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No. 5 Michigan St. beats Indiana 63-60 for 6th straight win

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Matt McQuaid scored 12 points and made the decisive 3-pointer with 1:08 to play Saturday night, leading No. 5 Michigan State past Indiana 63-60.

The Spartans (22-3, 10-2 Big Ten) have won six straight to stay two games behind Purdue in the conference title chase.

Juwan Morgan had 23 points and 11 rebounds for Indiana (12-12, 5-7), which has lost four straight overall. Freddie McSwain Jr. finished with eight points and 16 rebounds.

Indiana, which lost to the Spartans 85-57 earlier this season, had a chance to force overtime, but Devonte Green’s 70-foot heave bounced high off the back of the rim as the buzzer sounded.

It was deliberate, old-school basketball at its finest.

The teams regularly went deep into the shot clock, and Michigan State eventually hung on because of size and defense.

Despite shooting a season-low 28.8 percent from the field, the Hoosiers sure made it tough.

Indiana trailed 58-50 with 5:05 left before Morgan scored seven straight points to get the Hoosiers within one. After Miles Bridges missed a 17-footer on Michigan State’s next possession, Indiana had a chance to take the lead. But Robert Johnson’s layup rolled out and McSwain missed two free throws after grabbing the offensive rebound.

McQuaid’s final 3 made it a four-point game and after Green’s three-point play with 3.7 seconds to go made it 63-60, the Hoosiers got one last chance when Joshua Langford missed two free throws.

Langford and Jaren Jackson Jr. each had 10 points and Jackson finished with seven blocks.

BIG PICTURE

Michigan State: Offensively, the Spartans struggled. But defensively, they showed just how good they can be with their size and length. Just eight minutes into the game, Michigan State had eight blocks. It finished the half with nine with 13. The only downfall was that the Hoosiers took advantage of second chances and managed to keep it close.

Indiana: After getting blown out by the Spartans on Jan. 19 in East Lansing, the Hoosiers inserted McSwain into the starting lineup and turned it around. No, they didn’t get the win. But the young Hoosiers showed how much they had learned from the first matchup and they can go toe-to-toe with any team.

KEY STATS

Michigan State: Bridges finished with seven points and eight rebounds. …. Langford had 10 points. … The Spartans pushed their single-season school record for blocks to 204. … Michigan State was 9 of 18 on 3s and 8 of 17 on free throws.

Indiana: Morgan recorded his seventh double-double of the season. … The Hoosiers made only 2 of its first 22 shots, 9.1 percent, and went more than 8½ minutes in the first half without a basket. …Indiana had a 53-29 rebounding edge including a 25-3 advantage on the offensive end against the best rebounding team in Division I. … The Hoosiers have played three straight ranked opponents.

No. 19 North Carolina ends 3-game skid, beating Pitt 96-65

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Luke Maye scored 26 points to help No. 19 North Carolina beat Pittsburgh 96-65 on Saturday night, ending its first three-game losing streak in four years.

The Tar Heels (17-7, 6-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) found themselves in a close game late in the first half with a team that had yet to win a league game, but they blew it open with a big run spanning halftime.

Graduate transfer Cameron Johnson scored eight points against his former team in UNC’s 14-3 half-ending flurry, which grew to 25-5 when Joel Berry II hit his fourth 3-pointer for a 56-37 lead with 16:48 left.

Freshman Marcus Carr scored 22 points for the Panthers (8-16, 0-11), who hit eight first-half 3s to hang around but made 2 of 16 after halftime as the Tar Heels’ lead ballooned.

That sent Pitt to its 11th straight loss, the longest skid in program history.

BIG PICTURE

Pittsburgh: Things just keep getting worse for the Panthers. They entered Chapel Hill ranked last in the league in major categories such as scoring offense, shooting percentage, rebounding margin and turnover margin. Now they’ve lost 15 straight regular-season ACC games and are approaching a year since their last win.

UNC: The Tar Heels were facing the possibility of their first four-game losing streak since February 2010, the only one of the Roy Williams era. And the past week in particular had been bumpy: There was an overtime home loss to North Carolina State last weekend, a loss at No. 20 Clemson on Tuesday and the suspension of freshman guard Jalek Felton from the university for unspecified reasons. This win — a relatively easy get-right cruise in front of a friendly home crowd — might have helped drain a bit of the tension that had built during the skid.

Saturday Recap: Duke goes down, Kansas loses at home, Texas beats Trae Young

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PLAYERS OF THE DAY

Trae Young is the name everyone knew as No. 12 Oklahoma head to Austin to take on Texas, but it was another freshman point guard — Matt Coleman — who left as the star of the show.

