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VIDEO: USC’s Chimezie Metu posterizes UCLA

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USC is playing at UCLA today in the battle of Los Angeles, and the highlight to date is this ridiculous alley-oop that Chimezie Metu finished over Giorgy Goloman:

Edwards helps No. 3 Purdue hold off Rutgers, 78-76

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Vincent Edward had 18 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, and No. 3 Purdue held on to beat Rutgers 78-76 on Saturday for a school-record 19th straight win.

Mathis Dakota scored 16 points, Carsen Edwards had 13 and P.J. Thompson added 12 points for the Boilermakers (23-2, 12-0 Big Ten).

Corey Sanders had 31 points and seven rebounds, and Deshawn Freeman added 14 points and nine rebounds for Rutgers (12-13, 2-10), which overcame a 15-point first-half deficit looked poised to pull off an upset at home.

Freeman’s fastbreak dunk cut Purdue’s lead to six, forcing Boilermakers coach Matt Painter to call a timeout with 15:29 to go. However, Matt Bullock corralled a defensive rebound on the ensuing possession and hit Sanders with an outlet pass and he made the fastbreak layup and the foul shot to pull the Scarlet Knights to 46-43.

Rutgers pulled within one on two occasions. Shaquile Doorson had a put-back dunk off of Geo Baker’s missed layup to get to 48-47 with 12:28 left, and Freeman had a tip-in on a miss by Sanders to make it 55-54 with 8:06 remaining, However, that was as close as the Scarlet Knights got the rest of the way.

Rutgers took a 3-0 lead on a Issa Thiam 3-pointer. Purdue tied it 29 seconds later after Thiam fouled P.J. Thompson on a 3-pointer. Carsen Edwards stole the ball and hit a layup on Rutgers’ ensuing possession to give the Boilermakers their first lead. They led 38-27 at halftime.

BIG PICTURE

Purdue: The Boilermakers’ winning streak is the longest in the nation and has them atop the conference standings. They’ll look to improve their home winning streak to 22 — the third-longest in school history — when they host No. 17 Ohio State. A win would give them a bit of a cushion in what has become a three-team race for the Big Ten title between Purdue, Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan State.

Rutgers: Bruised and battered, Rutgers continues to struggle. With senior captain Mike Williams (ankle) out for the past two weeks and Eugene Omoruyi out for several weeks to recover from a knee injury suffered at Illinois, the undermanned Scarlet Knights fell to below .500 for the first time all season and have now lost five-straight, sitting alone at the bottom of the Big Ten.

Hunter, Guy lead No. 2 Virginia over Syracuse, 59-44

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — De’Andre Hunter scored 15 points, Kyle Guy added 14 and second-ranked Virginia smothered struggling Syracuse 59-44 on Saturday.

Virginia (22-1, 11-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), which beat the Orange 68-61 in January, has won 14 straight and is off to its best start in conference play since the days of Ralph Sampson, who led the 1980-81 team to a 12-0 start.

Syracuse (15-8, 4-6), in desperate need of a signature victory, was coming off a four-point loss at Wake Forest in which it shot 30 percent (15 of 50), and the offensive futility continued against the nation’s best scoring defense.

The Orange shot under 40 percent in the January loss to the Cavaliers and fared worse the second time around. Syracuse finished 17 of 50 (34 percent) and its 44 points were its fewest ever in the Carrier Dome.

The Orange needed big games from its top three scorers — Tyus Battle, Frank Howard, and Oshae Brissett — and they didn’t deliver. Battle finished with 15 points on 6-of-17 shooting, Howard was 4 of 17 for 11 points and Brissett had nine points. Syracuse was 4 of 20 from beyond the arc.

Syracuse entered the game ranked fourth in the nation in field-goal percentage defense (37.7 percent), just behind Virginia, but the Cavaliers exhibited their usual patience on offense and hit 12 of 24 shots in the first half to take a 10-point lead at the break. None came from second-leading scorer Devon Hall, who missed the only shot he attempted.

As expected, the game was a methodical, slow-paced slog with each team repeatedly shooting at the end of the shot clock, especially the Orange. The Cavaliers, who never trailed, found room inside the Orange’s 2-3 zone and hit three jumpers from the foul line in the opening 15 minutes.

