Saturday’s Snacks: Three ranked teams lose to unranked foes, No. 1 Kentucky now 23-0

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 1 Kentucky 68, Florida 61

John Calipari’s Wildcats didn’t play their best game, but they were able to do enough to move to 23-0 on the season. The differences in Gainesville: foul shooting and the front court tandem of Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein. While Kentucky shot 21-for-22 from the charity stripe, Florida made just seven of its 14 attempts. As for Towns and Cauley-Stein, they combined to score 32 points and grab 13 rebounds against a Gator front line that outside of Dorian Finney-Smith was overmatched. Add in 23 points from Aaron Harrison, and Kentucky was able to take care of business on the road.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 4 Duke 90, No. 10 Notre Dame 60

For the first time in ACC history there are two matchups of Top 10 teams on the same day, and the first of those games wasn’t close at all. The Blue Devils, who lost in South Bend just over two weeks ago, rolled in Durham in the rematch. Duke shot 60.8% from the field, and both Jahlil Okafor (20 points, ten rebounds) and Justise Winslow (19 points, 11 rebounds) posted double-doubles.

2. No. 3 Virginia 52, No. 9 Louisville 47

Taking on one of the tougher pressure defenses in the country, Virginia committed just two turnovers in their five-point win in Charlottesville. Malcolm Brogdon scored 15 points and senior forward Darion Atkins gave the Cavaliers, who are now two games up in the loss column on second place in the ACC, some really good minutes in the front court. Terry Rozier scored 16 points and dished out six assists for the Cardinals, who got all their scoring from four players. The one issue for Virginia: a broken finger on his shooting hand means that Justin Anderson will miss anywhere from four to six weeks.

3. Oklahoma State 67, No. 8 Kansas 62

On a day that the 1995 Final Four team was being honored, Travis Ford’s Cowboys picked up a valuable win for their NCAA tournament resume. After struggling defensively and on the glass in the first half Oklahoma State turned things around in the second, limiting the Jayhawks to 26.7% shooting and an offensive rebounding rate of 26.1%. Kansas shot 56.5% and rebounded more than half of its misses in the first half, building a 41-30 lead as a result. Le’Bryan Nash scored 18 and Anthony Hickey 15 for the Cowboys, who also received solid minutes from reserve Mitchell Solomon (four points, four rebounds).

4. Arizona State 81, No. 6 Arizona 78

Bo Barnes led four Sun Devils in double figures with 18 points as Arizona State beat the Wildcats in Tempe for the second consecutive season. Arizona State shot 50 percent from the field and 7-for-15 from beyond the arc, numbers that few teams can get away with allowing and Arizona paid the price. T.J. McConnell scored 25 points on 11-for-19 shooting to lead the way for Arizona.

STARRED

1. Lawrence Alexander, North Dakota State

Alexander scored 31 points on 11-for-14 shooting (8-for-11 3PT) in the Bison’s 71-47 win over South Dakota.

2. Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow, Duke

Okafor accounted for 20 points and ten rebounds, and Winslow added 19 and 11 as the Blue Devils beat No. 10 Notre Dame 90-60.

3. Kyle Collinsworth, BYU

Collinsworth posted his fifth triple-double of the season in BYU’s 87-68 win at Loyola Marymount, finishing with 23 points, 12 rebounds and ten assists.

4. Brett Comer, FGCU

21 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds and no turnovers in the Eagles’ 67-51 win at Stetson.

STRUGGLED

1. Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall

Whitehead shot 1-for-11 from the field in the Pirates’ 57-54 home loss to Marquette.

2. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown

Two points on 1-for-7 shooting in the Hoyas’ 69-53 loss at No. 7 Villanova.

3. Kaleb Tarczewski, Arizona

Tarczewski did grab nine rebounds in the Wildcats’ 81-78 loss at Arizona State, but they’re going to need more from him than two points on 1-for-6 shooting if they’re to get to the Final Four.

