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Devonte’ Graham’s 35 carries No. 2 Kansas past Syracuse, 76-60

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MIAMI (AP) — Devonte’ Graham wanted to get into the Miami Heat locker room. That’s about the only thing that didn’t go his way.

Graham matched his career-high with 35 points for the second consecutive game, Lagerald Vick added 20 and No. 2 Kansas remained unbeaten by topping Syracuse 76-60 in the HoopHall Miami Invitational on Saturday night.

Graham said he got excited seeing photos and banners from the Heat championship runs, and the inspiration from being on a court where Jayhawks legend Mario Chalmers and LeBron James — his favorite player — helped the Heat win NBA titles in 2012 and 2013 showed.

“It’s still nice to play in these type of arenas,” Graham said.

Graham shot 10 for 17 from the field and 7 for 13 from 3-point range for Kansas (7-0), which is off to its best start in seven years.

“We’re better when we have balance and he’d probably agree with that,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “But on a night where basically we didn’t have much going on, he needed to do that. He picked his spots well.”

Tyus Battle scored 22 points for Syracuse (6-1), which was playing away from the Carrier Dome for the first time this season. Frank Howard scored 15 and Oshae Brissett had 13 for Syracuse.

Kansas made 11 3s, but needed 31 tries to get there.

“Kansas was averaging 90-something points per game or something,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “Our defense wasn’t the problem.”

Svi Mykhailuk added 11 points for the Jayhawks, who shot 49 percent and held Syracuse to five baskets in the first half. Kansas used guard Clay Young at times against Syracuse’s 7-foot-2 center Paschal Chukwu, and even that worked.

“I actually thought he did great — 6-3 guarding 7-2, I thought he did OK,” Self said.

The Orange trailed by 21 early in the second half before a 16-2 run over 2 1/2 minutes got Syracuse within 49-42, with Battle and Howard combining for 14 points during that stretch.

Graham connected on a deep straightaway 3 to end that Orange flurry, and Syracuse went cold quickly. The Orange managed only five points in the next 6 minutes, and Kansas rebuilt a 17-point lead on a dunk by Vick with 7:39 left.

The Orange didn’t get closer than nine again, and finished shooting only 32 percent.

“This game was a great game for us,” Boeheim said. “It was a great experience to figure out what we need to do in certain situations and when you get down 21 to a team like Kansas and you can come back … we’ll learn something there.”

BIG PICTURE

Syracuse: As of now, this may be the only game Syracuse plays against a ranked opponent until facing Notre Dame on Jan. 6. None of the next eight opponents on the Orange schedule are currently in the AP Top 25, nor were any of their first six. … Miami coach Jim Larranaga, whose Hurricanes played in the second game Saturday night, spent some time watching Syracuse-Kansas — from behind the Syracuse bench.

Kansas: Graham had 60 points in Kansas’ first five games; he’s got 70 in his last two. … It’s still an unbeaten season for Jayhawk basketball — not only is the men’s team perfect so far, but Kansas’ women’s team is off to a 6-0 start.

WAITERS WATCHES

Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters had a rare chance to see his beloved Orange — he played for Syracuse from 2010 through 2012 — in person, sitting courtside with Heat managing general partner Micky Arison and president Pat Riley. He raved about Syracuse’s famed 2-3 zone. “That zone’s for real,” Waiters said, quickly adding that he led the Big East in steals thanks to that zone.

SUNSHINE STATERS

Syracuse will be in Florida at least three times this season — this game, plus Atlantic Coast Conference games at Florida State on Jan. 13 and Miami on Feb. 17. This was the third visit by Kansas to the Sunshine State in the last 20 years. The Jayhawks went to Florida in 2013-14, and won a tournament in Orlando the following season. Kansas hadn’t played in Miami since 1990.

UP NEXT

Syracuse: Faces Connecticut in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.

Kansas: Faces Washington in the Jayhawk Shootout at Kansas City, Missouri on Wednesday.

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.