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POSTERIZED: Jericho Sims throws down dunk on Duncan Robinson

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Playing without leading scorer Andrew Jones, who’s out of the lineup after suffering a fractured wrist, Texas got off to a slow start in the first half of its game against Michigan Tuesday night.

Freshman forward Jericho Sims did his best to provide a spark, as the 6-foot-9 Minnesota native rose above Michigan’s Duncan Robinson to throw down a vicious alley-oop dunk.

Sims has a couple inches on Robinson in the height department, and the running start Sims managed to get rolling to the basket didn’t help Robinson’s chances of stopping the dunk either.

Evans scores 32, Texas Tech tops No. 22 Nevada 82-76 in OT

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LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Texas Tech bounced back from a loss that knocked the Red Raiders out of the Top 25 by beating Nevada in the Wolf Pack’s first game in the poll in 10 years.

Keenan Evans scored 25 of his career-high 32 points in the second half and overtime and the Red Raiders rallied from 11 points down after halftime to beat No. 22 Nevada 82-76 on Tuesday night.

“Every game is big game to me but this one I guess was big because we’re trying to get back in the rankings,” said Zhaire Smith, who opened overtime with a dunk that put Texas Tech ahead for good. “That was a ranked team and if we didn’t win that, it was going to be hard to get back in the rankings until Big 12 play.”

Caleb Martin scored a season-high 28 points and twin brother Cody Martin matched his best of the season with 22 in the Wolf Pack’s first game as a ranked team since finishing the 2006-07 season at No. 15. Nevada (8-1) was off to its best start as a Division I school (since 1970).

The Red Raiders (7-1) went without a field goal for the final 5 minutes of regulation but made six straight free throws down the stretch, including two from Justin Gray with 23 seconds left to force overtime at 70-70.

Evans scored eight in the extra period, six on free throws as he went 13 of 19 from the line. The Red Raiders were 26 of 38 on free throws to 14 of 17 for the Wolf Pack.

“I thought free throws attempted was the difference in the game,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman said. “I thought we shot the ball well enough to win. I thought we defended for sure.”

Evans had eight rebounds to lead the Red Raiders, who were coming off a loss to Seton Hall that knocked them out of the Top 25 the same week they got in.

Caleb Martin was 6 of 12 from 3-point range, including one that gave the Wolf Pack their biggest lead of the second half at 50-39 with just under 13 minutes to go. Martin had another 3 to get Nevada within two in overtime, but Smith answered with a layup.

“Patience isn’t one of my strengths,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “I give our staff a lot of credit tonight. We didn’t have any panic timeouts. We didn’t really get negative. We stayed positive.”

Niem Stevenson scored 11 for Texas Tech, and Smith had 10 points, six rebounds and three assists.

Kendall Stephens scored 15 points for Nevada, and Jordan Caroline had a game-high 12 rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

Nevada: It’s a disappointing return to the Top 25 for the Wolf Pack considering they were up 11 in the second half. But the Martin twins having their best game together was an encouraging sign. And Nevada was in position to win despite a poor shooting night from Caroline (2 of 9).

Texas Tech: This was probably the best test remaining for the Red Raiders before the start of Big 12 play. It might have been enough to get them back in the poll, and Beard was complimentary of a rowdy student turnout that he thought helped with the comeback.

TURNABOUT

The Wolf Pack had a season-high 21 turnovers after committing a season-low five in an otherwise ragged win at UC Irvine. “We’re a tired group,” Musselman said. “That’s our fifth road game. I thought as the game wore on, the toll of travel, we didn’t play very good at Irvine the other night.”

UP NEXT

Nevada: Another ranked opponent in No. 20 TCU on Friday on a neutral court in Los Angeles.

Texas Tech: Kennesaw State at home on Dec. 13.

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More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

No. 20 TCU extends win streak to 13 with 94-83 win over SMU

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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Kenrich Williams had 27 points to lead five TCU players in double figures, and got tackled after a steal and breakaway toward the basket as the 20th-ranked Horned Frogs extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 14 games with a 94-83 victory over SMU on Tuesday night.

The Frogs (9-0) were already starting to separate themselves midway through the second half when Williams came up with an SMU turnover. The 6-foot-7 guard was going the other way when Ben Emelogu caught up from behind and essentially dragged him to the court.

After the flagrant foul, Williams made one free throw and TCU kept possession. After several passes, Desmond Bane hit a 3-pointer from the left wing in front of the Frogs’ bench that put them up 67-56.

