack will visit in March for the ACC Tournament.

UNC Greensboro: The Spartans already had a notable win this year, beating Georgetown on the road on Nov. 30. This time they were trying to win a second straight meeting with the Wolfpack, the last coming two years ago in Raleigh when they rallied from 14 down before halftime. They were also playing without second-leading scorer and rebounder Kaleb Hunter, who is sidelined by an ankle injury.

‘SCARY MOVIE’

UNC Greensboro lost 67-66 on a banked-in heave to Montana State at home on Nov. 16, prompting both Isaiah Miller and James Dickey refer to a feeling of deja vu after this one.

“You’re kind of just in a little daze until you see that ball bounce off that rim,” Dickey said. “I really wasn’t thinking about anything, I was just kind of just watching like a movie, and it was a scary movie today.”

MILLER’S WORK

The 6-foot Miller played with a fiery competitive edge throughout the second half, both on offense and in his role near the top of the Spartans’ pressure defense.

He made 8 of 14 shots after halftime to score more than half of the Spartans’ points to go with five rebounds.

“I had seen they were switching a lot,” he said. “So I usually was just trying to switch on the (4-man) or the big man, get downhill. If I saw any advantage, I just took it.”

UP NEXT

N.C. State: No. 12 Auburn hosts the Wolfpack on Thursday in the second game of a home-and-home series, with N.C. State winning the first last season.

UNC Greensboro: The Spartans visit Vermont on Wednesday.

Ivy League calls off fall sports due to outbreak

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The Ivy League on Wednesday became the first Division I conference to say it will not play sports this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press. The league left open the possibility of moving some seasons to the spring if the outbreak is better controlled by then.

The decision was described to the AP by a person speaking on the condition of anonymity in advance of the official announcement.

Although the coalition of eight academically elite schools does not grant athletic scholarships or compete for an NCAA football championship, the move could have ripple effects throughout the big business of college sports. Football players in the Power Five conferences have already begun workouts for a season that starts on Aug. 29, even as their schools weigh whether to open their campuses to students or continue classes remotely.

The Ivy decision affects not just football but everything before Jan. 1, including soccer, field hockey, volleyball and cross country, as well as the nonconference portion of the basketball season.

Power Five conferences told The Associated Press on Wednesday that they were still considering their options. But it was the Ivy League’s March 10 decision to scuttle its postseason basketball tournament that preceded a cascade of cancellations that eventually enveloped all major college and professional sports.

“What’s happening in other conferences is clearly a reflection of what’s happening nationally and any decisions are made within that context,” said Dr. Chris Kratochvil, the chair of the Big Ten’s infectious disease task force, adding that there is no “hard deadline” for a decision.

“Clearly, regardless of what happens in the fall, sports are coming back eventually,” he said. “So we want to make sure that whenever that time (is) right to return to competition, that we have the infrastructure and the recommendations in place to be able to do so safely for the student-athletes, staff, coaches, fans, students.”

Ivy League schools are spread across seven Northeastern states that, as of mid-July, have seen some success at controlling the COVID-19 outbreak. But most of those states still ban large gatherings; under the Massachusetts reopening plan, Harvard would not be allowed to have fans in the stands until a vaccine is developed.

Harvard has already announced that all classes for both semesters will be held virtually; dorms will be open only to freshmen and seniors. Yale said it would limit its dorms to 60% capacity and said most classes would be conducted remotely. Princeton will also do most of its teaching online, with dorms at half capacity.

Coaches 4 Change: Siena’s Carmen Maciariello spearheads social justice initiative

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Carmen Maciariello found himself in the same place so many of us did in the days after George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis.

Devastated by what he was seeing. Motivated to find a way to use his platform as the head coach at Siena College to enact change. Struggling with how, as he puts it, “a white head coach from privilege at a school in New York,” can have real, honest, open dialogue with his majority-Black roster.

So he picked up the phone. He called Louis Orr, his former college coach and now an assistant coach at Georgetown. He called his closest friends in the coaching business. He called his advisor, Brad Konerman, an entrepreneur who connected him with a couple of talented website designers. By early June, 25 like-minded people from all walks of life were on a zoom call.

“I’ve never been pulled over and feared for my life for not using my blinker,” Maciariello, who is white, told me. “We had those conversations. How are we talking to our teams about that? What are we doing with the police? How can we help our young people navigate through these tough times?”

That’s how Coaches 4 Change was born.

Maciariello has grand plans for the organization. On a zoom call with nearly all of the 43 coaches that have committed to the group to date, he said he wants “to try to change the world. Let’s not think small, we’ve gotta think big with this.” He is not lacking for ambition.

But Maciariello also understands that something like this has to start small and it has to start locally. It’s why he limited the first group of invitees to coaches that are “doing this for the right reasons.”

