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No. 17 Arizona uses late run to outlast Oregon 90-83

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona went on a big run, then had a rash of turnovers and defensive mistakes to let Oregon back in it. The Wildcats again went on a big run, again allowed the Ducks to rally.

A third time put Oregon away.

Allonzo Trier scored 25 points, Deandre Ayton added 24 and No. 17 Arizona used that late run to outlast Oregon 90-83 on Saturday.

“It’s a huge win, especially since Oregon is rolling and had a huge win in Phoenix against ASU,” said Arizona’s Rawle Alkins, who had 13 points and six assists. “We had to protect our home court.”

Arizona (14-4, 4-1 Pac-12) grinded out a defense-dominated win over Oregon State on Thursday. It was all about the offense on Saturday, two long, athletic teams trading runs throughout an entertaining game.

Arizona had the last one, scoring eight straight points to go up 84-77 with 72 seconds left. The Wildcats shot 53 percent from the field to beat the team that ended their 49-game home-court winning streak a year ago.

Oregon (12-6, 2-3) rallied from double-digit deficits three times, but couldn’t muster a final comeback to leave the desert with a split between the Pac-12’s two Arizona schools.

Elijah Brown scored 25 points and MiKyle McIntosh had 20 for the Ducks.

“The last 4 minutes were the difference,” said Oregon guard Payton Pritchard, who had 12 points and seven assists. “But I think we made a jump this week.”

Oregon had been in a funk before this week, losing two of its first three Pac-12 games, including a disheartening 76-64 setback against rival Oregon State.

The Ducks bounced back on Thursday with a strong all-around game, knocking of No. 11 Arizona State 76-72 for their first win as an unranked team against a top-11 team in 41 years.

Oregon dominated the Sun Devils in the paint, outscoring them by 22 inside while grabbing 15 offensive rebounds.

Arizona, with Ayton and fellow 7-footer Dusan Ristic inside, was literally a much bigger challenge and the Wildcats played it to their advantage early.

Working the ball inside for shots at the rim and kickouts, the Wildcats jumped on the Ducks after opening with consecutive turnovers. Arizona hit its first six shots and blew past Oregon with a 17-2 run to go up 21-9.

“Those are some pretty big guys inside there,” McIntosh said.

The Ducks rallied after Arizona State went on a big first-half run and did the same thing against Arizona — twice. The second one, 12-0, pulled them within 32-31.

Arizona led 41-38 at halftime after both teams shot at least 50 percent.

The Wildcats kept the run trend rolling, scoring eight straight points to go up 51-40 early in the second half. Oregon took its turn, tying the game at 55-all.

BIG PICTURE

Oregon may have lost, but a road win at Arizona State and taking Arizona to the wire at McKale Center could be just what the Ducks need to get some traction after a slow Pac-12 start.

Arizona proved it can win with defense and offense in beating the two Oregon schools this week.

FOULS, FOULS, FOULS

The game was high-scoring with plenty of highlight-reel plays, an amazing feat considering how many times the game was stopped by whistles.

The teams combined for 51 fouls, with Oregon’s McIntosh and Paul White fouling out. Arizona made 34 of 37 free throws and Oregon was 21 for 24.

“Our ability to make free throws was the difference in the game,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said.

SORKIN SLIDES

Oregon senior forward Roman Sorkin gave his team a big lift in the win over Arizona State, finishing with 13 points after scoring 10 the previous 10 games. He had little impact on this one against Arizona’s massive post players, scoring two points in 2 minutes.

PINDER’S LIFT

Arizona’s Keanu Pinder did not play against Oregon State, but gave the Wildcats a boost of energy off the bench against Oregon. The senior forward from Australia had a blocked shot shortly after entering the game and energized the crowd with a thunderous dunk in the first half. He finished with six points and two blocked shots.

“I just have to stay ready,” Pinder said. “You never know when you’re going to get the opportunity. I got the opportunity and ran with it.”

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.