Saturday’s Snacks: No. 18 North Carolina comes back to beat No. 5 Louisville, and No. 1 Kentucky survives

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 18 North Carolina 72, No. 5 Louisville 71

A Marcus Paige layup with eight seconds remaining was the difference for the Tar Heels, who bounced back from a tough loss to No. 13 Notre Dame on Monday. The shot capped an afternoon for Paige that included his leaving the game with a right ankle injury, only to return and help spark North Carolina’s comeback from a 12-point deficit in the final 8:23. Six Tar Heels scored at least eight points, with Kennedy Meeks leading the way with 13, and Terry Rozier paced the Cardinals with 25.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 1 Kentucky 70, Texas A&M 64 (2OT)

For the second consecutive game the Wildcats were taken to overtime by a conference opponent, this time outlasting the Aggies in College Station. Devin Booker scored 18 off the bench, which helped the Wildcats navigate a game in which starting guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison combined to shoot 5-for-30 from the field. Add in Dakari Johnson hitting some key free throws in double overtime, and Kentucky managed to remain undefeated. Danuel House led all scorers with 25 points, but off days from the foul line (16-for-30) and from three (2-for-15) kept A&M from winning the game in regulation and that came back to haunt them in the end.

2. No. 3 Virginia 62, No. 13 Notre Dame 56

Virginia moved to 15-0 on the season with a six-point win in South Bend, and a big reason for their success was Malcolm Brogdon’s defending of Jerian Grant. Grant finished the game with just six points, and as a team Notre Dame shot just 10-for-35 inside of the arc. Virginia was balanced offensively, with Darion Atkins (14 points), Brogdon (13) and Justin Anderson (11) all reaching double figures and freshman Marial Shayok adding seven off the bench. Notre Dame’s Pat Connaughton led all scorers with 21 points to go along with eight rebounds.

3. Kansas State 66, No. 16 Oklahoma 63 (OT): A Marcus Foster three-pointer with just over four seconds remaining in overtime was the difference as the Wildcats won in Norman. Foster finished the game with 13 points, and Stephen Hurt led the way offensively with 15 to go along with seven rebounds. Buddy Hield scored a game-high 31 for Oklahoma, but 20 of those points came in the first half. Oklahoma shot just 39.7% from the field in the loss, with Kansas State making 47.6% of its field goals.

4. Indiana 69, No. 22 Ohio State 66

Playing some great defense for stretches of the second half and getting a big lift from Troy Williams, Indiana held off No. 22 Ohio State. Williams had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds and James Blackmon Jr. had 18 points to lead the cold-shooting Hoosiers. Indiana was 4-for-18 from 3-point range but got a lift from two triples from Nick Zeisloft (eight points) and Ohio State was even worse (3-for-21). Four Buckeyes finished in double-figures led by Shannon Scott’s 16 points, but D’Angelo Russell (12 points) struggled to a 3-for-15 game shooting from the floor.

STARRED

1. Devin Thomas, Wake Forest

The junior had 17 points and 14 rebounds in the Demon Deacons’ win over Georgia Tech. The 6-foot-8 forward is averaging 24 points and 10 rebounds in three ACC games this season and two of those games came against Louisville and Duke.

2. J.J. Avila, Colorado State

In the Rams’ 92-87 win at Air Force the senior forward accounted for 28 points, 14 rebounds and five assists.

3. Marvelle Harris, Fresno State

Harris scored 40 points in the Bulldogs’ 69-66 win at Nevada, shooting 14-for-23 from the field. His teammates combined to shoot 8-for-34.

4. Rico Gathers, Baylor

17 points and 18 rebounds (ten offensive) in Baylor’s 66-59 overtime win at TCU.

STRUGGLED

1. Pitt’s shooting

Pitt lost an ACC home contest to Clemson in a very bad loss for a mediocre team. The Panthers only committed three turnovers on the offensive end but shot 39 percent (21-for-53) from the field and 30 percent (4-for-13) from 3-point range.

2. Kentucky’s Harrison twins

The Wildcats won, beating Texas A&M 70-64 in double overtime, but they’re going to need more production from their starting guards than they received today (5-for-30 FG combined).

