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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.

Kansas lands second commitment in the Class of 2018

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Kansas landed their second big man in the Class of 2018 on Sunday, as David McCormack, a top 50 prospect, announced that he will be a Jayhawk when he plays his college ball.

The 6-foot-10 center picked Kansas over Xavier, NC State, Oklahoma State and Duke.

A product of the famed Oak Hill Academy, McCormack averaged 15 points and 10 boards on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit this spring. He joins fellow four-star big man Silvio de Sousa in the 2018 class for Bill Self, although the Jayhawks will get three players eligible after they sit out the 2017-18 season as transfers: Dedric and K.J. Lawson, who transferred in from Memphis, as well as Charlie Moore, a point guard from California.

Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

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After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.

Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”

With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.

Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.

Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer

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Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.

“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.

“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”

A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?

Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.

Four-star 2018 forward Ian Steere decommits from Creighton

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Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.

The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.

According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.

John Wall emotional in Kentucky Hall of Fame induction speech

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John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.

The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.