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Late Night Snacks: Indiana, Oregon continue in wrong direction

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: UCLA 70, Oregon 68

It wasn’t pretty but the matchup between the Bruins and Ducks didn’t lack for drama. Travis Wear’s basket with 5.3 seconds remaining proved to be the difference as UCLA moved into sole possession of second place in the Pac-12. Wear (12 points) was one of three Bruins to score in double figures, with Jordan Adams and Norman Powell scoring 19 and 17, respectively.

Joseph Young (25 points) and Jason Calliste (21) scored well for Oregon but neither got the final shot of the game, with Johnathan Loyd’s jumper being blocked by Kyle Anderson as time expired. In a game that showcased two teams that are inconsistent when it comes to sharing the basketball it was UCLA who escaped with the win, dropping Oregon to 2-6 in Pac-12 play.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES 

1) No. 13 Cincinnati 69, No. 12 Louisville 66

Cincinnati’s veterans did what needed to be done down the stretch as the Bearcats opened a two-game lead in the American standings with a win at Louisville. Sean Kilpatrick scored 28 points to lead the way, with fellow seniors Justin Jackson and Titus Rubles proving valuable as well. As for the Cardinals, they’re still searching for another quality resume-building win, with their best result to this point in the season being a win at UConn.

2) Nebraska 60, Indiana 55

After leading by 13 points at the half Indiana was outscored by 18 in the game’s final 20 minutes, dropping a game they looked to be in control of as a result. Terran Petteway led four Huskers in double figures with 18 points, and while this is a good result for Nebraska the same can’t be said for the Hoosiers. And given their overall resume, Indiana finds itself in need of some quality wins as the calendar approaches February.

3) Marquette 61, Providence 50

Speaking of resumes, it can be argued that Providence’s took a hit with their loss at Marquette. Davante Gardner scored 14 points and Jamil Wilson added 11 for the Golden Eagles, who moved to 4-4 in Big East play with the win. As for the Friars, they shot 2-for-14 from three and were unable to do enough to erase a cold first half shooting performance. With their next two games against DePaul and St. John’s, Ed Cooley’s team may want to avoid dropping either as those games will do more harm to their resume.

STARRED

1) Killian Larson (Grand Canyon) 

28 points and 20 rebounds in the Antelopes’ 76-75 win at Chicago State.

2) Tyler Haws (BYU) 

38 points (12-for-20 FG) in the Cougars’ 88-78 win over Pacific.

3) Zaid Hearst (Quinnipiac) 

33 points (11-for-18 FG), six rebounds and four assists in the Bobcats’ 86-74 loss to Canisius.

STRUGGLED

1) Saint Mary’s players other than Brad Waldow

Remove Waldow’s 6-for-12 night from the field and the Gaels shot 7-for-40 from the field in their 61-43 loss at San Diego.

2) Chattanooga players other than Casey Jones

Jones shot 7-for-12 from the field. His teammates shot 9-for-37, resulting in the Mocs’ 94-51 loss at Davidson.

3) Houston

The Cougars shot 18-for-66 from the field and 5-for-12 from the foul line in an 80-43 loss at UConn.

NOTABLES

  • Casey Prather scored 16 points and No. 3 Florida took care of business, beating Mississippi State 62-51 in Starkville.
  • Nik Stauskas led four Michigan players in double figures with 16 points as the tenth-ranked Wolverines beat Purdue 75-66 in Ann Arbor.
  • Chattanooga’s ten-game win streak came to a crashing halt as they fell 94-51 at Davidson. De’Mon Brooks paced the Wildcats with 27 points and 12 rebounds.
  • Andy Toole’s shorthanded Robert Morris squad moved to 7-0 in NEC play with a 79-76 win over Bryant. Karvel Anderson scored 24 points and Anthony Myers-Pate added 21 for the Colonials.
  • Mitch Bruneel scored 16 points to lead three Utah Valley players in double figures as the Wolverines moved to 7-0 in WAC play with a 67-53 win at UTPA.
  • Chris Denson scored 32 points and KT Harrell 23 to lead Auburn to a 74-55 win over rival Alabama.
  • Gary Winston scored 19 points in Portland State’s 80-57 win over Northern Colorado, with the result placing Weber State in sole possession of first place in the Big Sky.
  • Alan Williams scored 26 points and grabbed ten rebounds as UCSB beat UC Irvine 80-60, moving the Gauchos into a three-way tie for first in the Big West.

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.