Author: Scott Phillips

Eric Johnson, Isaiah Briscoe

Labissiere scores 16 as top-ranked Kentucky beats BU 82-62


LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Freshman center Skal Labissiere scored 16 points to lead top-ranked Kentucky past Boston University 82-62 on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats (5-0) used a big second half to overcome Boston U. in their season debut at No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll. One day after taking over the top spot, Kentucky struggled to put away the Terriers early but outscored them 42-29 in the second half.

Labissiere finished 7 of 13 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. Tyler Ulis added 15 points, and Alex Poythress had 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for his second straight double-double.

Jamal Murray scored 12 points and Isaiah Briscoe had 11. Kentucky, which spent all of last season ranked No. 1, scored 58 points in the paint and closed with a 22-9 run.

Boston University (2-3) got 15 points from John Papale. Nathan Dieudonne and Kyle Foreman scored 11 apiece.

The Wildcats raced out to a 10-0 lead 3 minutes into the game, but Boston University settled down after making its first basket and kept the score close in the first half by hitting five shots from long range.

The Terriers led 34-33 with 2 minutes remaining in the first half, but the Wildcats scored the last six points of the period to regain the lead.

Labissiere paced the Wildcats with 11 points in the first half, followed by Murray with 10.


Kentucky: The Wildcats improved to 216-28 as the top-ranked team in the country and have won 61 of their last 64 games while holding the top spot. Under coach John Calipari, Kentucky is 63-5 as the top-ranked team in the AP poll.

Boston University: The Terriers fell to 0-5 against Kentucky. … Boston University missed its first four shots and didn’t score its first basket until the 16:55 mark of the first half. … Dieudonne, a graduate of Louisville Trinity, was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 2012.


Kentucky plays Friday against South Florida at the Hoophall Miami Invitational.

Boston University plays Saturday at Binghamton.

No. 9 North Carolina rallies late to top Kansas State

Kennedy Meeks
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An already tough road trip almost got worse for No. 9 North Carolina as they rallied late to beat Kansas State, 80-70, on Tuesday night in the championship game of the CBE Classic.

Plagued by the perimeter shooting issues that hurt them last season, the Tar Heels shot only 28 percent (6-for-21) from 3-point range and also had difficulty defending the 3-point line as Kansas State shot 50 percent (8-for-16) from distance.

But the Tar Heels went on a 21-3 run over the final 4:24 to close out the game as Joel Berry II, Justin Jackson, Kennedy Meeks and Theo Pinson scored on four consecutive possessions to deliver the final blow for North Carolina.

Much like the loss to Northern Iowa over the weekend, North Carolina had a difficult time trailing talented perimeter shooters as Kansas State guard Kamau Stokes went 6-for-8 from 3-point range to finish with 24 points.

This time, however, the Tar Heels took the best shot that the Wildcats could deliver and stayed tough as Berry’s 3-pointer out of a baseline out-of-bounds play seemed to ignite the North Carolina offense with 3:03 left.

From there, Jackson delivered a clutch runner for the tie and Meeks’ steal and score on the ensuing Kansas State possession proved to be the go-ahead bucket. With Marcus Paige still out with injury, Jackson stepped up as the go-to guy for North Carolina once again as he finished with 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting. Meeks added 15 points while Pinson finished with 11 and Brice Johnson added 10 points.

Kansas State has to feel like they let this one slip away, especially with a strong contingent of fans in Kansas City for the game. Turnovers in key situations really hurt the Wildcats in the final minutes as they couldn’t free up shooters like Stokes after he was red-hot for most of the game.

Perimeter shooting will continue to be a major question for North Carolina as the season moves along, but that should hopefully improve for them once Paige returns to the lineup and gives them another floor spacer. North Carolina’s late burst on offense — fueled in-part by some turnovers created by the defense — was certainly impressive, but they can’t expect that kind of late and furious rally to happen against elite teams.

Sulaimon helps No. 2 Maryland beat Illinois State

Mark Turgeon
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PUERTO AVENTURAS, Mexico (AP) Rasheed Sulaimon scored 16 points and Melo Trimble added 15 to help No. 2 Maryland beat Illinois State 77-66 on Tuesday night in the Cancun Challenge.

With the game tied at 62, back-to-back 3-pointers by Jared Nickens and Sulaimon gave the Terrapins (4-0) a six-point cushion 3:45 left.

The Redbirds (2-3) tried to rally, but too many turnovers (17) stifled them.

MiKyle McIntosh scored 17 points and Paris Lee added 15 for Illinois State.

Maryland will face Rhode Island for the Riviera Division title on Wednesday. Illinois State plays TCU in the consolation game.