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No. 5 Kentucky outlasts No. 12 Davidson

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Davidson had its shots. They just missed too frequently down the stretch.

No. 5 Kentucky outlasted No. 12 Davidson, 78-73, on Thursday evening, surviving the upset bid and advancing to Saturday’s second round against Buffalo.

UK led for nearly the entire evening, but found itself tied with Davidson with under 8 minutes to play. John Calipari’s team edged back out in front, but Davidson was persistent. Bob McKillop’s group had chances to tie or lead late, but the hot 3-point shooting that got them back into the game suddenly abandoned them as they missed six-straight from distance after they tied the game.

Davidson ultimately made just 11 of 13 of its 3s while Kentucky didn’t make a single one. UK missed all six of its offerings from beyond the arc.

Making up for the 3-point disparity was Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The pair combined to score 44 points and go 18 of 21 from the line. Knox of 8 of 16 from the floor and Gilgeous-Alexander, who also had eight rebounds, 5 of 13. Kentucky shot 51 percent as a team from the floor.

Jon Axel Gudmundsson, in addition to having an amazing name, scored 21 points for Davidson, going 6 of 11 from 3-point range. Kelian Grady had 16 points.

While going 0-for from 3-point range didn’t cost Kentucky a victory against the Atlantic 10 tournament champions, it’ shard to see that formula holding up in the later rounds, whether it’s in another all-Wildcats matchup with Arizona or against Buffalo. UK isn’t dependent on making many shots from deep, but the math of 3 > 2 is irrefutable and if an opponent that can match them physically can also make a few shots, it’s going to be trouble for Kentucky.

VIDEO: Steph Curry celebrates Davidson’s A10 tourney title

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Steph Curry may be sidelined with an ankle injury, but his alma mater gave him reason to celebrate Sunday.

The two-time NBA MVP joined in on the celebration of Davidson’s 58-57 win over Rhode Island in the title game of the Atlantic 10 tournament to earn its spot in the NCAA tournament.

This is the fourth NCAA tournament  bid for the Wildcats since Curry led them to the Elite 8 in 2008.

NBCSN announces 2017-18 Atlantic 10 schedule

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On Thursday evening, the NBC Sports Network announced the more than 30 Atlantic 10 games the network will air during the 2017-18 season.

The full schedule includes three regular-season women’s games, as well as second round and quarterfinals coverage of the Atlantic 10 Tournament, which will take place at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. beginning on March 8. A10 games can also be streamed on NBCSports.com as well as the NBC Sports app.

The first game of the season to be aired on NBCSN will be a Big 5 clash between Temple and La Salle.

Here’s NBCSN’s full schedule:

Sunday, Nov. 26: Temple at La Salle, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 9: Penn at Dayton, 3 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 16: Georgia at UMass, 3 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 23: Wagner at Dayton, 3 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 30: Fordham at VCU, 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 30: UMass at St. Bonaventure, 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 30: Davidson at Richmond, 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 6: UMass at Dayton, noon
Saturday, Jan. 6: VCU at La Salle, 2 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 7: Davidson at George Mason, noon
Wednesday, Jan. 10: Richmond at Saint Joseph’s (women’s), noon
Saturday, Jan. 13: La Salle at Duquesne, 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 13: Saint Louis at George Mason, 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 13: George Washington at Richmond, 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 14: Davidson at Fordham, 3 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 14: Saint Joseph’s at UMass, 5 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 20: George Washington at VCU, 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 20: La Salle at Richmond, 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 20: George Mason at Duquesne, 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 27: Duquesne at Rhode Island, noon
Saturday, Jan. 27: UMass at Fordham, 2 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 28: George Washington at St. Bonaventure, noon
Sunday, Jan. 28: Richmond at Davidson, 2 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 28: St. Bonaventure at Duquesne (women’s), 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 31: Fordham at Saint Louis (women’s), noon
Saturday, Feb. 3: George Mason at Richmond, 4:30 p.m.
Saturday,: Feb. 3: Duquesne at St. Bonaventure, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 3: George Washington at Dayton, 12:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 8: Atlantic 10 Championship Second Round (four games)
Friday, March 9: Atlantic 10 Championship Quarterfinals (four games)

March Madness 2017 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Preview, Bracket and Conference Postseason Awards

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Atlantic 10 Player of the Year: T.J. Cline, Richmond

The 6-foot-9 senior forward was not only one of the most efficient players in the conference, he was the only player in the Atlantic 10 to rank top-5 in (18.6 PPG), rebounds (8.1 RPG) and assists (5.7 APG). He had a triple-double — 34 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists — against Duquesne and then recorded another one — 19 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists — in his final game at Richmond.

Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year: Archie Miller, Dayton

Last year, Dayton was in a three-way tie for first place. This season, the Flyers won it outright with a 15-3 conference record. Miller had to balance early-season injuries to Kendall Pollard and transfer Josh Cunningham, which shortended his frontline. Following a loss to VCU, which finished in second place, the Flyers went on a nine-game winning streak, capped with a win at home against the Rams.

First-Team All-Atlantic 10

  • T.J. Cline, Richmond
  • Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure: The senior guard was second in the conference in scoring at 20.8 points, and led the A10 in assists and 6.6 dimes per game.
  • Charles Cooke, Dayton: Also an all-defense selection by the A10 coaches, Cooke led the Flyers in scoring at 16.5 points per game to go along with his 5.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists a night.
  • Jack Gibbs, Davidson: The conference’s leading scorer at 22.0 points per game. The repeat selection registered a handful of 30-point games.
  • Marquise Moore, George Mason: At 6-foot-2, the senior guard averaged a double-double — 17.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game — leading the A10 in rebounding at 6-foot-2. He was instrumental in an eight-win turnaround for the Patriots.

Second Team All-Atlantic 10:

  • Peyton Aldridge, Davidson,
  • Tyler Cavanaugh, George Washington
  • JeQuan Lewis, VCU
  • Hassan Martin, Rhode Island
  • Scoochie Smith, Dayton

RELATED: Player of the Year | Coach of the Year | NBC Sports All-Americans

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It’s been three years since the Atlantic 10 set a conference record by sending six teams to the NCAA Tournament. For the third straight year, the league is set to send half that amount, at best.

Rhode Island entered the season in the preseason top-25, but will likely remain on the bubble unless it makes it to Sunday’s tournament title game. Dayton won the league outright after overcoming early season injuries on the frontline. The Flyers are safe, as is VCU, who finished second to Dayton in the A10 standings this season.

The A10 wasn’t as strong as in previous seasons, but it could result in an eventful week in Pittsburgh. Will Dayton and VCU face off in a rubber match? Will Rhode Island secure its first NCAA Tournament bid since 1999? Or is there a bid stealer ready to make a run?

The Bracket

When: March 8-13

Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh

Final: Sunday, March 13 12:30 p.m.

Favorite: Dayton

The Flyers topped the league for the second straight season; this time outright. After dealing with injuries early in the season, which played a role in a loss in a marquee home game against Saint Mary’s, followed by an upset loss to Nebraska, putting them on the wrong side of the Wooden Legacy bracket. However, Dayton enters Pittsburgh as winners of nine of its last 10. That span includes a win at Rhode Island and avenging a loss to VCU. Scoochie Smith, Charles Cooke and Kendall Pollard lead an experienced team with the league’s best offense, matched with a solid defense.

And if they lose?: VCU

The Rams finished second in the A10 and owns a win over Dayton. Like the Flyers, VCU has an experienced group led by seniors JeQuan Lewis and Mo-Alie Cox. Both meetings were decided by single digits. In both games, the Rams frontline, anchored by Cox and Justin Tillman, gave Dayton’s front court fits.

Will Wade (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Other Contenders:

  • Rhode Island: The Rams enter this year as the conference favorite. They certainly have the talent, and perhaps a sense of urgency kicks in as the Rams are still one the bubble.
  • Richmond: Led by A10 Player of the Year T.J. Cline, the Spiders head to Pittsburgh as winners of four in a row. However, Richmond is 0-2 against VCU this season, a team it could potential face in the semifinals.

Sleeper: St. Bonaventure

With Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley, the Bonnies have two guards who can really light it up. While they finished the regular season 6-4, they did give both VCU and Dayton a tough test during meetings last month.

