Men's College Basketball
NCAAB News Wire
  • Sunday, March 1, 2015
    BYU ends Gonzaga winning streaks
    By The Sports Xchange

    SPOKANE, Wash. -- BYU leads the nation in scoring, but the Cougars' 303rd-ranked defense played a key role in Saturday night's 73-70 upset of third-ranked Gonzaga.

    • BYU halted Gonzaga's 22-game winning streak by limiting the Bulldogs to 37 percent shooting from the field in the second half. The Cougars held Gonzaga scoring leader Kyle Wiltjer to a season-low four points.

      "We just tried to front him and just be aggressive," scrappy BYU guard Kyle Collingsworth said. "Credit to us, and also, sometimes guys just have bad nights."

      Collingsworth certainly didn't have a bad night. He led the Cougars with 20 points and eight rebounds on the final day of the regular season in the West Coast Conference.

      "He's a great player," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "Just hustles. So smart.

      He knows where the ball is. He absolutely killed us on the offensive glass."

      Six of Collingsworth's rebounds came at the offensive end, including one he put back up for a basket to give BYU a 71-66 lead with 17.3 seconds left. The remainder of the game's scoring came at the free-throw line.

      The nation's longest home winning streak ended at 41 when Wiltjer's shot from beyond midcourt bounced high off the iron.

      "They came in here and were just far more aggressive than we were," Few said.

      Gonzaga guard Byron Wesley said, "That was the story of the game."

      Gonzaga (29-2, 17-1 WCC) had already clinched the top seed in the WCC tournament. The victory gave BYU (23-8, 13-5) the second seed. The Bulldogs and Cougars have first-round byes when the tournament opens Friday in Las Vegas.

      Wesley, who transferred to Gonzaga from USC for his senior season, led the Bulldogs with 17 points and nine rebounds before a raucous sellout crowd of 6,000.

      Gonzaga's two other seniors, point guard Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., struggled on Senior Night.

      Pangos had eight points, five assists and four steals but went 3 of 12 from the field. Bell played tough defense against WCC scoring leader Tyler Hawks (10 points, 3-of-11 shooting), but Bell's only points came on a 3-pointer with 1:49 to go.

      Collingsworth said the Cougars "absolutely" played their best defense of the season. Wiltjer, a junior forward who was averaging 17 points per game, made just 2 of 11 shots from the floor.

      "I've got to continue to keep my head up and I'll be fine," Wiltjer said.

      Skyler Halford came off the bench to score 14 points for BYU and backcourt partner Chase Fischer added 13.

      Reserve forward Domantas Sobonis had 12 points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs but missed 4 of 8 free throws.

      Gonzaga never led in the game and managed just one tie.

      The Bulldogs set a McCarthey Athletic Center record by holding San Diego to 39 points Thursday, but their play has been spotty at both ends of the court lately.

      "I'm concerned," Few said, "but I'm concerned all the time. That's pretty much the state of mind I'm in all season."

      Gonzaga and BYU battled to a 36-36 tie at the half. The Bulldogs missed 10 of their first 11 shots from the floor in falling behind 11-2. The Cougars led from the opening basket until Pangos ran the clock down before hitting a tying jumper with four seconds left in the half.

      Few said he was disappointed that Gonzaga did not dominate under the basket like it usually does.

      Bulldogs junior center Przemek Karnowski had eight points, three rebounds and three blocked shots. BYU freshman center Corbin Kaufusi countered with seven points, six rebounds and three blocks.

      "He's going to be a stud," Collingsworth said of Kaufusi.

      NOTES: Gonzaga has won the WCC regular-season championship 14 of the past 15 seasons, including the past three years. The Bulldogs have won the past two WCC tournaments and three of the past four. ... Gonzaga is headed to the NCAA Tournament for the 17th consecutive year, including all 16 years since Mark Few was promoted from assistant coach when Dan Monson left for Minnesota in 1999. ... BYU G Tyler Haws ranked second in the nation through Friday with 186 made free throws. His 210 attempts ranked sixth. Haws became BYU's career scoring leader Thursday at Portland, passing Jimmer Fredette.

  • Sunday, March 1, 2015
    Arizona survives Utah with strong finish
    By The Sports Xchange

    SALT LAKE CITY -- No one went for the rebound when Arizona guard Gabe York missed the second of two free throws. So the junior took matters into his own hands.

    • York raced into the wide-open lane, grabbed the ball and put it in for a go-ahead layup. It was part of a game-ending 8-0 run that lifted No. 7 Arizona past No. 13 Utah 63-57 on Saturday night.

      It offered an example of the sort of hustle plays that saved the Wildcats when things weren't going right offensively. As York watched the ball bounce a couple of times and no one pounce on it, he saw a chance to redeem his own missed free throw.

      "It was late in the game and I knew I had missed the free throw, so I knew coached might be a little (upset) at me, so I tried to make a good play," York said.

      Center Kaleb Tarczewski scored 13 points and York and Stanley Johnson added 12 apiece to help the Wildcats (26-3, 14-2 Pac-12) clinch the regular-season Pac-12 title.

      Guard Delon Wright scored 17 points and forward Jordan Loveridge added 10 to lead the Utes.

      Utah (22-6, 12-4 Pac-12) saw its 18 game home-court winning streak snapped.

      The Wildcats dominated the glass, outrebounding the Utes 44-35. Utah also struggled on offense throughout the game, shooting 31 percent from the floor and 32 percent from 3-point range.

      "They're one of the toughest teams in the country," Wright said. "They play really good defense. That's why they're a top 10 team. They all just do a great job."

      Defense saved Arizona.

      The Wildcats missed heir first 10 shots from the field of the second half and 15 of 17 overall before getting on track offensively. Arizona quickly fell behind when Wright bookended a Loveridge jumper with two free throws and a layup to give Utah a 36-32 lead.

      Johnson ended Arizona's drought when took a steal in for a layup for the team's first basket of the half to cut the Utes' lead to two.

      "I actually didn't think our offense looked bad," Arizona guard T.J. McConnell said. "We just couldn't make shots. We were executing -- just couldn't make shots. But we were resilient and that's how we came out on top."

      Once behind, Arizona had trouble getting retaking the lead. The Utes pushed their lead to six at 47-41 after guard Brandon Taylor hit his first 3-pointer of the game.

      York answered with a 3-pointer out of an Arizona timeout and forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson followed with a dunk to cut Utah's lead to one.

      The Wildcats retook the lead when Hollis-Jefferson made two free throws to put Arizona up 50-49 with 6:12 remaining.

      "Our defense didn't change," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "We stayed with it. Offensively, you always know more when you watch the film, but you can get down on yourself when the ball is not going in. That affects defense. Our missed shots never affected our defense. That's a sign of a tough-minded team -- especially on the road."

      Utah and Arizona traded baskets and free throws through the final six minutes. Utah took a 57-55 lead on a Taylor 3-pointer with 1:55 left. Then York hit one free throw and rebounded the miss to score a layup and give the Wildcats a 58-57 lead going into the final minute.

      Hollis-Jefferson added two free throws to make it 60-57 with 35 seconds left. Taylor had a chance to cut it to one but missed a layup with 10.8 seconds remaining. York and Hollis-Jefferson sealed the win with three free throws in the final seconds.

      "I'm real disappointed," Wright said. "We had a shot at a Pac-12 title."

      NOTES: Arizona has won 12 straight games against Utah. The Utes last defeated the Wildcats in the West Regional Final of the 1998 NCAA Tournament. ... Utah leads the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (.495) and Arizona is second (.491). ... This was the first conference game for Utah featuring two AP top 15 teams since the No. 4 Utes beat No. 11 New Mexico 78-58 on March 1, 1997. ... Both teams combined for 46 fouls and 58 free throws.

  • Sunday, March 1, 2015
    Top 25 roundup: BYU stops Gonzaga win streak
    By The Sports Xchange

    SPOKANE, Wash. -- Guard Kyle Collingsworth led BYU with 20 points and eight rebounds Saturday night as the Cougars halted third-ranked Gonzaga's 22-game winning streak with a 73-70 victory in the West Coast Conference.

    • Reserve guard Skyler Halford added 14 points to help BYU (23-8, 13-5 WCC) also end the nation's longest home-court winning streak at 41.

      Guard Byron Wesley led Gonzaga (29-2, 17-1) with 17 points and nine rebounds.

      Bulldogs scoring leader Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points on 2-of-11 shooting from the field, and his potential game-tying shot from beyond midcourt bounced harmlessly off the rim at the final horn.

      Kentucky 84, Arkansas 67

      LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After nearly 10 weeks, No. 1 Kentucky finally was tested by a ranked opponent on Saturday when No. 18 Arkansas, riding a seven-game win streak, faced the Wildcats at Rupp Arena. Kentucky passed the exam with flying colors.

      The Wildcats improved to 29-0, 16-0 in the Southeastern Conference, and Arkansas fell to 23-6, 12-4.

      The Wildcats jumped out to an early 11-2 lead, but it wasn't until the second half that they began to pour it on. Kentucky enjoyed its largest lead at 78-47 with 8:01 left in the game. At that point, it had made 15 of its 20 shots from the field in the second half.

      The Wildcats, with 25 NBA scouts looking on, were led by 6-foot-10 freshman forward Trey Lyles with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field. Sophomore point guard Andrew Harrison also had 18 points.

      Arkansas, which did manage to trim the final margin to 17 points, placed four players in double figures. Senior guard Michaell Qualls was tops with 17 points.

      Virginia 69, Virginia Tech 57

      CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Second-ranked Virginia closed out its home schedule with a victory over in-state rival Virginia Tech.

      The Cavaliers finished their home slate with a 15-1 record, giving them 15 or more wins at home for the third consecutive season.

      Virginia Tech (10-19, 2-14 ACC) used an 11-2 run to close to within 50-46 with 7:32 to play, only to see their run be topped by a 12-0 spurt that gave the Cavaliers a commanding 16-point lead.

      Virginia (27-1, 15-1) boasted four players in double figures as guard Malcolm Brogdon scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Virginia Tech was led by guard Adam Smith, who tied Brogdon with a game-high 19 points.

      Kansas 69, Texas 64

      LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Kanss survived a challenge from Texas and moved closer to an 11th straight Big 12 title.

      Junior forward Perry Ellis led Kansas (23-6, 12-4 Big 12) with game highs of 28 points and 13 rebounds. Guard Kelly Oubre added 15 points and nine rebounds.

      Point guard Isaiah Taylor paced Texas (17-12, 6-10) with 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

      With Kansas leading by two points late in the second half, Taylor came out of a timeout and raced up the court looking to tie the score. He lifted a layup that bounced off the glass and into the arms of Oubre.

      Duke 73, Syracuse 54

      DURHAM, N.C. -- Freshman forward Justise Winslow led fourth-ranked Duke in scoring for the first time in 15 games as his season-high 23 points propelled the Blue Devils past Syracuse at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

      Guard Quinn Cook's 17 points and center Jahlil Okafor's 13 points and 14 rebounds helped the Blue Devils (26-3, 13-3 ACC), who have won nine in a row. Duke stayed two games behind first-place Virginia in the ACC standings with two games remaining after handing the Orange (18-11, 9-7) their most-lopsided loss of the season.

