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Fourth-ranked Virginia routs Towson, 89-54, in men’s basketball opener; UMBC falls to Georgetown

Trey Murphy III scored 21 points a day after learning he was cleared to play and fellow transfer Sam Hauser added 19 points as No. 4 Virginia opened the season Wednesday with an 89-54 rout of Towson in a game played in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Jay Huff added 14 points for the Cavaliers, who never trailed and led by 23 points at halftime.

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Nicolas Timberlake scored 19 points for Towson, which was a late replacement after Maine withdrew from the game Tuesday. Maine paused all winter sports because of COVID-19 cases at the school and in its athletic department.

The game was the first in an 11-day event dubbed “Bubbleville,” which includes several tournaments and individual games being played inside the Mohegan Sun resort casino.

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“We’re grateful to be playing, but we have a lot of work to do,’' Towson head coach Pat Skerry said. “There are some things that we will need to get better at defensively. You hope to be a deep team, especially in this pandemic season; we’ll play some games here and come out of it with an idea of where we are at.”

Each program is given its own floor in the resort’s hotel tower and the teams are using back-of-house passageways to avoid the gaming floor and other guests.

Huff opened the game with a 3-pointer from left of the key and the Cavaliers ran out to an early 12-3 lead.

Murphy’s first points, one of his six 3-pointers, gave Virginia its first 20-point lead at 33-13. A 3-pointer from Hauser at the halftime buzzer sent the Cavaliers into the break up 42-19.

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Towson scored the first eight points after intermission, helped by a pair of 3-pointers from Timberlake.

But the Tigers had no answer for Hauser, Murphy or the 7-foot-1 Huff, who had four baskets in the first five minutes.

Murphy, a transfer from Rice, learned on Tuesday he’d received a waiver from the NCAA to play this season. He and Hauser, who played three seasons at Marquette, combined to go 14 of 18 from the field.

Murphy’s driving dunk and subsequent free throw midway through the second half gave the Cavaliers a 32-point lead at 68-36. That was part of a 22-2 second-half run.

The Cavaliers shot 35 of 63 (56%) from the floor and 15 of 29 (52%) from 3-point range. Hauser made all three of his shots from beyond the arc, Murphy went 6 of 8 and Huff was 2 for 3.

Timberlake was the lone bright spot for Towson, which lost its top three scorers from last season. The sophomore went 6 of 12 from the field, including five 3-pointers.

Towson has another Bubbleville game Thursday, taking on San Francisco.

Georgetown 70, UMBC 62: Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing draped a white towel over his right shoulder in memory of the late John Thompson during the Hoyas’ season-opening win.

Thompson, a Hall of Famer, died in August at age 78. He coached a Georgetown team led by center Ewing to the NCAA men’s basketball championship in 1984 and two other appearances in the title game. Thompson — whose son, John Thompson III, was Ewing’s immediate predecessor in charge of the Hoyas — was known for having a towel slung over his shoulder while coaching.

Jahvon Blair scored 23 points and Qudus Wahad had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Georgetown.

Brandon Horvath (Southern) led UMBC with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Coppin State-Marshall: Both of Coppin State’s men’s basketball games at the Marshall Memorial MTE scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday have been canceled due to COVID-19 related issues among Tier 1 personnel. The Eagles were on tap to take on the host Thundering Herd on Wednesday and Arkansas State on Thursday.

Women

Morgan State 67, UMBC 58: Ja’ Niah Nelson scored 19 points and Dahnye Redd added 16 points and 12 rebounds as the Bears opened their season with a victory over the Retrivers. Juliet Esadah had 16 points and 12 rebounds for UMBC and Janee’a Summers scored 17.

Towson 89, East Carolina 81: The Tigers were led by redshirt senior Kionna Jeter with 27 points and 12 rebounds, while junior Shavonne Smith added 13 points and sophomore Aleah Nelson scored 13. Towson starts the season 1-0 for the first time since the 2016-17 season.

Penn State 84, Coppin State 45: Aliyah Lawson led the Coppin State women’s basketball team with 12 points as the Eagles dropped their season opener at Penn State at the Bryce Jordan Center.

A native of Whitby, Ontario, Canada, Lawson hit a pair of 3-pointers and was credited with three rebounds, three assists and a steal. Nailah Delinois added nine points, four rebounds, two steals and a block in her Coppin debut while Tyree Allen and Jalynda Salley chipped in with eight and seven points, respectively. Salley grabbed six rebounds to lead the Eagles on the glass.

The Nittany Lions had four players score in double figures with Tova Sabel scoring a team-high 14 points off the bench. Anna Camden and Kelly Jekot also posted double doubles.

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