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North Carolina beats No. 20 UNLV 79-73

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North Carolina beats No. 20 UNLV 79-73

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) P.J. Hairston scored 15 points in his first career start to help North Carolina beat No. 20 UNLV 79-73 on Saturday.

Dexter Strickland added a season-high 16 points for the Tar Heels (10-3), who led by 15 points in the first half and by nine at the break. But UNC had to turn away a second-half surge by the Runnin' Rebels (11-2) to earn the program's 63rd straight home win against nonconference opponents.

Freshman Anthony Bennett had 15 points and 13 rebounds for UNLV, which led by a point briefly in the second half but spent most of the game in catch-up mode. Katin Reinhardt and Anthony Marshall each added 15 points for the Runnin' Rebels, who also got Mike Moser back from an elbow injury after a four-game absence.

Hairston started in place of Reggie Bullock, who sat out with a mild concussion suffered in Thursday's practice.

Hairston finished 5 for 10 from the field and hit two 3-pointers, but the 6-foot-5 sophomore turned in a strong overall performance that included four rebounds, four steals and two charges taken. He also knocked down two free throws with 28.5 seconds left that made it a two-possession game after the Runnin' Rebels had closed within 76-73.

Strickland added two more free throws with 4.7 seconds left.

James Michael McAdoo shook off a poor first half and finished with 13 points and nine rebounds for the Tar Heels, who shot 51 percent for the game and scored 18 points off 17 turnovers by UNLV.

The Tar Heels fell out of the Top 25 after a loss at Texas and hadn't played since a 34-point home win over McNeese State three days before Christmas. They looked sharp and active early in this one, frequently getting hands in passing lanes or stripping the ball to build the first-half lead.

Then, after UNLV had closed within one midway through the second half, the Tar Heels put together a 7-1 spurt to re-build some of its lost early cushion. McAdoo scored a tough basket over Bennett inside, then freshman Marcus Paige followed with a jumper over Khem Birch.

Two minutes later, freshman Brice Johnson went up in traffic to rebound a missed shot from Strickland and score on a putback that made it 71-64 with 4:40 left.

Strickland hit a jumper near the foul line that barely beat the shot clock for a 74-68 lead with 1:30 left, though the Tar Heels couldn't close it out until those final seconds.

Moser, a 6-8 junior averaging about 11 points and eight rebounds, hadn't played since dislocating his right elbow at California on Dec. 9. He was hurt when his right arm bent awkwardly under an opposing player as the two dived on the court for a loose ball.

He recently returned to practice, entered this game at the 13:28 mark of the first half and knocked down a 3-pointer over J.P. Tokoto just before halftime to bring the Runnin' Rebels within 39-30. It was his only basket of the game.

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John Wall takes another step in rehab, facing teammates in practice

John Wall takes another step in rehab, facing teammates in practice

WASHINGTON -- The steady progress continues for John Wall in his rehab from a ruptured left Achilles tendon, as the Wizards point guard is now facing teammates in 4-on-4 drills at practice.

Head coach Scott Brooks described the games as "controlled," noting they were not full-speed or with contact and featured a 10-second shot clock. But that remains a notable step in his road back after he had previously been playing mostly against player development coaches.

"He practiced for the whole practice. He looked great," Brooks said. "There is still a ways to go. But his energy, his enthusiasm, his strength [looks good]. His shot looks better."

Wall, 29, hasn't played in a game since Dec. 26 of 2018. He had surgery on his Achilles on Feb. 12, 2019. He is currently over 11 months into what is typically an 11-to-15 month recovery.

Brooks, though, makes a point to couch positive updates about Wall with patience. The team has indicated he may not play at all this season.

"I don't know if he plays this year," Brooks said. "We can be patient and we're going to be patient because we need him to be right for a lot of years. This is his career and we know how serious that injury is. He's taking it serious."

Part of the equation is the financial commitment the Wizards have made in Wall. He is due roughly $131.5 million over the next three seasons. They want to make sure he is good to go not just for this year, but that he can be effective for the remainder of his contract.

According to Brooks, even having Wall back to this level has added some positive energy to the Wizards' organization.

"I know the excitement is around because he's around and he's looking [good]," Brooks said. "When he comes back, he's going to be the John Wall we all love."

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Houston QB D'Eriq King reportedly transfers to Miami over Maryland

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Houston QB D'Eriq King reportedly transfers to Miami over Maryland

Just one week after announcing that he had entered the NCAA transfer portal, University of Houston QB D'Eriq King has reportedly chosen Miami over Maryland.

The Athletic's Hurricanes beat writer Manny Navarro reports that King has informed Canes coaches of his decision and intent to start classes Tuesday, Jan. 21. 

At the same time, Mark Berman of Fox26 reported that King has not made a final decision but did indeed like Miami.

 

King was scheduled to visit Miami Friday night and Maryland on Saturday, but Jeff Ermann of InsideMDSports reports that King may have cancelled his visit to second-year head coach Mike Locksley and company last minute after liking Miami. Berman reports that King is still "planning" on visiting College Park.

The Terps struggled to finish 3-9 with Josh Jackson and Tyrell Pigrome under center, combining for 16 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. Under first-year head coach Manny Diaz, Miami went 6-7 over 2019.

King redshirted this season after playing the maximum four games allowed under new NCAA rules in order to preserve eligibility and transfer for  his senior season. In those four games, King tallied 663 passing yards and six touchdowns. 

The sought-after QB is also just one of three in FBS history that have recorded at least 35 passing touchdowns and 13 rushing touchdowns in a single season.

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