Smothering defense leads No. 2 Virginia past Syracuse
Virginia (22-1, 11-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), which beat the Orange 68-61 in January, has won 14 straight and is off to its best start in conference play since the days of Ralph Sampson, who led the 1980-81 team to a 12-0 start.
Syracuse (15-8, 4-6), in desperate need of a signature victory, was coming off a four-point loss at Georgia Tech in which it shot 30 percent (15 of 50), and the offensive futility continued against the nation’s best scoring defense.
The Orange shot under 40 percent in the January loss to the Cavaliers and fared worse the second time around. Syracuse finished 17 of 50 (34 percent) and its 44 points were its fewest ever in the Carrier Dome.
The Orange needed big games from its top three scorers – Tyus Battle, Frank Howard, and Oshae Brissett – and they didn’t deliver. Battle finished with 15 points on 6-of-17 shooting, Howard was 4 of 17 for 11 points and Brissett had nine points.
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) – Vincent Edward had 18 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, and Purdue held on for a school-record 19th straight win.
Corey Sanders had 31 points and seven rebounds, and Deshawn Freeman added 14 points and nine rebounds for Rutgers (12-13, 2-10), which overcame a 15-point first-half deficit looked poised to pull off an upset at home.
Rutgers pulled within one on two occasions. Shaquile Doorson had a put-back dunk off of Geo Baker‘s missed layup to get to 48-47 with 12:28 left, and Freeman had a tip-in on a miss by Sanders to make it 55-54 with 8:06 remaining, However, that was as close as the Scarlet Knights got the rest of the way.
ST. JOHN’S 81, NO. 4 DUKE 77
Bashir Ahmed added 19 points and Tariq Owens had 17 for the Red Storm (11-13), who overcame an early 10-point deficit and fought off Duke’s heralded freshmen down the stretch in their biggest win under third-year coach Chris Mullin.
St. John’s was playing the second of three straight games against top-6 opponents in a span of nine days. Next up, a visit to No. 1 Villanova on Wednesday night.
Gary Trent Jr. had 22 points for the Blue Devils (19-4), who perhaps got caught looking ahead to their first matchup of the season with bitter rival North Carolina on Thursday night. Freshman sensation Marvin Bagley III scored 19 but sat out a significant chunk of the second half with four fouls.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) – Matt McQuaid scored 12 points and made the decisive 3-pointer with 1:08 to play for Michigan State.
The Spartans (22-3, 10-2 Big Ten) have won six straight to stay two games behind Purdue in the conference title chase.
Indiana, which lost to the Spartans 85-57 earlier this season, had a chance to force overtime, but Devonte Green‘s 70-foot heave bounced high off the back of the rim as the buzzer sounded.
The Musketeers (21-3, 9-2 Big East) made all of their 10 free throws in overtime, including four by Tyrique Jones, as they remained unbeaten in 15 home games this season. Bluiett’s two foul shots clinched it with 10 seconds left.
The Hoyas (13-9, 3-8) missed a 3-pointer at the end of regulation and another one in overtime that gave Xavier a chance to finish off a back-and-forth game. There were 20 ties and 21 lead changes, with neither team ahead by more than five points.
Xavier has won six in a row, staying right behind No. 1 Villanova for the Big East lead.
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) – Kendall Smith scored 24 points, including the clinching free throws in the final seconds, and Oklahoma State held on for the upset.
Udoka Azubuike had 20 points and Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk scored 17 apiece for Kansas, which was celebrating 120 years of basketball by welcoming back dozens of former players and coaches.
NO. 8 CINCINNATI 65, UCONN 57
The Bearcats shot just 36 percent from the floor, 10 percentage points below their season average. But they held UConn to 29 percent.
SEATTLE (AP) – Dominic Green collected a loose ball in the final seconds and made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Washington the victory.
Washington went to freshman Jaylen Nowell with the clock winding down, but his shot was blocked by Arizona star Deandre Ayton. Green grabbed the swatted shot near the Washington bench and beat the buzzer with his fourth 3-pointer of the game.
Green finished with 14 points off the bench and the biggest shot of his career as the Huskies padded an already improving resume for NCAA tournament contention. Noah Dickerson led Washington (17-6, 7-3 Pac-12) with 25 points and David Crisp added 16.
Dusan Ristic scored 21 points for Arizona (19-5, 9-2) and Allonzo Trier had 17 of his 20 in the second half. Ayton was a force on the inside with 19 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks, but missed a free throw with 21 seconds left that would have given Arizona the lead.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – Jarrett Culver scored 20 points with four 3-pointers, and Texas Tech got its fourth straight victory and a share of the Big 12 Conference lead.
Culver, Tech’s hometown freshman guard, made all of his 3s in the first half. That included consecutive baskets from beyond the arc in an 18-0 run that put the Red Raiders (19-4, 7-3 Big 12) firmly in control – even without top scorer Keenan Evans taking a shot in that stretch.
Evans still finished with 17 points and six assists, while Zhaire Smith had 12 points.
The two high-scoring guards alternated taking over for the Tigers (21-2, 9-1 Southeastern Conference) in the second half.
Heron scored 13 straight Auburn points, including three 3-pointers. Then Brown topped that with a 15-point run that also included a trio of 3s, one of which he turned into a four-point play.
Auburn made a season-high 17 3-pointers on 26 attempts to snap a 13-game losing streak against Vanderbilt.
