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No. 5 Tennessee wins 58-46 as Vandy loses 14th straight

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s offense was bad. Vanderbilt’s was worse.

On a night when both teams posted their lowest point totals of the season, No. 5 Tennessee outlasted Vanderbilt 58-46 on Tuesday in the Volunteers’ first game since losing their No. 1 ranking.

“I think we were really good defensively,” said Tennessee’s Lamonte’ Turner, who scored 12 points. “I think we guarded them well, and I think we disrupted a lot of their sets and stuff like that. Offensively for us, I think we turned down some shots, and some shots that normally fall didn’t fall tonight. You have those nights.”

Tennessee (24-2, 12-1 Southeastern Conference) bounced back from its first loss since Thanksgiving week, an 86-69 defeat at No. 4 Kentucky on Saturday to snap a school-record 19-game winning streak.

Vanderbilt (9-17, 0-13) dropped its 14th straight, matching the longest skid in school history. Vanderbilt had a 14-game losing streak that began in 1934-35 and carried over to the next season.

Even as the losses pile up, Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew remains upbeat.

“You saw the character of these guys, saw how hard they fight,” Drew said. “Losing’s not fun. It brings out the worst. But we’re building something here.”

Vanderbilt shot just 32.1 percent (18 of 56) overall and 23.5 percent (8 of 34) in the second half. Tennessee won despite scoring just two points during a stretch that lasted nearly nine minutes.

Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said he liked the way his team responded after the loss to Kentucky, even if the score didn’t necessarily reflect it.

“We came out (Monday) and had as good a practice as we’ve had in probably three weeks,” Barnes said “We came out tonight, and I thought defensively we were very good, and we had some shots we didn’t make.”

Grant Williams had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Tennessee, while Admiral Schofield added 12 points. Aaron Nesmith scored 13 points to lead Vanderbilt.

Turner put Tennessee ahead for good 16-13 with 12:47 left in the first half when he sank a 3-pointer while getting fouled to produce a four-point play. Turner added another 3-pointer less than a minute later as part of an 11-0 run.

Tennessee led by 14 in the first half before its offensive woes enabled Vanderbilt to cut the lead to four on multiple occasions in the second half. Vanderbilt’s own issues on offense prevented the Commodores from getting any closer.

“We translated the defensive intensity that we brought to shootaround,” Williams said. “We just didn’t translate much offense.”

BIG PICTURE

Vanderbilt: If Vanderbilt played other opponents as tough as it plays Tennessee, the Commodores would have a much better record. The closest Vanderbilt has come to a win during this losing streak was an 88-83 overtime loss to Tennessee on Jan. 29. Vanderbilt led that game much of the way and gave Tennessee a challenge again Tuesday.

Tennessee: The Vols struggled in the opening minutes of the second half for a second straight game, only this time it wasn’t quite as costly. Kentucky pulled away from Tennessee on Saturday by scoring the first 14 points of the second half. Tennessee scored just two points in the first 7 1/2 minutes of the second half Tuesday but played defense well enough to stay in front.

NOTABLE NUMBER

Williams missed his only free-throw attempt of the night. He went 23 of 23 from the foul line while scoring 43 points in Tennessee’s overtime victory at Vanderbilt last month.

SEEKING DONORS

Tennessee’s players wore T-shirts with the message “Donate Life” during pregame warmups as part of an initiative to encourage fans to become registered organ and tissue donors.

Organ donor recipients also wore the “Donate Life” T-shirts as they gathered on the Thompson-Boling Arena floor before the game. Fans who registered as organ or tissue donors during the game got to go on the floor and pose for a group picture with Barnes afterward.

Tennessee athletic department spokesman Tom Satkowiak received a liver transplant Oct. 18 after spending more than four years on the waiting list. Satkowiak received a standing ovation after a video detailing his health situation played on the scoreboard at halftime.

UP NEXT

Vanderbilt is at Alabama on Saturday.

Tennessee visits No. 13 LSU on Saturday.

Follow Steve Megargee at https://twitter.com/stevemegargee

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball 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.