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Hall leads No. 13 Virginia past Robert Morris, 79-39

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Devon Hall’s offense is coming around after a slow start to the season, and on a Virginia team that lacks a go-to scorer, it’s an important development as the 13th-ranked Cavaliers head into the more challenging part of their schedule.

Hall matched his career high with 13 points and the Cavaliers returned from a 10-day layoff for final exams with a 79-39 victory over Robert Morris on Saturday.

“Devon’s always an intense player and he’s physical so I’m glad to see him have a little success, either a drive and a finish or making a 3 or getting to the foul line,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said of the 6-foot-5 redshirt junior. “His intensity and his physicality were key tonight.”

Hall came into the game ninth on the team with a 5.0 scoring average, and became the seventh Cavalier to at least share top scoring honors in a game.

“We do not have a guy you can say, `He’s going to get you 20 tonight, or even 15 or 18,”‘ Bennett said, so the balance is critical.

Freshman Kyle Guy also scored 13 points and Jack Salt had a career-best 10 for the Cavaliers (9-1), who overcame a sluggish start and broke the game open with a 38-8 run spanning halftime. It turned a 13-12 deficit into a 50-21 lead early in the second half.

Isaiah Still led Robert Morris (3-9) with 16 points and Dachon Burke had seven. The Colonials shot just 23.9 percent (11 of 46) and became the fourth team held to fewer than 40 points by the Cavaliers, who lead the nation in scoring defense (47.6).

“They wear you down,” Colonials coach Andrew Toole said. “Once they kind of get that lead, you’re in a world of trouble.”

Jarred Reuter also scored 10 points for Virginia, which outscored the Colonials 48-8 in the paint and 41-14 off the bench.

BIG PICTURE

Robert Morris: The Colonials appear to be in a youth movement with sophomore scoring leader Still (15 ppg) and freshmen Braden Burke and Dachon Burke all getting significant minutes. They won the Northeast Conference two years ago under Toole and have been to postseason play four times in the past five seasons, but seem more likely to suffer through growing pains with their future stars gaining experience than to make much noise this season.

Virginia: The Cavaliers were wise to schedule a lesser opponent for their first game in 11 days after a break for finals because they came out looking sluggish and sloppy before finally getting it together and closing the half on a 20-5 run. They will need to be sharper at California on Wednesday night.

HOMECOMINGS

Virginia’s game at California is the best Bennett could do in giving London Perrantes, from Los Angeles, a game before his home fans, but the senior point guard won’t be the only Cavalier with lots of family in attendance.

Salt, who is from New Zealand, said eight family members are making the 13-hour flight to see him play.

SHOOTING BLANKS

Still was 5 for 10 from the field for Robert Morris. The rest of the team was 6 for 36.

PASSING FANCY

Virginia forward Isaiah Wilkins and reserve point guard Ty Jerome shared the team lead with six assists each. Jerome’s came in just 16 minutes of playing time as Bennett substituted liberally and gave his younger players extended floor time before the schedule toughens.

Wilkins finished with seven points, six rebounds, six assists, a block and a steal in 21 minutes.

UP NEXT

Robert Morris is at home next Wednesday against Buffalo in its final game before beginning Northeast Conference play.

Virginia heads west to face California in its last non-conference game before ACC play begins.

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

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INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn swingman Tyrese Martin, who transferred from Rhode Island in April, has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play for the Huskies this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and started every game last season for URI, where he was recruited by current UConn coach Dan Hurley.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers to sit out a season, but the organization has been more lenient in granting waivers during the pandemic.

Martin, 21, is expected to compete for playing time at UConn on the wing as both a guard and small forward.