Associated Press

SATURDAY’S SNACKS: No. 2 Kansas, No. 5 Virginia win

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 19 West Virginia 87, Kansas State 83 (2OT)

If this game was any indicator of things to come, the Big 12 regular season is going to be ridiculous once again. The Mountaineers held on for the road win in the Octagon of Doom as Jaysean Paige had 25 points and seven rebounds. More on this one here.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 2 Kansas 102, No. 23 Baylor 74: Two days before their showdown with No. 2 Oklahoma the Jayhawks made a major statement in their Big 12 opener, blowing out Baylor in Lawrence. The favorites to win the Big 12 (again), the Jayhawks showed why they’ll likely be the top team in the national rankings Monday.

No. 3 Oklahoma 87, No. 11 Iowa State 83: The Cyclones led for much of the game but were unable to hang on in Norman. Lon Kruger’s Sooners remain undefeated ahead of their showdown with Kansas Monday night, and they have a senior guard who struggled in their last game in Isaiah Cousins to thank for it.

No. 6 Xavier 88, No. 9 Butler 69: Convincing Big East home win for the Musketeers, who played without talented freshman Edmond Sumner. CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on why this bounce-back win was so important for Xavier.

Texas Tech 82, Texas 74: Everyone keeps asking if Tubby Smith’s Red Raiders are for real and this was one of their better wins of the season. Texas Tech is now 11-1 as Devaugntah Williams had 23 points and was 13-for-13 from the free-throw line.

STARRED

Bucknell’s Chris Hass: Hass was incredible in the Bison’s win at Army-West Point, scoring 40 points. He scored 32 on 11-for-11 shooting from the field in the first half.

Wisconsin’s Zak Showalter: The Badgers defeated Rutgers for a Big Ten home win as the sophomore guard was 8-for-8 from the field for 21 points on the afternoon. Showalter was 4-for-4 from 3-point range.

LSU’s Ben Simmons: Simmons went off in the Tigers’ win at Vanderbilt, scoring 36 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.

STRUGGLED

Texas players not named Isaiah Taylor: The Longhorns lost to Texas Tech as Taylor (35 points, six assists) didn’t get much help from his teammates. The rest of the Texas roster was 14-for-38 (36 percent) from the field and 2-for-8 from the free-throw line.

Syracuse’s Michael Gbinije: Gbinije struggled with the matchup with Miami’s Angel Rodriguez, shooting 3-for-14 from the field (ten points) and committing eight turnovers in the 64-51 loss.

Temple’s perimeter shooting: After performing well offensively in a win at No. 22 Cincinnati earlier in the week, the Owls struggled in a blowout loss to Houston. Temple shot 3-for-23 from beyond the arc on the day.

OTHER TOP 25 RESULTS

  • No. 1 Michigan State rebounded from its loss at Iowa with a 69-61 win at Minnesota. Bryn Forbes scored 20 points to lead the way for the Spartans, who competed with greater intensity than they did Tuesday night.
  • Melo Trimble scored 24 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out eight assists to lead No. 4 Maryland to a 72-59 win at Northwestern.
  • No. 5 Virginia began its quest for another finish atop the ACC regular season standings with a 77-66 win over Notre Dame in Charlottesville. Malcolm Brogdon scored 24 points and Anthony Gill 21 for Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers.
  • It was a tight game for about 35 minutes and then No. 7 North Carolina used some late runs to knock off Georgia Tech. Brice Johnson had 16 points, 11 rebounds and Joel Berry had 19 points and some key late buckets.
  • No. 10 Kentucky rolled past Ole Miss in its SEC opener 83-61. Tyler Ulis scored 20 points and Jamal Murray 18 for the 11-2 Wildcats.
  • Kris Dunn tallied 26 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals as No. 12 Providence beat St. John’s 83-65. Ben Bentil added 20 points and nine rebounds.
  • JaQuan Newton hit two key three-pointers in the second half as No. 13 Miami beat Syracuse, 64-51. Sheldon McClellan led the Hurricanes offensively with 22 points on the afternoon.
  • Expect to see Iowa in the polls come Monday. After beating No. 1 Michigan State earlier in the week the Hawkeyes won at No. 14 Purdue, erasing a 17-point halftime deficit to win 70-63.
  • Brandon Ingram compiled 25 points, nine rebounds, three assists and one poster dunk as No. 15 Duke won 81-64 at Boston College. In total four Blue Devils scored in double figures.
  • No. 16 Villanova moved to 2-0 in Big East play with an 85-71 win at Creighton. Josh Hart scored 25 points and Daniel Ochefu added 19 and seven boards for the Wildcats.
  • No. 17 SMU moved to 13-0 with a comfortable home win over USF. The Mustangs did it without guard Keith Frazier, who missed the game for personal reasons.
  • Jalen Jones scored 28 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead No. 20 Texas A&M to a 92-69 win over Arkansas in the SEC opener for both.
  • No. 22 Cincinnati rebounded from its home loss to Temple earlier in the week with a 76-57 win over Tulsa. All ten Bearcats who played in the game scored, with Farad Cobb (21 points) being the lone player in double figures.
  • No. 24 South Carolina moved to 13-0 on the season with a ten-point win over Memphis. Sindarius Thornwell led three in double figures with 18 points.