SMU (7-3) was coming off a 17-point home win over then-No.14 Southern Cal just three days earlier.

The Mustangs played at TCU, only about 40 miles from their Dallas campus, for the first time in four seasons.

Kouat Noi had 16 points for TCU, Bane had 14, Jaylen Fisher 11 and Ahmed Hamdy 10. Fisher had nine assists.

Williams, who was 7-of-8 shooting with five 3s, just missed his fifth straight double-double, finishing with nine rebounds. He also had five assists.

Ethan Chargois led five SMU players in double figures with 21 points, while Jarrey Foster had 19. Shake Milton had 18 points, but was only 1-of-7 from 3-point range, while Jimmy Whitt had 12 points before fouling out and Emelogu had 10.

TCU led for good after Fisher fed Williams for a 3-pointer with 14 1/2 minutes left to snap a 47-all tie.

Williams hit two 3-pointers to start the game and an opening 8-2 run for TCU. He had five quick points (a layup and 3-pointer) after SMU got within 10-9.

Vlad Brodziansky’s 3-pointer put TCU up 23-16 midway through the first half before Milton scored eight for the Mustangs in a 13-2 spurt that put them ahead.

Williams then had two free throws before consecutive 3s by Noi put TCU back in front.

BIG PICTURE

SMU: Even though the Mustangs shot 52 percent overall (30 of 55), they struggled on 3-pointers by making only 6 of 21 from long range.

TCU: The Frogs keep sharing the basketball. They entered the game ranked fourth nationally with 20 assists per game, and then had 21 assists on 26 field goals. TCU, with its highest ranking since 1998, scored at least 83 points for the fourth straight game and seventh time this season. The defending NIT champs are 24-2 in non-conference games under second-year Jamie Dixon.

UP NEXT

SMU will have an extended break during exams before playing New Orleans on Dec. 13. That will start a five-game home stand at Moody Coliseum, where the Mustangs have a 28-game winning streak.

TCU plays No. 22 Nevada on Friday night in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic at Staples Center. It will be the first time Dixon, a North Hollywood native, coaches a game in Los Angeles. His parents still live in the home he grew up in, and his sister is an attorney for Los Angeles County.

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For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Jevon Carter, Lamont West lead No. 18 West Virginia past No. 15 Virginia

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For the second consecutive season No. 18 West Virginia managed to beat No. 15 Virginia despite having to play at a tempo slower than what they prefer, this time beating the Cavaliers 68-61 in Morgantown. West Virginia (8-1) was led offensively by guards Jevon Carter and Lamont West, who combined to score 45 points with Daxter Miles Jr. adding 12.

Devon Hall scored 19 and Kyle Guy 18 for Virginia (8-1), which suffered its first loss of the season. Here are four takeaways from West Virginia’s eighth win of the season, a result that will look quite good on the Mountaineers’ résumé moving forward.

1. While we know plenty about Jevon Carter, Lamont West’s progression will be critical for the Mountaineers moving forward.

After averaging 5.6 points and 1.8 rebounds per game off the bench as a redshirt freshman, West is of far greater importance to the Mountaineer attack this season. The 6-foot-8 wing entered Tuesday’s game averaging 10.5 points and 5.1 rebounds in 23.5 minutes per game, shooting just 37.7 percent from the field and 27.5 percent from three. West outperformed those numbers in a big way against Virginia, as his 22 points were scored on 7-for-13 shooting from the field (4-for-9 3PT) and a 4-for-4 night from the foul line.

Add in his four rebounds, and West put forth what was arguably the best performance of his WVU career at just the right time. He did tally 22 points and eight boards in a blowout win over Long Beach State last month, but putting up good numbers against a team the caliber of Virginia is an entirely different deal. The key for West now: consistency. That will especially be important on nights in which the Mountaineer defense isn’t forcing a high number of live-ball turnovers.

2. Kyle Guy essentially experienced two different games, and Virginia can’t afford that.

The 6-foot-3 junior finished the game with 18 points, but things did not come easy for Guy with Daxter Miles Jr. pestering him for much of the night. Guy missed all five of his shot attempts in the the first half, and Guy was scoreless until the 13:53 mark of the second half when he made his first three-pointer. That shot was all Guy needed to get going, as he would make his next four three-point attempts and finish the half 6-for-9 from deep.

