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Bolden, Adrian help No. 13 West Virginia hold off Oklahoma

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NORMAN, Okla. (AP) James Bolden knows his opportunities to play for West Virginia often are limited, so he has to maximize the minutes he receives. His ability to do so helped the 13th-ranked Mountaineers immensely on Wednesday night.

The freshman guard scored a career-high 17 points in 10 minutes and West Virginia survived an off-shooting night to beat Oklahoma 61-50.

West Virginia (19-5, 7-4 Big 12) won for the first time ever at Oklahoma (8-15, 2-9) in five attempts and avenged an overtime defeat at the hands of the Sooners, who won 89-87 in Morgantown on Jan. 18.

The Mountaineers won despite shooting a season-low 37 percent from the field. West Virginia used its frenetic press to force 23 turnovers, 11 more than the Sooners committed in the previous meeting, and limited the Sooners to 33.3 percent shooting.

Bolden entered Wednesday having played only 107 minutes in 15 games. His previous career high had been nine points vs. VMI on Dec. 10, but against the Sooners he went 6 of 11 from the field and 3 of 6 from 3-point range. In the first half, he scored 15 of West Virginia’s 27 points.

“I just get in and do what I do in the time I get,” Bolden said. “When I’m called on, I’ve just got to be ready. I’ve got older guys in front of me . that are going to take the majority of the minutes. If I can get in, I’m going to try and contribute to the team.”

Kameron McGusty scored 11 points for the Sooners, who were so frazzled on offense that they burned all four of their timeouts by the 8:10 mark of the second half. Oklahoma lost its sixth straight since its win at West Virginia and posted a season low for points.

“West Virginia’s pressure bothered us a lot,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “We didn’t handle it nearly as well as you have to to have a chance to beat a good ball club.

“I just didn’t think we moved with the same conviction to be available. West Virginia is going to work hard. They usually do. They try to cut you with their pressure. It didn’t kill us there but it did tonight. I thought they definitely won that battle.”

Bolden kept West Virginia afloat in the first half and gave them a 27-25 halftime lead with a driving layup right before the buzzer.

“I think he is terrific,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said of Bolden. “He has been doing well in practice. You try to work those guys up.”

Nathan Adrian took over in the second half for the Mountaineers, scoring eight of his 13 points. His putback with 7:12 left gave West Virginia its first double-digit lead of the game at 48-38 and Jevon Carter followed with a 3-pointer from the corner for the Mountaineers.

Seven straight points by the Sooners – four by Khadeem Lattin, who tied a career high with 14 rebounds – pulled them within 51-45 with 5:15 left, but they came no closer as West Virginia outscored them 10-5 in the final 5 minutes.

“That’s what the Bob Huggins way is – we compete and play hard,” Bolden said. “We’ve just got to play hard for 40 minutes. If we do that and still play bad, you can get a win.”

Oklahoma jumped to an 11-2 lead in the first 4 minutes and led for all but a few seconds of the first half, despite going without a field goal for almost 8 minutes in one stretch.

BIG PICTURE:

West Virginia: Every team will have bad nights and the Mountaineers were fortunate to have survived one of theirs without taking a loss. They will have to play much better in upcoming games against Sunflower State foes Kansas State and Kansas.

Oklahoma: Once again – as in an earlier loss to Kansas – a young Oklahoma squad held tough for a half with a ranked Big 12 foe at home before fading down the stretch. The Sooners have been close in nearly every game during their six-game losing streak but haven’t made winning plays in the final minutes.

POLL IMPLICATIONS:

West Virginia: The Mountaineers could have dropped several spots with a loss, but now their poll fate for next week depends on how they fare Saturday at Kansas State.

TIP-INS:

West Virginia played without starting guard Daxter Miles Jr., who sat out with a sprained right ankle that he injured earlier this week in practice. The university listed Miles’ status as day-to-day. Tarik Phillip started in place of Miles. . McGusty extended his streak of double-digit scoring games to 11, the longest by an OU freshman since Jeff Webster had 22 straight in 1990-91. . The loss was Oklahoma’s 100th in Lloyd Noble Arena since the facility opened in 1975. The Sooners have won 533 home games during the same period. . Huggins has 810 career wins and needs two more to tie Rollie Massimino for eighth place on the all-time Division I coaching wins list.

UP NEXT:

West Virginia: The Mountaineers will host one of Huggins’ former teams, Kansas State, on Saturday before a trip to Lawrence, Kansas, to face No. 3 Kansas next Monday.

Oklahoma: The Sooners’ next three games are against teams that beat them in the final seconds of earlier games – at Iowa State on Saturday, at home vs. Texas next Tuesday and at Oklahoma State on Feb. 18.

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

Louisville challenges NCAA over recruiting allegations

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville has refuted NCAA allegations against its men’s basketball program in the wake of a federal corruption scandal, requesting that the highest-level violation be reclassified.

The university also is challenging that former coach Rick Pitino failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance in his program.

Louisville filed a 104-page response last week to the Notice Of Allegations sent to the school in May. The document stated that college sports’ governing body seeks to ignore wire fraud convictions against several people involved in the scheme – including a former Adidas executive – by suggesting they were representing its athletic interests. Louisville’s contract with the apparel maker was a standard sponsorship agreement rather than a promotional deal, the response added.

“This argument is as novel as it is wrong,” the school wrote in its response. “Even if an institution has some responsibility for the conduct of its suppliers, that responsibility plainly does not extend to acts of fraud perpetrated against the institution itself.”

Louisville also seeks to have several second-tier violations reclassified even lower. The NCAA has until Nov. 15 to respond with the school responding 15 days after before a decision is made whether the case will proceed through the traditional Committee on Infractions or Independent Accountability Review Process (IARP).

The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations states that Louisville committed a Level I violation, considered the most severe, with an improper recruiting offer and extra benefits along with several lesser violations. Those lesser violations also include Pitino failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance.

The NCAA notice completed a two-year investigation following a federal corruption probe of college basketball announced in September 2017. Louisville acknowledged its involvement in the federal investigation related to the recruitment of former player Brian Bowen II. Pitino, who’s now coaching Iona, was not named in the federal complaint and has consistently denied authorizing or having knowledge of a payment to a recruit’s family.

Louisville has previously indicated it would accept responsibility for violations it committed but would contest allegations it believed were not supported by facts. The school also noted corrective measures taken in the scandal’s immediate aftermath, such as suspending and then firing Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich.

Louisville also dismissed the NCAA’s contention that former Adidas executive James Gatto and amateur league director Merl Code represented the school while funneling illegal payments to recruits at several schools.

“The enforcement staff’s remaining allegations lack factual support and overread the relevant Bylaws,” the response stated, “and rest on the erroneous contention that the conspirators were representatives of the University’s athletics interests.

“For these reasons and others set forth, the panel should reject the enforcement staff’s dramatically overbroad theory, and classify this case as involving a Level II-Mitigated violation.”

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.