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Boucher leads No. 15 Oregon over Washington State 85-66

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PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) Dylan Ennis acknowledged that it was a little shocking for No. 15 Oregon to lose its leading scorer just six minutes into the game against Washington State.

Dillon Brooks was ejected with 13:20 left in the first half for kicking Washington State’s Josh Hawkinson during a scramble for a rebound.

“You don’t normally have your best player go out so early in a game,” Ennis said. “But we are a deep team.”

Chris Boucher scored a career-high 29 points off the bench as Oregon beat Washington State 85-66 on Saturday for its 13th straight victory.

Ennis added 17 points for Oregon (15-2, 4-0 Pacific 12).

“Me and Chris took it upon ourselves to get the team going,” Ennis said. “Just staying together, that’s the biggest thing.”

Oregon’s Jordan Bell said the Ducks realized early that Boucher had the hot hand.

“Everybody was looking for him,” Bell said. “He gave us a big lift.”

Four players scored in double figures for Washington State (9-6, 2-1), which had its four-game winning streak snapped. Ike Iroegbu led the Cougars with 12 points.

“It was our third game in seven days,” Washington State coach Ernie Kent said. “I felt like our legs left us, our mental sharpness left us.

“Our rotations weren’t there on defense and that’s too good of a team to give open looks to.”

Washington State led 16-15 when Brooks was called for a flagrant foul on Hawkinson. Brooks had already scored seven points, half his average.

Boucher filled the void, shooting 6 of 9 from 3-point range and adding eight rebounds and three blocks.

The teams, who were tied at 37 at halftime, traded baskets in the early minutes of the second half until consecutive 3-pointers by Ennis and Roman Sorkin gave Oregon a 53-48 lead. Ennis sank another 3 to give Oregon a 59-50 lead with 10:33 left.

A 3 by Boucher pushed the Ducks’ lead to 13, and Oregon rolled to victory.

The Ducks outscored Washington State 48-29 in the second half, when they shot 63 percent from the field.

“In the second half, our guys really responded well,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “We had 12 assists in the second half.”

Oregon leads this long-running series 167-124. This is the only meeting this season between the teams.

BIG PICTURE

Oregon: The Ducks have held all but two opponents under 70 points this season, and lead the nation with an average of 7.5 blocks per game.

Washington State: The Cougars had opened conference play 2-0 for the first time since the 2007-08 season, and hoped to go 3-0 in league for the first time since the 1987-88 season. Kent previously coached the Ducks for 13 seasons.

STATS

Oregon sank 13 of 25 from 3-point range (52 percent). That nearly matched its field goal percentage of 54 percent. Washington State shot 50 percent from the field.

FEW TURNOVERS

Oregon committed just six turnovers in the game, while producing 18 assists.

UP NEXT

Oregon: hosts Oregon State next Saturday.

Washington State: plays at Stanford next Thursday.

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

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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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.