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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.

Williams-Goss scores 33, No. 1 Gonzaga beats BYU 85-75

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PROVO, Utah (AP) Nigel Williams-Goss scored 33 points and No. 1 Gonzaga remains the lone undefeated team in the country after an 85-75 victory over BYU on Thursday night.

The Bulldogs (23-0, 11-0 West Coast Conference) now have the longest winning streak in school history. They entered the night with the No. 12 scoring offense in the nation and looked like it.

Gonzaga took a 42-26 lead after dominating the first half. The Bulldogs used a 20-4 stretch early to put BYU in a deep hole.

T.J. Haws did the heavy lifting during the BYU rally, as the Cougars got within six at one point, and finished with 26 points.

The Cougars (16-8, 7-4) had no answer early for the 7-foot-1, 300-pound Przemek Karnowski. Gonzaga ran the offense through the big man while building a 17-point lead and BYU was left to pick its poison. Karnowski would drop in a hook when left 1-on-1 against a defender, before the Cougars started sending help. Then Karnowski would kick it out and the Zags repeatedly found open shooters for 3-pointers.

Gonzaga shot 51.9 percent from the field and knocked down 6 of 10 3-pointers in the first half while BYU hit 32.3 percent of its shots, including a 1-for-7 effort from behind the arc.

Williams-Goss took over in the second half as BYU cut the lead to single digits. The junior point guard scored 11 straight points while blowing past defenders during a 13-3 run to push the lead back to 18 points. He had the answer every time BYU got close and was three points shy of his season high.

BIG PICTURE

Gonzaga: All eyes were on the Bulldogs to see how they would respond to being ranked No. 1 for the second time in program history. Gonzaga stormed out the gate and looked every bit the part of the top team in the nation, especially on the road in a hostile environment against a conference rival.

BYU: The Cougars were short-handed and overwhelmed. Defense has been an issue all season long and it continued Thursday. BYU entered the game ranked No. 190 in the nation in scoring defense (72.7).

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Gonzaga should remain No. 1 barring what would be a significant upset against Santa Clara on Saturday.

UNDER THE WEATHER

BYU guard Nick Emery was sick Wednesday and did not start. It was just the fifth game of his two-year career that he didn’t start. He entered averaging 13.9 points per game, but finished with two.

UP NEXT

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs host Santa Clara on Saturday.

BYU: The Cougars host Portland on Saturday.

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

Brooks helps No. 13 Oregon hold off Arizona State 71-70

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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Losing two games in a row wasn’t an acceptable option for Dillon Brooks.

Coming off a loss at Colorado, he knew the margin of error for defending Pac-12 champion Oregon was too slim to slip up again.

Brooks scored 27 points, including the last 12 of the game for the 13th-ranked Ducks, as Oregon escaped with a 71-70 victory over Arizona State on Thursday night.

“I really wanted to pull out that win,” Brooks said. “I knew we couldn’t lose this game.”

Brooks hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:32 to play for the Ducks (20-3, 9-1), who trailed 60-59 before their preseason All-America took over in the final 3 minutes.

“The second half our ball movement was better and then we relied on Dillon,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “He made some big-time offensive plays. He was really good late there.

“He likes being in that situation, which is a big part of it.”

Jordan Bell had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Ducks, who outrebounded the Sun Devils 40-30. Oregon made 7 of 13 from 3-point range in the second half.

Shannon Evans II led Arizona State (10-13, 3-7) with 28 points and Tra Holder had 17.

The Sun Devils had possession trailing 71-68 with 18 seconds left, but the best they could get was a rebound basket by Torian Graham. Oregon ran out the final 2.9 seconds for the win.

Brooks, who had 21 points in the second half, said a short bank shot over Graham that put the Ducks ahead 49-41 was the key to his hot finish. He was 9 of 14 overall and 3 of 5 from 3-point range with six rebounds and four assists.

“I’ve seen him take over games like that,” Bell said. “I told him to just keep being aggressive and just keep cooking. I knew No. 4 (Graham) couldn’t guard him, so just keep going.”

Despite a decided height advantage, Oregon struggled to find any rhythm against Arizona State’s four-guard lineup. The Ducks were just 1 of 10 from 3-point range in the first half and trailed 28-25.

It was the fewest points Oregon had scored in a first half since early season losses to Baylor and Georgetown.

The Ducks have less than a 48-hour turnaround before hosting Pac-12 leader Arizona and Allonzo Trier on Saturday.

“He definitely gives them another bullet, another weapon,” Altman said. “We’re going to have our work cut out for us.

“We’ll hope we’re ready to go at 1 o’clock.”

BIG PICTURE

Arizona State dropped to 0-6 against ranked teams this season and is 1-5 in Pac-12 road games

Oregon’s invincibility at home, where it has won 39 games in a row, will be tested by Arizona. The Ducks have five road games in their last seven to finish the regular season.

Losing two games in a row wasn’t an acceptable option for Dillon Brooks.

Coming off a loss at Colorado, he knew the margin of error for defending Pac-12 champion Oregon was too slim to slip up again.

Brooks scored 27 points, including the last 12 of the game for the 13th-ranked Ducks, as Oregon escaped with a 71-70 victory over Arizona State on Thursday night.

“I really wanted to pull out that win,” Brooks said. “I knew we couldn’t lose this game.”

Brooks hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:32 to play for the Ducks (20-3, 9-1), who trailed 60-59 before their preseason All-America took over in the final 3 minutes.

“The second half our ball movement was better and then we relied on Dillon,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “He made some big-time offensive plays. He was really good late there.

“He likes being in that situation, which is a big part of it.”

Jordan Bell had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Ducks, who outrebounded the Sun Devils 40-30. Oregon made 7 of 13 from 3-point range in the second half.