Coleman finished with 22 points and a pair of assists, doing quite a bit of the work defensively on Young, who finished with 19 points and 14 assists but shot 7-for-22 from the floor and 2-for-14 from three.

It’s great to see Coleman playing well. Texas is trying to cope with the fact that one of the players on the roster (sophomore Andrew Jones) is in a battle with leukemia, and that means that more of the load has been hoisted upon Coleman. He’s answered the call.

So has Kerwin Roach, who finished with 19 points, four boards and four assists. He’s become arguably the best perimeter player for the Longhorns in recent weeks, scoring at least 16 points in five of the six games since returning from injury.

RELATED: All of Saturday’s Bubble Banter in one place

THE REST OF SATURDAY’S STARS

  • SHAMORIE PONDS, St. John’s: Ponds finished with 33 points — including a pair of massive shots in the final 75 seconds — as the Johnnies knocked off No. 4 Duke at home.
  • COLLIN SEXTON, Alabama: Sexton finished with 17 points, eight boards, six assists, two steals and a block as the Crimson Tide went into Gainesville and knocked off No. 23 Florida by 18 points.
  • JEROD HARPER, Auburn: 14 points and 14 assists isn’t a bad night. That’s what Harper did as Auburn whipped up on Vanderbilt.
  • JOCK LANDALE, Saint Mary’s: Landale was terrific, finishing with 34 points, 18 boards and four assists as No. 13 Saint Mary’s won at San Diego.
  • TREVON BLUIETT, Xavier: Bluiett finished with 31 points on 9-for-16 shooting on Saturday as the Musketeers held off Georgetown. He made this shot to force the overtime.

TEAM OF THE DAY

Oklahoma State desperately needed to win at No. 7 Kansas on Saturday if they wanted any chance of getting back to the NCAA tournament this season, and they did just that.

The Pokes were up by as many as 18 points in the first half, as the Jayhawks spent 40 minutes playing like they thought all they had to do to win at home was to show up. Kendall Smith led the way with 24 points, five boards and five assists for OSU while Cameron McGriff chipped in with 20 points.

This is the third game that Kansas has lost in Phog Allen this year. Bill Self entered the season having lost just 11 times in that building in his tenure with Kansas.

Kansas, on the other hand, is now tied with Texas Tech for first place in the Big 12.

GAME OF THE DAY

(UPDATE: Actually, it was this game.)

I don’t know how Indiana did it, but somehow they shot 28.8 percent from the floor and 4-for-19 from three and still managed to have a potential game-tying heave at the buzzer bounce off the back of the rim.

The Spartans got up double-figures early and seemed to throw this thing into cruise control. The Hoosiers slowly but surely chipped away, creating another mind-bending stat: Michigan State, with the biggest front line in college basketball, finished with 29 total rebounds and just three offensive boards on Saturday while Indiana had 25 offensive rebounds despite starting a front line that stands 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-8.

The final score ended up being 63-60 despite Michigan State’s best efforts to give this one away.

WTF???? OF THE DAY

St. John’s entered Saturday having lost 11 straight games.

It is February, and the Red Storm do not own a single win in the Big East. It’s been something of a disaster for Chris Mullin, one that has him fully on the hot seat.

So obviously, with No. 4 Duke coming to town, the Johnnies … played their best game of the year?

Shamorie Ponds popped off for 33 points while Bashir Ahem added 19 points and Tariq Owens chipped in with 17 as St. John’s erased a seven-point halftime deficit to beat the Blue Devils. Duke was absolutely torched by Mike Krzyzewski after the game — and deservedly so — which has me asking: How is a team as talented as Duke is so reliant on Marvin Bagley III?

WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

Remember when we thought that No. 21 Kentucky making that thrilling comeback and winning at West Virginia would be the turning point in their season? LOL. After needing overtime to beat Vanderbilt at home during the week, the Wildcats lost at Missouri in a game were the Tigers were more or less in control throughout. Kentucky was a trainwreck in the first half, digging themselves too big of a hole to dig out of. Kassius Robertson had 16 points and four assists to lead the way for Mizzou.

Whatever funk No. 10 Texas Tech was in earlier this year, they are out of it now. The Red Raiders won their fourth straight game on Saturday, knocking off TCU at TCU. The final score was 83-71, but it really wasn’t that close.

Whatever funk No. 15 West Virginia was in the last three weeks, they look to be out of it now. The Mountaineers beat Kansas State by 38 points.

