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No. 2 Kansas rides hot start to 95-68 win over UW-Milwaukee

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — It wasn’t the 3-pointers that Ochai Agbaji poured in for Kansas, nor the smooth jumpers and easy layups that Devon Dotson put away, that left the pair with toothy grins after a rout of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Tuesday night.

It was the alley-oop Dotson threw and Agbaji turned into a reverse jam.

“I just wanted to put some style on it,” Agbaji said, when asked whether the 180-degree turn was necessary because of the pass. “I just jumped and I was like, ‘Man, might as well.”

Indeed, it was all about style most of the night for second-ranked Kansas, which roared to a big early lead before coasting to a 95-68 victory.

Dotson had 22 points and nine assists, Agbaji also had 22 points, and Udoka Azuibuke thundered his way through the lane to 15 points and 17 rebounds as the Jayhawks (8-1) cruised to their 26th consecutive home win and their 300th for the decade — Gonzaga with 304 is the only other Division I program to have reached that milestone.

“Three hundred wins in a decade means you’re averaging 30,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said, “and we still have a chance to add to it a little bit. … I think that speaks volumes of the types of players you’ve had in the program, and hopefully the next decade will be just as productive beginning in January.”

Darius Roy had 25 points to lead the Panthers (5-5), who actually outscored the Jayhawks most of the second half. Leading scorer Te’Jon Lucas was held to 11 points on 1-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.

“You prepare for it all you want. You can draw up schemes,” Lucas said, “but when you get out there you have to execute. And for the first 10 or 15 minutes of the game, we didn’t execute anything. Thats what led us to being down so much.”

Kansas basically put the game away with a faultless first 12 minutes.

Agbaji, who went for 20 points and 12 boards against Colorado over the weekend, continued his torrid pace by knocking down three 3-pointers in the first three minutes. David McCormack and Azubuike got into the act down low, using their massive bulk against the smaller Panthers. And then Dotson went on a scoring binge, using cat-quick penetration to get into the lane and knocking down a series of 3s when Milwaukee began to collapse on the paint.

The result was a 17-1 run to start the game, a 23-4 advantage by the 14-minute mark, and a 40-12 lead — and a whole bunch of used timeouts by Milwaukee coach Pat Baldwin — by the time the buzzer sounded on the under-8 media timeout.

Just how efficient was Kansas by that point? Try a 19-3 rebounding advantage, an 8-of-13 mark from the 3-point line, and 11 assists on the Jayhawks’ first 15 made field goals. Oh, and they had just three turnovers.

The crisp passing and utter selflessness was on display during one fast-break opportunity, when Dotson curled a bounce pass around a defender to Agbaji, who passed up his own look to dump the ball to Tristan Enaruna for a layup.

Milwaukee finally had a stretch of success late in the first half, but the Jayhawks still cruised into the locker room with a 52-27 lead. The second half was mostly academic, punctuated by a few big highlights — like the alley-oop pass from Dotson that Agbaji threw down with a rim-rattling reverse dunk with about 12 minutes to go.

“I liked the lob. I liked it a lot,” Dotson said. “I saw it on the Jumbotron.”

It was a nice way to kick off a festive victory party down the stretch.

“They were very special tonight,” said Baldwin, who grew up in nearby Leavenworth, Kansas. “It was great coming back home and I wish we had a better performance to show for it.”

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Milwaukee never gave itself a chance by spotting Kansas a big lead on the road, but it also never gave up. The Panthers scored seven of the first eight points to start the second half and stood toe-to-toe with the Jayhawks the rest of the way.

Kansas is poised to move to No. 1 next week after top-ranked Louisville lost to Big 12 rival Texas Tech at the Jimmy V Classic in New York. The result was shown on the video boards in Allen Fieldhouse and elicited a big roar.

UP NEXT

Milwaukee plays its lone home game in December against Eastern Illinois on Saturday night.

Kansas plays Kansas City on Saturday night at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

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

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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.