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Late Night Snacks: Two undefeated teams go down and No. 3 Ohio State survives

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 3 Ohio State 64, Notre Dame 61

Notre Dame had their marquee victory all locked up. Losses at home to Indiana State and North Dakota State were nullified. The Irish were back in the conversation as one of the best teams in the ACC. With less than a minute left, they had taken a 58-50 lead on No. 3 Ohio State at Madison Square Garden. And then it all went awry, as the Irish missed two free throws, committed four turnovers and fouled a three-point shooter and lost, 64-61.

The good news for the Irish? For 19 minutes in the second half, they dominated one of the best teams in the country. As disappointing as the finish was, Notre Dame is a talented team that looks like they are getting close to finding their stride.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 13 Oregon 100, BYU 96 OT

You knew that pitting Oregon and BYU against each other would result in an uptempo, high-scoring game filled with fast breaks and threes. That’s exactly what happened. The added bonus? BYU was in control for most of the game, only trailing in regulation when Oregon scored the first basket of the game. But Oregon came storming back, choking away a chance to win in regulation when Elgin Cook missed two free throws with just 1.8 seconds left. They would eventually go on to win in overtime.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) No. 7 Oklahoma State got 23 points and 11 boards from Markel Brown in a 78-73 win over No. 20 Colorado. Brown’s first double-double of the season was a needed boost with the Oklahoma State big men struggling.

2) Cullen Neal scored 24 points for New Mexico, allowing to Lobos to forget about missing Hugh Greenwood and help them pick up a much-needed, 75-68 win over Marquette. Raphielle Johnson wrote a couple of stories off of this game.

3) No. 18 Kansas dominated Georgetown, winning 86-64 despite getting just 12 points on 3-for-10 shooting from Andrew Wiggins. Their four big men combined to shoot 14-for-16 from the floor.

STARRED

1) Adreian Payne went for 33 points in a dominating performance against Texas as No. 5 Michigan State knocked off the Longhorns 92-78. He was 10-for-13 from the field.

2) J.P. Tokoto finished with 22 points, 11 boards, five steals, four blocks and two assists in a 97-85 overtime win over Davidson.

3) Julius Randle popped off for 29 points and 10 boards, shooting 8-for-10 from the floor, as No. 19 Kentucky erased an eleven point deficit in a win over Belmont.

STRUGGLED

1) Chaz Williams finished with just 10 points on 4-for-14 shooting as No. 22 UMass picked up their first loss of the season to Florida State.

2) Gary Bell Jr. finished just 1-for-7 from the floor as No. 21 Gonzaga suffered a damaging loss against Kansas State in Wichita.

3) Jordan Clarkson went for 25 points, eight assists and six boards for No. 23 Missouri, but the rest of his supporting cast had an off-night as the Tigers lost to Illinois 65-64.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 5 Michigan State 92, Texas 78
  • No. 6 Louisville 85, FIU 56
  • No. 8 Villanova 88, Rider 67
  • No. 15 Memphis 77, Southeast Missouri 65
  • No. 16 Florida 66, Fresno State 49
  • No. 24 San Diego State 65, McNeese St. 36

NOTABLES

  • N.C. State has one of the best forwards in the ACC (if not America) in sophomore T.J. Warren, and he led the Wolfpack to a 90-79 win over East Carolina with 32 points and eight rebounds.
  • D.J. Irving scored 25 points to help lead Boston University to an 83-77 win at Maryland. The Terrapins turned the ball over 17 times, and it’s clear that their issues are bigger than not having PG Seth Allen.
  • With point guard Rysheed Jordan out due to a family illness, St. John’s scored 96 points in their nine-point win over Youngstown State. D’Angelo Harrison scored 29 points and became the school’s all-time leader in made three-pointers.
  • J.D. Weatherspoon scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Toledo’s 71-67 win over Cleveland State, moving the Rockets to 11-0 in the season.
  • Siyani Chambers scored 27 points to lead Harvard to a 74-68 win over Vermont, moving the Crimson to 10-1 on the year.
  • VCU ripped off a 31-0 first-half run against Virginia Tech, coasting to an 82-52 victory over the Hokies. VCU beat both in-state ACC teams this season.
  • Jermaine Marshall scored 27 points and Jahii Carson fell three rebounds short of a triple-double (16 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds) in Arizona State’s 76-62 win over Texas Tech.
  • Isaiah Philmore and Matt Stainbrook scored 17 points apiece in Xavier’s 77-74 win at Alabama.
  • Jarvis Threatt scored nine of his team-high 29 points in overtime as Delaware outlasted Bryant 108-107. Dyami Starks led all scorers with 35 points in a losing effort.

