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Tuesday’s Things to Know: Kansas and K-State Brawl, TCU’s signature win, Villanova beats Butler

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College basketball had plenty of action on Tuesday night.

But instead of a bevy of upsets and huge top-25 games, the action came in the form of a Kansas/Kansas State brawl and a new bubble team picking up a signature win.

There was also a top-25 matchup in the Big East as Villanova squared off against Butler. 

Kansas/Kansas State brawl erupts at end of rivalry game

The big story of Tuesday night involves Kansas and Kansas State.

This inner-state rivalry lost some steam with the Wildcats in rebuilding mode this season. But as we found out Tuesday, there is still plenty of intensity when these Big 12 rivals take the floor.

At the end of a Jayhawk blowout home win, a brawl started under a basket. Video came from all over the place as Kansas and Kansas State players took swings and even picked up a chair.

It overshadowed a rivalry win for the No. 3 Jayhawks. Suspensions will likely be handed out. These teams also have a return matchup at Kansas State to look forward to on Feb. 29. We’ll hear more about this fight throughout the week.

TCU picks up signature win against No. 18 Texas Tech

During a major season of turmoil where upsets are normal and road wins are nearly impossible, TCU has stayed in the mix for an NCAA tournament bid with a positive 11-5 start.

The Horned Frogs lacked a signature win though.

That changed on Tuesday night with TCU claiming a 65-54 win over No. 18 Texas Tech. Now with a Q1 win on the profile, TCU should make a move up the NET to get in respectable bubble territory.

TCU still has work to do if they want to secure a bid. Only one Q1 win, one Q2 win and a combined 2-5 record in those two quadrants isn’t going to cut it.

But with a 4-2 record in the Big 12, TCU is a team to keep tabs of the next several weeks. After getting absolutely destroyed by an average of 26 points per game the last two losses to West Virginia and Oklahoma, this is a quality bounceback win for the Horned Frogs. And the type of win that can jumpstart a postseason push.

No. 9 Villanova cruises past No. 16 Butler for Big East home win

Tuesday night’s only top-25 clash was in the Big East. Villanova ran past Butler for a 76-61 home win to keep pace with Seton Hall in the Big East standings.

Jermaine Samuels paced five double-figure scorers for Villanova with 20 points.

Big East brutality continued for Butler meanwhile.

The Bulldogs have lost three straight games in conference play. All three losses have come by at least eight points. It’s not only that Butler is losing but they’re playing poorly.

It feels like the Wildcats will once again remain in the Big East title picture this season. If Butler wants to say the same, they’ll need to figure things out quickly to fix its January swoon.

Myles Powell leads No. 18 Seton Hall past No. 5 Butler

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Seton Hall earned another monster road win by knocking off No. 5 Butler, 78-70, on Wednesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Myles Powell had another exceptional effort to pace the No. 18 Pirates in the Big East win. The All-American candidate finished with 29 points, seven rebounds and three steals. For the second time in Big East play, the Pirates found themselves trailing by double digits on the road. And, for the second time, they turned to their senior leader to close down the stretch. Powell lifted Seton Hall with 19 second-half points when the Pirates desperately needed offense.

The guard’s veteran savvy, three-point marksmanship and big-game mentality are a huge reason why Seton Hall is now atop the Big East at 5-0. The Big East’s young season has already seen Powell will Seton Hall to multiple victories. Powell also outdueled fellow preseason All-American Markus Howard and Marquette for a Pirates win.

It’s still early in the Big East season. But Powell is making a massive case for Big East Player of the Year — if not more.

Powell is the obvious engine that drives Seton Hall. But the Pirates have turned into an elite team during this seven-game winning streak thanks to the continued development of role players. Senior big man Romaro Gill has come up big on both ends of the floor. The 7-foot-2 Gill finished with 17 points, four rebounds and three blocks. After only one double-figure scoring game the first 13 games of the season, Gill now has four straight double-figure games in Big East play.

Gill’s rapid improvement has also established him as the preferred center in Seton Hall’s big-man rotation ahead of Ikey Obiagu. Even when Gill fouled out, Obiagu’s ability to fill in and protect the rim was a factor in the Pirate closing Wednesday’s win.