Virginia had enough offense to hang around throughout, with West Virginia’s combination of shot-making and stout half-court defense making the difference down the stretch. But where would that game have been for Virginia with a more effective Guy in the first half? A three-point halftime deficit could have been flipped, giving the Cavaliers the buffer needed to pick up the win.

Guy’s been excellent throughout this season; many scorers will have a hard time scoring points against West Virginia. Virginia can’t afford for him to be a “streak” scorer, in large part to the lack of consistent offensive options if Guy isn’t knocking down shots.

3. There aren’t many point guards in America I’d take before Jevon Carter.

There may be guards of higher acclaim when it comes to the NBA Draft boards, but there aren’t many who rate higher than Jevon Carter when it comes to the combination of skill, leadership and toughness. Carter’s fingerprints were all over this one, as in addition to scoring a game-high 23 points he also tallied ten rebounds, seven assists and two steals.

Carter played all 40 minutes for the Mountaineers and the effort never waned, and in him Bob Huggins has a senior floor general of high value. While others have stepped forward at various points to help out as West Virginia counts down the days until Esa Ahmad is eligible to return, Carter has been the constant. He’ll be in the conversation for Big 12 Player of the Year honors, and an All-American team nod will be worth discussing as well at this rate.

4. Virginia needs more consistent production from its front court moving forward.

The Cavaliers received good first-half minutes from Mamadi Diakite, who accounted for seven points and three rebounds off the bench. But outside of his 13 first-half minutes Virginia did not receive much in the way of production from its front court. Isaiah Wilkins finished the game with two points, five rebounds and two blocked shots, Jack Salt had more turnovers (three) than rebounds (two) or points (none), and Diakite would finish the game with nine points and five rebounds.

Kyle Guy and Devon Hall are going to lead the way offensively for Virginia, but the Cavaliers do not have much margin for error on that end of the court. Wilkins entered Tuesday averaging 8.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest, and his struggles Tuesday can also be attributed to the play of West Virginia’s Sagaba Konate. But if Virginia is to contend with the expected contenders in the ACC, they’re going to need more consistent production from the bigs.

The Cavaliers won’t need the second coming of Ralph Sampson (that would be nice, though), but they’ll need more than what they received from the front court in Morgantown.

No. 23 TCU beats Belmont 87-76 in return to AP rankings

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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Vladimir Brodziansky scored 22 points and No. 23 TCU extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 12 games with an 87-76 victory against Belmont on Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-11 senior from Slovakia was 5 of 6 from 3-point range and 8 of 11 overall in TCU’s first game since returning to The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in almost three years. The Frogs, who were in the poll for a week at No. 25 in 2014, have their highest ranking since they were 21st in January 1999.

JD Miller had 16 points and eight rebounds for TCU, which won its last five games last season on the way to the NIT championship and is off to a 7-0 start for the third time in four seasons.

Kenrich Williams had his third straight double-double and fourth of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds as the Frogs outrebounded the Bruins 37-23. The NIT MVP led the Big 12 with 19 double-doubles last season, including all five NIT games.

Dylan Windler scored 17 points and Kevin McClain and Amanze Egekeze had 15 apiece in a third straight loss for Belmont (4-4).

Alex Robinson had a four-point play after getting fouled on a 3-pointer and Brodziansky and Jalen Fisher each had three-point plays following layups during a 15-0 run that put the Horned Frogs up 36-16 in the first half.

THE TAKEAWAY

Belmont: It was another competitive loss for the Bruins against a Power Five opponent. They lost by four points at Washington in the opener before beating Vanderbilt by nine at home. Prospects look good for Belmont’s eighth NCAA Tournament appearance since 2006, and first since 2015.

TCU: The Horned Frogs have had a hard time pulling away from opponents that appear to be outmatched, an issue that goes back to the opener against Louisiana-Monroe. The Bruins were within seven points in the final 2 minutes.

UP NEXT

Belmont: Green Bay at home Saturday.

TCU: Yale at home Saturday.

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More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

Four Takeaways from No. 21 Xavier’s win over No. 16 Baylor

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Xavier didn’t have the strongest night from senior All-American candidate Trevon Bluiett but the No. 21 Musketeers still had more than enough to race past No. 16 Baylor with a 76-63 win. Here are four takeaways from a very good win for Xavier (6-1) as they handed the Bears (5-1) their first loss of the season.