      Center Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse's scoring leader at 18.1 points per game, fouled out with 11 points and five rebounds with 9:42 left. The Orange trailed 58-38 after Okafor made one of the two ensuing free throws. Forward Tyler Roberson scored 16 points for Syracuse, which hasn't won back-to-back games since mid-January.

      Maryland 66, Michigan 56

      COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Freshman guard Melo Trimble had 19 points and five assists, and senior guard Dez Wells added 13 points and three assists as No. 14 Maryland defeated Michigan.

      The Terrapins (24-5, 12-4 Big Ten) claimed their fifth win in row and held onto second place in the Big Ten. Maryland, playing on Senior Day in its first year in the Big Ten, ended the regular season with a 9-0 record at home against conference opponents.

      Senior forward Evan Smotrycz, in his last home game against his former team, made his second start of the season for the Terps and had nine rebounds and four assists.

      Michigan (14-14, 7-9), which trailed by nine points at halftime, has lost six of its last seven games and is 2-6 on the road in the conference. Forward Zak Irvin and guard Spike Albrecht each had 15 points for the Wolverines.

      Louisville 81, Florida State 59

      TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Arguably the toughest week of the season for No. 17 Louisville ended on a high note when the Cardinals won their third straight game.

      Louisville dismissed star guard Chris Jones, who was the Cardinals' third-leading scorer at 13.7 points a game, from the team on Thursday for violating team rules. Shortly after, Jones was charged with felony sexual assault. He has pleaded not guilty.

      While the news left the team shaken, Saturday's dominating performance against Florida State proved Louisville (23-6, 11-5 ACC) is far from broken.

      Guard Wayne Blackshear led the Cardinals with 18 points and two blocked shots, followed by 14 points from reserve guard Anton Gill, who finished 5-for-5 from the floor, including 4-of-4 from 3-point range. The Cardinals also got several highlight-reel dunks from center Montrezel Harrell, who finished with 16 points.

      Florida State (15-15, 7-10) lost its third straight game and couldn't get any more late heroics from freshman point guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who was coming off a 35-point night that tied his career high in a loss to Miami on Wednesday. Rathan-Mayes, who finished with 12 points on 5-of-16 shooting, scored 30 of those 35 points in the final 4:38 of the game. But his hot hand didn't continue Saturday when he started 0-for-5 in the first 10 minutes of the game and went to halftime with only two points on 1-of-9 shooting.

      Villanova 78, Xavier 66

      CINCINNATI -- Guard Dylan Ennis scored 14 of his team-leading 16 points in the first half, and guard Ryan Arcidiacono added 15, as sixth-ranked Villanova clinched the outright Big East championship with a victory over Xavier.

      Forward Kris Jenkins scored all of his 14 points from 3-point range for Villanova (27-2, 14-2 Big East), which extended its winning streak to 10 games.

      Forward Jalen Reynolds was a tough matchup for Nova throughout the game, leading the Musketeers with 15 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the floor. Freshman forward Trevon Bluiett added 12 points for Xavier (18-12, 8-9).

      Oklahoma 67, TCU 60

      NORMAN, Okla. -- The No. 16 Sooners, playing in front of a sparse home crowd thanks to a snow storm, trailed for much of the game but came through in the end to beat TCU.

      Oklahoma (20-8, 11-5 Big 12) has a chance to finish with at least a share of the Big 12 title if it can win its last two conference games -- at Iowa State and home against Kansas.

      Junior guard Buddy Hield, the Big 12's leading scorer, had struggled in recent games but bounced back against the Horned Frogs, leading the Sooners with 21 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.

      Senior guards Kyan Anderson and Trey Zeigler each scored 16 points to lead the Horned Frogs (17-12, 4-12).

      North Carolina 73, Miami 64

      CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Forward Brice Johnson scored a game-high 22 points to lead the No. 15 North Carolina Tar Heels past the Miami Hurricanes.

      Johnson added a game-high 11 rebounds as North Carolina (20-9, 10-6 ACC) snapped a four-game losing streak in its rivalry with Miami. Overall, the Tar Heels had also been slumping -- this was just their third win in their past eight games.

      Forward J.P. Tokoto tallied 10 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals for the Tar Heels. Guard Marcus Paige added 17 points and forward Justin Jackson scored 11 as North Carolina recorded its 11th 20-win season in 12 years under coach Roy Williams.

      Miami (18-11, 8-8), considered a bubble team to make the NCAA tournament, is just 3-6 in its past nine games. Miami is also 3-5 against Top 25 opponents.

      Wichita State 74, Northern Iowa 60

      WICHITA, Kan. -- No. 11 Wichita State won its second consecutive Missouri Valley Conference title with a victory over No. 10 Northern Iowa.

      The Shockers (27-3, 17-1 MVC) have won three of the last four MVC titles, the best run in their time as a conference member. Northern Iowa (27-3, 16-2) finished second.

      Guard Ron Baker led Wichita State with 17 points. The Shockers made 11-of- 24 shots from 3-point range and scored 17 points off 10 Northern Iowa turnovers.

      Forward Seth Tuttle led the Panthers with 16 points.

      Butler 67, DePaul 53

      ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Guard Kellen Dunham scored 24 points as No. 23 Butler claimed sole possession of second place in the Big East Conference with a victory over DePaul.

      Forward Roosevelt Jones had 16 points, while forward Kameron Woods added 14 as the Bulldogs (21-8, 11-5 Big East) won their second straight and completed a two-game season sweep of the Blue Demons.

      Forward Jamee Crockett scored 20 points as DePaul (12-18, 6-11) dropped its sixth straight and ninth in 10 games while playing its season home finale.

      Dayton 59, VCU 55

      RICHMOND, Va. -- Guard Jordan Sibert scored 19 points as Dayton upset No. 22 Virginia Commonwealth.

      VCU (21-8, 11-5 Atlantic 10) had two chances to take the lead in the last minute, but Sibert made two free throws with 2.5 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

      Forward Kendall Pollard scored 16 points for Dayton (22-6, 12-4). Forward Dyshawn Pierre had 13 points and seven rebounds.

      Guard Treveon Graham and forward Mo Alie-Cox led VCU with 12 points each.

      Kansas State 70, Iowa State 69

      MANHATTAN, Kan.-- Kansas State used a 15-5 flourish down the stretch to hand No. 12 Iowa State its second straight loss on a snowy Senior Day at Bramlage Coliseum.

      The Cyclones fell two games behind first-place Kansas in the Big 12 race with two games remaining.

      With Iowa State leading 69-68 with 18.5 seconds left, K-State forward Wesley Iwundu stole the inbounds pass and raced for a dunk to give the Wildcats the lead with 16.4 seconds left. Iowa State's Naz Long missed a 3-point shot at the buzzer.

      Kansas State (15-15, 8-9) only connected on 26.3 percent (5 of 19) of their 3-point shots but controlled the paint. The Wildcats were led by reserve guard Nigel Johnson with 17 points, and reserve guard Justin Edwards with 16.

      The Cyclones (20-8, 10-6 Big 12) were 11 of 27 from 3-point range but missed their last five attempts. Iowa State was led by forward Georges Niang with 21 points.

      Baylor 78, West Virginia 66

      WACO, Texas -- The 19th-ranked Baylor Bears capped an impressive week by cruising past West Virginia.

      Three days after completing a season sweep of 12th-ranked Iowa State, the Bears did the same to the 20th-ranked Mountaineers.

      Baylor forward Taurean Prince scored 20 points to lead the Bears (22-7, 10-6 Big 12) as they posted consecutive wins against ranked opponents for the first time in program history. West Virginia guard Jevon Carter scored 25 points, but the Mountaineers (22-7, 10-6) trailed by 16 at halftime and couldn't get back within nine in the second half.

      Boise State 56, San Jose State 46

      SAN DIEGO -- Boise State completed a season sweep of No. 24 San Diego State and gained a share of first place in the Mountain West Conference.

      With its second straight victory over San Diego State, Boise State holds the tiebreaker between the teams with two conference games remaining.

      Boise State (22-7, 12-4) was paced by guard Derrick Marks, the conference's top scorer who had 18 points. Forward James Webb II added 16 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

      San Diego State, which saw its four-game overall and 29-game home winning streak snapped, was led by forward Winston Shepard's 13 points.

      Arizona 63, Utah 57

      SALT LAKE CITY -- Center Kaleb Tarczewski scored 13 points and guard Gabe York and forward Stanley Johnson added 12 apiece to help No. 7 Arizona defeat No. 13 Utah.

      The Wildcats (26-3, 14-2 Pac-12) clinched the regular season Pac-12 title.

      Guard Delon Wright scored 17 points and forward Jordan Loveridge added 10 to lead Utah (22-6, 12-4 Pac-12), which saw its 18-game home-court winning streak snapped.

      Utah and Arizona traded baskets and free throws through the final six minutes. The Utes took a 57-55 lead on a 3-pointer by guard Brandon Taylor with 1:55 left. Then York hit one free throw and rebounded the miss to score a layup and give the Wildcats a 58-57 lead going into the final minute.

      Arizona forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added two free throws to make it 60-57 with 35 seconds left. Taylor had a chance to cut it to one but missed a layup with 10.8 seconds left. York and Hollis-Jefferson sealed the win with three free throws in the final seconds.

  • Sunday, March 1, 2015
    Fresno State 59, New Mexico 55
    By The Sports Xchange

    Sophomore forward Paul Watson posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds to lead Fresno State to a 59-55 victory over New Mexico on Saturday night at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif.

    • Junior guard Marvelle Harris scored a team-high 14 points for Fresno State (14-15, 9-7 Mountain West Conference), which shot 52.4 percent from the field while holding the Lobos to 41.5 percent.

      Senior guard Deshawn Delaney scored 15 points for New Mexico (14-15, 6-11), which has lost eight in a row. Sophomore center Obij Aget had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

      Fresno State jumped out to a 12-2 lead in the first five minutes. The Bulldogs followed the early barrage with an 11-0 run to open a 26-6 lead with 9:20 to play in the first half, but the Lobos answered with a 13-0 run to cut the deficit to single digits.

      The Bulldogs were up 32-25 at the break, but the Lobos got within two on a jumper by freshman guard Xavier Adams with 16:10 to play. Fresno State regained a double-digit lead on a 3-pointer by Watson with 10:10 remaining.

      New Mexico made one last charge to get within two with 2:18 to play, but Fresno State held on for the win.

  • Sunday, March 1, 2015
    Boise State ends San Diego State's home win streak
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN DIEGO -- After three conference games, Boise State hadn't won. Since then, the Broncos have lost only once.

    • The visiting Broncos continued their rise to the top of the Mountain West Conference, defeating No. 24 San Diego State 56-46 on Saturday night.

      "Nobody comes in here and wins," Boise State coach Leon Rice said after snapping San Diego State's 29-game home winning streak. "For us to get it done, they deserve a lot of atta-boys."