4. Austin Ruder, Missouri State

With Marcus Marshall no longer with the team, Ruder is their leading scorer at 8.1 points per game. In the Bears’ 78-35 loss at No. 16 Wichita State, Ruder scored four points on 1-for-9 shooting.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 19 Baylor rolled past No. 15 West Virginia, 75-57 in Morgantown. Despite committing 20 turnovers the Bears won big, shooting nearly 55 percent from the field and limiting WVU to 34.6% shooting.
  • No. 18 VCU fell 73-71 at St. Bonaventure, with Marcus Posley’s layup as time expired being the difference. That was Posley’s second buzzer-beater of the week, as he beat Davidson on Wednesday.
  • Like Duke No. 7 Villanova avenged an earlier defeat in impressive fashion, beating No. 24 Georgetown 69-53 in Philadelphia.
  • No. 11 Iowa State joined in on the “payback” fun, beating Texas Tech 75-38. The Red Raiders beat the Cyclones in Lubbock last month.
  • Ryan Spangler scored 21 points and blocked four shots at No. 21 Oklahoma won 68-56 at TCU.
  • No. 12 North Carolina shot nearly 57 percent from the field in its 79-68 win at Boston College. Olivier Hanlan scored a game-high 30 for the Eagles.
  • Kellen Dunham scored 24 points and Roosevelt Jones added 20 as No. 22 Butler beat DePaul 83-73 in Indianapolis. Chris Holtmann should be the favorite (at this point in the season) for Big East Coach of the Year.
  • Isaiah Taylor scored 23 points as No. 25 Texas ended its four-game losing streak with a 61-57 win at Kansas State.
  • No. 5 Wisconsin took care of business, beating Northwestern 65-50 in Madison. Sam Dekker led the way with 16 points.
  • No. 23 SMU handed Tulsa its first conference loss, winning 68-57 with Nic Moore leading the way. The Mustangs trail the Golden Hurricane by a game in the American Athletic Conference standings.
  • Fred Van Vleet (ten points, ten rebounds, 11 assists and four steals) posted his first triple-double in No. 16 Wichita State’s 78-35 win over Missouri State.
  • No. 14 Northern Iowa took care of Drake, 69-53, with Seth Tuttle scoring 16 and Matt Bohannon adding 14 for the Panthers.
  • Brandon Taylor shot 6-for-9 from three, scoring 18 points, to help lead No. 13 Utah to a 79-51 win at Colorado.
  • No. 2 Gonzaga moved to 24-1 with an 81-70 win at San Francisco. Kyle Wiltjer tallied 29 points and 11 rebounds, and Kevin Pangos added 17 and four assists.

NOTABLES

  • Josh Brown’s 12-footer with two seconds remaining gave Temple a 61-60 win over Memphis. Also of note for the Tigers is that starting big man Austin Nichols left the game in the second half with what was declared to be a sprained ankle by head coach Josh Pastner.
  • Playing without Larry Nance Jr. and Alan Herndon, Wyoming lost 73-50 at Air Force. Both players are dealing with cases of mononucleosis.
  • Seton Hall suffered a loss that won’t look good on its resume, losing 57-54 to Marquette in Newark. The Golden Eagles were without leading scorer Matt Carlino (concussion) but found a way to win anyway.
  • Xavier took control of things in the second half of their 78-69 win over Providence. Providence head coach Ed Cooley left the game in the second half and is being evaluated at a Cincinnati hospital.
  • Malcolm Hill scored 19 points as Illinois won 59-54 at Michigan State. The Fighting Illini were once again without the suspended Rayvonte Rice and Aaron Cosby.
  • Harvard pulled into a tie for first in the Ivy League with a 52-50 win at Yale. The score at halftime: 16-11, Harvard.
  • Central Arkansas picked up its first win of the season, 70-67 over New Orleans. UCA was 0-19 on the season prior to Saturday.
  • Colorado State moved to 7-4 in the Mountain West with an 83-82 win over UNLV, surviving a 30-point effort from UNLV’s Rashad Vaughn.
  • Once again playing without the injured Tyler Harvey, Eastern Washington moved to 9-1 in the Big Sky with a 61-51 win at Montana State. They remain a half-game behind Sacramento State (10-1) in the race for first place.
  • LSU rebounded from a bad loss to Auburn to beat Alabama, 71-60. Next up for the Tigers: top-ranked Kentucky Tuesday night in Baton Rouge.
  • North Carolina Central limited North Carolina A&T to 18 second half points in their 58-44 win. LeVelle Moton’s Eagles are 10-0 in the MEAC, with Norfolk State a game back at 9-1.
  • A Jaron Martin layup with 1.4 seconds remaining gave UC Irvine a 56-55 win at Long Beach State, keeping the Anteaters within a game of first-place UC Davis in the Big West.
  • Stephen F. Austin is now 9-0 in the Southland after beating Houston Baptist 95-59. Thomas Walkup went off for 34 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals.
  • Murray State has now won 19 straight, as they beat Austin Peay 82-72.