Jared Rhoden (13 points) and Quincy McKnight (11 points) also have flourished during this recent stretch. Rhoden’s critical three-pointer with under a minute left gave the Pirates a two-possession lead. McKnight has proven himself to be an adequate scorer and distributor when teams overload on Powell.

Seton Hall has run off seven straight wins despite missing junior forward Sandro Mamukelashvili. The Pirates are continuing to establish new role players and secondary pieces to play around Powell. And what happens if Mamukelashvili returns to form once he’s healthy from a wrist injury? He’s scheduled to potentially return within the month as his presence would make Seton Hall even more dangerous.

Butler (15-2, 3-1) made an admirable push to nearly win this game after blowing the lead. A 7-0 run gave the Bulldogs a one-point lead at the under-four timeout. The lead was short-lived, however, as Powell and the Pirates closed them down. This isn’t a bad loss by any means for Butler. But losing at home to a team in the mix for the Big East title definitely stings in the conference race.

Kamar Baldwin paced Butler with 19 points. Jordan Tucker’s hot first half fueled his 14-point outing as his scoring uptick helped give the Bulldogs the first-half advantage. Butler looked strong and their pieces fit well together. They just don’t have the type of player who can keep up with a player like Powell when he gets rolling.

Big East back to nation’s best conference? Just might be

Jay Wright
AP
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CHICAGO — While the Big Ten, Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference dominate the AP Top 25 this week, there is something to said for the emerging depth of the Big East basketball. Villanova (No. 10) and Butler (No. 11) are the only Big East teams in the Top 25, but seven more schools from the conference received votes for the poll.

Providence was the only Big East school that got shut out, and it rolled to a 76-60 victory over Georgetown on Tuesday. The Hoyas had won six in a row, including an 89-79 win against Syracuse on Dec. 14 that impressed Orange coach Jim Boeheim so much he called it the best Georgetown team he had seen in years.

“I don’t think there’s a conference in the country from 1 to 10 that has the quality of teams that our league does,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said.

One night, it might be Myles Powell, with Seton Hall’s pair of 7-foot-2 centers patrolling the lane.

Or Villanova, with its championship pedigree and coach Jay Wright roaming the sideline.

Another tough Butler team. Xavier and its experience. The dynamic Markus Howard and Marquette. On and on it goes.

There are no off days in the Big East this year.

“You have to be on it every single night,” Xavier coach Travis Steele said.

Concerns about NCAA tourney seeding?

It’s so good there is some concern it might end up costing the Big East when the field for the NCAA Tournament is set.

“The challenge is that from the rest of the country’s perspective, if a team ends up being 9-9 or 10-8, does that hurt you because of the quality of the teams moving forward?” DePaul coach Dave Leitao said.

“The analytics and the metrics hopefully will state the fact that there are so many good teams and so many competitive teams. That will help us. That’s the theory. You just hope that it plays itself out.”

The first few days of Big East basketball play provided a quick glance at the difficult road to the conference championship.

Collin Gillespie made a couple of big plays to help Villanova hold off Xavier for a 68-62 win Monday night. The Wildcats opened a 17-point lead in the first half before the Musketeers rallied.

Seton Hall used a terrific performance from Powell to top DePaul 74-66 in its Big East opener, finishing the game with a 9-0 run. Powell scored 18 of his 27 points in the second half after missing the previous two games because of a concussion.

The Pirates were the preseason Big East favorites in a poll of the conference’s coaches. The Blue Demons were picked to finish last, but they got off to a 12-1 start.

“This is one of the best conferences in the country. … This battle that we’re about to go through, these next 17 games, I mean words can’t even describe it,” Powell said.

Seton Hall trailed DePaul for much of the game. Pirates coach Kevin Willard said the tense finish likely will be the norm this year in the Big East.

“I think the depth and the fact that the league has gotten older and more mature from last year — last year we were a younger league — I just think every night you’re going to go out there and it’s going to be a six-point game, five-point game,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re home or on the road. It’s just going to be a battle.”

