Terrence Payne

SPOKANE, WA - DECEMBER 10:  Head coach Mark Few of the Gonzaga Bulldogs reacts to a call in the second half of the game against the Akron Zips at McCarthey Athletic Center on December 10, 2016 in Spokane, Washington.  Gonzaga defeated Akron 61-43.  (Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images)
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No. 5 Gonzaga stays undefeated with 93-55 win over LMU

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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Przemek Karnowski scored 17 points as No. 5 Gonzaga beat Loyola Marymount 93-55 on Thursday night to remain the nation’s only undefeated Division I basketball team.

Zach Collins scored 15 points and Silas Melson added 13 for Gonzaga (16-0, 4-0 West Coast), which has the nation’s longest winning streak at 16 games. Six Zags scored in double figures.

Buay Tuach scored 19 points for Loyola Marymount (8-8, 1-4), which has lost 15 straight games to Gonzaga dating to 2010.

Gonzaga has shot better from the field than all 16 of its opponents this season. They shot 53 percent, while holding the Lions to 34 percent, including 26 percent in the decisive second half.

The first half was close and Gonzaga led for nearly all of it. The Bulldogs kept pushing leads to as many as 10 points, and the Lions would immediately whittle them down.

But three late 3-pointers – by Josh Perkins, Melson and Johnathan Williams – lifted Gonzaga to a 46-35 lead at halftime. The Lions committed 10 turnovers and shot just 40 percent in the first half, while Gonzaga was 6 of 9 from 3-point range.

Karnowski scored three baskets during a 10-3 run to open the second half that gave the Zags a 56-38 lead. The Lions made just one of their first nine shots in the second half.

Gonzaga’s lead was soon at more than 20 points, as the Bulldogs outscored Loyola Marymount 23-8 to open the second half. The Lions did not threaten again.

BIG PICTURE

Loyola Marymount: The Lions suffered close losses to Connecticut, Boise State and Texas-Arlington this season. Eight of their previous 12 games were decided in the final 10 seconds, and they lost five of them.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs are off to the best start in program history, and became the only undefeated team in major college basketball when Baylor lost recently. Five Zags are averaging at least 10 points per game, led by Nigel Williams-Goss at 15.3, and they average 85.5 points as a team. The Zags are 13th in the RPI.

UP NEXT

Loyola Marymount plays at Portland on Saturday.

Gonzaga faces a stern test to its undefeated record when they play No. 21 Saint Mary’s at home on Saturday.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

No. 22 Cincinnati holds on for 66-64 win over SMU

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 13:  Troy Caupain #10 of the Cincinnati Bearcats dribbles the ball during the game against the Texas Southern Tigers at Fifth Third Arena on December 13, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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CINCINNATI (AP) Troy Caupain scored 16 points and blunted SMU’s comeback, and No. 22 Cincinnati let most of a 15-point lead slip away before holding on for a 66-64 victory Thursday night.

The Bearcats (14-2, 4-0) won a matchup of the last two unbeaten teams in American Athletic Conference play, taking their seventh straight game overall. Gary Clark led Cincinnati with 18 points, including two 3s that matched his career high.

SMU (14-4, 4-1) lost its 10-game winning streak, which tied for third-longest in school history. Sterling Brown led the Mustangs with a season-high 20 points and 11 rebounds, but missed a 3-point shot that would have given the Mustangs the lead with 10 seconds left.

Kyle Washington had a pull-up jumper and a 3-pointer during a 16-point run that put Cincinnati ahead 27-12. SMU opened the game 4 of 19 from the field with five turnovers. Semi Ojeleye, who leads the Mustangs at 17.9 points per game, was limited to two free throws in the first half. He finished with 12 points.

Jarrey Foster’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 54-52, but Caupain’s 3-pointer ended the SMU comeback. SMU never got closer than two points the rest of the way.

BIG PICTURE

SMU: During the 10-game winning streak, the Mustangs held everyone to 65 points or less. That streak was broken too.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats have won 18 straight home games, their best such streak since they won 19 straight from 2013-14.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

SMU: The Mustangs had started to make progress in the poll, getting five points this week, the 32nd-most overall.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats have been ranked for the last six weeks, including at No. 22 each of the last two. The win over SMU could help them finally move up.