“I didn’t want to have a donate link and bring in coaches that felt like, ‘I donated money, I did my part supporting it,” he said. “It was about the time commitment and the vision. We have to focus on one thing first.”

That first thing?

Voting.

C4C developed a sleek, interactive website to help educate young people about social injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement, things as basic as the difference between systemic and systematic racism and Jackie Robinson’s impact on sports. But the site also provides users with all of the information necessary to vote in this year’s elections, information on what makes voting so important in a democracy and — most importantly — a tutorial for how a person in every state can register to vote, where their polling stations are and whether or not they are eligible for mail-in voting. Their website also has a ‘Keep Learning‘ page that links to all documentaries, podcasts, audiobooks and literary resources available on all streaming platforms, including content for children.

C4C has partnered with Vote.org with a goal of “100 percent voter registration for all college athletes” regardless of the sport they play, Maciariello said.

Currently, the only coaches involved with C4C are men’s college basketball coaches, but that will change. They are in the process of reaching out to counterparts on the women’s side, and will eventually invite staff members from other sports as well. One of the barriers to entry to become a member will be ensuring that every player on a coach’s team is registered to vote.

Eventually, Maciariello envisions C4C developing community outreach initiatives. He wants the members of C4C to connect with their campus communities and put together voter registration drives for students. He wants to eventually connect with lawmakers and work on changing legislation that helps systemic racism continue to exist.

No one ever said he wasn’t ambitious.

But he knows he has to start somewhere, and that somewhere is this platform.

“I want to engage people in issues,” he said. “Educate them, empower them to change, encourage them to grow and evolve.”

CBT Podcast: Pat Chambers, moving the season up, Running Back Buddy Hield’s 46 points at Kansas

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In the latest edition of the Run It Back podcast, Rob Dauster and Bobby Reagan recap Buddy Hield’s memorable 46-point outburst in a three-overtime loss to Kansas in Phog Allen Fieldhouse in a battle of No. 1 vs. No. 1 back in 2016. The game was unbelievable. Before they dive into the game itself, the boys talk through Pat Chambers’ noose comments to Rasir Bolton and the potential for the college basketball season to get moved up.

Michael Jordan, Roy Williams among UNC greats to condemn systemic racism

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Roy Williams and Michael Jordan joined numerous North Carolina luminaries in condemning systemic racism and voicing support for the Black Lives Matter movement in a video that was released by the school on Monday.

“Systematic racism has to stop now,” Jordan said in the video. “We must take the time to listen and educate our family, our friends, our children on social injustice and racial inequality. Black Lives Matter more now than ever before. We have to get this right, so please take time to educate yourself and improve the lives of many people, many Black people. Thank you.”

James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Tyler Hansbrough, Luke Maye and Sean May were among the former players that appeared in the video.

Williams led by discussing Charlie Scott, who was the first Black scholarship athlete in UNC’s history.

“Some of the greatest to play our game have been Black players, but here we are more than 50 years later and our country is still fighting systemic racism and police brutality against Black men and women,” Williams said. “The North Carolina basketball program, our family, our current and former players believe Black lives matter, and it’s critically important that we don’t just believe it. We must stand together and loudly and clearly demand that we as a country and the world embrace the fundamental human right that Black lives matter.”

Former Penn State guard Rasir Bolton left program after coach Pat Chambers made noose comment

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Former Penn State point guard Rasir Bolton has accused of Pat Chambers of making racially insensitive remarks, including a reference to a noose.

According to Bolton, who tweeted about the incident on Monday morning, midway through his freshman season in 2018-19 with the Nittany Lions, Chambers made a reference to a “noose” about Bolton’s neck.  Bolton described the encounter in an interview with the Undefeated, and said that the phrase was a result of Chambers talking about easing the pressure on his freshman’s shoulders. “I want to loosen the noose that’s around your neck,” Bolton recalled.

Bolton also alleged that after his parents went to the Athletic Director with their concerns about this statement, Chambers told him during an exit interview that he was impressed by how “well-spoken” and “organized” his parents are. Remarks like this are considered racially-insensitive because they are based on the underlying assumption that Black people are not expected to be either organized or articulate.

Chambers, to his credit, admitted his wrong in making the noose comment.

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“I’ve realized the pain my words and ignorance caused Rasir Bolton and his family and I apologize to Rasir and the Bolton family for what I said,” Chambers’ statement read. “I failed to comprehend the experiences of others, and the reference I make was hurtful, insensitive and unacceptable I cannot apologize enough for what I said, and I will carry that forever.”

Bolton left Penn State after his freshman season and transferred to Iowa State. He was given immediately eligibility with the Cyclones after mentioning the noose comment when applying for a waiver. He averaged 14.7 points this past season with Iowa State. He also alleged that after he came to the Penn State athletic department with this claim, they offered him a meeting with a sports psychologist who told him how to “deal with Coach Chambers’ personality type.”