      The Broncos (22-7, 12-4) pulled into a tie with the Aztecs (22-7, 12-4) but based on their season sweep hold the tiebreaker edge. Both teams have two conference games remaining. The win also improved the Broncos' chances of making the NCAA Tournament.

      Boise State has won 12 of 13 after its first victory ever at San Diego State.

      "After we lost our first three, we started to focus on just one game and that is what we are still doing today," said Boise State guard Derrick Marks, the game's leading scorer with 18 points. "That is why we have had so much success. It's all about us. What the other team is doing doesn't matter."

      Marks, the conference's leading scorer, had 10 second-half points. Forward James Webb III added 16 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

      "We just picked it up on the defensive end," Webb said. "We didn't let them get any easy shots."

      Usually it's San Diego State taht prevails at Viejas Arena. But the Aztecs, which shot on 32 percent from the field, saw its four-game winning streak snapped.

      Forward Winston Shepard was the lone San Diego State player to score in double figures with 16 points.

      That made for some long faces among the Aztecs.

      "It's been a long time since I've come up here with a frown on my face and feeling disappointment," San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said. "I've got both of those. We had an opportunity to clinch at least a share of the title and didn't get it done. That's disappointing."

      The Broncos fell behind by seven points nearly midway through the second half before rallying. Boise State took the lead at 40-39 with eight minutes to play on Mikey Thompson's two free throws. It was its first advantage since going ahead 2-0.

      Meanwhile the Aztecs were fading, going nearly 11 minutes with just two baskets. They led 39-32 when Boise State went on a 10-0 run.

      "This was like a boxing match," Rice said. "What this team does in this place is knock you out early. We needed it to go 12 rounds."

      The Aztecs' defense was stifling early on, but that couldn't compensate for its challenges offensively, especially in the second half.

      San Diego State lost for the first time this season after leading at the half.

      In the final 11 minutes of the game, the Aztecs scored seven points and were outscored 24-7.

      Neither team shot well in the first half, which spoke to the Aztecs' defense and its lack of offensive punch.

      San Diego State led 24-21 at halftime as it held Boise State, the second-highest scoring team in the conference, to 9-of 31 shooting from the field (29 percent).

      NOTES: San Diego State F Dwayne Polee II wasn't available because of irregularities with his heart. Polee returned to action in the Aztecs' last game after missing 15 contests when collapsing against UC Riverside on Dec. 22. Polee's medication is going to be adjusted and SDSU said he could play again this season. ... Junior F Skylar Spencer has 213 blocked shots. That's one shy of Leonard Allen's school mark. ... Boise State G Derrick Marks has scored 30 points in six games, among three players in the country to do so. ... The Broncos have won 20 games in three straight years and for the fourth time in coach Leon Rice's five seasons.

  • Saturday, February 28, 2015
    Duke dominates Syracuse in ninth straight win
    By The Sports Xchange

    DURHAM, N.C. -- Freshman forward Justise Winslow was flying around for fourth-ranked Duke on Saturday night.

    • That's a sign of his enthusiasm about what might be in store for the Blue Devils.

      "I'm just excited about what this team is doing," Winslow said after he led the Blue Devils in scoring for the first time in 15 games, propelling Duke to a 73-54 victory over Syracuse at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

      Winslow's season-high 23 points came on 10-of-16 shooting from the field, including three 3-pointers.

      Guard Quinn Cook's 17 points and center Jahlil Okafor's 13 points and 14 rebounds helped the Blue Devils (26-3, 13-3 ACC), who have won nine in a row.

      Duke stayed two games behind first-place Virginia in the ACC standings with two games remaining after handing the Orange (18-11, 9-7) their most lopsided loss of the season.

      So there was no drama in this edition of Duke-Syracuse.

      "They took us to the limit up at Syracuse two weeks ago," Cook said. "We didn't let up on defense."

      Center Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse's scoring leader at 18.1 points per game, fouled out with 11 points and five rebounds with 9:42 left. The Orange trailed 58-38 after Okafor made one of the two ensuing free throws.

      Forward Tyler Roberson scored 16 points, guard Trevor Cooney posted 13 and guard Michael Gbinije, a transfer from Duke, added 12 for Syracuse, which hasn't won back-to-back games since mid-January.

      The Orange, who lost to Duke for the third meeting in a row, must win their final two games in order for coach Jim Boeheim to add to his NCAA Division I record of 36 20-win seasons. Syracuse has self-imposed postseason ban.

      Duke could be in line for bigger things as March arrives.

      "We're trying to get better every day and just keep working," guard Tyus Jones said.

      Duke led 48-33 with 13 minutes remaining before Winslow drained another 3-pointer.

      "Just trying to stay active and make plays," said Winslow, who collected nine rebounds and blocked three shots.

      Duke shot 54.2 percent from the field in the second half.

      If there was a flaw for the Blue Devils, it might have come in Okafor's 1-of-7 shooting on free throws and 17 total turnovers.

      Syracuse's chances dwindled when Christmas picked up his third foul with 17:45 left and his fourth with 13:51 to play.

      Duke built its largest lead -- to that point -- at 44-31 on 3-pointers by guard Matt Jones and Winslow.

      Syracuse shot 3 of 20 on 3-pointers.

      "We played really good defense," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Our defense was terrific tonight. It was not very good at Virginia Tech (in an overtime victory Wednesday night)."

      Much of the defense was focused on limiting Christmas.

      "We had trouble getting him the ball," Boeheim said. "They did a good job keeping the ball from him."

      Christmas attempted six shots from the field, and Gbinije and Cooney combined to shoot 10 of 36.

      "(Christmas) got a lot of attention from us," Krzyzewski said.

      Boeheim said the depth-challenged Orange can handle the workload, even with Gbinije playing the entire 40 minutes.

      "Absolutely none (fatigue)," he said. "These guys are 20 years old."

      Duke led 34-25 at halftime after a first half that featured botched scoring chances by both teams.

      Winslow's tip-in followed by his basket in transition gave Duke a 24-16 lead with 5:53 left. He ended up scoring on three consecutive possessions, racking up half of Duke's points in its 26-18 advantage on the way to an 11-point lead.

      Winslow finished the first half with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. Discounting Winslow, Duke went 8 of 23 in the half for 19 points.

      Forward Tyler Roberson scored nine of Syracuse's first 16 points. The Orange shot 29 percent from the floor (9 of 31) in the first half.

      NOTES: Duke beat Syracuse 80-72 two weeks earlier at the Carrier Dome. ... Last year's game between the teams at Duke's home venue included Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim's ejection with 10 seconds left after he charged the court to argue a call in a two-point game. ... Two of Duke's three previous games had gone into overtime, with victories over North Carolina and Virginia Tech. ... Syracuse plays its second Top 5 team in three nights when Virginia visits Monday night for the Orange's home finale. It will mark Syracuse's third Top 10 opponent in a row after it upset Notre Dame on Tuesday night. ... Duke is back in action Wednesday night for its home finale against Wake Forest.

  • Saturday, February 28, 2015
    Ellis leads Kansas to 69-64 win vs. Texas
    By The Sports Xchange

    LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Texas coach Rick Barnes knew he drew up the right play. He knew sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor executed it to perfection, running the length of the court and spinning off a defender for a layup. And he knew with 12 seconds remaining on the clock that it had to work.

    • After the final buzzer sounded, he couldn't figure out why it didn't.

      "He put himself in a great position to tie the game," Barnes said. "I'm disappointed for our guys because they deserved a better fate here."

      As he walked off James Naismith Court following No. 8 Kansas' 69-64 victory over Texas, Barnes' frustration only increased as ESPN commentator Jay Bilas informed him that Taylor was fouled on his way to the rim.

      It was another lost opportunity for the Longhorns to pad their NCAA tournament resume, another wasted chance for a rare win at Allen Fieldhouse. Most important, it was their fourth loss in a row in the wildly competitive Big 12.

      "When you struggle like we have and you're fighting to get things turned around, you feel like everything goes against you." Barnes said. "The fact is, our guys truly believed they could win this game."

      Meanwhile, the Jayhawks (23-6, 12-4 Big 12) need just one victory to finish their trek for an 11th straight Big 12 title. That journey became a little bit easier as Kansas State defeated the second-place Iowa State Cyclones earlier Saturday.

      Junior forward Perry Ellis led Kansas with game highs of 28 points and 13 rebounds. Guard Kelly Oubre added 15 points and nine rebounds. They each blocked three shots. Guard Frank Mason scored 12 points.

      Taylor led Texas (17-12, 6-10) with 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Guard Demarcus Holland scored 15 points, guard Kendal Yancy added 11, and freshman forward Myles Turner tallied 10 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots.

      "That was a great college basketball game," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "A grind-it-out, late-season game that just came down to one or two possessions."

      One of those possessions came midway through the second half with Texas up by two. Just as the Longhorns seemed poised to pull away, Turner missed a 3-pointer early in the shot clock, Kansas gobbled up the rebound and then put Oubre on the line after he knocked down a fadeaway jumper. The six-point swing put Kansas up by one with seven minutes remaining.

      Texas took the largest lead of the game by either team with six points midway through the second half when Taylor knocked down a layup in transition coming off a miss by Kansas.

      It was one of the rare instances when either team took control of the game -- there were 14 ties and 19 lead changes. If not for Turner's ill-advised 3-pointer, Kansas might not have recovered from it.

      Ellis controlled the paint for the Jayhawks all afternoon. The junior did the majority of his work at the free-throw line, where he converted 10 of 12. Kansas converted 26 of 32 free throws.

      The Jayhawks' frontcourt has largely been reliant on Ellis, whose 75 points in the last three games has been Kansas' main source of offense.

      "We rode Perry as hard as we've ever ridden him and he was great," Self said. "He's playing as good as anybody in the country right now."

      Kansas needed Ellis to keep up that trend after highly touted freshman forward Cliff Alexander became a late scratch. The Jayhawks announced that the NCAA was looking into Alexander's eligibility and pulled him from the game as a precaution.

      In his place, the Jayhawks trotted out forwards Landen Lucas, Hunter Mickleson and Jamari Traylor, who combined for five points and six rebounds. That all took a backseat to Ellis' best performance of the season.

      "Tonight he was aggressive and we needed him to be that way going into March because he's our best player right now," Oubre said. "We give him all our confidence and we stand by him 100 percent."

      NOTES: Kansas leads the series 26-8. ... The Jayhawks celebrated the 60th anniversary of Allen Fieldhouse, where they are 727-109. ... Kansas F Perry Ellis set a season high with 28 points; his previous high was 24, which he reached twice this season.

  • Saturday, February 28, 2015
    Nevada 62, San Jose State 51
    By The Sports Xchange

    RENO, Nev. -- Nevada avoided an embarrassing loss to San Jose State, digging out of a double-digit lead to score a 62-51 win on Saturday afternoon and deny the Spartans their first win over a Division I team.

    • San Jose State, which hasn't beaten a Division I team in more than a full calendar year, grabbed an 11-point advantage in the first half before Nevada went on an 18-4 run. The Spartans held a one-point halftime lead before the Wolf Pack pushed past in the second half in a battle of the two worst teams in the Mountain West.