Shannon Evans II led Arizona State (10-13, 3-7) with 28 points and Tra Holder had 17.

The Sun Devils had possession trailing 71-68 with 18 seconds left, but the best they could get was a rebound basket by Torian Graham. Oregon ran out the final 2.9 seconds for the win.

Brooks, who had 21 points in the second half, said a short bank shot over Graham that put the Ducks ahead 49-41 was the key to his hot finish. He was 9 of 14 overall and 3 of 5 from 3-point range with six rebounds and four assists.

“I’ve seen him take over games like that,” Bell said. “I told him to just keep being aggressive and just keep cooking. I knew No. 4 (Graham) couldn’t guard him, so just keep going.”

Despite a decided height advantage, Oregon struggled to find any rhythm against Arizona State’s four-guard lineup. The Ducks were just 1 of 10 from 3-point range in the first half and trailed 28-25.

It was the fewest points Oregon had scored in a first half since early season losses to Baylor and Georgetown.

The Ducks have less than a 48-hour turnaround before hosting Pac-12 leader Arizona and Allonzo Trier on Saturday.

“He definitely gives them another bullet, another weapon,” Altman said. “We’re going to have our work cut out for us.

“We’ll hope we’re ready to go at 1 o’clock.”

BIG PICTURE

Arizona State dropped to 0-6 against ranked teams this season and is 1-5 in Pac-12 road games

Oregon’s invincibility at home, where it has won 39 games in a row, will be tested by Arizona. The Ducks have five road games in their last seven to finish the regular season.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

After escaping Arizona State’s upset bid, Oregon could move into the top 10 for the third time this season with a victory over No. 5 Arizona.

STAT OF THE NIGHT: Oregon is 20-3 for the first time since the 1937-38 season. The last time the Ducks started conference play 9-1, they went on to win the 1939 national championship.

HE SAID IT: No. 5 Arizona will bring a 15-game winning streak to Eugene on Saturday for what will be Oregon’s fifth sellout crowd of the season. The Wildcats have yet to lose a road game.

“We’re going to play with a chip on our shoulder because we’re going to be the underdog,” Brooks said. “We just have to play hard.”

UP NEXT

Arizona State goes for its 13th win in its last 16 games against Oregon State on Saturday in Corvallis.

Oregon plays its third ranked opponent of the season when it hosts No. 5 Arizona on Saturday. The Ducks swept UCLA and Southern California when both were in the Top 25 in late December.

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

Bubble Banter: It’s a quiet night on the bubble

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You can find the latest NBC Sports Bracket Projection here. This is where the seeds listed below come from. 

LOSERS

UNC Wilmington (RPI: 36, KenPom: 55, No. 11 seed): The Seahawks lost at home on Thursday night, falling to Charleston, a good CAA program but a loss that is not going to be flattering on a tournament profile that already borders on being at-large worthy. At this point, I would strongly recommend to Kevin Keatts that his team win the CAA automatic bid, because I have a feeling they will not like the outcome of Selection Sunday otherwise. Their computer numbers are going to go down playing in the CAA. The rest of the bubble is going to see their numbers increase playing in stronger conferences.

Utah (RPI: 69, KenPom: 40, bubble): The Utes are in big trouble now. Why? Because it’s February 3rd and they have just a single top 100 win. That came against USC. Now, to be fair, the Utes took the majority of their losses without David Collette and Sedrick Barefield available. But they also lost to Santa Clara, their worst loss of the season, with those two available. I’d strongly recommend winning at Oregon later this month.

WINNERS

Valparaiso (RPI: 61, KenPom: 92, No. 12 seed): Like UNCW, Valpo is in a position where they are currently on the bubble but can only hurt their profile the rest of the way. I’m not sure they can get an at-large bid if they don’t win out during the regular season, but they do have wins over Rhode Island, Alabama and BYU, all of whom are pretty good teams.

Cal (RPI: 46, KenPom: 58, last four in): Cal added another top 100 win to their résumé on Thursday as they knocked off Utah in double-overtime. This was big, because the Golden Bears have a fairly weak schedule down the stretch. They play just two more top 50 teams – at Arizona and Oregon at home. They probably need to win at least one of those two games to have a chance.

 

CBT Podcast: Dan Dakich on the Big Ten, Towson’s Pat Skerry on Autism Speaks

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I had a chance to catch up with Dan Dakich, one of ESPN’s Big Ten experts, on Maryland, the state of Indiana and what it’s like calling games that his son, a player at Michigan, is playing in. I also spent some time with Pat Skerry, the head coach at Towson and the driving force behind an Coaches Powering Forward for Autism, the campaign to raise awareness for Autism that will put a blue puzzle piece pin on the lapel of every coach in the country this weekend.

For more information on Skerry’s campaign, you can go to autismspeaks.org or the Coaches Powering Forward website

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom

Charleston women lose 2 wins for wrong size basketballs

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) The College of Charleston’s women’s team is being forced to give up two wins after using the wrong size basketballs in games against William & Mary and UNC-Wilmington.

The Colonial Athletic Association wanted to make the Cougars forfeit the games, but the NCAA told the conference the statistics would count, but Charleston would lose the victories for seeding purposes in the conference tournament.

Charleston athletic director Matt Roberts says it was a mistake and the school agrees with losing the wins.

The Cougars are now 1-8 in the CAA. They beat William & Mary 70-60 on Jan. 6 and UNC-Wilmington 76-37 on Jan. 8 before having to give up the victories.

UNC-Wilmington coach Adell Harris told The StarNews of Wilmington that her players noticed the basketballs were too large and complained to officials, who insisted they were the right size.

Women’s basketball teams use slightly smaller basketballs than men’s teams.