The Bubble Dwellers: One

  • Rhode Island: The Rams followed up a marquee non-conference win against a ranked Cincinnati team by losing four of their next six. A 21-win season, and a recent win over VCU, could keep URI on the right side of the bubble. However, a one-an-done performance this week could mean a long night on Selection Sunday.

Defining moment of the season: JeQuan Lewis takes a charge on in-bounds pass with 0.4 seconds remaining.

On Feb. 8, George Washington’s Yuta Watanabe hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left in a game against VCU. In lieu of going the length of the court for the next-to-impossible buzzer-beater, JeQuan Lewis drew a charge on Tyler Cavanaugh, sunk two free throws and the Rams left D.C. with the heist of a 54-53 victory. The previous game, a premature court storm by the St. Bonaventure fans, gave VCU a free throw, which helped force overtime.

VCU would have been on the wrong side of the bubble had it not won both those games, especially with Lewis’ quick thinking against the Colonials. Instead, the Rams are all but assured a seventh consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament.

CBT Prediction: Dayton

Jackson leads No. 3 Kansas past pesky Davidson, 89-71

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) It took Carlton Bragg Jr. about 20 minutes to knock the rust off.

Took about the same amount of time for Kansas.

Playing for the first time in a week, the third-ranked Jayhawks were sluggish in falling behind pesky Davidson on Saturday night. But they dominated in the paint in the second half, began getting into transition and ran away from the Wildcats for an 89-71 victory at Sprint Center.

Josh Jackson and Frank Mason III led the way with 18 points apiece, but Bragg added seven points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes in his return from a brief suspension.

“He didn’t really play well in the first half,” Mason said, “but we told him in the locker room, `Stay aggressive, stay confident,’ and that’s what he did. I was happy to have him back out here.”

Bragg had been suspended following his arrest on suspicion of battery, but the misdemeanor charge was dismissed this week after video evidence surfaced that showed him acting in self-defense. The woman who had accused the sophomore forward of shoving her has been charged instead.

“I thought Carlton played well,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.

Svi Mykhailiuk also had 13 points for the Jayhawks (10-1), who extended their nation-leading home winning streak to 49 games. Kansas considered the matchup with the Wildcats (5-4) a home game even though it was played just down the road from its campus in Lawrence.

It was the Jayhawks’ eighth straight win in the building, including the Big 12 Tournament last season and the CBE Classic a few weeks ago. It’s also the same building where they will not only contest the league tournament in March but hope to land in the NCAA Tournament with a spot in the Final Four on the line.

Peyton Aldridge hit five 3s and had 22 points to lead the Wildcats, while Jack Gibbs – the nation’s fourth-leading scorer coming into the game – had 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

“We had a great opportunity in front of us and for about 25 minutes I thought we handled it very well,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said, “and then I think the statistics bear out they just annihilated us in the paint, and they annihilated us in transition.”

Davidson spoiled the holidays for the Jayhawks nearly five years ago to the day when it rolled into the same building and upset a team that would reach the Final Four. And just like that night, the Wildcats relied on superior toughness and a bevy of 3-pointers to cause all kinds of problems Saturday night.

Davidson hit seven 3s in the first half alone, taking a 43-42 lead into the locker room. The only other time the Jayhawks have trailed at the break this season came in a win over Duke.

Kansas was 0 for 8 from beyond the arc in the first half.

The Wildcats extended their lead to five early in the second half before Jackson finally hit from the perimeter. Mason added another 3-pointer, and the Jayhawks clawed their way back in the game.

It was 58-all with just over 11 minutes left when Landen Lucas converted an alley-oop dunk, triggering a 10-2 run that allowed Kansas to seize control. Mykhailiuk hit a 3-pointer during the run, and Bragg Jr. hit a bunch of free throws to cap it.

Kansas later pushed the decisive charge to 20-4 as it wrapped up its 10th straight win.

“They’re a team that really moves a lot on offense, set a lot of screens. It was kind of hard to keep up with our man out there,” Jackson said, “but I think we made a couple – What am I trying to stay? – we made a couple of adjustments on defense that really helped us out.”