      Nevada (9-19, 5-11) had a huge advantage from the free throw line, hitting 34-of-47 shots from the charity stripe. SJSU was 10-of-15 from the line, giving Nevada a 24-point advantage from the stripe.

      Center AJ West led Nevada with 17 points and 10 rebounds. One game after going 5-of-15 from the free throw line, he was 13-of-20 from the stripe. Guard Tyron Criswell added a double-double, with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and guard D.J. Fenner chipped in 13 points.

      SJSU (2-26, 0-16) had a huge advantage from the 3-point line, going 9-of-30 from beyond the arc; Nevada was 0-of-8 from three. The Spartans were led by guard Jaleel Williams, who had 21.

      SJSU has only two shots left to beat a D-I team this season, with home games against Boise State and UNLV remaining. The Spartans are 1-33 in conference play during its two seasons in the Mountain West and last beat a D-I team on Feb. 18, 2014 when it won at Nevada, 66-64.

  • Saturday, February 28, 2015
    Kentucky aces test with dominating win over Arkansas
    By The Sports Xchange

    LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After nearly 10 weeks, No. 1 Kentucky finally was tested by a ranked opponent on Saturday when No. 18 Arkansas, riding a seven-game win streak, faced the Wildcats at Rupp Arena.

    • Kentucky passed the exam with flying colors, blowing out Arkansas, 84-67. The Wildcats improved to 29-0, 16-0 in the Southeastern Conference, while Arkansas fell to 23-6, 12-4.

      "I think they were looking forward to this game," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "They're preparing to play well. We wanted to score 100 points because they play so quickly."

      The Wildcats jumped out to an early 11-2 lead, but it wasn't until the second half that they began to pour it on.

      Kentucky enjoyed its largest lead at 78-47 with 8:01 left in the game. At that point, Kentucky had made 15 of its 20 shots in the second half, or 75 percent.

      "I really thought we'd give Kentucky a better run for their money," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. "But they came out focused. They punched us and we were 16 down before you knew it."

      The Wildcats, with 25 NBA scouts looking on, were led by 6-foot-10 freshman forward Trey Lyles with 18 points, as he made 8-of-10 shots from the field.

      "For his size, the things that he does, he's the X factor for us," Calipari said. "He's the one that makes us go from really good to, 'Uh-oh, what is this I'm watching?'"

      Sophomore point guard Andrew Harrison also had 18 points, buoyed by 8-for-8 free throw shooting, to go with three assists, three rebounds and one steal in 28 minutes.

      "I thought Andrew was ridiculous," Calipari said. "There is a spirit about him when he plays like that, and he just dominated the game."

      Freshmen guards Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker scored 14 and 10 points, respectively, to round out the double-figures scoring.

      Junior forward Willie Cauley-Stein led the rebounding effort with nine to go with seven points.

      Arkansas, which did manage to trim the final margin to 17 points, placed four players in double figures.

      Senior guard Michaell Qualls was tops with 17 points. Sophomore forward Bobby Portis had 15, senior forward Alandise Harris added 12 and senior guard Rashad Madden had 11.

      Despite having lost three straight times to Arkansas, it was Kentucky that came out of the gate as the more confident, and talented, team, as the Wildcats jumped out to an 11-2 lead and never looked back.

      Kentucky was up, 42-26, at halftime, the 16-point advantage being its largest of the half.

      Lyles paced Kentucky with 12 first-half points, hitting 5-of-6 field goal tries. Andrew Harrison scored 11 points. Andrew's twin brother, Aaron Harrison, had six points, four rebounds and four steals.

      The Razorbacks entered the game with a 19-0 record when they force 15 or more turnovers, but it was Kentucky that proved the better defensive team in the first half.

      The Wildcats forced seven turnovers compared to five by Arkansas. Moreover, Kentucky won the points-off-turnovers battle, 9-2.

      Kentucky also won all other areas in the boxscore, 24-18 in rebounds, 11-4 on second-chance points and 16-12 in points in the paint.

      The Wildcats' defense, ranked No. 1 in the nation in field goal percentage, held Arkansas to 30 percent shooting in the opening half, including 0-for-9 from 3-point range.

      Kentucky continues its quest for an undefeated season Tuesday night at Georgia. The regular season ends next Saturday when Florida visits Rupp Arena.

      "I wish regular season was over. I told the guys," Calipari said. "I'm ready to go see what this team can do."

      NOTES: Kentucky clinched its 46th regular season Southeastern Conference championship with the win. ... Kentucky's 7-foot junior Willie Cauley-Stein is the first player in school history to record more than 200 blocks and 100 steals in a career. ... Arkansas arrived at Rupp Arena with its own unbeaten streak. The Razorbacks were 7-0 in February and 19-0 when forcing opponents into 15 or more turnovers. ... Arkansas has only one victory over a No. 1 ranked team in school history, beating North Carolina in 1984.

  • Saturday, February 28, 2015
    Baylor pulls rank on West Virginia
    By The Sports Xchange

    WACO, Texas -- The 19th-ranked Baylor Bears capped an impressive week by cruising past West Virginia.

    • Three days after completing a season sweep of 12th-ranked Iowa State, the Bears did the same to the 20th-ranked Mountaineers, grabbing a 78-66 victory on Saturday at the Ferrell Center.

      Baylor forward Taurean Prince scored 20 points to lead the Bears (22-7, 10-6 in the Big 12) as they posted consecutive wins against ranked opponents for the first time in program history.

      Baylor forward Royce O'Neale added 18 points and seven assists, and forward Rico Gathers recorded 17 points and 10 rebounds.

      "We're just playing good basketball," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "Making shots, making the extra pass. The shot selection has been very good, taking care of the basketball, that's been very good."

      West Virginia guard Jevon Carter scored 25 points, but the Mountaineers (22-7, 10-6) trailed by 16 points at halftime and couldn't get back within nine in the second half.

      The Mountaineers started the game without guard Juwan Staten, who missed the game because of a left-knee injury.

      West Virginia then lost guard Gary Browne when he went down because of an apparent ankle injury at the 17:20 mark of first half. He left the court favoring his left leg and didn't appear to put any weight on it.

      Browne didn't return to the game.

      "I haven't talked to the doc about Gary," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "I think the word on (Staten) is day-to-day."

      Drew said he felt West Virginia's full-court pressure was less effective with Staten and Browne out. Huggins pointed to their absence to explain his team's lack of consistency on offense.

      "The worst thing about losing (Staten) is he knows where guys are supposed to come open and when they're supposed to come open, and he delivers the ball there," Huggins said.

      "And Gary is the next guy in line that understands, because he's been out there. Those other guys haven't been out there."

      Baylor established an early lead and gradually stretched it out by scoring 24 points in the paint and forcing nine West Virginia turnovers in the first half.

      Meanwhile, the Bears fended off West Virginia's pressure defense, committing only four turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

      Already ahead by nine, the Bears came out of a media timeout at the 7:53 mark and boosted the lead to double digits on layups by forwards Johnathan Motley and Prince.

      Forward Royce O'Neale followed that with a 3-pointer from the right wing and guard Al Freeman hit two free throws to put the Bears ahead by 16 points.

      Baylor's 1-3-1 zone defense came up with eight steals in the first half, leading to 11 points off turnovers.

      Gathers converted the last of the steals into an emphatic windmill dunk on an assist from Prince, putting the Bears ahead, 43-24, with 1:51 left before the break.

      Gathers' dunk sent a black-out Baylor crowd into a frenzy.

      "You could see the difference with the energy level when the crowd's going," Drew said "That allows us to get really active defensively and we got a lot of deflections, the first half especially."

      Prince led Baylor with 11 points and three steals in the first half.

      Baylor led by 16 at the break, but it could have gotten even farther away from the Mountaineers. West Virginia guard Jevon Carter hit 3-of-5 3-pointers and led the Mountaineers with 11 points.

      Baylor's win over West Virginia coupled with Iowa State’s loss at Kansas State allowed the Bears, winners of four straight, to climb the Big 12 standings into a tie with the Cyclones and Mountaineers for third place.

      "Winning helps you sleep at night, losing doesn't," Drew said. "This is what's tough about this league> You could play good basketball or you can have good shots and miss them, and you don’t win games. We've been blessed enough where we've played well and won.”

      NOTES: Baylor and West Virginia met only once before the Mountaineers joined the Big 12, during the 2012-13 season. Baylor leads the series 6-1, including 5-1 in Big 12 play. ... The Bears are 3-0 in trips to Morgantown, W.Va., making them the only team to win at West Virginia in each of the last three seasons. Baylor defeated the Mountaineers 87-69 on Feb. 7. ... Baylor swept the season series against West Virginia for the second time in the last three seasons. ... West Virginia entered the game with 11 road wins this season, the most in the Big 12.

  • Saturday, February 28, 2015
    Kansas State stuns Iowa State with late rally
    By The Sports Xchange

    MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Iowa State picked a bad time for a slump.

    • Less than a week removed from a chance to claim a share of the Big 12 lead, the 12th-ranked Cyclones lost their second straight game, this time on a late turnover, falling 70-69 to Kansas State on a snowy Senior Day in Bramlage Coliseum.

      The Cyclones fell two games behind Kansas in the Big 12 race with two games remaining.

      With Iowa State leading 69-68 with 18.5 seconds left, K-State forward Wesley Iwundu stole the inbounds pass intended for forward Georges Niang and raced for a dunk to give the Wildcats the lead with 16.4 seconds left. Iowa State could not get a good look, and guard Naz Long missed a long 3-point shot at the buzzer.

      "They pressure the heck out of you in this building, there is no doubt about that," Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. "They've won eight league games. They had a really good game and we expected them to come out and pressure us. They played us very tough.

      "You put the ball in your best player's hands and I trust Georges is going to make the right play 99 percent of the time, but it happens."

      The Cyclones lost their first home game of the season Wednesday night against Baylor and now have only a remote chance to even share the conference title.

      "We've got to bounce back," Hoiberg said, looking ahead to Monday night's home game against Oklahoma. "That's two tough ones, two very tough ones in a row. We'll find out a lot about ourselves in how we bounce back tomorrow."

      The Cyclones (20-8, 10-6 Big 12) looked to have this game well in-hand, leading 64-55 with 6:21 left following a bucket by Niang.

      But Kansas State used a 15-5 flourish down the stretch for their fifth win over a top-25 team this season, their third straight at home.

      "This season has not gone like we had hoped or expected," Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. "Through the whole thing, they've continued to battle and fight.

      "They did a great job on defense in the second half, holding them to 29 points. That adds up to a victory. We did a lot of good things. We had more fast-break points (20-13) than one of the top offensive teams in the country.

      "We're the best 15-15 team in the country."

      Kansas State (15-15, 8-9) only connected on 26.3 percent (5 of 19) of their 3-point shots, but they controlled the paint, outscoring the Cyclones 46-24 in the paint. The 46 points in the paint were a season high for K-State. The Wildcats were led by reserve guard Nigel Johnson with 17 points, and reserve guard Justin Edwards with 16. The leading scorer among starters for K-State was Iwundu with 11.

      "That was a great effort by our bench," Weber said of Johnson, who led the Cats with 20 points in their victory over No. 8 Kansas Monday night. "Obviously Nigel, not just the 17 points but the nine rebounds and four assists, (was huge)."