NOTABLE RESULTS

  • To begin the day, Seton Hall held off DePaul for a home Big East win as Isaiah Whitehead had 18 points, nine assists.
  • Playing without senior guard Caris LeVert, Michigan got hot in the first half and ran past Penn State. Mark Donnal had 16 points and eight rebounds to continue a strong recent stretch of play.
  • Houston moved to 2-0 in the American and 12-2 overall with a blowout road win at Temple. Rob Gray Jr. had 23 points and six assists in the win.
  • Clemson followed up its College Football Playoff win with a home basketball win over Florida State as Jordan Roper had 23 points.
  • Alabama, Clemson’s opponent in the College Football Playoff next week, also found success on the hardwood with an easy win over Norfolk State. Retin Obasohan had 23 points.
  • In the Bruce Pearl Bowl, Auburn outlasted Tennessee as Kareem Canty had 20 points.
  • Georgetown moved to 2-0 in Big East play with an 80-70 win over Marquette that wasn’t as close as the final margin would lead one to believe. Marcus Derrickson led the way with 16 points and six rebounds.
  • DeAndre Bembry hit a big shot in the game’s final minute to give Saint Joseph’s a close win at Richmond in the A-10 opener for two teams hoping to contend for the league title.
  • Also winning their A-10 openers were Dayton and Rhode Island, with the Flyers limiting Duquesne to 33.8 percent shooting and URI blowing out Saint Louis.
  • LSU won its SEC opener at Vanderbilt, beating the Commodores 90-82 in Nashville. Ben Simmons had 36 points and 14 rebounds.
  • In a matchup of the two teams expected to compete for the SWAC crown, Texas Southern blew out Southern 88-66.
  • UT-Arlington moved to 11-2 on the season with a 92-72 win over Georgia Southern. Scott Cross’ team scored 50 points in the second half to pull away at home, and Kevin Hervey finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds.
  • Florida beat Georgia 77-63 in Gaineville, with KeVaughn leading five Gators in double figures with 18 points.
  • St. Bonaventure took care of Davidson, beating the Wildcats 97-85 in Olean. Jaylen Adams led five Bonnies in double figures with 30 points.
  • UConn held off Tulane in New Orleans, beating the Green Wave by a final score of 75-67. Rodney Purvis scored 20 points and Daniel Hamilton added 19 and nine rebounds.
  • Gonzaga came back from 17 down in the second half to win 102-94 at San Francisco. Domas Sabonis went for 35 and 14 rebounds and Kyle Wlitjer added 30 for the Bulldogs.

Point man: Can Nick Weiler-Babb’s move to PG put Iowa State back in the tourney?

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AMES, Ia. — It was clear Iowa State needed a change. The Cyclones stood 0-2 with an 18-point home loss to Milwaukee already on the resume. It was clear they were due for a reboot this season after losing four starters – including All-American point guard Monte Morris – but getting trounced at Hilton Coliseum by a team picked to finish eighth in the Horizon League constitutes an emergency.

The Cyclones didn’t panic, though. They adjusted. 

After that disastrous start to the season, coach Steve Prohm moved Nick Weiler-Babb from small forward to point guard while slotting the two players who had been manning the point –  sharpshooter Donovan Jackson and five-star freshman Lindell Wigginton – off the ball.

All Iowa State done since is win.

The Cyclones have rattled off seven-straight with Weiler-Babb flirting with triple-doubles, Jackson shooting 41.6 percent from deep and Wigginton looking like a future star.

“Good we moved him over there,” Prohm said.

It certainly has been good for the Cyclones. Iowa State was 9 of 34 (26.5 percent) from 3-point range, shot 38.8 percent overall and failed to reach 60 points in its opening two losses. In the seven games since, they’re converting at a 46.4 percent clip overall, 39.4 percent from distance and averaging 83.6 points per game. They’ve seemingly become a different team with Weiler-Babb at the helm.

“It’s taking a whole new role,” Weiler-Babb said. “Coach just told me whatever I have to do to win, I have to do it. That’s what I’ve tried to do. Take the ball out of the guys’ hands and give it to the scorers.”

