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Trier scores career-high 32, Ayton posts 19 and 12 as No. 3 Arizona opens with rout

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Allonzo Trier scored a career-high 32 points and third-ranked Arizona opened its season with a 101-67 rout of Northern Arizona on Friday night.

Deandre Ayton, Arizona’s acclaimed 7-foot-1 freshman, had 19 points and 12 rebounds in his collegiate debut. Dusan Ristic added 20 points for the Wildcats, who shot 60 percent from the field.

Trier had 22 points in the first 20 minutes, the highest-scoring half of his career.

The Wildcats, without four players either due to discipline or injury, led by as many as 21 points in the first half. The Lumberjacks cut it to 10 in the opening minute of the second half before Arizona blew the game open.

Arizona also was without two assistant coaches, most notably Book Richardson, who has been indicted on federal bribery and fraud charges and remains on the school payroll.

As announced by the school earlier in the day, assistant coach Mark Phelps is serving a two-game suspension for an undisclosed NCAA violation and forward Keanu Pinder was out for one game, also due to an NCAA violation.

Among players, Dylan Smith is serving a one-game suspension for a team violation. Brandon Randolph is being treated for a concussion and Rawle Alkins has a broken foot.

The Wildcats shot out to a 13-4 lead and were up 45-24 after Trier’s two free throws with 4:58 to play.

Trier’s breakaway dunk on a turnover had Arizona up 49-29 with 2:51 to play.

Northern Arizona scored the final seven of the half to cut the Wildcats’ lead to 49-36. The NAU run reached 10-0 when Chris Bowling opened the second half with a 3-pointer to cut Arizona’s lead to 49-39.

Trier, who flirted with going pro but returned for his junior season, made 10 of 13 shots, including both of his 3-point tries, and 10 of 11 free throws.

Bowling led Northern Arizona with 11 points.


Northern Arizona: The Lumberjacks got $95,000 for coming to Tucson, even though they knew they really didn’t have a shot at winning. They were 9-23 last season and finished 10th in the Big Sky last year but should be at least a little better this season.

Arizona: The Wildcats, still under the cloud of that FBI probe, could have the best talent yet for coach Sean Miller, a group that includes a standout five-player freshman class. Arizona won’t be tested until next week’s trip to the Bahamas, where they will face North Carolina State in an eight-team tournament that includes Villanova.


Northern Arizona: Hosts Embry-Riddle on Monday night.

Arizona: Hosts Maryland, Baltimore County on Sunday.

VIDEOS: Villanova team bus stuck on icy roads trying to leave campus

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Villanova’s road to the Sweet 16 hit its roughest patch yet on Wednesday as the team attempted to leave campus for the team’s flight to Boston.

Since the Philadelphia area has been slammed with a snowstorm, the Wildcat team bus had issues leaving to get to the team’s chartered flight.

A struggle between team bus and ice ensued. The bus was delayed by 30 minutes before finally being able to leave.

Villanova continues its NCAA tournament journey on Friday when the No. 1 seed Wildcats play No. 5 seed West Virginia in Boston.

Wake Forest guard Keyshawn Woods to transfer or go pro after graduation

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Wake Forest will be down a key player next season as the school announced that guard Keyshawn Woods will either transfer or go pro after graduation.

The 6-foot-3 Woods was the team’s second-leading scorer this season as he put up 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Woods shot 43 percent from the floor and 37 percent from three-point range for the 2017-18 campaign.

Also a key member of last season’s NCAA tournament team for the Demon Deacons, Woods transferred to Wake Forest after spending his first season at Charlotte.

“I appreciate the opportunity that Coach Manning gave me to be a part of this program and to graduate from this great university,” said Woods in the release. “I am proud that I was able to help the coaches change the culture of the program and build a foundation for the future.”

The loss of Woods won’t be easy for Wake Forest, but the team is scheduled to return some talented guards like Bryant Crawford and Brandon Childress next season. Incoming freshmen like Jaime Lewis and Sharone Wright Jr. are also signed to add to the perimeter depth.

David Padgett not retained as Louisville coach

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Louisville announced on Wednesday afternoon that interim head coach David Padgett would not be retained.

Padgett, who is 32 years old, stepped in and took the program over in the wake of a scandal that cost Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino his job.

“We all owe a great debt of gratitude to David for his leadership and poise this season,” said U of L Interim Director of Athletics Vince Tyra. “He took over during incredible circumstances, has handled himself respectfully throughout the season and I believe he has a bright future in coaching. We expect to determine a new head coach in a short period to build upon the great basketball tradition of this university.”

Pitino was fired because an FBI complaint contained an allegation that he and his staff had arranged for a $100,000 payment to be funneled to Brian Bowen from Adidas.

In his one season with the Cardinals, Padgett went 22-14 and reached the quarterfinals of the NIT.

Louisville will now conduct a search for their next head coach, and current Xavier coach Chris Mack has long been considered the favorite to take that job.

Kansas State’s injured star hoping to play Thursday

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One of the most surprising parts about Kansas State’s run to the Sweet 16 is that they have done it without the services of their leading scorer, Dean Wade.

Wade injured his foot prior to the Big 12 tournament loss to Kansas. He did not play in that game or in either of Kansas State’s first two tournament games, but it is looking more and more like he’ll be on the floor on Thursday night when they play Kentucky.

“I don’t play percentages very well, but I’m feeling good,” Wade said, via SEC Country. “I’m very positive about it. It’s getting better every day and today I felt great out there, doing a little more than usual. It felt good.”

Wade averaged 16.5 points per game, but the big question is going to be whether or not he is actually healthy when he takes the court. Just because he’s on the floor doesn’t mean he’s at 100 percent.

“Really just trying to get it out of my mind that it’s not hurt,” Wade said. “Just more of a mental thing, just getting out there and running around. I think I got moved past that and it’s feeling better.”

Arizona’s Sean Miller: ‘I am not a candidate’ at Pitt

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With speculation mounting about who Pitt will hire to replace Kevin Stallings as their new head coach, current Arizona head coach Sean Miller released a statement saying that he is not in the running to fill the opening.

“I am not a candidate for the University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball head coaching vacancy. I wish them well in their search for a new coach,” the statement read.

Miller is a native of Pittsburgh and an alumni of the school — he’s the guy that had the assist on Jerome Lane’s famous dunk — and with the issues that are currently swirling around him and the Arizona program, there was speculation that he was looking for an escape plan.

Maybe he wasn’t.

Maybe he was and the Pitt administration decided they couldn’t risk hiring someone who had an assistant coach arrested in the FBI’s sweep of college basketball and who himself may be on wiretaps talking about who knows what. Releasing this statement would then be a way for him to save face and say he was never interested.

And then maybe there’s option No. 3: Pitt has won the Dan Hurley sweepstakes.

As it stands, both the Panthers and UConn are in the process of chasing after the Rhode Island head coach, and it’s not uncommon in coaching searches for a coach to announce that he is not a candidate for the job after the job decides they want someone else. Call it a professional courtesy.

But that’s neither here nor there.

What we do know now is that Sean Miller will not be the next head coach at Pitt.