Richmond Times-Dispatch

Duke opts out of nonconfere­nce play

Blue Devils will pick up men’s schedule next week vs. Notre Dame

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Duke won’t play any more nonconfere­nce men’s basketball games in the regular season.

The school announced the move Thursday. That followed coronaviru­s-related postponeme­nts of three nonconfere­nce games this year, though only one had been reschedule­d.

In a release, the school said it was a cautionary step due to the pandemic as well as allowing players to spend time with families over the Christmas holidays.

“This is the best decision we could make as a program, in making sure that we are doing the right thing for our players,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement.

Duke was originally scheduled to open Nov. 25 against Gardner-Webb, though that game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test and contact tracing within the Runnin’ Bulldogs program. That game was eventually reschedule­d for Dec. 19.

Games against Elon for

Dec. 6 and Charleston Southern on Saturday had already been postponed as those programs paused team activities, with no make-up date for either.

Duke (2-2) has lost home games to No. 4 Michigan State and No. 6 Illinois. The Blue Devils open Atlantic Coast Conference play at Notre Dame on Wednesday, followed by a Dec. 29 visit from Pittsburgh.

Utah State halting play

Utah State’s men’s basketball team is pausing full team activities and has canceled its game against Weber State on Saturday due to positive COVID-19 tests within the program.

South Carolina has called off its men’s basketball game at George Washington on Monday because of a positive COVID-19 test.

The team paused activities Tuesday and canceled a home game with Wofford scheduled for Thursday. The school said the earliest the team could resume activities was Dec. 16 and only if there are no further positive tests between now and then.

LateWednes­day

Missouri 69, Liberty 60: Mark Smith scored 12 of his 17 points after halftime, Dru Smith added 14 points and Missouri turned back visiting Liberty.

Xavier Pinson added 12 points for the Tigers (4-0), who trailed at halftime for the first time this season. Blake Preston scored 12 points for the Flames (4-3), who led 32-28 at the break.

Mizzou shot 57% in the second half while Liberty went 2 of 13 behind the arc and shot 30%.

Hokies rally in ACC opener

Virginia Tech rallied from an 11-point deficit, then dominated visiting Pitt in the fourth quarter to claim an 88-71 victory in the ACC opener for both teams.

Cayla King scored 29 points with seven 3-pointers to pace the Hokies (6-0, 1-0), who outscored the Panthers 25-8 in the final quarter.

Dayshanett­e Harris paced the Panthers (2-2, 0-1) with 22 points.

Clemson 71, Virginia 55:

The Cavaliers cut an 18-point deficit to 7 in the fourth quarter, but the visiting Tigers pulled away for a victory in the ACC opener for both teams.

Danae McNeal scored a team-high 11 points off the bench for the Tigers (6-0, 1-0).

Amandine Toi paced the Cavaliers (0-4, 0-1) with a career-high 23 points, going 5-of-9 from 3-point range.

Radford-Georgia canceled: Radford’s game against Georgia has been canceled because of a positive COVID-19 test within the Highlander­s’ program.

The Lady Bulldogs (5-0) were scheduled to host Radford

(0-2) on Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum.

The Highlander­s last played Sunday. They lost to Marshall 69-58.

Georgia has no plans to schedule a replacemen­t game.

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