      The Cyclones were 11 of 27 from 3-point range, but missed their last five attempts. Iowa State was led by Niang with 21 points. He was joined in double figures by guard Monte Morris with 15 and forward Jameel McKay with 13.

      The first half was a contrast in offensive styles. Iowa State was 8 of 15 from 3-point range, scoring 24 of its 40 points from beyond the arc. Kansas State missed eight of its 10 attempts from the outside, but outscored the taller Cyclones 22-8 in the paint. Niang led all scorers with 12 points, all coming from 3-point range on 4 of 5 shooting.

      Both teams used streaks to gain control. Iowa State had runs of 7-0, 8-0 and 9-0 in the half, the last one giving the Cyclones their biggest lead of the half at 35-21. K-State used a 10-0 run of its own early to get back into the game, and then closed the half with a 12-5 run to cut the halftime deficit to 40-33.

      Notes: Iowa State was trying to win three straight Big 12 road games for the first time since 2005. ... All five Iowa State starters, plus top reserve Bryce Dejean-Jones, average in double figures in scoring for the season. The Cyclones are the only team in the nation with six different players averaging 10 points or more. ... Kansas State now leads the all-time series 137-83, but Iowa State is 22-20 in the Big 12 era (since 1996-97).

  • Saturday, February 28, 2015
    Virginia answers conference call
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Before last season, it had been seven years since Virginia was able to say it owned at least a share of the ACC regular season title.

    • On Saturday, the second-ranked Cavaliers accomplished something that they hadn't done since the Ralph Sampson era, which was clinch at least a share of the conference title, a feat they tackled in three straight seasons from 1981-83.

      Virginia (27-1, 15-1 in the ACC) closed out its home schedule with a 69-57 victory over in-state rival Virginia Tech on Saturday at John Paul Jones Arena to clinch a share of the ACC regular season crown.

      "We had our sites of trying to be good in the conference season," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. "We knew we could do it again, and we at least got a piece of that.

      "We have a couple more games to try to get something outright."

      The Cavaliers finished their home slate with a 15-1 record, giving them 15 or more wins at home for the third consecutive season.

      Virginia Tech (10-19, 2-14) used an 11-2 run to close to within 50-46 with 7:32 to play, only to see their run be topped by a 12-0 spurt that gave the Cavaliers a commanding 16-point lead.

      "We needed that (run); Virginia Tech battled hard," Bennett said. "(Virginia Tech) can stretch you and they hit some tough shots. I thought we responded in the second half with our defensive soundness and tenacity."

      Virginia boasted four players in double figures, as guard Malcolm Brogdon scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

      Senior forward Darion Atkins, who was playing his final home game in a Cavalier uniform, went out with a bang as he put in 16 points, and fellow forward Anthony Gill also added 16 points.

      "(Atkins) was very good tonight," Bennett said of his senior. "His mobility and becoming even effective with his offensive touch and some moves has been significant. He's really embraced being that defensive stopper."

      Guard London Perrantes put in 11 points, including three 3-pointers, and added six assists while turning the ball over only once. Bennett said his sophomore point guard might have re-broken his nose late in the first half.

      The Cavaliers shot 51 percent from the field for the game and have shot 50 percent or better in back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 18 and 21.

      "I'm not sure," Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said when asked about the team's shooting disparities. "I thought we played very well defensively in the first half, but we gave them too many layups."

      Guard Adam Smith, who tied Brogdon with a game-high 19 points, led the Hokies.

      Smith knocked down four of Virginia Tech's nine 3-pointers. The Hokies shot 47 percent from beyond the arc, but were only 38 percent from the field overall.

      "I think it was that under-eight media timeout where the most separation was," Williams said. "When they ignited that 12-2 run, I think that's where they got the most separation."

      Virginia got 34 of its 69 points in the paint, but was outrebounded by the Hokies, 31-29, despite an obvious size advantage.

      Virginia Tech opened the game on a 9-2 run, as Virginia struggled to make shots early, and started the game making only one of its first seven shots.

      The Cavaliers responded and used a 9-2 run, which included seven straight points from Gill, to tie the game, 11-11, with less than 10 minutes to play in the half.

      Brogdon's 3-pointer tied the game, 17-17 with 6:36 left in the half.

      Brogdon gave Virginia its first lead of the game with 5:48 left when he connected on two free throws to put the Cavaliers up, 19-17. He scored nine points in the half, while Gill led all scorers with 12.

      Virginia led, 28-24, after 20 minutes of play.

      NOTES: Virginia has given up only 46.2 points per game over the last five games. ... Virginia G London Perrantes started after missing the previous game because of a broken nose and a mild concussion. ... Virginia Tech G Devin Wilson recorded a career-high 11 assists on Wednesday night against Duke. That was also a Hokie record for assists in an ACC game. ... Virginia honored three managers and three student athletes on senior day. ... Virginia will play at Syracuse and Virginia Tech will host Boston College, both on Monday night.

  • Saturday, February 28, 2015
    Wichita State claims Valley title
    By The Sports Xchange

    WICHITA, Kan. -- Wichita State won its second consecutive Missouri Valley Conference title with a 74-60 victory over No. 10 Northern Iowa on Saturday at Koch Arena.

    • The No. 11 Shockers (27-3, 17-1 in the MVC) have won three of the last four MVC titles, the best run in their time as a conference member. Northern Iowa (27-3, 16-2) finished second.

      Guard Ron Baker led Wichita State with 17 points. The Shockers made 11 of 24 shots from 3-point range and scored 17 points off 10 Northern Iowa turnovers.

      Forward Seth Tuttle led the Panthers with 16 points.

      The Shockers avenged a 16-point loss to the Panthers earlier in the season and locked up the top seed in the MVC Tournament.

      After the game, seniors Tekele Cotton and Darius Carter took their bows to celebrate their final home game and climbed the ladder to cut down the nets.

      "What a great atmosphere," Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. "It was electric."

      The Shockers claimed their ninth Valley title and their first in consecutive seasons since 1964 and 1965. Northern Iowa finished second with the fewest losses since Bradley went 12-2 in 1960.

      "You have this kind of season, you want a championship," UNI coach Ben Jacobson said. "We saw, for a lot of today, two really good teams. The reason we're ranked 10th and 11th in the country is because we've got really good basketball teams. The entire country was able to see that today."

      Wichita State shot 49.1 percent from the field against the MVC's top defense. Northern Iowa hadn't allowed an opponent to score 70 or more points since mid-December.

      Baker and Fred VanVleet, who had 13 points, combined to orchestrate a smooth offensive attack. The Shockers committed only three turnovers and both guards had seven assists without a turnover.

      "That's probably the difference in the game," Marshall said. "We didn't turn it over. That's fantastic ball security."

      Wichita State built its lead to 18 points in the second half before Northern Iowa rallied with 3-point shooting. Junior guard Matt Bohannon started the surge to cut the Shockers' lead to 53-40 with 11:52 remaining.

      The Shockers had to take a rare timeout when the Panthers made four 3-pointers to get within 53-49.

      "It's never really good when you call timeouts when the other team makes a run. That's why I don't usually do them," Marshall said. "They were playing so well. We just had to tighten up who we were going to double off of and who we were not going to double off of. We finally got a couple stops."

      The Shockers took a 57-51 lead on Baker's jumper and pulled away again. Forward Evan Wessel made two 3-pointers for a 63-55 lead. VanVleet's 3 made it 66-56 and Carter scored in the lane for a 68-56 lead.

      The Shockers scored 17 points off eight Northern Iowa turnovers in the first half and manufactured a 22-6 run to finish the half with a 38-26 lead.

      "We got a little flustered there and we lost our way," Tuttle said. "Their pressure got to us."

      NOTES: Saturday's game marked the first winner-take-all regular-season finale between ranked MVC teams since 1951 when No. 2 Oklahoma State defeated No. 10 Saint Louis, 50-29. ... ESPN's College GameDay made its first appearance at Koch Arena and its second at an MVC school. ... Wichita State had all five starters score in double figures for the first time since last season's MVC Tournament title game. ... Wichita State defeated the Panthers for the fourth straight time in Koch Arena.

  • Saturday, February 28, 2015
    Dunham leads Butler to sweep of DePaul
    By The Sports Xchange

    ROSEMONT, Ill. -- The combination of Kellen Dunham and Kameron Woods proved ready for DePaul on Saturday.

    • Dunham, a junior guard, scored a game-high 24 points while Woods, a senior forward, added 14 points and six rebounds as No. 23 Butler claimed a 67-53 Big East victory at Allstate Arena.

      Dunham hit a pair of critical 3-pointers and was perfect (10-for-10) from the free-throw line while the Bulldogs were 22 of 27 on free throws.

      "Dunham obviously hurt us," DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. "But Woods was the guy who really hurt us inside in the lane and we stopped rebounding the ball."

      Forward Roosevelt Jones added 16 points as the Bulldogs won their second straight and completed a two-game season sweep of the Blue Demons.

      "Our ability to get to the line was important; it's what we've done most of the year," Butler coach Chris Holtmann said. "The most disappointing thing in the entire game was our ballhandling, and it's something we've got to do a better job on."

      Holtmann was referring to the Bulldogs' 18 turnovers, which ultimately were less of a concern as Butler (21-8, 11-5 Big East) moved into sole possession of second place with a combination of the win and Georgetown's 81-70 loss to St. John's.

      Forward Jamee Crockett scored 20 points as DePaul (12-18, 6-11) dropped its sixth straight and ninth in 10 games while playing its home finale.

      The Blue Demons surged to a 38-32 second-half lead before the Bulldogs rallied for a 41-41 tie and outscored DePaul 26-12 the rest of the way.

      Butler led 24-14 with 5:40 left in the opening half before DePaul scored 10 straight and tied it on forward Rashaun Stimage's layup with 1:35 showing.

      But Dunham closed the half with 12 points, including a late field goal and three free throws, as the Bulldogs claimed a 29-25 halftime lead.

      The Blue Demons opened the second half with a 10-1 run for a 35-30 lead behind guard Durrell McDonald's 3-pointer and two buckets apiece from forward Myke Henry and Crockett.

      "There was a stretch where we played really well and rebounded the ball and got ourselves in a position where it's anybody's ballgame coming down the stretch," Purnell said. "We missed three or four or five shots in a row and that deflated us. They got the momentum and that was pretty much it."

      Dunham's 3-pointer with 12:18 left tied the game 41-41 and launched an 11-0 run as the Bulldogs moved to a 49-41 lead with 10:12 showing. Dunham hit another 3-pointer with 7:51 left for a 56-43 lead.

      "The key to it was our leaders kind of stepped up and (said), 'Hey, we've got to get some stops and rebounds,'" Dunham said. "That just didn't happen early in the second half."

      But the Blue Demons scored only one field goal in a nearly nine-minute span, while the Bulldogs opened a 62-43 advantage.

      Butler had a 36-19 rebounding edge, outscored DePaul 34-14 in the paint and hit 22 of 27 free throws, including 10-for-10 by Dunham.

