Rob Dauster

LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 11:  De'Aaron Fox #0 of the Kentucky Wildcats dribbles the ball during the game against the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks at Rupp Arena on November 11, 2016 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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No. 2 Kentucky handles Stephen F. Austin 87-64 in opener

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky’s latest highly touted freshman class showed their expected potential, but only after a boost from the veterans.

Isaiah Briscoe scored 17 points, Derek Willis added 15 and No. 2 Kentucky went on to an 87-64 season-opening victory over Stephen F. Austin on Friday night.

An opener expected to highlight the Wildcats’ latest group of talented freshmen instead saw veterans such as sophomore guard Briscoe and Willis, a senior forward, shoulder the load. They combined to make 11 of 18 from the field while their experience offset the newcomers’ early shooting troubles. Seven-foot sophomore Isaac Humphries (9 points, 8 rebounds) filled a big inside void with 6-10 freshman Bam Adebayo (five points) hampered by foul trouble.

Senior guard Mychal Mulder, a transfer who scored just 12 points last season for the Wildcats, had eight on a team-high two 3-pointers.

“Before the game Coach (John Calipari) reminded us that they’re young and it’s their first game, so make sure everything out there is in order,” said Briscoe, who worked out for several NBA teams last spring before deciding to return for a second season.

Several freshmen did their part with forward Wenyen Gabriel scoring 10 first-half points off the bench. Guard De’Aaron Fox added 12 points and broke a 36-year-old program record for assists in an opener with 12, while Malik Monk had 10 second-half points.

Isaiah Traylor scored 15 points and Leon Gilmore III had 12 with 11 rebounds for Stephen F. Austin, which lost the debut of coach Kyle Keller. The Lumberjacks outrebounded Kentucky 36-28 but committed 28 turnovers leading to 32 points.


Stephen F. Austin: Despite losing eight players from last year’s team, the Lumberjacks early on resembled the competitive NCAA Tournament team that upset third-seeded West Virginia before losing by five points to No. 6 seed Notre Dame in the second. They slowed the pace before the Wildcats’ height and depth took over.

Keller became first of three SFA coaches this century to lose his debut, but the Lumberjacks should make a strong push for their first straight Southland Conference regular season title.

“When we look back on this game, we’re going to draw on it,” said Keller, who took over after being a Texas A&M assistant. “We’re going to get a lot of confidence from this.”

Kentucky: Willis followed up last season’s breakout by being the steadying force early, making 3 of 4 field goals with two blocks. He finished with five rebounds. Humphries was a pleasant surprise with Adebayo spending much of the first half on the bench. The Wildcats shot 50 percent but were still outrebounded.

“We’re one of those teams that is so young,” Calipari said, “not disciplined enough defensively, should be a better rebounding team. We got outrebounded.”


Kentucky is likely to remain in position and won’t face that question until after meeting No. 12 Michigan State next week in New York.


Calipari preaches unselfishness to players and brags about his succession of standout point guards that have set the tone, most recently by Tyler Ulis. Fox offered glimpses of being Kentucky’s next floor general by breaking Dirk Minniefield’s old mark of 11 assists against Butler on Nov. 27, 1982.

“I didn’t even realize I was doing it,” Fox said. “I knew I wasn’t shooting the ball well. Teammates were cutting and finishing when I was passing the ball to them, so all the credit is to them.”


Adebayo was expected to get most of the attention because of his NBA-caliber game and build. But his physical style drew two quick fouls and four overall, leaving him with just one rebound in 15 minutes.


Stephen F. Austin: Returns home to host Longwood on Tuesday and regroup from the loss.

Kentucky: Hosts Canisius on Sunday in the first meeting between the schools since 1998. The Wildcats have won previous games against the Golden Griffins and seek a strong tuneup before facing No. 12 Michigan State on Tuesday in New York.

AP college basketball:

Jackson scores career-high 27, No. 6 UNC beats Tulane, 95-75

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 11: Joel Berry II #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels shoots against Blake Paul #23 of the Tulane Green Wave during the second half of a game at the Smoothie King Center on November 11, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) If North Carolina needs more scoring from Justin Jackson this season, early signs are the sixth-ranked Tar Heels are going to get it.