STATS AND STREAKS

Kansas had a 48-22 advantage in the paint, including a 23-9 edge on second-chance points. … The Jayhawks scored 16 points off turnovers. Davidson managed two. … The Wildcats wrapped up a stretch of seven of eight games away from home. … Aldridge needs four more points for 1,000 for his career./

BIC PICTURE

Davidson finally gets a break in the schedule. The Wildcats lost to fifth-ranked North Carolina their last time out, the first time they’ve played back-to-back games against Top 5 opponents since 2008.

Kansas showed that it could overcome a lethargic outing to win a game. The Jayhawks have barely been challenged since their win over Duke on Nov. 15 in New York.

UP NEXT

Davidson plays Jacksonville on Wednesday night in its first home game since Nov. 26.

Kansas visits UNLV on Thursday night in its last game before Big 12 play.

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

No. 7 North Carolina holds off Davidson

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Justin Jackson buried shot after shot from behind the arc in the best performance of his career for No. 7 North Carolina. Coach Roy Williams didn’t have much to feel good about otherwise.

Jackson matched his career high with 27 points and hit a career-best seven 3-pointers to help the Tar Heels beat Davidson 83-74 on Wednesday night, though they struggled both to slow down high-scoring Wildcats guard Jack Gibbs and find much of a rhythm with top point guard Joel Berry II sidelined by a sprained left ankle.

“Well it’s been a lot of fun watching this basketball team at certain times this year,” Williams said. “It was not fun tonight.”

The Tar Heels (9-1) didn’t get in any kind of groove offensively, with the 6-foot-8 Jackson largely carrying the offense on a night when they got little production from the front line. He had shot 30 percent from 3-point range through his first two seasons and was up to 35 percent coming in before matching his previous high of four 3s by halftime.

“Confidence and stepping into it — I think that’s all it was,” Jackson said. “I knew I had to step up more but then whenever I got my shots, I just stepped into it like it was another shot.”

 

But UNC shot just 38 percent, while only Isaiah Hicks (13 points) and reserve Luke Maye (career-high 10 points, all before halftime) reached double figures.

Gibbs — ranked seventh nationally by averaging 23.3 points — finished with 30 points for the Wildcats (5-3), who trailed by 16 midway through the second half before making a late push to get within three in the final 2 minutes.

But Kennedy Meeks answered with two free throws, then Hicks followed with two more after getting a big rebound in traffic with 52 seconds left to help UNC hang on.

“They made some good plays, they got some key rebounds,” Gibbs said of the final minutes. “They’ve got athletes and sometimes it’s tough to get those rebounds. Down the stretch, they made the plays and we didn’t.”

BIG PICTURE

Davidson: Gibbs is the kind of scorer that can scare any opponent when he gets hot, while Peyton Aldridge (22 points) provides his own matchup troubles. And with a veteran coach like Bob McKillop, this is the kind of team that scares big-name teams come tournament time.

“I loved the way they fought,” McKillop said.

UNC: The Tar Heels got a glimpse of life without arguably their top player in Berry. Nate Britt got the start and had six assists but missed all eight of his shots, while Seventh Woods and Stilman White (career-high six points) saw plenty of minutes at the point. But the Tar Heels missed Berry’s finish-through-contact toughness, leadership and scoring ability.

DEFENSIVE HELP

Gibbs and Aldridge combined to make 17 of 35 shots, with Gibbs hitting five 3-pointers.

“As teammates, we ‘ve got to do a better job of helping off and helping out on players like Gibbs,” Meeks said. “Like (Williams) probably said in the press conference, either we’re going to be a mediocre team or we’re going to be a good team. We’ve got to decide before it’s too late.”

CONFETTI?

The game was 5 seconds old when there was a brief stoppage due to falling confetti-like material fluttering to the court from the rafters of the Smith Center. Arena staffers swept it up and the game resumed within a minute or two.Team spokesman Matt Bowers said at halftime it was believed to be pieces of a padding used to absorb leaks near the ceiling.

UP NEXT

Davidson: The Wildcats get a 10-day break before playing their fifth power-conference opponent this year, facing No. 3 Kansas on Dec. 17 in Kansas City, Missouri.

UNC: The Tar Heels begin a two-game set with Southeastern Conference opponents, first by hosting Tennessee on Sunday before facing No. 6 Kentucky on Dec. 17 in Las Vegas.