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Trier leads No. 5 Arizona past Oregon State, 71-54

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CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) Allonzo Trier said he’s excited to be playing basketball again with his Arizona teammates after missing the first 19 games of the season. He’s still a long way from feeling like himself on the court, both on offense and defense.

“It’s still a step slow. I’m still out of rhythm. I’m still not shooting the ball great,” the sophomore guard said. “I’ll be better. I know that.”

And that should be a scary thought for Pac-12 opponents.

Trier scored 18 points and No. 5 Arizona roared to life in the second half to defeat Oregon State 71-54 on Thursday night.

Dusan Ristic had 10 points and six rebounds for the Wildcats (21-2, 10-0), who have won 15 straight games.

Stephen Thompson Jr. had 16 points and five steals and Drew Eubanks added 12 points for the Beavers (4-19, 0-10).

Arizona went on a 23-2 run in the second half to take a 55-36 lead with 8:23 remaining. The Wildcats held the Beavers scoreless for nearly 6 minutes during the surge.

Trier credited a focus on defensive details for the second half turnaround.

Arizona coach Sean Miller said that defensive stops made it easier to push the tempo in the second half.

“Our defense led to some good transition baskets,” he added.

Arizona led by eight points early, but Oregon State battled back and went ahead 23-21 after a 3-pointer by Thompson with 4:53 left in the first half.

The Beavers lead 29-27 at halftime.

Oregon State shot 50 percent in the first half, but was limited to 34.6 percent in the second half. Arizona shot 53.8 percent in the second half and outrebounded the Beavers 39-26 for the game.

Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said that his young squad lost its composure.

“Once a little frustration creeps in, we’re just not there yet maturity-wise, toughness-wise, to get it back,” he said.

BIG PICTURE

Arizona: The Wildcats’ last loss came Dec. 2 to now No. 1 Gonzaga. … Trier was cleared to play this season on Jan. 21 after being suspended for use of PEDs, and in his first three games he averaged 13.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists. … Lauri Markannen, Arizona’s leading scorer, shot 1 for 6 from the field but finished with eight points and nine rebounds.

Oregon State: Leading scorer Tres Tinkle, who last played Nov. 25, remains out indefinitely with a wrist injury. … Eubanks’ streak of 17 games with a block ended Thursday.

OREGON PAYBACK?

Trier said Arizona has a different squad than the team that had its 49-game home winning streak snapped against Oregon last season. But the Wildcats don’t need any extra motivation for Saturday’s game against the 13th-ranked Ducks.

“We know how good Oregon is,” Trier said. “It’s going to be a hard-fought game and we’re excited for the challenge.”

ZONA AND THE ZONE

Miller said the Wildcats moved the ball well against Oregon State’s zone defense early in the first half, but then open shots didn’t fall and players tried to solve things 1-on-1.

“It started to become more about, `Hey, let me make one myself and see if I can get out of this rut.’ When you do that against the zone, it’s never going to be quite good,” Miller said.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Thursday’s game likely had minimal poll implications, but Arizona’s matchup with Oregon on Saturday will be closely watched.

UP NEXT

Arizona plays at No. 13 Oregon on Saturday.

Oregon State hosts Arizona State on Saturday.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.

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.

 

UNC Wilmington transfer C.J. Bryce follows Kevin Keatts to N.C. State

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N.C. State landed an impact transfer on Saturday as UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce will be following former head coach Kevin Keatts to the Wolfpack, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com

The 6-foot-5 Bryce averaged 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game last season as he helped the Seahawks to an NCAA tournament appearance. Bryce will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations, but he’ll have two seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out one season.

With N.C. State getting center Omer Yurtseven back for next season, and with the addition of Bryce, it means that Keatts has retained, or added, some talented players for the next few seasons. The Wolfpack still have to fill a lot of roster spots from last season’s team, but Keatts seems to be having a really good week.