The 6-foot-5 junior is averaging 7.9 assists along with 12.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He’s become indispensable for the Cyclones a year after being a bit player on the Big 12 tournament championship team.

“He went through some tough times last year,” Prohm said. “But that’s what everybody’s got to understand. Freshmen, sophomore, you’ve got to put your time in a little bit to have success and earn success. He’s doing that.”

The immediate returns have been spectacular for Iowa State, but a question still lingers as they eye Big 12 play later this month.

Is it real?

Or, rather, will it be real against an unforgiving Big 12 schedule? Given Iowa State’s non-conference slate, whether it is or not will determine the postseason fate of a team sitting on a program-best six-straight NCAA tournament appearances.

As good as Weiler-Babb and the Cyclones have been during their seven-game winning streak, the competition can’t be ignored. Iowa State’s best win during this stretch is either Boise State, which only got 8 minutes from Chandler Hutchison after a head injury, or Iowa, which is 5-6 with losses to Louisiana Lafayette and South Dakota State. The wins haven’t all come easy for Iowa State, either. They narrowly defeated Appalachian State and Tulsa while initially struggling against Northern Illinois and Alcorn State before pulling away.

Things have been good for the Cyclones, but they haven’t been perfect.

Iowa State is a mediocre shooting team overall and could have serious spacing issues going forward given the roster forces Prohm to play two non-shooting bigs together for major minutes. Wigginton has been excellent, scoring 20-plus in three of the last four games, but his level of athleticism is something the likes of Western Illinois can’t counter. Texas, Kansas and West Virginia can. Big swaths of the roster, which features eight newcomers, haven’t faced Big 12 caliber competition ever in their careers. Weiler-Babb’s size and skill at the point guard position makes him a major problem for mid-majors, but can he keep up this pace when he faces length and physicality similar to his own?

Those questions, though, have to be welcomed by the Cyclones. If there were answers to them for a team with so much youth and so many unproven players in new positions in mid-December, it probably would register in the negative.

That they’re unknown means there is possibility, opportunity and promise. That exists in no small part because Prohm made Weiler-Babb a point guard.

“The challenge is, what do we really want to be?” Prohm said. “But he spearheads everything we do.”

Texas’ Jones out with a broken wrist

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Texas may be without its leading scorer heading into conference play.

Longhorns coach Shaka Smart announced Monday that sophomore Andrew Jones suffered a hairline fracture in his right wrist and will be sidelined for the foreseeable future.

“Fortunately it’s not one of those injuries where he should be out for an extended long period of time,” Smart said at his news conference Monday, “but he’s going to miss at least the next few games before Christmas. They decided not to put it in a cast, which is good news.”

Jones suffered the injury last week against VCU when he took a number of tumbles to the floor. He’s averaging 15.3 points while shooting 52.4 percent from the floor and 43.2 percent from 3-point range.

“It’s a tough injury for us because he’s our leading scorer and has done a phenomenal job for us this year,” Smart said. “We’re going to need everyone on our team, not just guards, but everyone on our team to step up and take a little more responsibility.

“Your margin for error is a little smaller.”

The Longhorns, who are 6-2 with losses to Duke and Gonzaga, face Michigan on Tuesday, Louisiana Tech on Saturday and Alabama next week. Jones is certainly out for those games, and his availability for Texas’ first Big 12 games – Dec. 29 vs. Kansas and Jan. 1 at Iowa State – would seem to be in question.

“We don’t have an exact timeframe,” Smart said. “It’s really good news they didn’t put it in a cast.

“We’re hopeful that we can get him back in three, four weeks, but that’s not a set timetable.”

 

Coaches Poll: Villanova climbs to the No. 1 spot

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The new top 25 coaches poll is out, and the No. 1 team in college basketball is now Villanova.

Michigan State, who received 10 of a possible 32 first-place votes, came in at No. 2 while Duke, last week’s No. 1 team, fell to No. 4 with a loss to Boston College.

After winning at Kansas this week, Arizona State vaulted up to the No. 6 spot, while the Jayhawks fell to No. 12.

Here is the full coaches poll.

1. Villanova (22 first-place votes)
2. Michigan State (10)
3. Wichita State
4. Duke
5. Kentucky
6. Arizona State
7. North Carolina
8. Miami
9. Xavier
10. Texas A&M
11. West Virginia
12. Kansas
13. Gonzaga
14. TCU
15. Seton Hall
16. Virginia
17. Purdue
18. Notre Dame
19. Florida State
20. Tennessee
21. Baylor
22. Florida
23. Arizona
24. Oklahoma
25. Creighton

Villanova hops over Michigan State for No. 1 in AP Top 25

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Villanova’s unbeaten start now includes a No. 1 ranking in the AP Top 25 , while Arizona State is making a rapid rise into the top 10 under third-year coach Bobby Hurley.

