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Brooks has 20 points and No. 7 Oregon beats Utah 79-61

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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Dillon Brooks scored 20 points and No. 7 Oregon defeated shorthanded Utah 79-61 on Thursday night to extend the Ducks’ home winning streak to 41 games.

Jordan Bell added 17 points for the Ducks (23-4, 12-2 Pac-12), who wore new neon green uniforms that glowed under blacklights during player introductions.

Jayce Johnson had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Utah (17-8, 8-6), playing without top scorer Kyle Kuzma because of a sprained ankle.

Kuzma apparently was injured during practice on Wednesday. The 6-foot-9 junior starter is averaging 15.7 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. His rebounding averaging ranked second in the Pac-12 and 17th in the nation. He has 15 double-doubles this season.

Oregon, sitting second in the Pac-12 standings behind Arizona, led by as many as 26 points. Leading the nation with an average of 6.9 blocks a game, Oregon finished with 10 against the Utes.

It was Oregon’s ninth straight win over Utah.

The Ducks jumped out to an 18-8 lead, paced by Tyler Dorsey’s 10 points. It was the third straight game that Oregon had opened up a 10-point lead on an opponent in the first half.

Chris Boucher’s 3-pointer pushed Oregon’s lead to 26-12. Dylan Ennis gave Oregon its biggest lead of the first half with a layup that made it 39-18 but Utah ended the half on a 7-2 run to close the gap to 41-25.

Tyler Rawson hit Utah’s first 3-pointer of the game in the second half to narrow the deficit to 43-30. But Oregon again extended the lead on Brooks’ layup that made it 54-32.

Brooks’ dunk gave the Ducks a 71-49 lead with just over 7 minutes left. He followed it up with a 3-pointer.

The Ducks’ home streak is the longest active winning streak in the nation. Thursday’s game was Oregon’s sixth sellout of the season.

Oregon rebounded from a loss at UCLA with an 81-70 victory over USC last weekend. After the Utes, the Ducks host Colorado at home before wrapping up the season at the league’s Northern California schools.

Utah was coming off wins at home against Washington State and Washington. The Utes went into the game knotted with USC at fifth in conference play.

Earlier this season, the Ducks defeated the Utes 73-67 on Jan. 26 in Salt Lake City.

BIG PICTURE

Utah: The Utes are 1-5 against ranked teams this season. … Utah’s 25 first-half points were a season low for a half.

Oregon: The Ducks’ record is the second-best in school history, behind the 1926-27 team that went 24-2. … Oregon has been in the AP Top 25 for a school-record 23 straight weeks. … With a layup with 13:33 left, Brooks passed Joe Young (1,388 points) for 15th on Oregon’s career scoring list.

UP NEXT

Utah: The Utes travel to face Oregon State on Sunday.

Oregon: The Ducks host Colorado on Saturday. The Buffaloes beat the Ducks 74-65 on Jan. 28 in Boulder.

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

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

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Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averagedΒ 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

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Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

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Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

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Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.

Report: Nike, Adidas and Under Armour all pass on sponsoring Lonzo Ball

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Lonzo Ball will enter his rookie season in the NBA without a sponsorship deal from Nike, Adidas or Under Armour, only his family’s Big Baller Brand apparel.

That, according to a report from ESPN, is due to his father LaVar’s insistence that Lonzo not sign with one of the three major apparel companies unless they opted to sign a licensing deal for Big Baller Brand merchandise instead of outfitting Lonzo with their own gear.

“We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” LaVar told ESPN. “We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner. But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.”

LaVar had been representing his son in the negotiations, and is now expected to reach out to other shoe brands, including Chinese apparel companies like Li-Nang.

Big Baller Brand is a startup apparel company launched by LaVar Ball. They sell t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats, with most of their products costing at least $50.

Lonzo declared for the NBA Draft after an all-american season that saw him and the UCLA Bruins flame out of the NCAA tournament in the Sweet 16. UCLA lost to Kentucky in that game, and Lonzo had a quiet night while his point guard counterpart, De’Aaron Fox, went off for 39 points.

Lonzo is a likely top three pick in the NBA Draft and, potentially, could still end up going No. 1. He has two younger brothers as well. LiAngelo will be a freshman with the Bruins next season while LaMelo just finished his sophomore season in high school. Both will attend UCLA.