UP NEXT

The Mustangs play at Tulane on Sunday. They swept the series last season, winning 60-45 at Tulane. SMU is 5-11 all-time at Tulane.

The Bearcats play at East Carolina on Sunday. Cincinnati is 10-1 all-time in the series, with East Carolina’s only victory coming at home during the 2014-15 season.

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

No. 16 Arizona rolls to 91-75 win over Arizona State

TUCSON, AZ - JANUARY 12:  Lauri Markkanen #10 of the Arizona Wildcats reacts after scoring against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the second half of the college basketball game at McKale Center on January 12, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Sun Devils 91-75. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Lauri Markkanen scored a career-high 30 points, Kadeem Allen added 18 and No. 16 Arizona used a dominating first half to beat rival Arizona State 91-75 on Thursday night.

Arizona (16-2, 5-0 Pac-12) turned the first of two regular-season games in this rivalry into a laugher from the opening tip.

Behind a rash of 3-pointers and rim-rattling dunks , the Wildcats scored the game’s first 12 points and kept pushing. Dusan Ristic scored 16 points and Markkanen made 4 of 7 from 3-point range.

Arizona shot 57 percent, had 25 assists on 34 field goals and a 38-22 rebounding advantage. The Wildcats also scored 19 second-chance points on 12 offensive rebounds.

The Sun Devils (9-9, 2-3) outplayed Arizona for parts of the second half, but fell into too big of a hole after missing all nine of its shots from the 3-point arc in the first half.

Obinna Oleka led Arizona State with 22 points and Tra Holder added 20.

Arizona State had trouble with Utah’s size in an 88-82 loss in its last game. The Wildcats are even bigger; the Utes had trouble with their length in a 66-56 loss at McKale Center last week.

The Sun Devils started 6-foot-10 Jethro Tshisumpa in attempt to negate some of Arizona’s size advantage.

It did little good. Ristic scored the game’s first basket and had seven points in the opening 2 1/2 minutes as Arizona revved up the McKale Center crowd with an opening 12-0 run.

The Sun Devils had some success by switching to a zone, but the Wildcats quickly figured that out. Markkanen hit three straight 3-pointers in a span of 75 seconds and the lead surged to 29-12.

Arizona State tightened up defensively in the closing minutes of the first half, but still trailed 45-25.

The Sun Devils finally started getting 3-pointers to fall in the second half – extending their streak to 523 games – and continued to play well defensively. They cut the lead to 13 midway through, but were too far behind to make up enough ground and Arizona pulled away.

BIG PICTURE

Arizona continues to thrive, even with Allonzo Trier in street clothes. The Wildcats are a matchup nightmare because of their length, particularly when Markkanen is hitting from the perimeter.

Arizona State simply can’t win when it’s not making 3-point shots. The Sun Devils finished 10 for 27 from beyond the arc, but going 0-for-the-first-half killed any chance of ending a six-game losing streak in Tucson.

UP NEXT

Arizona State plays at No. 4 UCLA next Thursday and at No. 25 Southern California on Jan. 22.

Arizona plays at USC next Thursday and UCLA on Jan. 21.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.

Utah dominants No. 25 USC

TUCSON, AZ - JANUARY 05:  Head coach Larry Krystkowiak of Utah Utes reacts during the first half of the college basketball game against the Arizona Wildcats at McKale Center on January 5, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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It’s hard to believe No. 25 USC scored the game’s first 10 points.

Outside of that first 3:10 of the first half, Utah was in control, laying down the hammer on the Trojans, 86-64, on Thursday night. The Utes, in the process, landed their best win to date as they head into a marquee conference showdown with No. 4 UCLA.

Lorenzo Bonam led the Utes with 17 points. Devon Daniels and David Collette each had 15 points, while Kyle Kuzma recorded a double-double of 12 points and 11 boards. Chimezie Metu had 17 points in a losing effort.