Jackson scored a career-high 27 points, guard Joel Berry II added a career-high 23, and No. 6 North Carolina never trailed its overmatched host, defeating Tulane 95-75 on Friday night in the regular season opener for both teams.

“I would love to keep it up every single game,” Jackson said. “I’ve just got to keep on putting in the work before and after practice so that whenever I step on the court, that’s the easy part.”

He made it look easy, but deferred credit to fellow Tar Heels for getting him open shots.

“My teammates were finding me. They were setting screens,” Jackson said. “I just had to step into the shot and knock it down.”

Jackson hit the first four 3s he attempted and also scored on an array of shots from inside and out, including a driving reverse layup. That came as no surprise to Berry, who was among those looking to get Jackson the ball.

“He’s worked on his shot a lot, worked on making it, being more consistent,” Berry said. “That’s what we’re going to need from him.”

The game marked the college coaching debut for former NBA player and coach Mike Dunleavy, but his Tulane squad simply lacked the talent to stay with a team that lost last season’s national championship game to Villanova on a last-second shot.

“We got caught up in the momentum, as opposed to playing the way that we needed to play to give ourselves a chance,” Dunleavy said. “I liked our effort. I’m not going to like some of our film, but that’s part of it.”

Cameron Reynolds scored a career-high 21 points for Tulane, hitting five of six from 3-point range. Tulane struggled to get open looks near the basket against North Carolina’s imposing interior, but the Green Wave hit 12 3-pointers to account for nearly half of its points.


North Carolina: Berry looks ready to take charge and be a playmaker on both ends. Isaiah Hicks looks formidable from 10 feet in, and Jackson demonstrated that he’s ready to contribute a lot more than the 12 points per game he supplied last season as North Carolina looks to repeat as Atlantic Coast Conference champions.

Tulane: While there was never any evidence that the Green Wave possessed enough talent to compete with a traditional college basketball power like North Carolina, Dunleavy has the Green Wave playing with more purpose and poise than they displayed a year ago. Time will tell if the former NBA coach can make Tulane into a factor in the American Athletic Conference.


Hicks scored 16, and Kennedy Meeks grabbed 15 rebounds for the Tar Heels, who never trailed and led by as many as 21 points. Freshman forward Tony Bradley added 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

Kain Harris scored 15 points for Tulane and freshman guard Colin Slater added 14 points in his Green Wave debut.


North Carolina, a 21-point favorite coming in, found Tulane to be a feisty opponent early. Trailing 20-19 more than 10 minutes into the game, the Green Wave had several chances to take the lead, but missed two shots and then turned the ball over on a charging foul.

That’s about when Berry seemed to infuse the Tar Heels with some extra intensity, starting with his alley-oop lob from the top of the key to set up Hicks’ dunk. Berry then stole the ball from Ray Ona Embo and quickly fed Jackson for a layup. Berry then hit a 3 and added a free throw to make it 31-22 as North Carolina began to pull away. Berry’s second 3 of the game made it 44-29.


Officials awarded North Carolina a technical free throw after a fan tossed a mini, palm-size basketball on the court. Officials said it was the second time in the game a fan had tossed an object into play.

Dunleavy said he “did not know about that rule,” but cracked that he would starting taking a Tulane fan to road games with instructions to “take a couple balls with you and toss them out there just when I need it.”


North Carolina performed as expected against over-matched Tulane, so voters might be inclined to keep the Tar Heels where they are unless one of the five teams above them stumbles.


North Carolina plays its home opener on Sunday afternoon against Chattanooga.

Tulane returns to its regular, on-campus home venue on Monday night to host Southeastern Louisiana.

Without 3 injured freshmen, No. 1 Duke routs Marist 94-49

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 11:  Frank Jackson #15 of the Duke Blue Devils drives against Connor McClenaghan #25 and Kristinn Palsson #13 of the Marist Red Foxes during the game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on November 11, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) No. 1 Duke didn’t have three of its top freshmen – and still had more than enough to rout Marist.

Grayson Allen scored 16 points and Duke opened its season by routing the Red Foxes 94-49 on Friday night.