Johnson, Paige help No. 9 Tar Heels roll past Panthers 85-64

North Carolina's Isaiah Hicks (4) dunks against Pittsburgh during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
AP Photo/Gerry Broome
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Brice Johnson scored 19 points to lead a dominating offensive performance that helped No. 9 North Carolina beat Pittsburgh 85-64 on Sunday.

Marcus Paige added 15 points for the Tar Heels (21-4, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who shot 59 percent to stay atop the league ahead of the next renewal of their fierce rivalry with Duke.

UNC had plenty of balance, shared the ball and got out in transition in arguably their best performance in weeks, using a 13-0 second-half burst to blow the game open. UNC finished with 26 assists on 32 baskets, 24 points off turnovers and scored 16 fast-break points after managing a combined five in the past two games.

Michael Young and James Robinson each scored 15 points to lead Pitt (17-7, 6-6). But the Panthers shot 37 percent and committed 19 turnovers, and a strong effort on the glass did little to offset their troubles.

The Tar Heels were playing their first home game in two weeks after a difficult three-game road trip that started with losses at Louisville and Notre Dame. Then came Tuesday’s game at Boston College, where the Tar Heels struggled against a winless league team then had a scare when Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams briefly collapsed in a second-half huddle after an attack of vertigo and had to leave the sideline for the rest of the game.

Williams was back in the office on Wednesday’s off day, returned to practice Thursday and told reporters Friday he was fine and even cracked jokes about a two-decade history with vertigo dating to his Kansas years.

Getting back home certainly helped everyone feel better. After wrestling with shooting struggles for much of the past month, UNC’s offense kicked back into an efficient and balanced gear, while Paige – the player the Tar Heels are practically begging to jolt free from a prolonged shooting slump – looked more like his old self against the Panthers.

That included one second-half play in which he caught a crosscourt pass from Theo Pinson in transition and made sure to step back behind the arc before burying a 3-pointer.

The Panthers had lost three of four since a 5-2 league start coming in, including 65-63 on a late tip-in at No. 12 Miami on Tuesday. And Pitt again had trouble getting their offense going, failing to crack 70 points for the third straight game.

TIP-INS

Pittsburgh: Second-leading scorer Jamel Artis scored five points on 2-for-8 shooting. … Pitt finished with a 41-29 rebounding advantage. … Pitt made 9 of 21 3-point attempts.

UNC: Justin Jackson scored 14 points. … UNC made 8 of 15 shots from 3-point range and 13 of 15 free throws. … Jackson and Pinson had six assists each. … UNC managed just one offensive rebound.

UP NEXT

Pittsburgh hosts Wake Forest on Tuesday.

UNC hosts Duke on Wednesday.

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap and the AP’s college basketball site at http://collegebasketball.ap.org

Denzel Valentine dominant as No. 8 Michigan State whips Indiana

Michigan State's Denzel Valentine (45) shoots over Indiana's Kevin Yogi Ferrell during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
AP Photo/Al Goldis
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Trailing by one point at the half, Indiana appeared to be in good shape at No. 8 Michigan State. However the fact that they were unable to slow down Denzel Valentine, who scored 15 first-half points, was a major concern for Tom Crean’s Hoosiers. Sure enough the national Player of the Year candidate continued on his tour de force in the second half, scoring another 15 points and dishing out seven assists as the Spartans rolled to an 88-69 victory.

For the game Valentine finished with 30 points, five rebounds, 13 assists and just one turnover. Of Michigan State’s 48 second half points, Valentine had a hand in 29 of them with all seven of his assists resulting in Michigan State layups. It was a dominant performance from one of the nation’s best players, a versatile guard whose four games missed due to injury may have led to some overlooking him when it comes to those national Player of the Year conversations.

When Valentine’s on everything else flows smoothly for Tom Izzo’s team, as his ability to both score and create results in quality looks for teammates who would struggle if they had to get that part of the job done themselves.

The biggest beneficiary Sunday afternoon was forward Matt Costello, who finished the game with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Of Costello’s ten made field goals (10-for-12 FG) five were assisted by Valentine, and he accounted for 13 points and seven rebounds in the second half. As a team Michigan State shot 63.3 percent from the field and assisted on 16 of their 19 made field goals in the second half, turning a tight contest into a blowout.

Tum Tum Nairn returned the court for the first time in seven games, but he played just two minutes and his time on the court will be managed carefully by Izzo moving forward. For many teams not having your point guard at full strength would represent a crippling blow, but that hasn’t been the case for Michigan State thanks in large part to Valentine. Michigan State went 4-3 in those seven games without Nairn, but the three losses were by a total of three points.

Valentine’s ability to make his teammates better will be a key factor down the stretch for Michigan State, and that skill was what led to the Spartans blowing out Indiana on Sunday.