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Balanced No. 7 Wildcats beat Huskies, stay perfect in Pac-12

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Kadeem Allen scored 14 points to lead five Arizona players in double figures and the No. 7 Wildcats wore down Washington 77-66 on Sunday to stay alone at the top of the Pac-12 standings.

The Wildcats (20-2, 9-0 Pac-12) won their 14th straight overall and 18th in a row at home.

Kobi Simmons added 13 points, and Allonzo Trier, Dusan Ristic and Lauri Markkanen had 12 apiece.

Freshman sensation Markelle Fultz scored 16 points for Washington (9-12, 2-7) but on 8-of-23 shooting. He was 0 for 4 on 3-pointers and missed all four of his free throws.

Washington led virtually entire first half before Arizona’s offense finally got moving and pulled away in the second.

Halfway through the Pac-12 season, the Wildcats have sole possession of first place thanks to Colorado’s upset of Oregon on Saturday.

Arizona was sluggish early against Washington’s aggressive zone defense and the Huskies led 33-31 at the break.

Arizona finally took its first lead since it was 4-2 on Allen’s driving layup that put the Wildcats up 40-39 with 16:57 to play.

Arizona methodically pushed it from there. Markkanen, the reigning Pac-12 player of the week who was having a rough afternoon up to that point, sank a 3-pointer that made it 57-49.

Trier, in his third game back from his suspension for using a banned substance, scored the next four points on two free throws and a driving layup and the Wildcats led 61-49 with 7:33 to go.

With his team down eight, Fultz slipped in the lane and Allen picked the ball out of his hands, leading to Trier’s one-handed dunk that gave Arizona a 67-57 lead with 3:29 to play.

The game got off to an ugly start for the home team.

Arizona missed its first eight 3-pointers and had nine first-half turnovers, three apiece by Allen and Markkanen.

Arizona got a `3′ on its ninth try. Trier’s long-range basket was followed by Allen’s 3-pointer that tied it at 31-31 with 31 seconds left. But Dickerson’s rebound basket at the buzzer gave Washington a 33-31 lead at the half. It is the last of four offensive rebounds for Dickerson in the first half.

The Huskies’ first free throw didn’t come until there was 14:15 left in the game. By then, Arizona had taken 17. Washington finished 7 of 17 at the line to Arizona’s 22 of 30.

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Arizona wasn’t at its best but was good enough to stay perfect in the conference with a big game looming at Oregon next Saturday.

HOME AND BACK

After losing at Arizona State on Wednesday night, Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar decided to take his team back to Seattle rather than wait in the desert four days for Sunday’s game. They took a charter that arrived in Seattle at 2:30 a.m., Pacific time.

The Huskies flew commercial on their return trip and the plane was an hour late. A medical emergency on another passenger further delayed the team from getting off the plane.

They got to their hotel at 3 p.m. Saturday, local time.

FULTZ’S JOURNEY

Fultz could have been wearing an Arizona uniform. The freshman guard from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, had narrowed his choices to Washington, Arizona and Kentucky before settling on the Huskies, who were among the first major college teams to show interest in him as an unheralded underclassman.

UP NEXT

Washington: Huskies return home to face USC on Wednesday night.

Arizona: The Wildcats play at last-place Oregon State Thursday night.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.