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Mason, Graham lead No. 3 Kansas past Texas Tech, 85-68

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas coach Bill Self spent this week bemoaning his team’s defense after shootout wins over TCU and Kansas State, even calling it the worst he’s seen since he arrived in Lawrence.

That was precisely what Chris Beard didn’t want to hear.

“I would have much rather Kansas played better,” the first-year Texas Tech coach said, “but I know Coach Self and I could just imagine what their practices have been like the past week.”

The No. 3 Jayhawks answered Self’s challenge by shutting down the Red Raiders. Frank Mason III poured in 26 points and Devonte Graham added 20 as Kansas cruised to an 85-68 victory Saturday night.

“We did a little better defensively, being active,” Graham said. “There was a little sense of urgency. We’ve been watching film of our last two games and seeing how we weren’t giving as much effort as we should have been giving. That’s what we’ve been working on in practice.”

Josh Jackson had 17 points and Mason sparked a 12-0 run that turned a five-point game into a rout, allowing the Jayhawks to remain perfect in 17 tries against Texas Tech at home.

Kansas (14-1, 3-0 Big 12) also pushed its home winning streak to a nation-leading 51 games.

“The key defensively, you can talk about whatever your philosophy is or whatnot – it makes no difference in the big picture. You can’t give up easy baskets,” Self explained. “That’s what we have to get to; we can’t give up layups.”

Aaron Ross and Zach Smith had 17 points each for the Red Raiders (12-3, 1-2), who lost their 15th straight to the Jayhawks overall. Keenan Evans scored 16.

“Once they got on their run,” Evans said, “there was no looking back.”

Still, Texas Tech gave Kansas a tussle until a frustrating final minute of the first half.

It was 30-27 and the Red Raiders had the ball when Jackson picked off a pass and took it coast-to-coast for a dunk. Then, Mason intercepted a pass and went the other way, only to get fouled on the way to the rim. A pushing match ensued and Anthony Livingston was called for a technical foul.

By the time Mason made three of four foul shots, and Landen Lucas scored at the buzzer, a five-point trip down the floor had given the Jayhawks a 37-27 advantage at the break.

Texas Tech, one of the best perimeter shooting teams in the league, tried to fight its way back by hitting just about everything from beyond the arc in the second half.

Kansas countered with a parade of free throws.

It was two foul shots by Mason with the Jayhawks leading 60-55 and eight minutes to go that started the game-deciding 12-0 run. Mason added another basket and a 3-pointer, and Lucas flushed an alley-oop dunk, as the Jayhawks coasted from there to program win No. 2,200.

“A lot of teams come into this building and you play with them for 32 minutes and they run you off the floor for eight minutes, and you get on the bus and get a sandwich,” Beard said. “Again, not necessarily what we did bad, but give a good team with a great coach credit.”

WHAT A RUSH

Three-time All-Big 12 guard Brandon Rush will have his jersey retired by the Jayhawks at halftime of their game against TCU on Feb. 22. Rush led the program to three league titles and the 2008 national championship before embarking on an NBA career that included the 2015 crown with Golden State.

TRANSFER DECIDES

Arizona State guard Sam Cunliffe announced Saturday he’ll transfer to Kansas. The former four-star prospect averaged 9.5 points while starting 10 games for the Sun Devils this season. He expects to arrive in Lawrence next week and can be eligible for the second semester next season.

BIG PICTURE

The lack of an inside presence for Texas Tech proved to be the difference. When the Red Raiders went cold from outside the arc in the second half, the Jayhawks kept pounding away in the paint.

Kansas held the Red Raiders to 40.7 percent shooting, forced 14 turnovers and picked up nine steals on defense. The Jayhawks also held the Red Raiders to 11 of 28 from the 3-point line.

UP NEXT

Texas Tech hosts Kansas State on Tuesday night.

Kansas visits Oklahoma on Tuesday night.

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

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.