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No. 17 Arizona holds off No. 25 Arizona State for 77-70 win

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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona’s players left the court after warm-ups to a profane chant from Arizona State’s students. Once the game started, the action got so intense a Wildcats’ male cheerleader was escorted out by security.

No question, the rivalry in the desert has heated up.

One aspect remains the same: Arizona finding a way to win.

Deandre Ayton had 25 points and 16 rebounds, and No. 17 Arizona used a late run to hold off No. 25 Arizona State 77-70 on Thursday night to sweep the season series.

“It was hard fought,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “It wasn’t always pretty, but we played through some rough patches.”

Arizona (21-6, 11-3 Pac-12) grinded out a victory the first game and got off to a fast start in the rematch, quieting the raucous Wells Fargo Arena crowd by building an 18-point lead.

The Sun Devils (19-7, 7-7) revved up their run game and the fans after finding their groove, going on a 31-6 halftime-spanning run to go up seven.

Arizona clawed its way back and traded baskets with Arizona State until, like it did in Tucson, made the big plays down the stretch. Allonzo Trier scored 19 points and hit a 3-pointer during a late 7-0 that put the Wildcats up 70-63 with 90 seconds left.

“We’ve got to find a way to not get ourselves in holes early,” said Arizona State’s Kodi Justice, who had 19 points. “To exert all that energy to come all the way back, that’s why we came up short.”

Tra Holder led Arizona State with 20 points.

The first meeting, Dec. 30 in Tucson, was one of the most anticipated in the rivalry’s 105-year history.

Arizona State was the talk of college basketball and Division I’s lone undefeated team headed into that game after going 12-0 in nonconference.

Arizona had rebounded from a dismal trip to the Bahamas and was playing well.

The game lived up to the hype, going down the wire after the Sun Devils rallied from a 12-point deficit. Arizona took advantage of its size inside and made the plays down the stretch to win it 84-78.

The sequel rocked — almost literally.

The Arizona State fans were rematch ready, filling Wells Fargo Arena to the rafters and with roars, nearly shaking the building after Michael Buffer introduced the Sun Devils’ starting lineup.

The Wildcats were ready for them, opening on an 11-2 run and making 10 of their first 12 shots to build a 28-11 lead that eventually stretched to 18.

“That first 10-11 minutes is as good as an opponent has played against us both ends of the floor,” Arizona State Bobby Hurley said. “We were in trouble there.”

Arizona State snapped out of its offensive doldrums and slowed Arizona with full-court pressure. The Sun Devils went on a 16-2 run — started by Justice’s three straight 3s — to cut Arizona’s lead to pull within four and cut it to 39-38 by halftime.

Arizona State took its first lead on a corner 3-pointer to open the second half and the Sun Devils scored the first eight points to go up 46-39 as the decibel level rose with each shot.

Arizona fought back and the teams played an entertaining back-and-forth game until the Wildcats finished off the Sun Devils, just as they did in Tucson.

“We were just being smart, making sure we take our time,” Trier said. “When they make a run like that, they get sparked by the crowd and really get a lot of high energy and they start playing harder.”


Arizona State made inroads against its rival this season, but still can’t find a way to beat them.

Arizona played a superb game against Southern California after losing to UCLA last week and could have some momentum going after pulling out a win in a rowdy road atmosphere.


Arizona State is one of the nation’s best teams at getting free throws, but it was the Wildcats who were on a march to the line. Arizona made 21 of 27 free throws and had Arizona State’s trio of big men in foul trouble in the second half.

Arizona State went 7 of 12 on free throws, including 1 of 6 in the second half.

“Huge, huge free-throw advantage, especially on the road for a team to out-shoot a team in conference play,” Hurley said. “It’s something we’ve got to do a better job of.”


Arizona plays at Oregon State next Thursday.

Arizona State plays at Oregon next Thursday.

Police: Thief steals electronics from UNC basketball program

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Police say someone stole thousands of dollars in electronics from the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team locker room and office while they were away for the ACC tournament.

UNC-Chapel Hill campus police said on Twitter that the break-in happened at the Dean Smith Center on March 9, and they released images of a man they believe may have been involved.