      Crockett was hit in the face less than a minute into the game and was helped to the bench for treatment. He returned several minutes later.

      NOTES: Butler has won three straight in the series -- including an 83-73 win on Feb. 7 at Hinkle Fieldhouse -- but DePaul still leads 6-4. ... Butler has topped 20 victories for the 20th time in program history. ... Butler hosts Georgetown on Tuesday and closes the Big East regular season next Saturday at Providence. DePaul wraps up next Saturday at Marquette. ... F Jamee Crockett's baseline 3-pointer with 11:49 left in the first half was DePaul's 232nd trey of the season and set a program season record. ... DePaul's first home game next season will be the 500th game at Allstate Arena, where it is 332-167 through 35 seasons. The Blue Demons are scheduled to move to a city arena in 2016 or 2017. ... F Quentin Richardson was inducted into the DePaul Hall of Fame this weekend. In two seasons, he averaged 18.2 points and led the Blue Demons to NIT and NCAA appearances before embarking on a 13-year NBA career.

  • Saturday, February 28, 2015
    Inconsistent Johnson carries Tar Heels this time
    By The Sports Xchange

    CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Hall of Famer Roy Williams, the only coach to win at least one NCAA Tournament game for 20 consecutive years, knows a lot about basketball.

    • But that knowledge apparently doesn't include the ability to figure out when Brice Johnson will have an awful game or when he will be a star.

      Johnson, a 6-9 junior forward, was the latter on Saturday, leading No. 15 North Carolina past the Miami, 73-64, in an ACC game at the BankUnited Center.

      "I have no idea," Williams said when asked why Johnson was so good against Miami, making 11-of-15 shots.

      Johnson had 22 points and 11 rebounds, both game highs, as North Carolina (20-9, 10-6 in the ACC) snapped a four-game losing streak in its rivalry with Miami.

      In North Carolina's previous game, a 58-46 home loss to North Carolina State, Johnson had only five points on 1-of-6 shooting and four rebounds.

      "Brice was fantastic today, and he was a non factor (against N.C. State)," Williams said. "If I knew (how to solve his inconsistency), we would have changed him three years ago."

      The Tar Heels had been slumping of late and this was only their third victory in their last eight games.

      But North Carolina got big performances from guard Marcus Paige, who had 17 points, and small forward J.P. Tokoto, who added 10 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals.

      The win gave North Carolina its 11 season with 20 victories in 12 years under Williams.

      Miami (18-11, 8-8), considered a "bubble" team to make the NCAA Tournament, is 3-6 in its past nine games. Miami also is 3-5 against Top 25 opponents.

      North Carolina controlled the first half, leading by as many as nine points. But Miami closed its deficit to 32-30 at the break.

      Miami had 10 turnovers in the first half, and the Tar Heels converted those mistakes into 13 points. Miami scored only six points on nine North Carolina turnovers.

      Hurricanes point guard Angel Rodriguez, who injured his right wrist in the previous game, came off the bench for the first time this season.

      But he was only able to play three minutes and had no points and two turnovers.

      "It was difficult," Miami freshman guard Ja'Quan Newton said of playing without Rodriguez. "He is our leader on and off the court, and he gets the big baskets when we need them."

      In addition to the loss of Rodriguez, Miami's Sheldon McClellan, who is one of 16 players on the Jerry West watch list for the top shooting guard in the nation, picked up his fourth foul with 15:56 to play in the second half.

      Miami trailed by only three points at the time.

      But instead of folding, the Hurricanes went to their bench and actually made a run. Backup power forward Ivan Cruz Uceda hit two straight 3-pointers, the second with 11:39 left in the game, to give Miami a 48-47 lead.

      That, however, was the Hurricanes' last lead.

      Paige hit a 3-pointer on the next possession, and that sparked a 26-16 Tar Heels surge to close out the game.

      "We've had a lot of close battles (this season) that, unfortunately, one or two things happened, and we lost," Paige said. "This time, we were able to make a couple of corrections, and we came out on top."

      McClellan and Cruz Uceda led the Hurricanes with 11 points each.

      Miami was outrebounded, 42-28, and made only 42.1 percent of its shots, including 26.1 percent on 3-pointers.

      The Hurricanes close their regular season on the road at Pitt and Virginia Tech. Miami Coach Jim Larranaga said his team will have to win those two and two more in the ACC Tournament to make the NCAA field.

      "We’ve put ourselves in a very tough situation to make the dance," Larranaga said.

      NOTES: PG Marcus Paige of North Carolina is battling a foot injury but has yet to miss a game this season. ... Miami PG Angel Rodriguez is two points shy of 1,000 for his college career. ... Miami G Manu Lecomte started in place of Rodriguez. It was the 16th start of the season for Lecomte and his first since Feb. 3. ... Miami F Joe Thomas, 11th on the team in scoring, made the start, his first since Feb. 3. ... North Carolina plays at Georgia Tech on Tuesday.

  • Saturday, February 28, 2015
    Hot-shooting Villanova claims Big East title
    By The Sports Xchange

    CINCINNATI -- At one point during Chris Mack's post-game press conference following a loss to sixth-ranked Villanova on Saturday, the Xavier coach threw his hands in the air, exasperated.

    • Villanova went 7-of-13 from 3-point range in the second half, overcoming a seven-point halftime deficit to win, 78-66, and earn an outright Big East championship.

      "These guys are shooting the ball from 30 feet, 27 feet," Mack said. "We have to play better defense, but what are you going to do?"

      Junior guards Dylan Ennis, who scored 14 of his team-leading 16 points in the first half, and Ryan Arcidiacono, who added 15, helped Villanova (27-2, 14-2 in the Big East) extend its winning streak to 10 games.

      Kris Jenkins starred for the Wildcats down the stretch. The sophomore forward scored 12 of his 14 points from 3-point range, going 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.

      "He shoots the ball like (NBA great) Dell Curry," Mack said. "That's why we recruited him, hard. And, he's playing the 5, the center position."

      Jalen Reynolds of Xavier proved to be a tough matchup for Nova throughout the game.

      The sophomore forward led the Musketeers with 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting from the floor.

      Freshman forward Trevon Bluiett added 12 points for Xavier (18-12, 8-9), which missed a chance to solidify its NCAA Tournament hopes.

      The Musketeers, who have 34 combined turnovers in their last two games, both losses, play their regular-season finale next Saturday at Creighton.

      "Every game is a must-win for us," Xavier guard Myles Davis said. "We need to beat Creighton."

      Villanova had shot 48.5 percent from 3-point range in its previous four games. And, the hot shooting continued on Saturday, as the Wildcats went 13 of 29 from beyond the arc.

      Things started well from the perimeter for Xavier, too, with 3-pointers from junior guard Remy Abell and Bluiett to make the score 8-2.

      But, Ennis hit three of his first four 3-point shots for the Wildcats. The junior guard was 5-of-9 form the floor in the half, with four 3-pointers.

      Villanova had no other player with more than three points in the first half. Contributions from other Wildcats would come later.

      The Musketeers, who committed 20 turnovers in a loss at St. John's on Monday, had eight in Saturday's first half, when both teams had scoreless streaks of more than three minutes in the first half.

      Villanova scored only five points in the final 7:20 of the half and Xavier finished the first half on an 8-0 run.

      Reynolds' two-handed dunk on a pass from point guard Dee Davis put the Musketeers ahead, 40-33, at halftime.

      "In the first half, their speed and quickness caught us off guard," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "We were just a step behind. It took us a half to get used to their speed and ball movement.

      "It was a good win on the road against a really good team."

      Xavier led, 57-56, with 8:49 left when Villanova erupted for a 14-2 run to take control.

      Jenkins hit two 3-pointers for Villanova, including his fourth from long range to give the Wildcats a lead they would not relinquish.

      "To do that on the road against a very good team, shows what kind of guts he has," Wright said of Jenkins’ performance.

      Xavier's shooting cooled off in the second half, the Wildcats’ did not.

      "Their guards were being aggressive," Arcidiacono said. "We were able to get them to collapse. We have good shooters."

      Freshman guard Phil Booth hit his first 3-pointer to give Nova a five-point advantage.

      Sophomore guard Josh Hart's 3-pointer put the Wildcats ahead, 70-59, with four minutes remaining. Xavier never recovered.

      "They’re as good as any team in the country," Mack said. "I think they should be a No. 1 seed. They're going to be a tough out. Their experience was the difference (today)."

      NOTES: Villanova's 13 made 3-pointers tied for the most by a Xavier opponent at Cintas Center. ... Villanova has won 26 or more games for the fifth time in program history, including last season, when the Wildcats won 29. ... Entering Saturday's game, Villanova (4) and Xavier (22) are among six Big East Conference schools in the top 40 of the NCAA official daily RPI. ... Villanova leads the all-time series 20-4, including wins in all four meetings since Xavier joined the Big East Conference before last season. ... Xavier's last victory over Villanova came in the 2006 Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

  • Saturday, February 28, 2015
    Hield, Oklahoma rally to beat TCU
    By The Sports Xchange

    NORMAN, Okla. -- With two critical Big 12 games looming, No. 16 Oklahoma looked like a team looking ahead Saturday against TCU.

    • But the Sooners hung around, then finished strong, beating the Horned Frogs 67-60 in front of an estimated 5,091 at Lloyd Noble Center.

      "I thought we came out in the second half and played with a little more snap in our step, moved the ball better, made plays down the stretch and got some stops," Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. "I thought TCU played great. I was proud of our guys really to hang in there and make plays that they needed to, especially down the stretch."

      Buddy Hield, Oklahoma's junior guard, had struggled recently, shooting just 33 percent over the last five games. But the Big 12's leading scorer came up big against the Horned Frogs, scoring a game-high 21 points and adding a career-best 13 rebounds.

      "I just stayed in the gym a long time," Hield said. "I came into the gym staying up late, like I usually do when I'm in a slump. I basically sleep there and try to find my rhythm."

      Senior forward TaShawn Thomas added 15 points for Oklahoma (20-8, 11-5 Big 12), which has a chance to grab at least a share of the conference title if it can win the last two games.

      Oklahoma plays at Iowa State on Monday before wrapping up the season at home against Kansas next Saturday.

      Senior guards Kyan Anderson and Trey Ziegler scored 16 points each to lead the Horned Frogs (17-12, 4-12).

      TCU led for much of the game, building a double-digit lead by late in the first half.

      But, once again, the Horned Frogs couldn't hold on.

      "I thought we played well," coach Trent Johnson said. "I thought we played extremely hard. Until the last four minutes, I thought we were in position to win the game and then they did a great job of getting to the free-throw line and we didn't. So tip your hat to them."

      The Sooners had struggled from the free-throw line for much of the game, but they made their last seven in the final 1:58 to grab their eighth win in the last nine games.

      After not winning a game by less than double figures in their first 20 games, Oklahoma has now won three consecutive tight games.

      "The difference in close games is you make a shot here and you get a stop there," Kruger said. "There's a certain amount of confidence that contributes to being able to do that. And I think when you win a game or two that's close, you have a little more confidence the next time you get in a close game, and you get that bucket to go or you get that defensive board. That's the difference. There's a fine line there."

