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LCC a good place to shoot the 3

Ibi Watson of Dayton shoots a 3-pointer against Georgia on Monday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The Maui News

Men’s college basketball players have had to adjust to the new 3-point line this season, but Lahaina Civic Center provides a good environment for letting it fly from behind the arc, says Dayton’s Obi Toppin.

“For me, it’s different a little bit playing in this gym, shooting from the 3-point line, because in our gym it’s, like, the backboard, you could see the whole stands, and it feels like the basket is further,” the Flyers forward said after his 25-point effort in an 80-61 victory over Georgia in the first round of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational on Monday. “But in here, it’s like going back to high school. It’s like a good feeling.”

This summer, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved for men’s Division I that the 3-point line be pushed to the distance of 22 feet, 1.75 inches, matching the international line.

The previous line was 20-9, which was moved back prior to the 2008-09 season. The NBA 3-point line ranges from 22-0 to 23-9 on the curve.

The Flyers hit 10 of their 27 attempts from behind the arc Monday. Toppin was 2 of 3, while Jalen Crutcher was 4 of 9 on 3s while scoring 20 points.

“I want to say it’s a difference,” Crutcher said. “I just speak for myself, I’ve been struggling from the 3-point line, but my coaches and teammates just encourage me to just keep shooting and I keep shooting.”

Scouting the talent

According to information provided by tournament officials, all 30 NBA teams have team representatives credentialed for this year’s event.

The field includes 12 prospects listed on nbadraft.

net’s Top 100 Big Board, including No. 1 overall Anthony Edwards of Georgia.

Also on the list is fellow Bulldog Rayshaun Hammonds (No. 41); Kansas’ Ochai Agbaji (No. 13), Udoka Azubuike (No. 62), Silvio De Sousa (No. 89) and Quentin Grimes (No. 94); Michigan State’s Aaron Henry (No. 44) and Cassius Winston (No. 56); UCLA’s Chris Smith (No. 48); Dayton’s Obi Toppin (No. 51); and Virginia Tech’s Chris Clarke (No. 55) and Kerry Blackshear (No. 63).

Jayhawk out of water

While wearing his favorite Kansas player’s jersey, 8-year-old Caden Cleland swished the winning shot of a timeout game during which two competitors run down the court to score a basket while putting on fins and a snorkel along the way.

While he was too shy to say so, his smile said it all: he had fun scoring in front of the Jayhawks fans during their matchup against Chaminade.

The Kansas native — who donned Devon Dotson’s No. 1 jersey — wore snorkeling gear for the first time in his life Thursday at the beach with his family, who are visiting Maui for the first time. His second time came on the Lahaina Civic Center court.

Running “was pretty hard” compared to swimming, Cleland said, but his strategy was “just to pick up the flippers and go.”

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