A police report says the thief managed to get into the team locker room and basketball office without forced entry, according to The Herald-Sun.

The report says the thief stole a PlayStation 4, Xbox One and clothing worth $2,900 that belonged to the athletic department. Police say the thief also stole a laptop worth $1,200 and a financial document worth about $3,000 belonging to one of the players.

No upsets over here: No. 1 seed UConn women set scoring records in first round game

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The No. 1 overall seed on the men’s side of the NCAA tournament made history on Friday night.

They because the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed in the first round of the tournament, as Virginia lost to UMBC, if you were still unaware.

Over on the women’s side, the bracket is nowhere near as broken, because UConn’s women made history, too. They set NCAA tournament records for … well, almost everything it seems like.

The Huskies were up 55-19 at the end of the first quarter of their first round game against St. Francis (PA). Those 55 points are an NCAA tournament record. They held a 94-31 lead at the half, another NCAA tournament record, and held on to win 140-52.

The 140 points that Geno Auriemma’s team scored was an NCAA tournament record. The 88 points that they won by was one point short of an NCAA tournament record 89 points that was set by Baylor in a win over Texas Southern last season.

Oh, and the Huskies set the record for more assists in an NCAA tournament game — 38 — for good measure.

All in all, I think it’s safe to say that the fans in Storrs had a better weekend than the fans in Charlottesville. Hopefully, that will allow them to forget the fact that the men’s basketball program has become a laughing stock.

2018 NCAA Tournament: Maryland Governor calls UMBC upset, so does NBC Sports’ writer son

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Never before in the history of the NCAA tournament as a No. 16 seed upset a No. 1 seed.

That was until Friday night, when UMBC sent the No. 1 overall seed Virginia packing.

And if you thought no one had picked that upset, you were wrong.

Let’s start with the Maryland Governor, who was clearly a homer in picking UMBC to not only beat Virginia, but to win a national title:

Never say never, but … that’s never going to happen bud.

But how about this: My son, who is two years old and based his picks on his hard and fast rule of “all the doggies”, called this upset!

He also called Penn over Kansas, Fullerton over Purdue and Butler winning a national title, but whatever.

That bracket is actually pretty good!

VIDEO: Virginia’s Ty Jerome does not appreciate dumb question after UMBC loss

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You have to give Virginia some credit.

After losing to No. 16 seed UMBC in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the players on that roster faced the music. They went up to the dais and answered question from reporters on national television.

There is no way they enjoyed that.

And you can tell because Ty Jerome had absolutely no interest in answering dumb questions from reporters:

He was not amused.

2018 NCAA Tournament: Saturday’s betting lines, point spreads, over-unders

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Here is the full TV schedule, with spreads, over-unders and betting lines, for every game for the first four days of the NCAA tournament.

(Lines are updated for Saturday morning.)

Pittsburgh: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner and Dana Jacobson

  • 12:10 p.m.: No. 1 Villanova (-11.5) vs. No. 9 Alabama, CBS (149.5)
  • 2:40 p.m.: No. 2 Duke (-9.5) vs. No. 7 Rhode Island, CBS (149)

Boise: Brian Anderson, Chris Webber and Lisa Byington

  • 5:15 p.m.: No. 5 Kentucky (-5.5) vs. No. 13 Buffalo, CBS (155)
  • 7:45 p.m.: No. 4 Gonzaga (-4) vs. No. 5 Ohio State, CBS (141.5)

Dallas: Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Len Elmore and Ros Gold-Onwude

  • 6:10 p.m.: No. 3 Tennessee (-5) vs. No. 11 Loyola (Chicago), TNT (131.5)
  • 8:40: No. 3 Texas Tech (-1.5) vs. No. 6 Florida, TNT (133.5)

Wichita: Brad Nessler, Steve Lavin and Evan Washburn

  • 7:10 p.m.: No. 1 Kansas (-4.5) vs. No. 8 Seton Hall, TBS (154.5)
  • 9:40 p.m.: No. 3 Michigan (-3) vs. No. 6 Houston, TBS (135)