1. Xavier doesn’t need an A-game from Trevon Bluiett to beat a ranked opponent

Trevon Bluiett is one of the best players in college basketball. This has been documented by three seasons worth of evidence and numerous preseason All-American accolades.

But the most important takeaway from Xavier’s win over Baylor on Tuesday night was that they can still beat ranked opponents when Bluiett isn’t rolling as a scorer. Averaging 21 points per game entering the Baylor game, Bluiett only finished with 10 points on 3-for-9 shooting on Tuesday as he never seemed to get comfortable dealing with Baylor’s length and athleticism on the defensive end.

And for Xavier on this particular night? That turned out to be okay. J.P. Macura was red-hot in the first half (more on him in a minute) and others like Kaiser Gates and freshman Naji Marshall also stepped up in the scoring column to make up for the off-scoring night from Bluiett.

Gates, in particular, made some huge three-pointers, making it tough for Baylor to stick with its gameplan on the defensive end.

That’s a great sign for Xavier since they also feature a number of other role players who can step up on any given night. We’ve seen senior Sean O’Mara step up his post scoring at times and Tyrique Jones has also been a double-figure scorer plenty of times early this season.

Xavier doesn’t need all of its big guns to get going in order to win if their offense continues to be this balanced.

2. Baylor needs more offensive help for Manu Lecomte

While Baylor deserves credit for never giving up and sticking within striking distance for a good chunk of the game, their offense just didn’t have much help for senior guard Manu Lecomte.

Lecomte struggled to a 4-for-13 shooting night and finished with only 11 points as he had a difficult time adjusting to Xavier’s length and activity on the defensive end. Playing against long-armed opposing guards like Quentin Goodin, Lecomte struggled to hunt his own offense and passing over the top of the Musketeer defense also proved to be a difficult task.

And Baylor didn’t have many other answers to get points since Lecomte was struggling. Terry Maston had 15 first-half points for the Bears but he appeared to go down with an injury as he didn’t play for long stretches of the final frame. Xavier also had a solid plan to change looks against Baylor’s post offense, at times collapsing with doubles from unique angles and playing straight-up single coverage during other moments.

If Baylor wants to be one of the Big 12’s elite teams, they’ll need to address some of its offensive issues if Lecomte can’t get going. This won’t be the only game that Lecomte has to face long and athletic guards this season.

3. Xavier’s J.P. Macura seems to be playing to the level of his opponents.

It’s been a bizarre start to the season for Xavier senior guard J.P. Macura. One of the most intense players in the country, Macura has been really good against the Musketeers’ quality early-season opponents (Arizona State and Wisconsin) and really mediocre against lesser competition.

The Baylor game continued this early trend. Macura was clearly feeling it on the offensive end against the Bears, attacking the 2-3 zone from the free-throw line and also pulling up for some NBA-range three-pointers. Macura finished with 19 points and six rebounds.

Macura’s offensive outburst slowed down in the second half but his defensive intensity was still solid. He was a key on post doubles while getting deflections on the perimeter.

The major question becomes if Macura can sustain really good production every single game? Playing with such a fiery intensity can burn out some players within the ebb-and-flow of a long season or even, at times, within the same game. Macura is a senior, so he should have a good grasp on how to deal with his at-times boundless energy. But if Xavier wants to achieve its highest ceiling this season, they need Macura to play like this nearly every night.

If Macura plays like this and Bluiett is at his normal scoring pace then Xavier could be scary.

4. Xavier freshman Naji Marshall looked like he belonged

Xavier brought in another really solid freshman class this season and 6-foot-7 wing Naji Marshall looks like he could a key to the Musketeers’ season. Another long and active player on the defensive end and aggressive attacking the rack on the offensive end, Marshall struggled against Wisconsin two weeks ago. The freshman looked a lot more comfortable playing against Baylor.

Even facing unique defensive matchups like Bears center and rim protector Jo Lual-Acuil, Marshall was assertive, finishing with 10 points and four rebounds off the bench. Getting to the free-throw line six times, Marshall showed why he was a consensus top-75 recruit in his class.

While Marshall is at his best playing in the open floor when he can get a head of steam going to the rim, his versatility also gives Xavier some unique options when he’s in the lineup. Marshall still has to prove he can be consistent but he’s another versatile piece for Xavier. On a night when Xavier needed a little extra, Marshall stepped up as a much-needed additional scorer when Blueitt got off to a sluggish offensive start.