NCAA

Rutgers suspends coach Mike Rice 3 games

Rutgers suspends coach Mike Rice 3 games

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Rutgers has suspended coach Mike Rice three games without pay and fined him $50,000 for a violation of department policy.

Athletic director Tim Pernetti announced the decision Thursday. He said the suspension is a result of inappropriate behavior and language, not NCAA violations.

``Mike will not be permitted to do anything. He'll be removed from the program. He won't be able to be active in his role as head basketball coach inside or outside the university,'' Pernetti said. ``The suspension for this period of time and these games is a complete removal from the program.''

Rice will return to his duties as head coach Jan. 2 at Syracuse.

``I was made aware of some things within the last couple of weeks. We commenced a thorough, lengthy and fair investigation and this was the result of that investigation,'' Pernetti said. ``There was obviously some things that are not to the Rutgers' standard that we evaluated and decided upon.''

Associate head coach David Cox will serve as the team's interim coach. Cox said Rice will learn from his mistakes. Cox said he didn't see a specific incident that would have got Rice into trouble. He said Rice is an intense, passionate coach, along the lines of former Temple coach John Chaney or former Georgetown coach John Thompson.

``I think times have changed,'' Cox said. ``We probably as coaches, as adults, have to come a little bit further to meet some of these young men that we're working with in this day and age.''

Rutgers is 6-2 this season, and defeated George Washington, 68-65, on Tuesday at home. Rice, in his third season at the Big East school, apologized to his team and the university and says he's made a commitment to becoming a better coach.

``Accountability is a vital element of the Rutgers athletics family and it is imperative our head coaches act and lead in a responsible manner,'' Pernetti said. ``This was not an easy decision for me to make but absolutely necessary to ensure what is best for our program.''

Rice, 43, a former guard at Fordham, came to Rutgers from Robert Morris, where he took the Colonials to the NCAA tournament twice. His father, Mike Sr., also was a college coach, at Duquesne.

``Since becoming a coach at the age of 21, I have taken great pride in not only helping young men learn the game of basketball but also in teaching them about character, respect and hard work,'' Rice said. ``To the extent that my conduct has ever been in contrast with those principles, I have failed my players - and myself - and I take full responsibility for my actions and accept the terms of my suspension.

``I will learn from my mistakes and I will become a better coach, teacher and role model.''

The Scarlet Knights have not made the NCAA tournament since 1991. Rice, who replaced Fred Hill, was expected to push Rutgers up to the higher echelon of the Big East, but entered this season with just a 29-35 record at the school. He is also just 11-25 in conference games.

Forward Austin Johnson said he was shocked to learn Rice was being punished.

``All I recall is being at high-intensity practices day in and day out,'' he said. ``Even if it was high intensity, we reciprocated and we tried to give it back.''

Rutgers will host UAB (5-5) on Sunday.

Blair scores 21 to lift Georgetown over SMU

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Blair scores 21 to lift Georgetown over SMU

DALLAS — Jahvon Blair matched his career-high with 21 points as Georgetown defeated SMU 91-74 on Saturday night.

Mac McClung had 19 points and seven assists for Georgetown (6-3). Omer Yurtseven added 19 points and Jamorko Pickett had 11 for the visitors.

Kendric Davis had 17 points for the Mustangs (8-1), whose eight-game season-opening winning streak ended. Feron Hunt added 17 points. Tyson Jolly had 16 points and six rebounds.

Georgetown plays Syracuse at home next Saturday. SMU takes on Georgia on the road next Friday.

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VCU rides impressive second half to take down Old Dominion

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VCU rides impressive second half to take down Old Dominion

RICHMOND, Va. — Marcus Santos-Silva posted 13 points as VCU topped Old Dominion 69-57 on Saturday night.

Issac Vann had 10 points for VCU (7-2). Marcus Evans added 10 points. De'Riante Jenkins had six rebounds for the hosts.

Malik Curry had 11 points for the Monarchs (3-7), who have now lost six games in a row. Xavier Green added 11 points. Dajour Dickens had 10 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.

VCU plays Missouri State at home next Sunday. Old Dominion matches up against Illinois on the road next Saturday.

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