After a tumultuous week in which unanimous No. 1 Duke and No. 2 Kansas lost, the Wildcats (10-0) earned 41 of 65 first-place votes to hop over Michigan State and reach the top for the third straight season.

Villanova and Michigan State were the favorites to take over at the top after the Blue Devils’ weekend loss at Boston College, though there was far less certainty for voters about who was now the nation’s top team. The Spartans (9-1) earned 19 first-place votes to climb from third to second, while the other five first-place votes went to the Sun Devils — who leapt 11 spots to No. 5 after Sunday’s win at Kansas.

Arizona State (9-0) is off to its best start since the 1974-75 season. Now the Sun Devils — who also have a win against Xavier this season — have their highest ranking since reaching third during the 1980-81 season.

Wichita State climbed three spots to No. 3, followed by Duke and Arizona State. Unbeaten Miami climbed four spots to No. 6, followed by North Carolina, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Xavier to round out the top 10.

Villanova helped itself with an impressive win against No. 12 Gonzaga last week in New York, though the Wildcats had to fight to the final minute Sunday to close out a La Salle team that entered at 5-5.

“It’s always an honor to be ranked No. 1,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said in a statement. “It’s great for the Nova Nation and we appreciate the respect of the writers. We know it’s early, though, and we need to get a lot better.”

KANSAS’ FALL

The Jayhawks (7-2) slid 11 spots to No. 13 after two losses last week, the first coming against Washington in Kansas City, Missouri, before losing to the Sun Devils in Allen Fieldhouse.

SHUFFLE UP

Only two teams — No. 8 Kentucky and No. 12 Gonzaga — stayed in the same spot. Thirteen teams rose in the poll, while four of the seven teams that fell slid at least eight spots.

TOP RISERS

Arizona State’s leap was the biggest, though No. 11 West Virginia (9-1) moved up seven spots after beating then-No. 15 Virginia. No. 14 TCU (10-0) climbed six spots after a win against a then-ranked Nevada team.

Miami, UNC, No. 15 Seton Hall, No. 17 Purdue and No. 20 Tennessee all climbed four spots.

LONGEST SLIDES

While Kansas’ losses stood out, No. 22 Florida had the biggest fall of the week.

The Gators (6-3) slid 17 spots after home losses to Florida State and to Loyola Chicago — a game in which they led for all of 93 seconds. Florida salvaged a win against Cincinnati in the Never Forget Tribute Classic in Newark, New Jersey, to avoid a four-game skid.

No. 18 Notre Dame (8-2) fell nine spots after an upset loss to Ball State, while the No. 25 Bearcats (7-2) slid eight spots.

NEWCOMERS

There were three newcomers to this week’s poll, though one is more of a welcome back.

The list included No. 19 Florida State (9-0) and No. 24 Texas Tech (7-1), while Arizona returned to the rankings at No. 23.

Arizona’s 0-3 showing at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas made the Wildcats the first team in three decades to go from No. 2 in the AP Top 25 to unranked in a week. But four straight wins have the preseason Final Four favorite back in the poll.

SLIDING OUT

Minnesota (No. 14 last week), Nevada (No. 22) and Southern California (No. 25) all fell out of the poll.

1. Villanova (41 first-place votes)
2. Michigan State (19)
3. Wichita State
4. Duke
5. Arizona State (5)
6. Miami
7. North Carolina
8. Kentucky
9. Texas A&M
10. Xavier
11. West Virginia
12. Gonzaga
13. Kansas
14. TCU
15. Seton Hall
16. Virginia
17. Purdue
18. Notre Dame
19. Florida State
20. Tennessee
21. Baylor
22. Florida
23. Arizona
24. Texas Tech
25. Cincinnati

Expelled Yale captain has enrolled at Belmont University

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Former Yale basketball captain Jack Montague, who was expelled from the Ivy League school in 2016 for sexual misconduct, has enrolled at Belmont University in Tennessee.

Montague, who is still suing to be readmitted to Yale, complained in a court deposition last spring that he was unable to apply to other schools. He said Yale would not release his transcript until he paid a disputed tuition bill.

Karen Schwartzman, a spokeswoman for Montague, says Yale later released the transcript, allowing Montague to enroll at Belmont this fall. She says not all of his credits transferred and he will need two semesters to graduate.

He exhausted his basketball eligibility at Yale.

Montague denies the sexual misconduct allegations. No criminal charges were ever sought.

Yale’s attorneys have said the school and its officials acted appropriately.

The lawsuit, which also seeks monetary damages, is expected to go to trial next year.