For USC, which will fall from the rankings come Monday, after starting the season 14-0, this is the third loss in the past four games. It followed a familiar pattern as previous losses against Oregon and Cal. Kyle Kuzma caused matchup problems and David Collette was a force down low. Length, once again, affected the USC offense, while the Trojan defense got burnt from beyond the arc (9-of-17). In addition, Elijah Stewart was held scoreless (0-for-6) for the first time this season. As league play as begun, you wonder what a difference a healthy Bennie Boatwright, who has missed the past 13 games with an MCL injury, would make for Andy Enfield’s team.

But as USC has struggled, Utah is looking improved, and maybe making a push for the bubble as Selection Sunday nears. This win is its best to date (USC is ranked 52nd in kenpom and 27th in the RPI), but they still have plenty of work to do to bolster its NCAA Tournament resume. Remember, two of their 12 wins came against non-Division I opponents and Utah also whiffed against key non-conference wins against Butler and Xavier, while landing a bad loss to San Francisco.

Thursday’s win is a good start. But the Utes have little room for error moving forward, as the fourth-ranked Bruins come to town on Saturday.

Torian Graham had a message for Arizona fans

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 06:  Kodi Justice #44 and Torian Graham #4 of the Arizona State Sun Devils celebrate against the Purdue Boilermakers in the first half during the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden on December 6, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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Before the start of No. 16 Arizona’s meeting with Arizona State on Thursday night, Sun Devils guard Torian Graham had a message for the ZonaZoo.

(Spoiler: that’s not Arizona State’s #ForksUp sign)

My guess is those same fans who got the double bird salute from Graham had something to say as he walked back to the locker room down 45-25 at half.

No. 20 Notre Dame survives Miami, stays unbeaten in ACC

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22:  Matt Farrell #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish dribbles up court against the Northwestern Wildcats in the second half during the championship game of the Legends Classic at Barclays Center on November 22, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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No. 20 Notre Dame, on the road against Miami on Thursday night, shot 37 percent, got out-rebounded by nine and had 12 shots blocked.

That had all the ingredients for a loss to Miami. It would have not only been the Hurricanes’ best win to date, it’s importance was magnified when you consider they are about to hit the road for three games against three top-50 teams.

However, the Fighting Irish’ free throw-shooting, turnovers (or lack thereof) and decision-making resulted in a 67-62 win over the ‘Canes.

Matt Farrell finished with 15 points and six assists. V.J. Beachem added 13. Davon Reed led all scorers in a losing effort.

Tied at 28-all after the break, Notre Dame broke open a 10-point lead twice in the second half, but in a game in which both teams shot the ball poorly, Miami’s athleticism helped spark a rally and take a 61-57 lead.

Notre Dame would knot the score at 61-all with 1:35 remaining after a pair of Bonzie Colson free throws.

This is when Notre Dame’s experience and decision-making proved to be the x-factor. In a tie game, Miami senior guard Davon Reed coughed up the ball right into the Rex Pflueger’s hands. Farrell, the junior point guard who had to replace the NBA Draft who also had to replace the NBA Draft pick, had carved up the Miami defense in the second half and continued in the final moments. Taking advantage of a defense that had not yet set up, Farrell got into the lane before finding the streaking Beachem on the baseline for the reverse lay-in.

After Ja’Quan Newton split a pair of free throws, Farrell once again got into the lane, kicking to the baseline where Steve Vasturia, another experienced senior, made another winning play, driving to the bucket for the layup.

Miami never got a potential game-tying shot off, as the inbounds pass bounced off of Anthony Lawrence.

Notre Dame sunk 12 of 14 free throws (four straight in the last 95 seconds of regulation) and committed just six turnovers on the night, only one of which came after halftime.

Even on an off-shooting night on the road, Notre Dame still had the experience to close out a close game. That’s been the theme through its undefeated start in league play, and reason why you have to like the Irish moving forward.

The Irish opened the conference schedule by beating Pitt by one in overtime on the road. They then held off Louisville at home despite Beachem scoring just two points. They followed by overcoming a slow start to top Clemson.

They’ll have two more chances to do so coming up, as the Irish close out a three-game road trip against Virginia Tech and No. 9 Florida State.