Health, as always, key to success

With so much depth in the league, staying healthy could be one of the biggest keys.

While Seton Hall got Powell back against DePaul, Sandro Mamukelashvili remains out with a broken right wrist. St. John’s guard Mustapha Heron has missed three straight games with a sprained right ankle. Georgetown guard Mac McClung missed the loss to the Friars with an eye injury. Butler guard Kamar Baldwin was bothered by a right ankle injury during the Bulldogs’ 60-58 victory over the Red Storm on Tuesday night.

Butler blew a 23-point lead against St. John’s before escaping with the win. Just another night in the Big East.

“We’ve got to eat right, sleep right, take care of our bodies,” Butler coach LaVall Jordan said. “We’ve had to do a good job of practice planning so that we are fresh and we got full energy amongst the entire group because it’s going to be a battle every night.”

No. 11 Butler blows 23-point lead, survives St. John’s 60-58

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NEW YORK — Christian David hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 43 seconds left and No. 11 Butler rallied after blowing a 23-point lead to beat St. John’s 60-58 Tuesday night in the Big East opener for both teams.

St. John’s (11-3, 0-1) staged a 29-4 run in the second half and took a 48-46 advantage on Marcellus Earlington’s layup with 6:49 remaining.

Butler (13-1, 1-0) trailed 58-53 when Raheem Dunn hit an uncontested layup with 3:08 left, but then the Bulldogs clamped down defensively. Kamar Baldwin’s jumper made it 58-57 with 2:01 remaining, and following a series of wild sequences at the rim, Butler took the lead.

Earlington blocked Bryce Nze’s layup with 49 seconds left, but Butler retained possession when Aaron Thompson grabbed the rebound. Baldwin found David, who hit an open 3-pointer from the right corner.

Dunn missed a layup with 19 seconds remaining and LJ Figueroa missed a 3-point try with one second left.

Baldwin led Butler with 19 points and a career-high five 3-pointers. Sean McDermott and Jordan Tucker added 12 points apiece as Butler shot 40% and overcame 24 turnovers.

Nick Rutherford led St. John’s with 15 points and Dunn added 12 as the Red Storm shot 34.5% and missed 18 of 22 3-point attempts, including their first 11 tries.

BIG PICTURE

Butler: Butler continued to be stout defensively, using an aggressive defense that held another opponent under 60 points. The Bulldogs have held 10 of their first 14 opponents under 60 points.

St. John’s: It was a tough night for leading scorer Figueroa, who picked up his fourth foul early in the second half and sat for most of the Red Storm’s comeback. He went scoreless in 13 minutes.

UP NEXT

Butler hosts Creighton in its first Big East home game Saturday.

St. John’s visits Xavier on Sunday, which lost at Villanova in its conference opener.

No. 11 Baylor holds on for a 53-52 win over No. 18 Butler

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WACO, Texas — Mark Vital blocked Kamar Baldwin’s potential go-ahead shot with 1.5 seconds left and No. 11 Baylor held on to beat previously undefeated No. 18 Butler 53-52 on Tuesday night.

It was the second win in a row, and third this season, for Baylor (8-1) over a Top 25 team.

Butler (9-1) was the third team to lose for the first time, after No. 1 Louisville and No. 4 Maryland lost earlier Tuesday night. That left five undefeated Division I teams.

The Bulldogs never led, but had the ball after Aaron Thompson rebounded Davion Mitchell’s missed shot before a timeout with 7.9 seconds left. After Baldwin inbounded the ball, he got it back and drove for a layup that was swatted away and out of bounds and last touched by the shooter.

After MaCio Teague missed a free throw for Baylor, the Bulldogs had 0.7 seconds left. A desperation shot by Baldwin, who finished with 19 points, wasn’t close — and likely came after the buzzer anyway.

Teague and Devonte Bandoo each had 10 points for Baylor, whose coach, Scott Drew, is a 1993 Butler graduate and faced his alma mater as a head coach for the first time.

Sean McDermott had 16 points, including four 3-pointers, for the Bulldogs.

