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Goodin leads surge, No. 8 Xavier routs Marquette 89-70

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CINCINNATI (AP) — Four straight impressive wins — each led by a different player — have No. 8 Xavier back in form at the midpoint of the Big East season.

Point guard Quentin Goodin scored 13 of his team-high 15 points while Xavier took control in the first half, and the Musketeers routed Marquette 89-70 on Wednesday night to remain unbeaten at home.

The Musketeers (19-3, 7-2 Big East) surged ahead by 26 and were never threatened as they beat the Golden Eagles for the second time this season. Xavier has won eight of the last 10 games between the schools.

The Musketeers have fully recovered from back-to-back road losses at Providence and No. 1 Villanova earlier this month.

“I feel like we’re heading in the right direction,” said Trevon Bluiett, who added 13 points. “The difference this time is we can’t get relaxed.”

Bluiett’s last basket made him the fifth Musketeers player with 2,000 career points, joining Byron Larkin (2,696), David West (2,132), Romain Sato (2,005) and Tyrone Hill (2,003).

“When I got that last basket, I heard the gym erupt and saw my teammates coming over to give me high fives, and the reality kind of set in,” Bluiett said. “It was a special moment for me. I always wanted to come to a program where I’d have an impact, whatever it was. To leave my name in Xavier history is special.”

Markus Howard had 33 points for Marquette (13-7, 4-4), which entered second in the nation in 3-pointers. But the Golden Eagles went only 6 of 23 from outside the arc, matching their season low for 3s.

“As good as they were, we were equally as bad,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “That’s not a good combination. We were outclassed in every way.”

The Golden Eagles have the league’s top two scorers in Howard and Andrew Rowsey, who had 31 points in the earlier 91-87 loss to Xavier . The Musketeers clamped down on Rowsey, turning Howard into a one-man show that wasn’t nearly enough.

“Our offense just wasn’t flowing like it usually does,” said Howard, who was 14 of 27 from the field, making half of his team’s baskets. “We saw Xavier bring it on defense.”

Howard had 20 points, but the rest of the team went only 2 of 13 as Xavier built a 20-point lead in the first half. Rowsey managed only three points in the decisive half and finished with six points.

BIG PICTURE

Marquette: The Golden Eagles are 1-5 this season against Top 25 teams, their only win coming over No. 13 Seton Hall on Jan. 9. They get another chance Sunday when they host No. 1 Villanova . They’re 0-4 this season against top-10 teams, with two losses to Xavier and one each to No. 1 Villanova and then-No. 6 Wichita State.

Xavier: The Golden Eagles made 15 3-pointers in the earlier game against Xavier, so perimeter defense was the Musketeers’ focus. They succeeded in shutting down the outside — the Golden Eagles were only 2 of 11 from beyond the arc as Xavier built its lead to 20 points.

“We wanted to come in with a mindset of defense first,” Goodin said.

NO LONGER PERFECT

Howard came in as the only player in Division I who hadn’t missed a free throw this season, making all 57 tries. He had a streak of 66 in a row that dated to last season. But he missed on his first attempt Wednesday, leaving him two shy of Steve Novak’s school record set from 2004-06. Howard missed another one later in the game, finishing 2 of 4 from the line.

PERFECT AT HOME

The Musketeers improved to 14-0 at the Cintas Center this season and 242-35 all-time.

RUSTY, RUSTY, RUSTY …

Marquette hadn’t played since Jan. 15 because of exams and struggled to get into a flow.

“I wouldn’t wish a nine-day break on any team in our league,” Wojciechowski said. “Nine days is an eternity. Obviously we didn’t handle it well, or we would have played better.”

SORE HIP

Marquette forward Sam Hauser hurt his hip in the first half and was limited to 21 minutes. He had five points and four rebounds. The Musketeers dominated inside, getting 46 points in the paint.

UP NEXT

Marquette: The Golden Eagles lost at Villanova 100-90 on Jan. 6. The Wildcats were coming off their first loss of the season, 101-93 to Butler.

Xavier: The Musketeers play at St. John’s on Tuesday. They beat the Red Storm 88-82 last Wednesday at home, led by Kerem Kanter’s 22 points and 13 rebounds.

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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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

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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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

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
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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

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
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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.