3. Jesse Morgan, Temple

With Will Cummings injured during the second half, the UMass transfer needed to step up if the Owls were to hang on against Tulsa. Morgan finished the game 1-for-17 from the field, and Tulsa was able to come back and win 63-56.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Melvin Johnson and Treveon Graham combined to score 39 points in No. 20 VCU’s 89-74 win over Saint Joseph’s.
  • No. 8 Villanova handed DePaul its first Big East loss Saturday, beating the Blue Demons 81-64 in Philadelphia.
  • Sterling Gibbs’ three-pointer with 2.1 seconds remaining was the difference as No. 19 Seton Hall won 68-67 at Creighton.
  • Jake Layman scored 14 points to help lead No. 11 Maryland to a 69-60 win at Purdue, bouncing back from a loss at Illinois on Wednesday.
  • Perry Ellis led a balanced effort with 15 points as No. 12 Kansas whipped Texas Tech, 86-54.
  • Rico Gathers scored 17 ponts and grabbed 18 rebounds in No. 21 Baylor’s 66-59 overtime win at TCU.
  • Bobby Portis accounted for 32 points and ten rebounds in No. 23 Arkansas’ 82-70 win over Vanderbilt.
  • No. 25 Old Dominion’s short stay in the Top 25 will likely come to an end Monday, as they fell 72-65 at Western Kentucky. George Fant led the Hilltoppers with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
  • Oklahoma State handed No. 10 Texas its second straight Big 12 loss, 69-58, with Phil Forte IV scoring a game-high 20 points.
  • Przemek Karnowski scored 18 points to lead four Bulldogs in double figures as No. 6 Gonzaga beat Santa Clara 79-57.
  • Abdel Nader scored 19 points off the bench as No. 17 Iowa State won 74-72 at No. 14 West Virginia.

NOTABLES

  • UConn’s now won five of its last six games, as they beat Cincinnati 62-56 in Hartford.
  • LaDontae Henton scored 19 points to help lead Providence to a 60-57 overtime win over Georgetown.
  • Kendall Knorr led four Navy starters in double figures with 17 points as the Midshipmen topped Army.
  • Vermont moved to 3-0 in America East play with a 71-57 win over Stony Brook, holding the Seawolves without a point over the final 4:09.
  • La Salle scored 19 of the game’s first 21 points in their 63-50 win over George Washington, and they held Kevin Larsen scoreless in doing so.
  • Tulsa moved to 3-0 in the American with a 63-56 win at Temple. This one turned when Temple senior guard Will Cummings went down with an injury during the second half, and the Golden Hurricane took advantage and erased an 11-point deficit.
  • Since starting the season 11-0 Washington’s lost four straight, the most recent of which being an 80-77 home loss to in-state rival Washington State. Ernie Kent’s Cougars are now 2-1 in Pac-12 play.
  • Northern Iowa beat Drake 64-40, limiting the Bulldogs to just 11 second-half points.
  • Incarnate Word and Northwestern State combined to score 204 points in their game, with the Demons winning 103-101. Incarnate Word’s Denzel Livingston scored 37 in a losing effort, with Jalan West (33 points) and Zikiteran Woodley (28) leading the way for Northwestern State.
  • Indiana State moved to 4-0 in Missouri Valley play with a 59-56 win at Southern Illinois.
  • Eli Carter scored 20 points in Florida’s 72-47 win over Mississippi State, and the Gators have now won 20 consecutive SEC regular season games.
  • Dayton’s now won six straight since they lost their two biggest players, with the Flyers winning 76-58 at Fordham.
  • Jordan Bell blocked eight shots in Oregon’s 59-56 win over Arizona State, establishing a new school record for blocks in a season with 56.
  • UC Davis moved to 12-3 on the season with a 73-67 overtime win over Long Beach State, their first over the 49ers since 2009. Corey Hawkins scored 28 and grabbed ten rebounds for the Aggies, with Mike Caffey countering with 29, six rebounds, five assists and five steals.

Boum, Jones lead No. 13 Xavier over No. 19 UConn, 82-79

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STORRS, Conn. – Souley Boum scored 21 points, Colby Jones added 20 and No. 13 Xavier went on the road and held off No. 19 Connecticut 82-79 Wednesday night.

The win was the 13th in 14 games for the Musketeers (17-4, 9-1 Big East) and it gave them a season sweep over the struggling Huskies (16-6, 5-6).

Jack Nunge had 12 points and Jerome Hunter added 11 for Xavier, which led by 17 in the first half and 39-24 at halftime.

Jordan Hawkins scored 26 of his 28 points in the second half for UConn, leading a comeback that fell just short.

Tristen Newton added 23 points for the Huskies, who won their first 14 games this season but have dropped six of eight since.

The Musketeers never trailed but had to withstand UConn runs that cut the lead to a single point four times in the second half.

A three-point play from Hawkins made it 78-77 with 2:40 left. But a second-chance layup from Nunge put the lead at 80-77 just over a minute later.

Newton was fouled with two seconds left by Desmond Claude, but his apparent attempt to miss his second free throw went into the basket.

Boum then hit two free throws at the other end, and Newton’s final attempt from just beyond halfcourt was well short.

Xavier jumped out to a 9-0 lead as UConn missed its first nine shots.

A 3-pointer from Zach Freemantle gave the Musketeers their first double-digit lead at 20-9, and another from Jones pushed it to 35-18.

BIG PICTURE

Xavier: The Musketeers lead the Big East, and the win over UConn was their ninth conference victory this season, eclipsing their total from last season.

UConn: The Huskies came in with a 17-game winning streak at Gampel Pavilion dating to February 2021. They fell to 1-4 against the four teams in front of them in the Big East standings. The lone win came at Gampel against Creighton.