Butler, after trailing by 16 points in the first half, had a chance to tie the game with 3:46 left after Baldwin — whose 15-footer had just gotten the Bulldogs within a basket — rebounded a missed 3 by Baylor. But Baldwin had his potential tying shot blocked by Mark Vital, who then scored on the other end to make it 53-49.

The Bulldogs had gotten within 44-40 midway through the second half after Baldwin’s third consecutive basket came in a stretch when they made seven shots in a row.

BIG PICTURE

Butler: The Bulldogs were trying to get to 10-0 for the first time since 2006-07. They were still good defensively, having come in allowing only 56.2 points a game — and holding Baylor to under that.

Baylor: The Bears are one bad stretch from being undefeated. Their only loss was to Washington in the second game of the season in Alaska, when they had a 10-point lead before not making another field goal in the final five minutes.

UP NEXT

After five games in a row against teams from major conferences, Butler is home Saturday against Southern University.

Baylor has only two more games in December. The Bears play UT-Martin on Dec. 18 in Houston, then are home against Jackson State on Dec. 30 in their last game before opening Big 12 play.

Baldwin scores 31 as No. 24 Butler beats Ole Miss 67-58

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OXFORD, Miss. — Another big performance from Kamar Baldwin kept No. 24 Butler unbeaten after an early-season test in an SEC arena.

Baldwin scored a season-high 31 points and the Bulldogs opened a large lead in the second half before holding off Mississippi 67-58 on Tuesday night in a game they never trailed.

“We swung first. Then we held on,” Butler coach LaVall Jordan said. “We showed poise on the road and we executed. And what can you say about Kamar? He’s playing at a really high level.”

Baldwin shot 11 of 16 from the field, including 4 for 5 from 3-point range, to lead the Bulldogs (8-0). He added six rebounds and three assists.

Jordan Tucker and Bryce Nze each had eight points for Butler, and Nze grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

“My teammates did a great job of finding me when I got to the open spots,” Baldwin said. “When they come to me, I’m supposed to hit the shots.”

Breein Tyree scored 22 points and Khadim Sy added 12 for Ole Miss (5-3).

After trailing 31-22 at halftime and 50-34 midway through the second half, the Rebels pulled to 52-48 on Tyree’s layup with 9:11 left. Butler answered with an 8-3 run, highlighted by six points from Baldwin, and the Rebels never got closer than seven again.

The Bulldogs finished 27 of 47 (51%) from the floor, including 8 for 17 on 3s (47%), and forced 17 turnovers.

“I saw some positive things tonight and I was proud we made a great comeback,” Mississippi coach Kermit Davis said. “Their best player just took over the game. It’s that simple. We missed shots down the stretch and Butler is way too good for that.”

The Rebels shot 22 of 55 (40%) from the field, including a combined 14 for 25 from Tyree and Sy. Ole Miss was 7 of 22 (31%) from beyond the 3-point arc and a season-low 7 for 15 (46%) at the free throw line.

BIG PICTURE

Butler: This was an NCAA Tournament resume-building road win. Picked to finish eighth in the Big East preseason coach’s poll, the Bulldogs appear to be much better than predicted. They raced to a 22-8 lead and never trailed as Baldwin had 12 points in the first half while missing only one shot from the field.

“I thought that 22-8 start was huge,” Jordan said. “We challenged our group coming in to get off to a good start and we prepared well. We got contributions from everybody in that fast start.”

Ole Miss: Sy, a 6-foot-10 junior college transfer, had his best performance of the season — including three dunks in the first half. … Since starting swingman Luis Rodriguez was injured, the Rebels have lost two of three games. A broken left foot will keep Rodriguez sidelined for eight weeks.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Butler: Winning on the road against an SEC opponent coming off an NCAA Tournament berth last season should at least be enough to keep the Bulldogs ranked.

UP NEXT

Butler: At home against Florida on Saturday, the third SEC opponent in a four-game stretch.

Ole Miss: Will host CSU Bakersfield, coached by former Ole Miss coach Rod Barnes, on Saturday.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25