Top-ranked Houston grinds out 53-48 win over Saint Mary’s

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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FORT WORTH, Texas – J’Wan Roberts scored 15 points, Marcus Sasser added 13 and top-ranked Houston held on to beat Saint Mary’s 53-48 on Saturday night.

The Cougars (8-0) won twice in their first week as the No. 1 team since the final poll of the 1982-83 regular season, when Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon led high-flying Phi Slama Jama.

Logan Johnson scored 17 points and Aidan Mahaney had 14 for the Gaels (6-3), who lost their third in a row following a 6-0 start.

Houston was the favorite to win it all in the second of three consecutive trips to the Final Four nearly 40 years ago, but lost to Jim Valvano and North Carolina State in one of the iconic championship games.

Coach Kelvin Sampson’s first top-ranked team is coming off trips to the Final Four and Elite Eight the past two seasons.

For the third straight year, the postseason path will start at Dickie’s Arena, where Sampson likes to bring his team during the regular season as prep for the American Athletic Conference tourney.

This victory in the Battleground 2k22 series improved the Cougars to 9-0 in the arena near downtown Fort Worth, where they have won AAC tournament titles each of the past two years.

Saint Mary’s whittled a 12-point deficit to a single possession when Mahaney hit a 3, and he made it a three-point game again at 46-43 with another from long range.

Roberts answered by backing down for a short jump hook before Sasser converted a three-point play to put the Cougars up 51-43.

Houston broke a 17-all tie with a 14-3 run to finish the first half, with Saint Mary’s going 1 of 11 from the field in that stretch against the vaunted Cougars defense. Both teams shot 37%.

BIG PICTURE

Saint Mary’s: Facing the No. 1 team isn’t foreign to the Gaels, who play in the West Coast Conference with Gonzaga. St. Mary’s is 2-7 against the Zags when they have the top ranking, with one of the victories coming last season.

Houston: The Cougars had no trouble in their debut with the No. 1 ranking, blowing out Norfolk State 100-52 at home Tuesday. A disciplined and tournament-tested opponent for the second game was just the threat Sampson’s club figured it could be.

UP NEXT

Saint Mary’s: Missouri State at home Wednesday.

Houston: North Florida at home Tuesday.

Clowney, No. 11 Alabama recover to beat South Dakota St

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Freshman Noah Clowney’s breakout game – 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a steal – helped No. 11 Alabama recover from blowing a 20-point lead and beat South Dakota State 78-65 on Saturday night.

Clowney shot 8 of 17, including 5 of 12 on 3s, in his highest-scoring game of the season.

“We’ve encouraged him to shoot it, I’m glad he did,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “His senior year of high school, he started out pretty poorly from 3 then shot it 40% after that, so I kind of referenced that.”

Alabama (7-1) led 37-17 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the first half. South Dakota State (3-6) rallied to go ahead 51-50 on Alex Arians’ 3-pointer with 11 1/2 minutes remaining.

Nimari Burnett’s foul shot a minute later put the Crimson Tide ahead for good at 54-53. Alabama used a 9-0 run to pull away.

Mark Sears scored 19 points and Brandon Miller had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Crimson Tide

Alabama made 14 of its first 26 shots to build a big lead before it slipped away.

“I’m not going to call them mature, we still have some room to grow,” Oats said. “Our guys have to understand, no matter who we’re playing, even if their record isn’t great, they’re Division I basketball players, they’re good teams. Last year, we had issues with this going down the road.”

Charlie Easley and Arians each scored 17 points for the Jackrabbits. Zeke Mayo added 12 points and Matt Dentlinger contributed nine rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

Sears continues to be a force at home for Alabama. In Alabama’s last three home games – wins over Liberty, Jacksonville State and South Dakota State – he has scored 22, 18 and 19 points, making at least three 3-pointers in all three games. Alabama’s next home game comes against a Memphis team that already has two wins over SEC competition.

SECOND HALF SPRING

South Dakota State coach Eric Henderson noticed that in Alabama’s first two home games, Longwood and Liberty both trailed by fewer than 10 points at halftime before losing by 21 and 36 points, respectively. He viewed the first five minutes of the second half as critical in both instances, seeing an Alabama team using the home environment to its advantage.

Henderson stressed to his team that it had to win those five minutes to have a chance. Down 42-35 at the break, it did, and ultimately took the lead.

“They really increase the pressure, they try to play a little faster, they get downhill and they really spray it,” Henderson said. “I thought we were getting some 50-50 balls, I thought we were playing with some confidence. There’s been a lot of schools to come in here and have a good first half and it ends up being a 30- or 40-point game.”

UP NEXT

South Dakota State stays on the road to face Montana on Tuesday.

Alabama takes a weeklong break before its second game against the current No. 1 team in the nation, this time a road game against Houston on Saturday. The Crimson Tide beat former No. 1 North Carolina in its first shot at the top-ranked team, winning 103-101 in four overtimes on Nov. 27.

Rutgers beats No. 10 Indiana for sixth straight time, 63-48

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. – With the clock winding down in the final minutes, Rutgers fans didn’t hesitate in letting No. 10 Indiana how they felt about the Hoosiers’ rating.

Chants of “Who’s Your Daddy” and “Overrated” were shouted with glee at the Indiana bench after the team was knocked from the unbeaten ranks.

Make no mistake, Rutgers (6-2, 1-0 Big Ten) owns Indiana (7-1, 0-1) on the basketball floor these days.

Freshman guard Derek Simpson scored 10 straight points in a game-deciding run and Rutgers beat Indiana for the sixth time in a row and ninth time in 10 meetings, 63-48 on Saturday.

“As far as Indiana goes, I feel we just know the focus of this team,” said Rutgers senior Caleb McConnell, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds. “It gives us an advantage because we had beaten them five times in a row. We went in trying to execute our game plan and we did it again.”

Simpson scored all 14 of his points in the second half as Rutgers made coach Mike Woodson’s first visit to “The Banks” unpleasant.

“We got to make shots from the perimeter,” said Woodson, whose team shot 30.4% from the field, including 6 of 21 from long range. “But we just got out-toughed tonight. I thought, I mean, from the beginning to the end, I mean, we couldn’t rebound the basketball with him. I thought that was the difference in the ballgame and that was the cushion that they needed.”

Miller Kopp scored a season-high 21 points for Indiana . Star forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, who faced a packed in defense, was held to 13 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out late.

Jackson-Davis said Indiana just didn’t play well.

“I don’t necessarily say that it’s a bad matchup for us because I think defensively we’re still good,” he said. “But at the same time, our offense just wasn’t clicking tonight.”

The win was coach Steve Pikiell’s 14th over a ranked team since taking over a struggling Rutgers’ program in 2016-17. As usual, defense was at the center of its win.

The Hoosiers’ point total was a season low. They were averaging 87.1 points and were coming off a win over North Carolina.

Indiana played poorly in the first half in falling behind 31-24. The Hoosiers opened the final 20 minutes with a 13-4 spurt, taking two-point leads on baskets by Xavier Johnson and Kopp.

McConnell hit a 3-pointer to put Rutgers ahead for good and then Simpson took over, hitting a layup, a jumper, a 3-pointer and a big scoop shot for a 47-37 lead. His final point in the run came when Johnson hit him in the face in the offensive zone and a flagrant foul was eventually called. He made 1 of 2 free throws.

“I still have have much more to do and I am going to keep working and we’re going to keep working as a team,” Simpson said. “It was a fun game, and it really got loud. My ears are still ringing right now.”

MULCAHY RETURNS

Rutgers senior starting guard Paul Mulcahy returned to the lineup after missing four games with a shoulder injury. He came off the bench early in the first half and played almost 24 minutes, scoring six points and handing out four assists.

MISSING

Indiana starting guard Jalen Hood-Schifino did not play because of a back problem. He was averaging 8.7 points. Starting forward Race Thompson, who was averaging 7.3 points, was scoreless on 0 for 4 shooting.

BIG PICTURE

Indiana: This was poor performance by the Hoosiers. They are bound to take a tumble.

Rutgers: This was a big win for Rutgers, which was coming off a road loss at Miami. They are 6-0 at home.

UP NEXT

Indiana: Conference home opener against Nebraska on Wednesday.

Rutgers: At No. 25 Ohio State on Thursday.

Flagler, No. 6 Baylor rally late, top No. 14 Gonzaga 64-63

Baylor vs. Gonzaga
USA Today
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — In a rematch of the 2021 national championship game, Adam Flagler hit a pair of 3s as No. 6 Baylor scored the final eight points to rally past No. 14 Gonzaga 64-63 Friday night.

Gonzaga’s Rasir Bolton missed a wild, driving layup try at the buzzer.

Two seasons ago, Baylor beat the then-undefeated Zags 86-70 to win its first title. This time, the Bears didn’t take the lead for good until Jalen Bridges made two free throws with 16 seconds left.

“Adam is a great leader, but no one knew he wasn’t feeling well today,” Baylor head coach Scott Drew said. “To be honest, some players wouldn’t have played. He played through the pain and left it all out on the court. As a coach, I appreciate that.”

The Bears (6-2) trailed 63-56 before Flagler hit a 3-pointer with 1:33 left. Flagler’s 3 with just over a minute to play cut Baylor’s deficit to 63-62.

After a Gonzaga shot clock violation, Flagler’s 3-point attempt for the lead was off the mark, but Bridges was fouled by Drew Timme on the rebound attempt. Bridges hit two foul shots to put Baylor ahead.

The Zags (5-3) had a final chance when Bolton caught an inbounds pass near his own foul line with 4.6 seconds remaining. He drove the lane, but his off-balance shot went high off the glass and missed as the buzzer sounded.

“We took two balls down hill and tried to make plays at the rim. At that point in the game, those are tough,” Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. “It’s very disappointing. They made plays, man.”

Freshman Keyonte George had 18 points and seven rebounds for Baylor. Flagler had 11 points and Langston Love added 10.

“I trust my work. I was able to knock them down,” George said. “My teammates believe in me each and every day. They give me that confidence in a big game to make big shots like that.”

Malchi Smith scored 16 points for Gonzaga. Anton Watson added a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Timme had nine points.

Baylor led by as many as 12 in the first half before Gonzaga closed to five at the break.

Watson’s basket put Gonzaga ahead 41-40. From there, the teams swapped leads over the next 13 minutes as the second half featured two ties and 14 lead changes.

A thunderous dunk from Smith gave Gonzaga its seven-point lead with under two minutes to go.

BIG PICTURE

Baylor: The win was a big rebound for Baylor after its 26-point loss to Marquette earlier in the week. The loss was the Bears’ most lopsided since they fell to Kansas 82-56 in 2007

Gonzaga: After opening the season ranked No. 2 in the AP preseason poll, the Zags have now lost two of three.

STAR WATCH

Timme began the night leading the Bulldogs in scoring at 20 points per game. He was hampered by foul trouble against Baylor and got his first field goal with six minutes remaining. He fouled out with 16 seconds to play.

REMATCH PLAYERS

Four players on the floor Friday night had significant minutes in the championship game two years ago including Flagler, Timme and Watson, along with Baylor’s Flo Thamba.

UP NEXT

Baylor: The Bears return home to host Tarleton on Tuesday before playing Washington State on Sunday in Dallas for the Pac 12 Coast-to-Coast Challenge.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs return to Spokane for three straight beginning Monday when they face Kent State for the first time in school history.

Carr scores 19, No. 2 Texas beats No. 7 Creighton 72-67

Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
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AUSTIN, Texas – Texas had pressured Creighton’s shooters into a miserable night, only to watch a late flurry of 3-pointers start swishing.

An 11-point Longhorns lead was down to three.

That hardly rattled Marcus Carr and the second-ranked Longhorns, who stepped up with big late shots of their own and steady free-throw shooting to secure another impressive early-season victory, 72-67 over the seventh-ranked Bluejays on Thursday night.

Carr scored 19 points and made two free throws with 10 seconds left as Texas held off Creighton’s furious late-game rally.

Creighton struggled through a wretched 3-point shooting night, but pulled within 62-59 thanks in part to five points in a row by Baylor Scheierman. Carr’s baseline jumper and an easy layup by Tyrese Hunter when Creighton lost him on an inbound pass with 46 seconds left stretched the Longhorns’ lead again.

That didn’t quite close the door on Creighton, which got two more 3-pointers from Scheierman, who had missed his first nine attempts. That forced Texas to finish it from the free-throw line behind Carr and Brock Cunningham. Cunningham’s two free throws with 4 seconds left were his only points of the game.

“There’s going to be a bunch of times one of us has to go down there and knock down a bunch of free throws,” Carr said. “We talk about it all the time.”

The matchup was part of the Big 12-Big East Battle and Texas earned its second win over a top-10 opponent in its new arena. The Longhorns (6-0) beat then-No. 2 Gonzaga on Nov. 16 and have their highest ranking since they were No. 1 during the 2009-2010 season.

“I don’t think we’ve proven anything,” Texas coach Chris Beard said. “We’re just a team that’s trying to get better.”

Hunter scored 15 points for Texas.

Ryan Kalkbrenner had 20 points and 13 rebounds for Creighton (6-2), and Ryan Nembhard scored 17 points. The Bluejays were 4 of 27 on 3-pointers.

Scheierman, a 44% shooter from beyond the arc this season, made three 3s in a row late. His off-balance shot from the right corner over a defender pulled the Bluejays within 68-65 with 11.4 seconds left.

Scheierman finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

“The reality is you are gonna have nights,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “It just happens. We don’t ever want him to stop shooting.”

BIG PICTURE

Creighton: Kalkbrenner was all but unstoppable on a 9-of-10 shooting night for the Bluejays, who kept launching from long range instead of looking for their 7-foot-1 center.

Texas: The Longhorns couldn’t force their usual numbers of turnovers and fast-break points, but were exceptionally clean with the ball on offense. Texas had just three turnovers that Creighton turned into three points.

FORMER TEAMMATES

Texas senior forward Christian Bishop played three seasons at Creighton before transferring prior to last season. He finished with six points and four rebounds in 16 minutes.

“We understood what this game was, not just for our team but for Christian,” Carr said.

TIRED TEAM

McDermott suggested his team maybe just wore out. The Bluejays went 2-1 in the Maui Invitational last week and then played their first game of the season on an opponent’s home court.

“Three games in three days against ranked teams (in Hawaii) and then to come in here,” McDermott said. “That’s a lot to ask of my team.”

UP NEXT

Creighton hosts in-state rival Nebraska on Sunday.

Texas plays No. 16 Illinois in New York City on Dec. 6 in the Jimmy V Classic.