North Carolina Coach Roy Williams said in a statement that players had previously handled safety protocols well but made a mistake after beating Duke “for which they are paying a very significant price.” Kathy Kmonicek/Associated Press

 

North Carolina’s players and managers have apologized for not following school and athletics COVID-19 guidelines tied to a celebration after a win at rival Duke.

The school on Tuesday released a group statement by the players and managers, as well as a statement from Coach Roy Williams. Those statements came less than a day after the Tar Heels’ home game against Miami was postponed about two hours before tipoff after video emerged on social media of players Armando Bacot and Day’Ron Sharpe mingling with multiple other people celebrating Saturday’s win with no one wearing a mask.

The group statement said it was intended to be a private gathering before “several” friends who are not team members were allowed to attend. The statement notes that multiple players and managers attended and “not just the ones shown on the video” on social media, while they didn’t wear masks despite being inside.

Their statement also apologizes to Williams and the coaching staff for “not stepping forward when he first addressed it” on Sunday.

In his statement, Williams said the players had previously handled safety protocols well but made a mistake “for which they are paying a very significant price.”

BIG TEN: Big Ten officials announced Tuesday that the conference is moving next month’s men’s basketball tournament from Chicago to Indianapolis.

The tournament will be played March 10-14 at Lucas Oil Stadium, site of this year’s Final Four. The Big Ten women’s tournament was already scheduled to take place the same week at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and WNBA’s Indiana Fever. The venues are just a few blocks apart.

League officials say the decision was made because of health and safety concerns, the ability to enact consistent medical protocols for both tournaments, and the centralized accommodations in a city that already is planning to host most of the 67 NCAA men’s tournament games in March and April.

Indianapolis also was the site of last year’s Big Ten Tournament, which was canceled before the second day of games began because of the coronavirus pandemic.

GONZAGA: The top-ranked Bulldogs (19-0, 10-0 West Coast Conference) led wire-to-wire in earning their 23rd straight victory late Monday night as Jalen Suggs scored 24 points and Drew Timme had 20 points and 13 rebounds to on an 82-71 win over BYU.

The most recent loss for Gonzaga, a 91-78 setback against BYU, came on Feb. 22 last year when the Bulldogs were ranked No. 2 in the nation.

“We just remembered last year,” Timme said. “It’s still a bitter taste in my mouth.”

(11) ALABAMA 81, SOUTH CAROLINA 78: John Petty Jr. scored 20 points and visiting Alabama (16-5, 11-1 SEC) held off South Carolina (5-8, 3-6) to bounce back from its first Southeastern Conference loss of the season.

The Crimson Tide were off to their best league start in 65 years before falling to 10th-ranked Missouri last Saturday. But behind Petty’s first 20-point game in six contests, Alabama won its sixth straight over the Gamecocks.

(13) TEXAS 80, KANSAS STATE 77: Andrew Jones scored 24 points and visiting Texas (12-5, 6-4 Big 12) held off Kansas State (5-16, 1-11).

Greg Brown added 17 points and Courtney Ramey had 14 for the Longhorns, who snapped a three-game skid.

Mike McGuirl missed a 3-point attempt from half court in the waning seconds for the Wildcats, who have lost 11 straight. Kansas State hasn’t won since Dec. 29.

FOOTBALL

MONTANA STATE: Brent Vigen, who recruited Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz to North Dakota State and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen to Wyoming, was hired Monday as head coach.

Vigen was associate head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Wyoming for the past four seasons.

He was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at North Dakota State from 2009-13. The Bison won three straight FCS championships from 2011-13. Vigen followed coach Craig Bohl to Wyoming in 2014.

At Montana State, he takes over for Jeff Choate, who left to become co-defensive coordinator under Steve Sarkisian at Texas.


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