Virginia built its biggest lead of the period with help from the long ball during an 11-0 run late. Ty Jerome hit a 3 from the top of the key with 6:32 left for a 23-18 lead and Hunter hit another from the left corner just over two minutes later.

Jerome’s second 3 of the period completed the surge and was a beauty of teamwork. Instead of going up for a putback after a strong rebound under the basket, Isaiah Wilkins zipped a pass to the right corner to a wide-open Jerome, and he swished it.

Syracuse managed just one basket in the final seven minutes, a 3 by Battle with just under a minute left as the Orange were held to 8-of-23 shooting (34.8 percent), 3 of 11 from beyond the arc (27.3).

The Orange, who had to work hard for every shot, got a jolt of applause from the home crowd on Frank Howard’s dunk off a steal by Marek Dolezaj that moved Syracuse within 36-27 early in the second half.

The good feeling was short-lived. Mamadi Diakite hit a fall-away jumper along the baseline at the shot-clock buzzer after nearly losing the ball out of bounds, and Guy followed with a long fall-away 3-pointer from the right wing for a 41-27 lead with 13:23 left.

Diakite matched his season high with 12 points.

The Cavaliers put the game away with a 12-0 run midway through the second half and finished 23 of 47 shooting (48.9 percent).

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Cavaliers are on a serious roll and are poised to take over the top spot if Villanova stumbles.

INVISIBLE MAN

Syracuse center Paschal Chukwu was a factor in the first game between the teams, notching a career-high 16 rebounds and scoring nine points in 35 minutes. The 7-foot-2 Chukwu had zero points and three rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia: Virginia continues to subdue its opponents with its stifling defense and has separated itself from the rest of the conference. No other team in the ACC has fewer than three losses. The Cavaliers have road games against Florida State, Miami, Pittsburgh and Louisville before closing out the regular season at home against Notre Dame.

Syracuse: The Orange have three more chances to notch a signature victory to bolster their resume for NCAA Tournament consideration, with games still on the schedule against No. 4 Duke, No. 19 North Carolina and No. 20 Clemson. Last season, the Orange had three upsets of top-15 ranked teams on its home floor and so far this year they have none. Syracuse also has only has one road win in conference play, and that came against last-place Pittsburgh, which is winless in 10 conference games.

Konate helps No. 15 West Virginia beat Kansas State 89-51

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Sagaba Konate scored 19 points and No. 15 West Virginia ended a three-game losing streak, beating Kansas State 89-51 on Saturday.

James “Beetle” Bolden added 13 points in his first career start, Teddy Allen had 12 points off the bench and Wes Harris had 10 for West Virginia (17-6, 6-5 Big 12).

Dean Wade scored 17 points and Xavier Sneed had 16 for Kansas State (16-7, 5-5).

The Wildcats never led, were held to their lowest scoring output of the season and had more turnovers (15) than field goals (14).

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins had been critical of his team for not guarding better in a 93-77 loss Wednesday at Iowa State, the most points the Mountaineers have allowed in a Big 12 game.

Things improved significantly Saturday.

West Virginia’s pressure defense was effective and the Mountaineers got a rare win after holding a double-digit lead over the past month. West Virginia has had such leads in five of its last seven games but has won just twice.

Konate took advantage of the Big 12’s worst rebounding team. Over a 1:15 stretch late in the game, the 6-foot-8 sophomore scored off a rebound, made two free throws and threw down a dunk as part of a 13-0.

BIG PICTURE

West Virginia: The Mountaineers shot 61 percent (14 of 23) from the floor after halftime in beating Kansas State for the eighth time in their last nine meetings. They didn’t look like the stumbling squad that struggled to a 3-5 record in January after rising to the No. 2 ranking in the AP Top 25 on Jan. 8.

Kansas State: The Wildcats made one basket over a 13-minute stretch spanning both halves, allowing West Virginia to take command. Kansas State has lost two straight after winning four in a row.

No. 24 Michigan holds on to beat Minnesota 76-73 in OT

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman made a tiebreaking three-point play with 3.8 seconds left and finished with 17 points as No. 24 Michigan held on to beat Minnesota 76-73 in overtime on Saturday.

