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Rutgers earns biggest win of the season over No. 9 Maryland

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Rutgers has inched a little closer to its first NCAA Tournament berth in almost three decades.

Jacob Young came off the bench and scored 17 points and the Scarlet Knights claimed their fourth ranked victim at home with a 78-67 victory over No. 9 Maryland on Tuesday night.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Rutgers (19-11, 10-9 Big Ten) and it was their school record 18th win home this season, tops in the nation. It includes wins over Seton Hall, Penn State and Illinois, who were ranked at the time and still are.

Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell refuses to talk about The Tournament or getting over the hump, insisting his focus is now on the regular season finale at Purdue.

“We have won a lot of games in the best league in the country,” Pikiell said. “We have had the No. 1 schedule in the country, not just in the league, the last seven or eight games. We won against a lot of really good teams. This is another one today. We have one more with Purdue and then the conference tournament.”

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If there is a knock on Rutgers it is the the team’s record on the road. It is 1-10 away from the RAC.

Gio Baker, who added 11 points for Rutgers, is not sure what the NCAA Tournament selection committee thinks about the Scarlet Knights.

“We feel like we are good enough,” Baker said. “I don’t know if we have done enough but we feel like we belong in the tournament. We have the talent with the right team and the right mindset. But we still have more games left.”

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon believes Rutgers should get a bid. The Terps (23-7, 13-6) certainly will despite three losses in their last four games.

“We don’t feel sorry for ourselves,” Turgeon said. “We know who we are. We didn’t get to 23-5 by not being a good basketball team playing a Top-10 schedule in the country. It’s just that this last 72 hours has not gone so well. I love my team. We’re going to bounce back, but we just didn’t have it tonight. Give Rutgers credit.”

Montez Mathis added 15 points for Rutgers, which 49% from the field, including 7 of 16 from long range.

Jalen Smith had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Maryland. Anthony Cowan added 19 points for the Terps, who shot an atrocious 6 of 32 from 3-point range, including 2 of 16 in the first half.

College Basketball Scoreboard

Young helped break the game open early, hitting his first four shots to ignite a 15-4 spurt that allowed the Scarlet Knights to open a 19-8 lead.

“My coach just tells me to stay ready and be the spark,” Young said.

Cowan and Smith helped the Terps stay close, eventually going to the locker room down 35-29.

The second half was all Rutgers. It hit 10 of its first 14 shots and led by as many as 21 points. Maryland held the lead for less than a minute in the game and only made it close in garbage time.

The game ended with Rutgers fans on the court celebrating a win that had major tournament implications.

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: Coupled with No. 16 Michigan State’s win over No. 20 Penn State, the Terps are tied for first place in the conference with one game to go. No. 23 Illinois and No. 24 Wisconsin can move into a first place tie with wins on Wednesday and Thursday.

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights are 4-4 in games against AP Top 25 teams and they can taste their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since the 1990-91 season. That was the last year Rutgers won 10 games in a league, going 14-4 in the Atlantic 10.

UP NEXT

Maryland: Finishes the regular season at home against No. 19 Michigan on Sunday.

Rutgers: Ends the regular season at Purdue on Saturday, and a win would probably seal the deal.

More AP college basketball: 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.