Jared Harper scored 14 points and had 14 assists for Auburn, making three 3-pointers in the first nine minutes.
TEXAS 79, NO. 12 OKLAHOMA 74
Coleman scored 14 points in the second half. His free throws down the stretch came after he missed three in a row late in an overtime loss at Texas Tech that could have helped clinch a victory. Texas closed the game on a 22-8 run.
Kerwin Roach II added 19 points for Texas (15-8, 5-5 Big 12).
Young, the national scoring leader, came in averaging 30.3 points, but finished with 19 points on 7-of-22 shooting and made just two 3-pointers. He had 14 assists. The loss kept the Sooners (16-6, 6-4) from pulling into a three-way tie atop the Big 12 with Kansas and Texas Tech.
NO. 13 SAINT MARY’S 65, SAN DIEGO 62
SAN DIEGO (AP) – Jock Landale had 34 points and tied his season high with 18 rebounds – he had a double-double by halftime – and Saint Mary’s extended its school-record winning streak to 18.
The Gaels (23-2, 12-0 West Coast Conference) have the nation’s second-longest winning string. No. 3 Purdue won its 19th straight on Saturday, 78-76 at Rutgers.
Landale, a 6-foot-11 senior, had his 16th double-double of the season. He was three points shy of his season-high.
Johnathan Williams had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Gonzaga (21-4, 11-1 West Coast), which had lost to BYU at home each of the previous three seasons.
TJ Haws had 22 points for BYU (18-7, 7-5), which was coming off a head-scratching road loss at Loyola Marymount.
Although Gonzaga has lost only 15 times in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004, three of those were to BYU in the past three years. Last year’s loss in the final game of the regular season was top-ranked Gonzaga’s first defeat.
NO. 15 WEST VIRGINIA 89, KANSAS STATE 51
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) – Sagaba Konate scored 19 points and West Virginia ended a three-game losing streak.
James ”Beetle” Bolden added 13 points in his first career start, Teddy Allen had 12 points off the bench and Wes Harris had 10 for West Virginia (17-6, 6-5 Big 12).
The Wildcats never led, were held to their lowest scoring output of the season and had more turnovers (15) than field goals (14).
NO. 18 TENNESSEE 94, MISSISSIPPI 61
The blowout enabled Tennessee (17-5, 7-3 SEC) to move into sole possession of second place in the Southeastern Conference. The Vols began the day in a three-way tie for second with No. 21 Kentucky and No. 23 Florida, which both lost Saturday.
Tennessee has won eight of its last nine games while Ole Miss (11-12, 4-6) has dropped five of its last six.
NO. 19 NORTH CAROLINA 96, PITTSBURGH 65
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – Luke Maye scored 26 points to help North Carolina end its first three-game losing streak in four years.
The Tar Heels (17-7, 6-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) found themselves in a close game late in the first half with a team that had yet to win a league game, but they blew it open with a big run spanning halftime.
Freshman Marcus Carr scored 22 points for the Panthers (8-16, 0-11), who lost their 11th straight, the longest skid in program history.
NO. 20 CLEMSON 75, WAKE FOREST 67
Marcquise Reed added 10 of his 22 in the final six minutes to help the Tigers (19-4, 8-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) win their third straight and claim sole possession of second place in the league standings, a half-game ahead of No. 4 Duke.
Bryant Crawford scored 16 points and Keyshawn Woods added 13 for the Demon Deacons (9-14, 2-9). Wake Forest went 5 minutes without a field goal down the stretch while Clemson finally took control of a tight game that had 20 lead changes and 12 ties.
The 21st-ranked Wildcats (17-6, 6-4 Southeastern Conference) had erased double-digit deficits the last two games in victories over West Virginia and Vanderbilt, but their poor shooting against Missouri’s stingy defense ensured there would be no rally this time.
Kentucky shot 31.3 percent from the field. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Wildcats with 15 points and six assists.
Jontay Porter added 13 points and eight rebounds for Missouri (15-8, 5-5 SEC).
Missouri led 28-18 at halftime, as Kentucky made just 20 percent of its first-half shots and went 0 for 10 from 3-point range.
Sexton added eight rebounds and six assists for the Tide (15-8, 6-4 Southeastern Conference), which improved to 2-4 on the road.
The Gators (15-8, 6-4) lost their third consecutive SEC game, the first time that’s happened since the end of coach Mike White’s first season in 2016.
Alabama dominated Florida in the paint, on the glass and up and down the floor. Sexton took over in the second half, dribbling through the defense and creating open layups and dunks.
Hall was one of the beneficiaries. He made all seven shots and finished with 14 points and 11 boards.
KeVaughn Allen led the Gators with 16 points.
NO. 24 MICHIGAN 76, MINNESOTA 73, OT
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) – Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman made a tiebreaking three-point play with 3.8 seconds left and finished with 17 points as Michigan held on in overtime.
The Wolverines (19-6, 8-4 Big Ten) needed the extra time to win because they struggled to shoot from the field and the line.
The Golden Gophers (14-11, 3-9) were in a position to end their longest losing streak of the year because freshman Isaiah Washington had a season-high 26 points and Nate Mason scored 22 points, including a 3-pointer with 5.3 seconds left that tied the game.
Mason was just short on a shot from about 30 feet that would have forced a second overtime.
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