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No. 13 Kansas holds off Iowa State 83-77

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AMES, Iowa (AP) — Kansas responded to arguably its worst loss of the year with a much-needed win in a hostile environment — one that kept the Jayhawks within reach of Big 12-leading Texas Tech.

Performances like the one they put forth on Tuesday night are a big reason why the Jayhawks win the Big 12 every year.

Udoka Azubuike scored 19 points, Malik Newman had 17 and 13th-ranked Kansas bounced back from a brutal loss at Baylor by beating Iowa State 83-77.

Lagerald Vick scored 16 points for the Jayhawks (20-6, 9-4 Big 12), who shot 48.4 percent from the floor and committed just seven turnovers.

Azubuike led the way, hitting 9 of 10 shots and adding three blocks.

“Whenever we need a big basket, we know we can go into the big fella,” Newman said.

Kansas took a five-point lead into the break after Nick Weiler-Babb’s long 3 to end the half was waved off, and it quickly jumped ahead by 11 early in the second half.

The Cyclones chipped away at that deficit at times, even getting as close as three, but the Jayhawks pushed their lead to 76-63 with 4:46 left on back-to-back alley-oop dunks by Azubuike.

That capped a run of six straight makes for the Jayhawks — who also held Iowa State without a field goal for over four minutes down the stretch.

“We took too many bad shots in the first half,” Kansas Bill Self said. “You’re going to shoot a good percentage if you throw it inside a lot.”

Freshman Cameron Lard scored 19 points with 11 rebounds for Iowa State (13-12, 4-9). But freshman Lindell Wigginton, who burned the Jayhawks for 27 points in their first meeting, was held to 12 points on 3 of 12 shooting. He also had five turnovers.

Weiler-Babb had 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists after missing four games with knee tendinitis.

“We knew they’d come in here focused. They’re a resilient group,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said of Kansas. “We weren’t good enough on the defensive end.”

THE BIG PICTURE

Kansas: This was a game KU couldn’t afford to lose if it hoped to keep its quest for a 14th straight conference title alive. The Jayhawks’ next three games: at home to West Virginia and Oklahoma and on the road at Tech, will likely determine their fate. Still, seeing the Jayhawks respond in a crucial spot as the season draws to a close is something their Big 12 rivals have seen over and over again.

Iowa State: The Cyclones encountered a Kansas team with something to prove after it got waxed by Baylor 80-64 over the weekend. That’s a tough combination to overcome in a rebuilding year — though Lard’s monster game, on the heels of being named Big 12 newcomer of the week on Monday — was highly encouraging.

THE NUMBERS

Devonte’ Graham finished with 13 points for Kansas, but he was just 3 of 16 from the field. The rest of the Jayhawks combined to shoot 27 of 46. …Iowa State’s Donovan Jackson was just 1 of 9 from the field. …Svi Mykhailiuk had 10 points for the Jayhawks. …The Cyclones shot just 3 of 16 on 3s, but Zoran Talley had his best game of the year. He scored 15 points on 7 of 11 shooting

HE SAID IT

“For (Graham) to go 3 for 16, and we were able to put him on our back for a change…and come out with the (win), it’s big — and it just speaks to how good our team can actually be when everything is clicking,” Newman said.

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.