UP NEXT

Xavier: The Musketeers continue their road trip with a visit to Creighton on Saturday.

UConn: Doesn’t play again until next Tuesday, when the Huskies visit DePaul.

No. 12 Iowa State holds on to beat No. 5 Kansas State 80-76

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
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AMES, Iowa – Jaren Holmes matched his season high with 23 points as No. 12 Iowa State held on to beat No. 5 Kansas State 80-76 on Tuesday night.

The Cyclones (15-4, 6-2 Big 12) moved into a three-way tie atop the conference standings with the Wildcats and Texas.

Gabe Kalscheur added 19 points for Iowa State. Osun Osunniyi finished with 16.

Markquis Nowell led Kansas State (17-3, 6-2) with 23 points.

A 3-pointer from Holmes gave Iowa State a 59-49 advantage with 8:12 remaining. Kansas State responded with a 10-1 run to trim the margin to 60-59.

Caleb Grill’s 3-pointer steadied the Cyclones and pushed the lead back to 63-59 with five minutes left.

Free throws by Osunniyi, Grill and Holmes sealed the victory in the final 24 seconds.

The first half featured eight lead changes and ended with Kansas State up 33-31.

A 3-pointer by Kalscheur ignited an early 9-0 run for the Cyclones and helped them build a 19-14 lead. Iowa State made just one of nine 3-point tries in the first 20 minutes.

BIG PICTURE

Kansas State was trying to extend its best start to a season since 1961-62.

Iowa State improved to 11-0 at home. The Cyclones have not lost back-to-back games this season.

UP NEXT

Kansas State hosts Florida on Saturday as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

Iowa State travels to Missouri on Saturday.

Georgetown snaps 29-game conference losing streak

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WASHINGTON – Primo Spears scored 21 points and Georgetown snapped a 29-game conference losing streak with an 81-76 victory over DePaul on Tuesday night.

Georgetown (6-15, 1-9) won its first Big East game since March 13, 2021, ending the longest skid in the history of the conference. The Hoyas also ended a 10-game losing streak this season.

Spears also contributed six assists for the Hoyas. Akok Akok scored 12 points and added six rebounds and four blocks and Brandon Murray recorded 12 points.

Umoja Gibson led the Blue Demons (9-12, 3-7) in scoring, finishing with 24 points, four assists and three steals. Javan Johnson added 13 points.

Spears scored nine points in the first half and Georgetown went into the break trailing 37-36. Georgetown used a 10-0 run in the second half to build a 12-point lead at 75-63 with 1:39 remaining.

Nance scores 21 as North Carolina survives Syracuse, 72-68

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Pete Nance scored 21 points, capped by a dunk with 19 seconds left that put North Carolina in front for good as the Tar Heels pulled out a hard-fought, 72-68 battle with Syracuse on Tuesday night.

Joe Girard hit from beyond the arc to put Syracuse up, 68-66 with 1:28 left, but after Nance hit the first of two free throws to get North Carolina within one, he missed the second free throw and in the scramble to gather in the rebound, the ball caromed toward the end line and Girard dove to save it. Instead, he flicked the ball right to Nance, who dunked for the lead.

Judah Mintz tried to drive the lane for a go-ahead layup but was called for an offensive foul that was upgraded to a flagrant foul. North Carolina took possession and Caleb Love converted three straight free throws to put the game away.

Armando Bacot scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds with four assists for North Carolina (15-6, 7-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Love finished with 15 points and five assists.

Girard hit 4 of 9 from beyond the arc and finished with 18 points to lead Syracuse (13-8, 6-4). Mintz scored 17 points and had three steals and Chris Bell hit 3 of 5 from deep and finished with 15 points.

North Carolina has a week off before playing host to Pitt on Feb. 1. Syracuse plays at Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Green Bay fires Will Ryan after 11th straight loss

Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports
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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Green Bay fired Will Ryan three days after the Phoenix suffered their 11th consecutive loss.

Ryan, the son of former Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, posted a 15-61 record in 2 1/2 seasons. Freddie Owens, who had been an assistant coach on Ryan’s staff, will be interim head coach for the rest of the season.

“UW-Green Bay is committed to continuing its legacy as an outstanding Division I athletics program in the future, and Phoenix men’s basketball needs to help lead the way as we work to elevate all of our programs and be a shining light for this region and beyond,” athletic director Josh Moon said in a news release announcing the move.

Moon thanked Ryan and his family for their contributions to the program and said that “we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Stadium first reported Ryan’s firing.

Green Bay dropped to 2-19 overall and 1-9 in the Horizon League with a 72-38 home loss to Robert Morris.

Ryan was hired by Green Bay after going 14-13 in his lone season as the head coach at Division II program Wheeling (West Virginia). Green Bay went 8-17 in Ryan’s debut season and finished 5-25 last year.

Ryan had taken over for Linc Darner, who went 92-80 and posted a winning record in four of his five seasons.