      The Sooners came back to tie it several times in the second half before finally breaking through.

      With less than four minutes left, Thomas' strong drive through the lane ended with a floater to put the Sooners up 58-56.

      After a TCU turnover, Thomas finished OU's next possession with a dunk.

      "They just kept giving me the ball," Thomas said. "My teammates kept looking for me and telling me, 'TaShawn, it's time to go to work, it's your turn.' Coach kept telling me he needed me to do something for him this half."

      Oklahoma then hit its free throws and got several defensive stops in the final minutes to close out the win.

      "We just didn't finish plays," Johnson said. "They did a good job. We put a lot of pressure to get to the free-throw line and we were in a position, but we didn't get to the line."

      NOTES: Bad road conditions forced TCU to make alternate travel arrangements from Fort Worth, Texas, to Norman, Okla. The Horned Frogs wound up taking a train and arriving after 1 a.m. Saturday morning. The game could not be pushed back to Saturday night because the OU women played at home and couldn't be pushed back to Sunday because they are scheduled to play at Iowa State on Monday. ... After Oklahoma backup guards Frank Booker, a sophomore, and Dinjiyl Walker, a junior, missed practice time during the week with various injuries, both played Saturday. ... TCU plays at Oklahoma State on Wednesday.

  • Saturday, February 28, 2015
    Utah State 74, Air Force 60
    By The Sports Xchange

    Freshman guard Julion Pearre scored a career-high 21 points, leading visiting Utah State to a 74-60 victory over Air Force on Saturday at Clune Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo.

    • Junior guard Chris Smith had 16 points and seven rebounds for Utah State (18-10, 11-5 Mountain West Conference), which has won six in a row. Freshman forward David Collette scored 13 points. Sophomore forward Jalen Moore had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

      Sophomore forward Hayden Graham came off the bench to post 16 points and 12 rebounds for Air Force (13-15, 6-11).

      Air Force led 10-6 after sophomore guard Zach Kocur made a 3-pointer with 13:48 to play in the opening period. Utah State responded with a 13-2 run to take a 19-12 lead on a jumper by Moore with 8:55 to go.

      The Falcons cut the deficit to three with 7:10 remaining, but a 9-3 run over the final 5:10 put the Aggies up 30-21 at the break.

      Air Force cut Utah State's lead to five early in the second half. The Aggies scored eight of the next 10 points to go up 38-27 with 15:39 to go. The Falcons got within eight with 5:38 remaining, but they couldn't get any closer.

  • Saturday, February 28, 2015
    Maryland's Smotrycz shines against Michigan
    By The Sports Xchange

    COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland senior forward Evan Smotrycz missed all five shots from the field on Saturday against Michigan.

    • But he did almost everything else right, with strong defense against a 1-3-1 zone while grabbing a team-high nine rebounds with four assists in just his second start of the season.

      With 7-foot-1 Michal Cekovsky on the bench with a pre-game injury, Smotrycz stepped in and helped No. 14 Maryland beat Michigan 66-56 for a Big Ten Conference win and the fifth victory in a row for the surging second-place Terps.

      "I told Evan after the game, 'You were phenomenal today.' He was the one guy that could figure out the zone," said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "He was dialing it up. I thought defensively he was terrific. I am really happy for him."

      Smotrycz played two seasons at Michigan before transferring to Maryland.

      "I was proud of the way the guys came out. It was kind of ironic that it was against Michigan," Smotrycz said of his Senior Day game. "We still have a lot to play for."

      Michigan head coach John Beilein said, "He (Smotrycz) has certainly improved in a lot of different areas. I know he didn't have a good shooting game tonight. He was pretty good with us."

      Freshman point guard Melo Trimble added 19 points and five assists, senior guard Dez Wells had 13 points, six rebounds and three assists, and junior guard Jake Layman had 10 points for the Terps.

      Maryland, playing on Senior Day, was 9-0 at home against conference foes this year in its first season in the Big Ten.

      "It was obviously a great day for us," Turgeon said. "A lot of seniors played well for us. We finished 9-0 in the league (at home), which is hard to do. Our players were terrific at home. Our fans were phenomenal. That is why you come to Maryland to be part of an environment like that. It was just a fun home season. You can't write it any better than that. It has been a fun group so far."

      The Terrapins improved to 24-5 and 12-4 in the conference.

      "Once we figured out the 1-3-1 (zone) it was the difference. It wasn't easy to do," Turgeon added. "We won a lot of close games. When the game is on the line I can go in a lot of different directions."

      Michigan (14-14, 7-9), which trailed by nine points at halftime, has lost six of its last seven games and is 2-6 on the road in the conference. Forward Zak Irvin and guard Spike Albrecht each had 15 points for the Wolverines, who were coming off a victory on Feb. 22 over No. 24 Ohio State.

      Forward Ricky Doyle added nine rebounds but the visitors made just 36.5 percent of their shots from the field and only 5 of 21 from 3-point range.

      "I really love the Maryland team. All they want to do is win. They have a great plan. They have a lot of people who can put points on the board," Beilein said. "That team could have a great March as well."

      If they do, Wells will lead the way.

      Said Wells, who began his career at Xavier: "I think I have matured a lot. I have become more secure and comfortable with myself" at Maryland.

      He is the team leader for the Terps, who were picked to finish 10th in the conference.

      "It is a great feeling. It was definitely a big win," said Maryland reserve guard Jared Nickens, who had nine points on a trio of 3-pointers.

      Wells made a basket with 6:10 left to give the Terps a 51-44 lead and Trimble made three free throws with 5:18 left to push the margin to 54-44.

      Layman hit a 3-pointer to build the lead to 57-46 with 4:26 left.

      Wells joined the 3-point party on his long shot with 3:36 to go to make it 60-48 and the Terps posted another home win with one of their best 3-point efforts of the season -- connecting on 11 of 22 from beyond the arc.

      "You have to respect the other team. They see the floor. They have a great guard. Wells made some really good plays," Beilein said of the Maryland 3-pointers. "Our guys had some problems guarding."

      NOTES: Maryland freshman reserve F Michal Cekovsky, who played 24 minutes in the win over Wisconsin on Tuesday, did not play Saturday after he tweaked his left knee in warmups. Head coach Mark Turgeon said he was to have an MRI later on Saturday. ... Maryland finished the regular season 18-1 at home, with the only loss to Virginia on Dec. 3. ... The Terps end regular-season play with two road games: at Rutgers on Tuesday and at Nebraska on March 8. ... Maryland was coming off a win at home on Tuesday against No. 5 Wisconsin as G Dez Wells had 26 points. ... Michigan plays Tuesday at Northwestern. ... Maryland senior F Evan Smotrycz played two years at Michigan before transferring to College Park. He entered the game averaging 4.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. He won the Michigan Sixth Man Award as a freshman and was honored before the game along with other Maryland seniors, and then made only his second start of the season.

  • Saturday, February 28, 2015
    Gill steps up for Louisville
    By The Sports Xchange

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Louisville guard Anton Gill said it's been a long time since he's had a game like he did Saturday.

    • And, boy, did the 17th-ranked Cardinals ever need it.

      Gill, a reserve guard who has seen limited playing time this season but was asked to step up after the dismissal of guard Chris Jones on Thursday, was 5-of-5 from the floor Saturday -- including 4-of-4 from 3-point range -- and scored 14 points in the Cardinals' 81-59 rout of Florida State.

      "Probably since high school," Gill said with a laugh when asked if he could remember a game where he didn't miss a shot. "When you make that first one, it gets a lot easier.

      "I knew I would get an opportunity when you lose someone like Chris, but we just all had to step up. It's been a tough week."

      Louisville dismissed Jones, who was the Cardinals' third-leading scorer at 13.7 points a game, from the team Thursday for violating team rules.

      Shortly after, Jones was charged with felony sexual assault. He has pleaded not guilty.

      "Our hearts are definitely hurt for Chris' situation," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said.

      But while the news left the team shaken, Saturday's dominating performance against Florida State proved the Cardinals (23-6, 11-5 in the ACC) were far from broken.

      Guard Wayne Blackshear lead Cardinals with 18 points and two blocked shots, and a well-rested Louisville team -- which last played Monday -- took full advantage of a Florida State team playing its third game in six days.

      Louisville claimed its third victory in a row, while Florida State (15-15, 7-10) lost its third straight and couldn't get any more late heroics from star freshman point guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

      The Seminoles' freshman was coming a 35-point night in a loss to Miami on Wednesday that tied his career high, but he scored 30 of those 35 points in the final 4:38 and had the college basketball world buzzing for 48 hours.

      Rathan-Mayes' hot hand, however, didn't continue Saturday as he started 0-for-5 in the first 10 minutes of the first half and went to intermission with only two points on 1-of-9 shooting. He finished with 12 points, but was 0-of-5 from beyond the arc.

      "I think (Xavier) is like a lot of freshmen: He's still learning, still trying to figure out how to lead a team (consistently) and make good decisions," Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said.

      Florida State was paced by 13 points from forward Montay Brandon, while guard Devon Bookert added 12 points.

      Bookert played all 40 minutes, while Brandon played 32 -- and Hamilton said that took its toll right around the time the Cardinals reeled off a 15-0 run midway through the second half that blew the game open.

      The Cardinals led by as many as 26 points in the second half.

      "(Louisville) was just a step fresher than us all game," Hamilton added.

      The Cardinals got 16 points from center Montrezel Harrell, including four highlight-reel dunks that even had Pitino shaking his head.

      "We had a great performance from a lot of people, but Montrezel sort of amazes me with some of his dunks," Pitino said. "He's (always) double-teamed, yet those arms keep going up and up and all of the sudden he dunks the ball."

      Louisville's sixth-best defense in the nation held its opponent to under 60 points for the sixth time in the last eight games.

      The Cardinals' leading scorer, guard Terry Rozier, collected six of Louisville's game-high 10 steals, and the Louisville also registered five blocked shots.

      Rozier finished with 11 points, while fellow guard Quentin Snider added 10 points.

      Louisville raced out to a 36-26 lead at halftime, thanks to Gill, who came in averaging only 2.4 points a game.

      Louisville's full-court press also gave Florida State fits in the first half. The Seminoles were only 9-of-26 from the field, 34.6 percent, and didn't score for almost the first seven minutes of the game as they opened 0-for-9.

      The Cardinals didn't allow Florida State its first point until Brandon sank 1-of-2 free throws after 6 minutes and 53 seconds had elapsed.

      Florida State center Boris Bojanovsky was the only other Florida State player in double figures with 11 points, and he also pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.

      Florida State committed 21 turnovers, including 13 in the first half. Those miscues led to 30 Cardinals points.

      "Next thing we knew, we were down by multiple points (because of the mistakes) and you can't do that against a team like Louisville," said Brandon, who scored in double figures for the 17th time this year.

      "We tried to fight back, but it just seemed like we didn't have the energy."

      Cardinals center Mangok Mathiang led the team with nine rebounds and also added six points.

      Saturday's game between Florida State and Louisville renewed a rivalry of sorts, marking the first meeting between the two programs since 1991 after they met 33 times previously starting in 1976.