“We’re a little bit undermanned now, and nobody feels sorry for us because they think we have an excessive number of men,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “But we just have to keep getting better.”

Freshman Frank Jackson had 18 points in his debut with the Blue Devils while Luke Kennard added 16.

Duke shot 44 percent and had an easy time against the Red Foxes despite playing without three big men from a freshman class widely considered the nation’s best.

Chase Jeter finished with 11 points in his first career start and Matt Jones also had 11 for Duke, which pushed its lead into double figures for good before Marist managed its first defensive stop.

Khallid Hart had 13 points to lead Marist, which was just 3 of 25 from 3-point range.

Injuries in the preseason have left the Blue Devils short in the paint: Forward Jayson Tatum missed both exhibition games after spraining his foot during a practice last month, center Marques Bolden earlier this week was declared out of both games this weekend with a leg injury, and forward Harry Giles is recovering after having his left knee scoped in October to clean up some loose bodies and scar tissue.

They didn’t need them.

Duke held a 56-33 rebounding edge against an outmanned Marist team that didn’t have anyone taller than 6-foot-9 on the roster.

“It speaks for the talent that we have and the confidence that we do have in the guys on the bench,” Allen said. “Whoever we put out there can be a good group.”


Marist: The Red Foxes met a similar fate as the previous 125 nonconference teams to visit Cameron Indoor Stadium. No shame in losing like this to Duke because the nation’s No. 1 team is hardly a fair measuring stick for a young team that went 7-23 last season.

“I didn’t think we played at our best,” Marist coach Mike Maker said, “but Duke had a lot to do with that.”

Duke: Jeter looked significantly more confident during his first start than he did at virtually any point during an uneven freshman season. With so many big men out, any production they can get from Jeter is a significant plus.


Krzyzewski says there’s no time frame for the injured players’ return, adding that “we’re just going to shut those guys down for a while” instead of rushing them back and risking re-injury.

“I’m going to be really adamant about taking a longer time than a shorter time, no matter what,” he added. Krzyzewski says Tatum may have returned to practice too soon “and that hurt him.”


The Blue Devils can’t climb any higher than No. 1, and at no point during this rout did they look like they deserve a lower ranking.


Marist has politics in North Carolina and New York to thank – at least partly – for this beating. The original schedule had Duke opening against Grand Canyon before playing Albany on Saturday, but the Great Danes had to back out of that game because of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order banning publicly funded, non-essential travel to North Carolina in response to a North Carolina law that limits protections for LGBT people. Organizers with the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic moved the Grand Canyon game back a day, swapped in Marist – which, as a private school, was not subject to the travel ban – and sent Albany to play at Penn State. In a show of unity against the North Carolina law, Maker said, the Red Foxes wore rainbow-colored socks.


Marist: The Red Foxes have a couple of travel days before taking on No. 23 Rhode Island on Monday night in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic.

Duke: The Blue Devils face a quick turnaround with Grand Canyon coming in Saturday afternoon. Consider it a final mid-major tuneup before taking on No. 3 Kansas next week in the Champions Classic.

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No. 11 Indiana upsets No. 3 Kansas behind 26 points from James Blackmon

HONOLULU, HI - NOVEMBER 11: Thomas Bryant #31 of the Indiana Hoosiers gestures to the crowd after scoring during the first half of the second game of the Armed Forces Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center on November 11, 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)
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James Blackmon scored 22 of his 26 points after halftime and freshman Curtis Jones added seven of his 15 points in overtime as No. 11 Indiana picked up a massive, 103-99 win over No. 3 Kansas in the season-opener.

The Hoosiers finished the night having hit 15-for-32 from beyond the arc. Thomas Bryant scored 16 of his 19 points in the first half while O.G. Anunoby went for 13 points, but the story of the game was that pair of Indiana guards.

Blackmon missed the 2015-16 season with a knee injury. And even when he was healthy, he was struggling. It’s not a secret that he is a defensive liability, and when you combine that with the fact that: A) Indiana couldn’t stop anyone when he was healthy, and B) The Hoosiers went on a run to the Big Ten regular season title after Blackmon went down, he had become something of the forgotten man.

