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Ball scores 22 to lead No. 10 UCLA past Oregon State 78-60

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LOS ANGELES (AP) With freshman Lonzo Ball taking over at both ends of the court, No. 10 UCLA forced a second-half change in tempo that made everything fall into place.

Ball had 22 points and nine assists as the Bruins ran away from Oregon State in the second half in a 78-60 victory Sunday.

“I’m just taking what the game gives me,” said Ball, who found himself on the finishing end of several alley-oop passes. “At the beginning of the season people were playing me to drive and pass. Today, I was just open a lot.”

After scoring a season-low 32 points in the first half, the nation’s top-scoring offense took control with a full-court press in the second half.

“Anytime we’re being aggressive on defense that’s when we’re playing our best,” UCLA guard Bryce Alford said. “Being active against a team like this that likes to control the tempo really helped get us going.”

After a loss to Southern California in January, the Bruins held a players-only meeting that has led to more Bruins increasing their intensity on the defensive end.

“We talked it out, hashed it out,” Alford said. “We said if we want to do what we want to do, reach the goals we want to reach we’ve got to play defense. We know we can play offense but that’s only part of the game.”

Ball made 9 of 12 shots as the Bruins (23-3, 10-3 Pac-12) shot 52 percent while winning their fourth straight after consecutive losses at the end of January.

“He’s impossible to guard,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said of Ball. “You try to squeeze him in transition with another player, he comes flying by you.

“Lonzo is a great passer. He has unbelievable vision and he can catch fire from beyond 3, but defensively I don’t think he gets credit for the things he creates for their team.”

TJ Leaf added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Bruins, who struggled offensively early as Oregon State played a more controlled style.

“They went to their press, and we didn’t have a problem with it, but we said in our first timeout, `Why do you think they’re doing it?’ To speed us up,” Tinkle said. “I thought we gave into it a little bit.”

Stephen Thompson Jr. scored 18 points and Drew Eubanks added 13 points and seven rebounds for Oregon State (4-22, 0-13 Pac-12), which has lost 13 in a row, and 18 of their last 19.

Coming off an 82-79 victory over No. 5 Oregon on Thursday night when they had to rally from a 19-point deficit, the Bruins found themselves trailing 27-24 more than 17 minutes into this one as the Beavers made six of their first 10 3-point attempts.

The Bruins, however, went on to score the first half’s final eight points for a 32-27 lead.

Up 40-34, the Bruins broke the game open with a 14-3 run, taking a 54-37 lead on Alford’s 3-pointer with 12:50 to play. The Bruins’ biggest lead was 71-48 with 5:43 remaining.

With the victory, the Bruins completed a home-and-home sweep of Oregon State, having beaten the Beavers 76-63 in Corvallis, on Dec. 30. This was UCLA’s first series sweep of OSU since 2012.

The Bruins also avenged an 85-82 upset loss to the Beavers in their last meeting at Pauley Pavilion on March 5, 2016.

BIG PICTURE

Oregon State: The Beavers have not beaten a Top 10 team since Jan. 11, 2015, when they upset then-No. 7 Arizona 58-56. OSU’s last Pac-12 victory was their season-ending win over the Bruins last March.

UCLA: With four games left in their Pac-12 Conference schedule, the Bruins find themselves in third place in the conference standings, behind Arizona (12-1) and Oregon (11-2). The Bruins came into the game leading the nation averaging 92.5 points per game, the third-highest average in school history (the 1971-72 UCLA squad averaged 94.6 points).

UP NEXT

Oregon State: The Beavers play host to Colorado on Thursday night. The Buffaloes beat the Beavers 85-78 in Boulder, on Jan. 26.

UCLA: The Bruins play host to Southern California on Saturday night looking to avenge an 84-76 upset loss to the Trojans in their first meeting this season on Jan. 25.

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.