The Wolverines (19-6, 8-4 Big Ten) needed the extra time to win because they struggled to shoot from the field and the line. And they failed to slow down a pair of guards.

The Golden Gophers (14-11, 3-9) were in a position to end their longest losing streak of the year because freshman Isaiah Washington had a season-high 26 points and Nate Mason scored 22 points, including a 3-pointer with 5.3 seconds left that tied the game.

Mason was just short on a shot from about 30 feet that would have forced a second overtime.

Michigan’s Zavier Simpson made a layup and a 3-pointer — after missing his first seven attempts beyond the arc — to give his offensively challenged team a four-point lead with 2:50 left in the extra period.

The Gophers tied the game with 11 seconds left, but couldn’t keep Abdur-Rahkman from making what the game-winning play on a hard-charging drive for a layup on which he was fouled by Jamir Harris.

Moe Wagner had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Simpson scored 15 and Charles Matthews had 13 points for the Wolverines, who have won four straight at home. Michigan made just 44 percent of its shots from the field and was 8 of 32 from the 3-point line.

Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy fouled out in overtime with 12 points and six rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

Minnesota: The short-handed Gophers, who played just seven players, extended their season-long losing streak to five games. Minnesota was without Reggie Lynch because of an investigation into sexual assault allegations along with Amir Coffey (right shoulder) and Gaston Diedhiou (ankle) due to injuries.

Michigan: The Wolverines will lose some games they should win if they don’t shoot better at the free throw line. They were 12 of 28 at the line, an area that has been a season-long weakness.

Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy placed on leave

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — Colorado State placed basketball coach Larry Eustachy on administrative leave Saturday while the school assesses the program, a decision that again raises questions about his conduct.

Athletic director Joe Parker said he “asked” the coach to “temporarily step away” while the university gets a better understanding of the “climate” surrounding the team.

Assistant Steve Barnes will coach Saturday’s game against Nevada and “until the assessment is complete.” Eustachy is under contract through the 2020-21 season.

“We are diligently working through this assessment as expeditiously as possible, understanding the importance of a thorough and fair process,” Parker said in a statement. “No conclusions have been made.”

On Wednesday, Parker said the school was evaluating the team by talking to students and staff associated with men’s basketball. Parker offered no further information. That came after an online report by former Rocky Mountain Collegian sports editor Justin Michael who said Parker was interviewing players about Eustachy’s conduct.

Eustachy coached later Wednesday night, with the Rams losing 91-86 to Wyoming in double overtime.

It was reported last year that the university looked into Eustachy’s conduct in 2013-14, finding that he created an atmosphere of “fear and intimidation” among players. In documents obtained by the Coloradoan and posted online a year ago, Eustachy acknowledged he “crossed the line” when asked about the atmosphere within the program by former athletic director Jack Graham. The documents also said the coach called players derogatory names, threw chairs, soda cans and erasers, along with punching a whiteboard.

Graham wrote to Eustachy in March 2014, saying the “behaviors we discussed shall not occur again or the university will terminate its contract with you for just cause.”

The 62-year-old Eustachy is in his sixth year with Colorado State. The short-handed Rams entered the day 10-14 — dropping five in a row — with a 7-5 mark at Moby Arena. Entering this season, Eustachy’s squads have won 80 percent of their games in Fort Collins.

Before his arrival at Colorado State, Eustachy went 61-33 in three seasons with Idaho, and then 98-52 in five seasons at Utah State. He may be best known for his time at Iowa State. His best season for the Cyclones was 1999-2000, when Eustachy had Jamaal Tinsley and Marcus Fizer and the team went 32-5 record, reaching the final eight of the NCAA field. For that, Eustachy was named AP coach of the year.

He resigned from Iowa State in 2003 after photos of him partying with students surfaced. Soon after, Eustachy went into alcohol rehab.

Following a year away from basketball, he was given another opportunity at Southern Mississippi, where he steadily built the program into a contender. He turned in four 20-win seasons with the Golden Eagles and led them into the NCAA Tournament in 2011-12.

He was introduced as Colorado State’s coach in April 2012. The Rams went 26-9 his first season and made it to the NCAA Tournament.