That’s not the case anymore, not after the performance that he had in Honolulu on Friday night.

It wasn’t just that he scored 26 points. Blackmon made three massive three-pointers in the second half and overtime, all three of which were tough, contested jumpers. He was able to get into the paint and get fouled. He made his free throws. He was more than just a static jump-shooter. He could create a shot for himself, whether it was off the dribble or coming off of a screen, and with Yogi Ferrell gone, that’s something that Indiana desperately needs this season.

And then there is Jones, who hit a ridiculous step-back three to put Indiana up by four points with less than a minute left in overtime, following that up with a pair of free throws and the game-sealing dunk. Not a bad way to start a college career.

To be frank, I can already tell that I totally underestimated this Indiana team heading into the season. I did not expect their guards to be as good as they were tonight. They are still lethal in transition, they still have plenty of shooters up and down their lineup and, even without Yogi Ferrell, there are enough playmakers on the roster that they’ll be OK.

My one concern is this: Indiana made a lot of tough shots on Friday night. The 15 threes they hit weren’t just standstill, wide-open jumpers. Jones’ step-back was one of the best shots you’ll see in non-conference play while Blackmon’s degree of difficulty on the jumpers he made down the stretch was quite high. They went in tonight, but how often are those shots going to go in this season? In other words, if Indiana is going to rely on shots like that in order to win games, they’re not going to win as many games as you might think.

Now, to be fair, the difficulty of those shots were cause by Kansas, who is elite defensively. And that win, which will be one of the best of the year come Selection Sunday, is never going anywhere.

All I’m saying is that before you anoint Indiana as a national title contender, let’s see if they can play like this consistently.

On the other side of the ball, there was some stuff to like from Kansas. Frank Mason was sensational – he had 30 points and nine assists and basically fouled out the entire Indiana team – and Svi Mykhailiuk looked as good as he’s ever looked in a big spot, but there were some red flags. Josh Jackson looked overmatched in his first collegiate game. He was in foul trouble, he was just 3-for-11 from the floor and it felt like he vanished from the game in the second half.

I don’t think that last, but I’m sure the ‘Bill Self can’t coach one-and-done’ wolves are already out.

The bigger issue, however, was on the glass. I really think Kansas is going to have a tough time rebounding on the defensive end of the floor throughout the year. They gave up 18 offensive rebounds to an Indiana team that was dealing with foul trouble to their best offensive rebounder, Bryant.

The Jayhawks spent a lot of time playing small-ball, with Jackson or Mykhailiuk at the four. Their big lineup has Carlton Bragg at the four. There’s just not a lot of physicality on this front line, and that could end up being where teams take advantage.

PHOTO: Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes, Jordan Hill protest during anthem

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 20: Nigel Hayes #10 of the Wisconsin Badgers handles the ball in the first half against the Xavier Musketeers during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Scottrade Center on March 20, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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No. 9 Wisconsin blew out Central Arkansas in their season-opener on Friday night, winning 79-47 in a game that never felt like it was in danger for the Badgers.

Bronson Koenig led the way with 16 points for Wisconsin while Nigel Hayes added 14 points and five assists, but the real story of this game was what happened before hand.

Hayes and teammate Jordan Hill continued a pregame protest that they practiced through Wisconsin’s two exhibitions, taking a step back from the rest of their team during the national anthem:

“You can’t take a knee on the court because my knee would hurt,” Hayes said after one of the exhibitions. “So therefore I stand back. Similar reasons why [Colin] Kaepernick does it, with the type of country we live in, the things that are going on as you see.”

Hayes has been at the forefront of political activism in college basketball. He posted an essay condemning racism on the Madison campus to his twitter account and, during a college football gameday event at Wisconsin, he held a sign to protest amateurism and the NCAA’s arcane rules.

POSTERIZED: Nice to meet you, Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball (UCLA Athletics)
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Lonzo Ball has been one of the nation’s most hyped freshmen this season, mainly because the UCLA point guard is an elite passer and playmaker known for being able to do everything on a basketball court.

He’s drawn comparisons to Jason Kidd.

But I don’t ever remember Jason Kidd doing this: