Late Night Snacks: No. 7 Arizona, No. 11 Wichita State and No. 19 Baylor among Saturday’s big winners

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GAME OF THE DAY: BYU 73, No. 3 Gonzaga 70

Not only did the Cougars end Gonzaga’s 41-game home win streak, but they also added a much-needed signature win to their NCAA tournament resume. Kyle Collinsworth scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and with Tyler Haws (ten points) held in check Skyler Halford provided 14 key points off the bench. Corbin Kaufusi (seven points, six rebounds and three blocks) was also effective for BYU, which did a good job of neutralizing Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer as he made just two of his 11 shots from the field and finished with four points. As a result of the win BYU will be the two-seed at next week’s WCC tournament.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 7 Arizona 63, No. 13 Utah 57

In their eight Pac-12 home games prior to Saturday night, Utah beat its opponents by an average of nearly 25 points per game. No one expected a similar result with Arizona visiting the Huntsman Center, and the Wildcats scored the final eight points of the game to win by six and clinch a share of the Pac-12 title. Kaleb Tarczewski scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds and Gabe York added 12 points off the bench for Arizona. Delon Wright led all scorers with 17 points, but in a game that saw both teams defend exceptionally well the Runnin’ Utes shot 30.9% from the field.

2. No. 11 Wichita State 74, No. 10 Northern Iowa 60

The Shockers moved to the top of the Valley with a convincing home win over the Panthers, who beat them earlier in 2015 in conference play. Ron Baker had 17 points and seven assists to pace five Wichita State players with at least 11 points. Fred Van Vleet also added 13 points and seven assists and the Shockers had 19 assists to only three turnovers on Saturday afternoon.

3. No. 19 Baylor 78, No. 20 West Virginia 66

The Mountaineers began the game without Juwan Staten (knee) and lost Gary Browne (ankle) early in the first half, and that did not help their cause in Waco. But even with those injuries the Bears’ performance should not be overlooked, as four players scored in double figures and as a team Baylor shot 51.1% from the field and 8-for-15 from three. Taurean Prince scored 20 points and Royce O’Neale added 18 and seven assists for Scott Drew’s team, which has won four straight and seven of its last nine games. Freshman guard Jevon Carter led West Virginia with a career-high 25 points.

4. Boise State 56, No. 24 San Diego State 46

Leon Rice’s team is now two wins away from the top seed in the Mountain West thanks to their ten-point win at Viejas Arena. Derrick Marks shot just 6-for-22 from the field in scoring his 18 points, but James Webb III added 16 and 12 rebounds and Rob Heyer made some big plays on both ends of the floor in the second half. Winston Shepard was San Diego State’s lone double-digit scorer, as he tallied 16 points, but as a team the Aztecs made just 32.7% of their field goal attempts. Both teams are now 12-4 in conference play, but Boise State has the tiebreaker since they’ve swept the season series. And beyond that, this is a big win for the Broncos’ tournament resume.

RELATEDSaturday’s Bubble Banter

STARRED

1. LSU’s Tim Quarterman

Quarterman became the first Tiger since Shaquille O’Neal in the 1992 NCAA tournament to post a triple-double, accounting for 18 points, ten rebounds, ten assists and two blocks in LSU’s 73-63 win over Ole Miss.

2. Charleston Southern’s Saah Nimley

In Charleston Southern’s triple-overtime win over High Point, Nimley scored 38 points (8-for-20 3PT). As a result of the win, the Bucs will be the top seed in the Big South tournament.

3. Stony Brook’s Jameel Warney

Warney scored 32 points on 13-for-17 shooting from the field and grabbed 18 rebounds in the Seawolves’ 74-59 win at Hartford.

4. Murray State’s Cameron Payne

Payne’s name is one casual college basketball fans need to get to know ahead of conference tournament play. He racked up 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the Racers’ 73-67 win at UT-Martin. Murray State has now won 24 straight games.

STRUGGLED

1. NC State’s perimeter

The trio of Cat Barber, Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner struggled to shoot against Boston College as the three combined to go 11-for-39 in a bad ACC loss. The trio was also 6-for-22 from 3-point range.

2. Texas’ Jonathan Holmes

Holmes finished the Longhorns’ 69-64 loss at Kansas with two points on 1-for-7 shooting. Texas needs more from their senior forward down the stretch.

3. Saint Mary’s forward Brad Waldow

Waldow was thoroughly neutralized by Santa Clara, as he scored just five points on 1-for-7 shooting in a one-point loss to the Broncos.

4. Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer 

In the Bulldogs’ 73-70 loss to BYU, Wiltjer scored four points on 2-for-11 shooting from the field.

OTHER TOP 25 RESULTS

  • No. 1 Kentucky moved to 29-0 on the season with an 84-67 win over No. 18 Arkansas, and the Wildcats led by as many as 31 points in the second half. The Wildcats have now won 46 SEC regular season titles.
  • No. 6 Villanova picked off Xavier on the road in the Big East behind a big second-half effort. The Wildcats shot 13-for-29 from 3-point range and Dylan Ennis led the scoring with 16 points.
  • Earning a Big Ten home win was No. 14 Maryland with a victory over Michigan. Melo Trimble had 19 points and five assists to pace the Terps.
  • No. 15 North Carolina bested Miami on the road in the ACC as Brice Johnson had 22 points and
  • Oklahoma overcame and eight-point halftime deficit to defeat TCU at home as Buddy Hield had 21 points.
  • No. 17 Louisville cruised past Florida State as Wayne Blackshear had 18 points and Montrezl Harrell added 16 and a ridiculous alley-oop.
  • In the Big East, No. 23 Butler outlasted DePaul on the road as Kellen Dunham had 24 points.
  • No. 22 VCU shot just 34 percent from the field as they lost 59-55 to Dayton in Richmond. The victorious Flyers are now tied with Rhode Island and Davidson atop the Atlantic 10 standings.
  • Wesley Iwundu made two big defensive plays in the game’s final minute to help propel Kansas State to a 70-69 win over No. 12 Iowa State. But even with the Cyclones having lost two straight, there’s no need for their fans to panic.
  • London Perrantes made his return to the court for No. 2 Virginia, which beat Virginia Tech by 12 in Blacksburg. Perrantes finished with 11 points and six assists for the Cavaliers, who have clinched at least a share of the ACC regular season title.
  • Perry Ellis went for 28 points and 13 rebounds as No. 8 Kansas moved one step closer to yet another Big 12 title with a 69-64 win over Texas.
  • No. 4 Duke coasted to a 73-54 win over Syracuse, with Justise Winslow scoring 23 points and grabbing nine rebounds and Jahlil Okafor (13 points, 14 rebounds) posting another double-double.

NOTABLES

  • Georgia did what they could to improve its NCAA Tournament standing with a home win over Missouri. The Bulldogs have now won three straight entering this week’s clash with No. 1 Kentucky.
  • St. John’s earned a quality home win over Georgetown in the Big East as Phil Greene had 26 points, 6 rebounds and Sir’Dominic Pointer had 24 points and 8 rebounds.
  • Rhode Island escaped with a road win over La Salle as E.C. Matthews had 21 points.
  • Two games went to triple overtime on Saturday: Charleston Southern’s 97-93 win over High Point and UAB’s 100-95 win over Middle Tennessee.
  • Clemson got past Georgia Tech in overtime as Jaron Blossomgame had 19 points to lead the Tigers. After blowing a 19-point lead to force the extra frame, Clemson regrouped in the final five minutes.
  • Bucknell held off American 71-69 to wrap up the outright Patriot League title. The Bison will be the top seed in the conference tournament, meaning that they’ll have home court for as long as they remain alive.
  • North Carolina Central moved to 14-0 in the MEAC with a win over Bethune-Cookman, wrapping up their second consecutive outright regular season conference title.
  • Wofford wrapped up the outright SoCon regular season title with a 62-60 win at Furman.
  • Green Bay wrapped up the two-seed in the Horizon League tournament with an 83-63 win over Oakland, with Keifer Sykes and Greg Mays scoring 21 points apiece. The win earns the Phoenix a bye into the semifinals.
  • Jacksonville upset FGCU 75-67, meaning that North Florida will be the top seed (and outright regular season champ) in the Atlantic Sun tournament (this gives them home court throughout the tournament).
  • Montana rebounded from a triple-overtime loss at Idaho Thursday night, as they won 77-76 at Eastern Washington. Montana, EWU and Sacramento State are locked in a race to see who will win the Big Sky and host the conference tournament as a result with the Hornets currently in first place.
  • The CAA has a four-way tie atop the conference standings, with William & Mary, UNCW, Northeastern and James Madison being the four teams. And that’s your order for the seeds in next week’s conference tournament in Baltimore, with the Tribe being the top seed.
  • Saint Mary’s fell by a point at Santa Clara, and given their overall resume the Gaels may need to run the table at the WCC tournament in Las Vegas next weekend.
  • Harvard and Yale both picked up wins on Saturday, setting up a showdown of 10-2 teams Friday night at Harvard. The winner would be one win away from earning the Ivy League’s NCAA tournament bid.
  • Even without the suspended Tim Floyd, UTEP’s game against Southern Miss seemed relatively harmless. Well the Golden Eagles pulled off the 63-60 upset, dropping the Miners into a three-way tie for third in Conference USA two games behind Louisiana Tech in the loss column.
  • Tulsa erased a nine-point second half deficit and went on to win 74-72 in overtime at Memphis, avoiding a loss that would not have helped their chances of getting into the NCAA tournament. The Golden Hurricane are now tied with SMU atop the American (14-2 records for both).
  • Two days after they beat first-place UC Davis, UCSB held off UC Irvine at home. As a result of the Gauchos’ win over the Anteaters, UC Davis has clinched at least a share of the Big West title.

Alabama coach Nate Oats gets new 6-year, $30 million deal

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nate Oats has agreed to a new six-year, $30 million contract amid the program’s best regular season in decades.

Oats will average $5 million plus incentives over the deal running through the 2028-29 season under a deal approved Friday by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees Compensation Committee.

It makes him the fourth-highest paid basketball coach in the Southeastern Conference and among the Top 10 nationally, athletic director Greg Byrne said.

Oats, who is in his fourth season, will make $4.5 million for the first year with $200,000 annual raises. The fourth-ranked Crimson Tide (19-3, 9-0 SEC) has the team’s highest ranking this deep into a season since 1976-77.

“I am honored and humbled to receive a contract extension from the University of Alabama,” Oats said in a statement. “As I have said many times, my family and I love this community, the city of Tuscaloosa and the university.

“I am incredibly proud of what we have been able to build during our time at UA which is a direct reflection of the student-athletes, coaches and staff who have all played a big part in our success. I am excited for what’s happening in the future of our program and the direction we are heading.”

Alabama has gone 80-39 under Oats, winning the 2021 SEC regular season and tournament championships.

“Coach Oats has done an outstanding job leading our men’s basketball program, and we want him to continue doing so for many years to come,” Byrne said in a statement. “He and his staff have lifted the program back to national prominence and built a product that is exciting to be a part of for our team and for our fans.

“We were confident Nate was going to be an outstanding coach for us when we hired him, and he is not only that, but also a great leader of our young men.”

The new contract comes nearly three weeks after Alabama basketball player Darius Miles and another man were charged with capital murder following a fatal shooting near campus. Miles, a reserve forward, was removed from the team and suspended from the university following his arrest.

Duke women’s coach Kara Lawson says men’s ball used vs. FSU

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Duke coach Kara Lawson said her team played with a men’s basketball for the first half of a loss to Florida Stated.

The 16th-ranked Blue Devils lost to the Seminoles 70-57 in Tallahassee, Florida – the team’s second Atlantic Coast Conference loss of the season.

After her team beat Pittsburgh 53-44 , Lawson ended her news conference by speaking animatedly.

“This would never happen in a men’s game. This would never happen. It’s embarrassing for our sport,” she said.

The circumference of a women’s ball is about an inch smaller than a men’s ball and it is typically 2 ounces lighter. While it may not seem like a lot, that’s a big difference.

Lawson said throughout the first half, Duke players were “complaining about the ball.” The Blue Devils were 7 for 34 from the field in the opening 20 minutes of that game. They were 12 for 38 in the second half. Florida State made 10 of its 30 shots in the first two quarters and 14 of 31 in the second half.

“To have a game that, at the end of the season, could be the difference between a seed, between a title, my players don’t deserve that and neither do their players,” Lawson said. “It’s a complete failure. And you can figure out who the people I’m talking about that failed the sport and our players and both teams.”

Lawson said assistant coach Winston Gandy went to the scorer’s table at the half to check on the ball when he realized what the problem was. She said the game officials changed the ball to start the second half.

“We have concluded through our investigation that it was a men’s ball,” Lawson said. “The conference and Florida State is saying that it wasn’t.”

The ACC said it did a comprehensive review talking with game officials, administrators, the table crew and both schools.

“Following the thorough and objective review process, there was no evidence found to support the claim,” the conference said in a statement. “Per NCAA playing rules, there is no appeal or protest process.”

The ACC has instituted a procedural change that the game ball will be brought to the pregame meeting with the captains for approval.

“It’s very frustrating that (the game) … was not treated with the utmost respect that players on both teams deserve,” she said.

This wasn’t the first time this has happened in women’s basketball. In 2017, the College of Charleston played home games and practiced with men’s balls for most of its season until the error was was discovered.

“Let me be clear: Florida State beat us. They beat us playing with a men’s ball in the first half and a women’s ball in the second half. But I can’t say if we’d have played with a women’s ball in the first half and the second half that we would have won. But they can’t say that either,” Lawson said.

No. 1 South Carolina wins 28th straight 87-69 over ‘Cats

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Dawn Staley’s pleased South Carolina had made its once-lopsided series with UConn more competitive the past few years.

She hopes her top-ranked team can accomplish another milestone when the teams meet for a top-five showdown on Sunday.

“It still stands true that we haven’t won up there,” Staley said.

Aliyah Boston had 14 points and 14 rebounds as South Carolina prepared for the top-five showdown with an 87-69 victory over Kentucky on Thursday night.

The Gamecocks (10-0 Southeastern Conference) improved to 22-0 and won their 28th straight, a run that included a 64-49 victory over the Huskies in Minneapolis last April to win the national championship.

Staley had lost her first seven games as South Carolina coach against UConn. The Gamecocks have won three of the past four matchups since.

“This particular class committed to each other,” Staley said. “When you have that type of commitment and you just want to win, you find yourself winning some games that you haven’t won before.”

Against Kentucky, reigning AP player of the year Boston extended her school mark with her 75th career double-double and moved within 11 of the SEC record of 86 games with a double-double held by LSU great Sylvia Fowles.

Things weren’t perfect for South Carolina, which fell behind early, then had its 15-point halftime lead cut to 54-48 midway through the third quarter.

Still, its dominant inside game – South Carolina outscored the Wildcats 62-14 in the paint – was more than enough to shut down Kentucky (10-12, 2-8), the last team to defeat the defending national champions at the SEC Tournament last March.

The Wildcats went on top 16-15 after a pair of baskets by Adebola Adeyeye.

That’s when South Carolina, fueled by its bench, took control with a 17-2 run. Ashlyn Watkins had three inside shots and Kamilla Cardoso scored four points during the surge.

The Wildcats used a 13-4 burst to start the third quarter to give South Carolina a few uncomfortable moments. But the Gamecocks got going once more with an 11-0 run to extend their margin.

Cardoso, the 6-foot-7 reserve, had 14 points and five of South Carolina’s 14 blocks. Defensive ace Brea Beal had 10 including both of the Gamecocks’ 3-pointers.

Beal thought the team held together well to blunt Kentucky’s runs and regain control. “I think it’s our mental aspect of the game and us believing in each other,” she said.

Robyn Benton had 24 points to lead Kentucky, which has lost three of its past four games.

Wildcats coach Kyra Elzy said South Carolina is difficult to match up with because of its deep bench. “They have depth after depth after depth,” she said. “They keep coming.”

BIG PICTURE

Kentucky: The Wildcats are the not the same team that featured two-time SEC player of the year Rhyne Howard the past few seasons. They have 10 newcomers – and six freshmen – who are still learning how to play against the SEC’s top teams like South Carolina.

South Carolina: Forgive the Gamecocks if their focus wasn’t fully on this one at first with a big week ahead. In an eight-game span, South Carolina will face No. 5 UConn and No. 3 LSU, a pair of high-profile games could expose any flaw – or show how powerful the Gamecocks are in chasing a second straight NCAA crown.

UCONN KARMA

South Carolina has opened 22-0 twice under coach Dawn Staley, in 2014-15 and the following year. Both runs ended against UConn. Next up for Gamecocks are the Huskies, although South Carolina has won three of the past four games over UConn including last April’s 64-49 victory to win the NCAA Tournament title.

UP NEXT

Kentucky returns home to face Alabama on Feb. 9.

South Carolina heads to No. 5 UConn on Sunday.

Miles, Citron lead No. 9 Irish past Boston College 72-59

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BOSTON — Olivia Miles and Sonia Citron had already scored 10 straight points to put away Boston College when they turned their attention to other things.

“I told Sonia I needed two more assists for the double-double. And she was like, `All right, I’ve got you,”‘ Miles said after helping No. 9 Notre Dame beat BC 72-59 on Thursday night.

“That’s just kind of our communication on the court,” said Miles, who found Citron for baskets on the next two Irish possessions to complete a 14-0 run – with all 14 points from Miles and Citron. “We just really play off each other really well.

Miles scored 22 points with 10 assists and eight rebounds, and Citron scored 23 for the Irish (18-2, 9-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Maria Gakdeng scored 16 points, T’Yana Todd had 13 and Andrea Daly scored 10 with eight rebounds for BC (14-11, 4-8). The Irish beat BC at home 85-48 on New Year’s Day but hadn’t won in Chestnut Hill since 2019.

“This is such a tough place to play,” said Notre Dame coach Niele Ivey, whose team faces No. 16 Duke next. “We’ll celebrate it until about 12:30, and then we’ve got film. Tomorrow we start focusing on Duke.”

BC came within five points, 55-50, before the Irish ran off 14 points in a row – nine by Citron, and five by Miles. That put an end to what had been a back-and-forth game in which the Irish opened big leads and then frittered them away.

“I always feel like we’re close,” BC coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said. “They’re young; I think consistency comes with experience.

“I think it’s a big improvement from the first time we played Notre Dame,” she said. “I still want to see more, and I want to see us grow up as fast as humanly possible because I think we do have a dangerous team when we going well.”

Notre Dame led by 11 in the first quarter and held a 38-30 lead with two minutes gone in the third. BC scored 13 of the next 18 points, capitalizing on back-to-back Irish turnovers to tie it 43-all with three minutes left in the quarter.

But Natalija Marshall put back the rebound of her own miss, Miles drove to the basket, Maddy Westbeld added a pair of baskets and then Miles stole the ball and found Citron on the fast break to make it 53-43.

BIG PICTURE

Notre Dame bounced back from their first league loss of the season, a 69-65 defeat at North Carolina State on Sunday. Now they face No. 16 Duke.

The Eagles, who beat Pittsburgh on Sunday to snap a five-game losing streak, were looking for their second victory over a Top 25 team this season, having also beaten then-No. 10 N.C. State on Jan. 5.

UP NEXT

Notre Dame: Hosts No. 16 Duke on Sunday.

Boston College: Visits Syracuse on Sunday.

No. 16 Xavier beats No. 17 Providence 85-83 in OT thriller

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Kareem Elgazzar/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CINCINNATI — Jack Nunge had 23 points and 14 rebounds as No. 16 Xavier held off No. 17 Providence 85-83 in an overtime thriller Wednesday night.

Colby Jones and Souley Boum each scored 20 for the Musketeers, who won a first-place showdown in the Big East without injured forward Zach Freemantle.

Noah Locke had 22 points and Ed Croswell added 21 for Providence (17-6, 9-3), which had beaten Xavier three straight times.

A layup by Boum put the Musketeers (18-5, 10-2) ahead 82-79 with 51 seconds remaining in overtime. A turnover by the Musketeers led to a layup by Devin Carter that cut Xavier’s lead to one with 24 seconds left.

Boum hit one of two free throws, and Jared Bynum’s 3-point attempt from the left corner rimmed out at the buzzer as the Musketeers held on.

Xavier played its first game without Freemantle, the team’s leading rebounder and second-leading scorer. He is expected to miss four weeks with a left foot injury, the same foot that required surgery in 2021.

Jerome Hunter, who has excelled off the bench for the Musketeers, made his first start of the season and scored nine points with eight rebounds. Xavier had used the same starting lineup in each of its previous 11 Big East games.

Things started well for the Musketeers. who went on a 12-1 run to build a 25-11 lead.

With Boum on the bench with two fouls, the Musketeers didn’t have a field goal in the final 4:18 of the first half and the Friars pulled to 39-35 at halftime.

Providence outscored Xavier 8-2 to start the second half and took its first lead, 43-41, with 17:41 left.

There was a frantic finish to the second half, with Adam Kunkel’s 3-pointer putting Xavier ahead 76-73 with 55 seconds left. But then Bynum banked in a tying 3 and Boum missed two long shots to send the game to overtime.

BIG PICTURE

Providence: The Friars, who won their first Big East regular-season title last year, entered the night tied atop the conference standings with Xavier and No. 14 Marquette, which hosted Villanova later. Providence was picked fifth in the preseason.

Xavier: Hunter, who averages 14 minutes, left with three minutes remaining in OT with an apparent cramp in his right leg. With Freemantle out, Hunter played 36 minutes.

UP NEXT

Providence: Hosts last-place Georgetown on Wednesday.

Xavier: Will host St. John’s on Saturday.