The two best teams in the SEC continue to be No. 18 Tennessee and No. 11 Auburn. The Volunteers absolutely smashed Ole Miss on Saturday, eventually winning by 33 points, while the Tigers held off Vanderbilt at home. It’s a shame these two teams already played this season. It didn’t get near the fan fare it deserved.

Deandre Hunter had 15 points and six assists off the bench for No. 2 Virginia as they knocked off Syracuse, 59-44.

Corey Sanders went for 31 points, seven boards and three assists, but it wasn’t enough as No. 3 Purdue beat Rutgers in Piscataway, 78-76.

No. 19 North Carolina got back to their winning ways, snapping a three-game losing streak against Pitt. The most noteworthy part? Theo Pinson was healthy, finished with 13 points and eight assists and played as the back-up point guard.

Jacob Evans had 19 points as No. 8 Cincinnati knocked off UConn in Hartford.

Isaiah Washington did everything he could — 26 points in total — to get Minnesota a win in Ann Arbor, but it was not meant to be. No. 24 Michigan won 76-73 in overtime.

No. 18 Vols trounce Ole Miss 94-61 for 5th straight win

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee coach Rick Barnes usually finds some reason to criticize his team’s performance even after lopsided wins.

Not this time.

Grant Williams and Lamonte’ Turner scored 17 points each to lead five Tennessee players in double figures Saturday night as the 18th-ranked Volunteers trounced Mississippi 94-61 for their fifth straight victory.

In the second half, Tennessee scored 59 points while shooting 71.4 percent overall (20 of 28) and from 3-point range (10 of 14).

“Probably obviously the best half of the year we’ve played,” Barnes said. “When the ball’s going in, it makes everything look good.”

The blowout enabled Tennessee (17-5, 7-3 SEC) to move into sole possession of second place in the Southeastern Conference. The Vols began the day in a three-way tie for second with No. 21 Kentucky and No. 23 Florida, which both lost Saturday.

Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield said the Vols won’t get distracted by their rise in stature. Schofield said the Vols haven’t forgotten how the SEC media projected them to finish 13th in the 14-team conference.

“We were picked 13th to start the season, so we’re always in the locker room thinking how can we get out of that 13th position,” said Schofield, who had 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Tennessee has won eight of its last nine games while Ole Miss (11-12, 4-6) has dropped five of its last six. With eight games remaining in the regular season, Tennessee already has exceeded its 2016-17 win total. The Vols finished 16-16 last year.

Tennessee showed its enormous potential in a brilliant second-half performance. The Vols outscored Ole Miss 59-36 after halftime. They had 27 assists and only six turnovers for the game, including a 17-1 ratio in the second half.

“Today obviously was an avalanche,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “Unfortunately, we were under it.”

Kyle Alexander scored 14 points and Jordan Bowden added 10 for Tennessee. Bruce Stevens scored 16 points and Terence Davis added 13 for Ole Miss.

Ole Miss shuffled its lineup for this game, with 7-footer Dominik Olejniczak making his first start since Jan. 16 and forward Justas Furmanavicius starting for the first time since Dec. 31

The changes didn’t make much of a difference, as Ole Miss missed 10 of its first 11 shots and scored just three points in the first 5 1/2 minutes of the game.

After trailing 35-25 at halftime, Ole Miss cut Tennessee’s lead to 35-32 by scoring the first seven points of the second half. Tennessee answered with a 9-0 run and stayed comfortably ahead the rest of the way.

BIG PICTURE

Ole Miss: The Rebels have struggled in SEC competition whenever leading scorer Deandre Burnett hasn’t been on top of his game. Burnett had just seven points and shot 2 of 13 Saturday while going scoreless in the second half. Burnett has averaged 20.8 points in Ole Miss’ four SEC wins. He missed one of the Rebels’ six SEC losses and has averaged just 9.8 points in the others.

Tennessee: The Vols are on a roll heading into a two-game road swing Tuesday at Kentucky and Feb. 10 at Alabama. But this Tennessee team has played well away from Thompson-Boling Arena so far. The Vols are 5-2 in true road games and went 2-1 in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.

CLOSE CALL

Tennessee had a scary moment early in the second half when Schofield appeared to hurt his right ankle while defending a 3-point attempt by Davis.

Schofield pounded his fist on the court in frustration a few times as he lay on the floor before walking slowly into the locker room. But he ended up missing less than a minute of action before returning to the game.

“Honestly, I was worried about if he’d made the 3 or not, to be real with you, because I did not want to hear Coach Barnes’ mouth after that because I had kind of relaxed on the play and he got (the shot) off,” Schofield said. “I was really trying to go up and block the shot. I knew I was going to be OK, but I guess it looked pretty bad.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Tennessee already has its best ranking since December 2010 and should move even higher Monday.

Bluiett has 31, No. 6 Xavier beats Georgetown 96-91 in OT

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CINCINNATI (AP) — Trevon Bluiett had a season-high 31 points, including a four-point play that tied it late in regulation, and No. 6 Xavier never trailed in overtime, holding on to beat Georgetown 96-91 on Saturday.

The Musketeers (21-3, 9-2 Big East) made all of their 10 free throws in overtime, including four by Tyrique Jones, as they remained unbeaten in 15 home games this season. Bluiett’s two foul shots clinched it with 10 seconds left.

The Hoyas (13-9, 3-8) missed a 3-pointer at the end of regulation and another one in overtime that gave Xavier a chance to finish off a back-and-forth game. There were 20 ties and 21 lead changes, with neither team ahead by more than five points.

Xavier has won six in a row, staying right behind No. 1 Villanova for the Big East lead.

Jessie Govan scored 23 points, and Marcus Derrickson had 19 points and 15 rebounds for Georgetown, which has lost five of six.

Jamorko Picket’s free throws put Georgetown up 86-84 with 38 seconds left in regulation, but Bluiett made a 3, was fouled and hit the free throw, tying it 86-all with 24.3 seconds left. Jahvon Blair missed a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left, sending it to overtime.

BIG PICTURE

Georgetown: Govan had only 12 points and nine rebounds in his last two games combined. The 6-foot-10 center gave Xavier big problems inside in the first half, when he had 17 points and six rebounds. He fouled out early in overtime.

Xavier: With No. 4 Duke’s 81-77 loss to St. John’s on Saturday, the Musketeers could move up in the next AP poll Monday. They’ve been as high as No. 5 this season, matching their best ranking in school history.

Coleman scores 22 and Texas upends No. 12 Oklahoma 79-74

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Matt Coleman scored 22 points, leading a big Texas second-half rally before his late free throws helped secure a 79-74 win over No. 12 Oklahoma and freshman star Trae Young on Saturday.

Coleman scored 14 points in the second half. His free throws down the stretch came after he missed three in a row late in an overtime loss at Texas Tech that could have helped clinch a victory. Texas closed the game on a 22-8 run.

Kerwin Roach II added 19 points for Texas (15-8, 5-5 Big 12).

Young, the national scoring leader, came in averaging 30.3 points, but finished with 19 points on 7-of-22 shooting and made just two 3-pointers. He had 14 assists. The loss kept the Sooners (16-6, 6-4) from pulling into a three-way tie atop the Big 12 with Kansas and Texas Tech.

Young scored seven points in a flurry early in the second half that pushed the Sooners to a 50-40 lead, and Oklahoma looked ready to pull away. Coleman kept that from happening with a burst that got the Longhorns and the home crowd back into it. A long 3-pointer and two more jumpers by Coleman tied it at 52 with 12 minutes left.

Young’s shooting troubles didn’t become a problem for Oklahoma until late when Texas tore through a 13-0 run to take its first lead since early in the first half. Dylan Osetkowski’s two free throws tied the game at 66 before Young missed consecutive 3-pointers on Oklahoma’s next two possessions. Coleman made a tough layup over two defenders and another by Roach put Texas ahead by four with 3:32 to play.

Coleman’s first free throws with just under two minutes left put Texas up 74-70, and two more with 56 seconds left stretched the Longhorns’ lead to six. Coleman hadn’t been to the line since his misses late against Texas Tech.

BIG PICTURE

Young continues to show he can do more than score. He struggled to find his shot early as both long and short attempts found an unfriendly rim. But Young keeps pushing the ball and the offense with sharp passes, splitting defenses that have eyes locked on him. Young had nine assists in the first half, most of them leading to easy dunks and layups as the Sooners scored 34 points in the paint in the half. He would have had more assists, but his teammates sometimes get caught watching him as well and dropped several passes for turnovers.

Texas got its third straight home win over a ranked opponent and continues to protect its home court in the rugged Big 12. The Longhorns did it despite an unusually quiet game from freshman forward Mo Bamba, who scored 13 and had nine rebounds, but could do little to stop the Sooners from scoring 56 points in the paint, many of them coming on dunks and alley-oops.