      The Seminoles won the last time the two teams played on March 9, 1991, beating the Cardinals, 76-69, in the Metro Conference Championship game with both programs were members of the non-defunct conference.

      But victories by the Seminoles in the series have been hard to come by. After Saturday's loss, the Cardinals extended their edge in the all-time series to 31-9.

      NOTES: The regular season is coming to close next week for both teams. Florida State finishes on the road at Pittsburgh on March 7, while Louisville returns home for its final two games, beginning Wednesday against Notre Dame. ... Louisville has gotten hot in February in recent seasons, winning 16 of its last 19 games played in the month, including Saturday's victory over Florida State. ... Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton remains three wins away from becoming Florida State's all-time winningest head coach. ... Cardinals coach Rick Pitino had only faced the Seminoles once in his storied career before Saturday, beating Florida State as the coach at Kentucky in 1993 in the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament. ... The ACC Tournament begins March 10 in Greensboro, N.C.

  • Friday, February 27, 2015
    No suspension for Vandy's Stallings
    By The Sports Xchange

    Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings will not face a suspension after his outburst directed at one of his players following Thursday night's 73-65 win over Tennessee.

    • Stallings was seen saying to Commodores freshman guard Wade Baldwin IV "I'll ----ing kill you" after a Tennessee assistant told Stallings as the coaches shook hands following the game that Baldwin clapped in the face of Tennessee's Amani Moore as he was walking to the Vols' bench.

      Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams said Friday that the situation would be dealt with internally.

      "I met with Coach Stallings earlier today about last night's postgame incident," Williams said in a statement. "We agreed that Kevin's offensive and inflammatory language directed toward a student-athlete was inappropriate, regardless of the high emotions at the time.

      "Coach Stallings and I agree that as head coach, he must exemplify the high code of conduct he expects from his team members. This is an unfortunate incident since Coach Stallings has always stood for high ideals in academics, character and sportsmanship during his 16 years as our head coach.

      "I understand that coach's action has generated discussion and opinions; we have heard from those supporting the coach's intent and from those angered and embarrassed by his comment. Coach Stallings apologized to the student-athlete after the game as well as issuing an immediate public apology. Vanderbilt considers this a personnel issue and as such it will be handled internally."

      Stallings realized his mistake almost immediately and quickly offered an apology after the game.

      "One of our players acted inappropriately and violated what we believe is good sportsmanship following the game,” Stallings said Thursday night. "In my haste to resolve the situation, I made a very inappropriate comment. While obviously it was not meant literally, it was still inappropriate. I apologized to the player immediately following the game, although displaying good sportsmanship is of the highest priority in our program."

      Baldwin said on Twitter that he was not offended by Stallings' actions.

  • Friday, February 27, 2015
    Finney-Smith returns to Gators after suspension
    By The Sports Xchange

    Florida forward Dorian Finney-Smith was reinstated to the team on Friday after missing three games for an unspecified violation of team rules.

    • But when Florida (13-15, 6-9 SEC) faces Tennessee (14-13, 6-9) on Saturday, the Gators might be without leading scorer Michael Frazier II and guard Eli Carter.

      Carter came down with strep throat for the second time this season. Frazier has been sidelined for the past five games with a high ankle sprain.

      Florida coach Billy Donovan is seeking his 300th career win and the return of Finney-Smith, who sat out a week of practice because of the suspension, should be a boon.

      "He served his penalty," Donovan said. "He did all the things we asked him to do and expected him to do."

      Finney-Smith, the sixth man of the year last season in the SEC, ranks second on the team in scoring this year with a 12.9-point average per game and leads Florida in rebounding with a 5.8 average.

      The Gators posted a 1-2 record in the games that Finney-Smith missed.

      "The fair thing to do is to move forward and give him an opportunity to play and help us as much as he can," Donovan said.

      Florida also has felt the absence of Frazier, its leading scorer this season.

      "He's actually shooting the ball and he's running OK, but the bigger issue is him stopping and starting," Donovan said. "He still has some significant pain. I don't feel great that that's going to go away between now and Saturday."

      Finney-Smith's suspension was the fourth this season by Donovan. The others are Chris Walker, Jon Horford and walk-on Zach Hodskins.

  • Friday, February 27, 2015
    Gonzaga shuts down USD for 22nd win in row
    By The Sports Xchange

    SPOKANE, Wash. -- The third-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs overcame a miserable start to keep their winning streaks -- not to mention their confidence -- intact Thursday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

    • The Bulldogs missed 13 of their first 17 shots, then sank 20 of 30 the rest of the way in a 59-39 triumph over San Diego. Center Przemek Karnowski led four Bulldogs in double figures with a game-high 14 points, and he added a game-high eight rebounds.

      Gonzaga trailed most of the first half and looked bad doing it, but the veteran squad never appeared to be rattled.

      "I wouldn't say we got worried," senior guard Gary Bell Jr. said casually. "We've just got to play Gonzaga basketball.

      "In the first half, we were kind of lackadaisical. I think we get bored sometimes. We're playing the same teams over and over."

      Fortunately for the Bulldogs, they are still winning over and over. Gonzaga earned its 22nd consecutive victory overall, its 41st straight at home and its 22nd in a row against West Coast Conference rivals. The Bulldogs, 29-1 overall, can complete an 18-0 league season with a home win over BYU on Saturday.

      San Diego coach Bill Grier, a former Gonzaga assistant, marveled at the offensive and defensive skill as well as the depth of the Bulldogs.

      "The talent discrepancy between our two programs -- they're just so talented," Grier said.

      The Toreros (14-15, 7-10) slowed the game down and led most of the first half, but they could not overcome 29.6 percent shooting for the game. Gonzaga relentlessly pounded the ball inside against the smaller Toreros to build a 38-14 advantage in points in the paint.

      The Bulldogs managed just one field goal and two free throws over a stretch of nearly 11 minutes in the first half before reserve forward Domantas Sabonis scored on three of Gonzaga's four shots in the final 2:09 before the break. Backup point guard Eric McClellan fed forward Kyle Wiltjer and Sabonis with slick feeds for the last two baskets of the half.

      "Eric McClellan really changed the game," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "He got in there and kind of slapped our faces, woke us up."

      Bell agreed: "Eric came in and gave us a big spark. He got us rolling."

      The 39 points were a season low for San Diego. Forward Brandon Perry led the Toreros with nine points. Bell, a suffocating defender, helped limit all-time San Diego scoring leader Johnny Dee to six points on 2-for-10 shooting.

      "G.B. did an amazing job of guarding Johnny Dee," McClellan said.

      Dee, a senior guard who is the active NCAA Division I career leader with 332 3-pointers, shot 0-for-3 from beyond the arc. Bell had to fight through plenty of screens to stay with Dee.

      "It wasn't all me," Bell said. "It was guys helping me out."

      Bell scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half, and guard Byron Wesley scored 10 of his 12 points after intermission. Sabonis, a freshman who is drawing plenty of attention from NBA scouts, went 5-for-5 off the bench and finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.

      "Incredible depth," Grier said.

      Gonzaga shot 51.1 percent for the game and 61.5 percent in the second half. That helped Gonzaga overcome poor offensive performances by the team's top two scorers, Wiltjer (five points) and point guard Kevin Pangos (three). The duo combined to shoot 3-for-12 from the floor.

      NOTES: Gonzaga senior PG Kevin Pangos and redshirt junior F Kyle Wiltjer were among 14 finalists named Thursday for the Oscar Robertson Trophy. The annual award for college basketball's player of the year is selected by the United States Basketball Writers Association. Gonzaga is the only school with two finalists. ... Jerry Krause, who is retiring after 14 years as director of basketball operations at Gonzaga, was honored prior to the game. According to Gonzaga's website, Krause is the most published basketball author with more than 30 books. A former part-time assistant coach at Gonzaga, Krause ushered Eastern Washington from NAIA to NCAA Division I during a 17-year stint as the Eagles' head coach. ... The Toreros play at Portland on Saturday.

  • Friday, February 27, 2015
    Utah blows out Arizona State
    By The Sports Xchange

    SALT LAKE CITY -- The No. 13 Utah Utes could not have scripted a better first half than what transpired against the Arizona State Sun Devils on Thursday at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

    • The Utes attacked the rim, found a rhythm on the perimeter, forced turnovers in bunches, blocked one shot after another and did everything else possible to make life miserable for the Sun Devils.

      By the time it was over, Utah ran away from Arizona State for a 83-41 victory.

      Behind a ferocious first half defense, the Utes flat out crushed the Sun Devils before halftime. Utah allowed just four total baskets in staking out a 41-9 halftime lead. The Utes limited Arizona State to 15.4 percent shooting.

      Utah (22-5, 12-3 Pac-12) blocked 10 shots and forced 10 turnovers. The Utes scored 17 points off turnovers and had an 18-6 advantage in points in the paint before halftime.

      "People can get (nine points) in two minutes or something," Utah guard Delon Wright said. "It took them a whole half to get nine. That was good for our defense."

      Wright scored 12 points to spearhead a balanced scoring attack for the Utes. He also added five rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocked shots. Center Jakob Poeltl had a team-high six blocked shots to go with eight points and six rebounds. Guard Kenneth Ogbe added 11 points off the bench for the Utes.

      Eight Utah players finished with eight or more points. The Utes shot 63.3 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from 3-point range to extend its home winning streak to 18 games.

      "You can talk about fixing things when they're broke, but to lose a game like we did at Oregon really got some guys attention," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "We had a terrific couple of days of practice. To have eight guys score eight or more points tonight was just what we needed. It was a group effort."

      Guard Gerry Blakes and forward Willie Atwood each scored 12 points to lead Arizona State (15-13, 7-8), which suffered its most lopsided loss of the season.

      The Sun Devils shot just 28 percent from the floor and 18.8 percent from the perimeter. Arizona State had as many turnovers (14) as field goals and seemed outmatched in every phase of the game.

      "There's not a whole lot to say," Sun Devils coach Herb Sendek said. "Utah was just tremendous in every facet of the game. There's not a whole lot of value in trying to dissect it any more than that at this point."

      Utah put the hammer down on defense from the opening tip. Arizona State missed nine of its first 10 shots from the field, opening the door for the Utes to sprint out to a big lead.

      Forward Jordan Loveridge converted a four-point play and forward Chris Reyes had two baskets to help Utah score the first eight points.

      The Utes took their first double-digit lead at 12-2 on back-to-back highlight reel plays by Wright. The senior hauled in a baseball pass and flipped it to guard Dakarai Tucker for a layup. Then, moments later, Wright stole the ball from Arizona State forward Savon Goodman and took it in for a breakaway dunk.

      On the other end, Poeltl had three blocked shots in the first three minutes to set the tone for a half where Utah finished with 10 blocks

      "That was crazy," Wright said. "I feel like every shot that was going up was getting blocked."

      Arizona State cut the deficit to 15-7 on consecutive layups from Goodman with 9:51 left. Then the Sun Devils got cooked on both ends of the court.

      Utah outscored Arizona State 26-2 during the remainder of the half. The Utes blocked 10 shots and forced 10 turnovers before halftime. Both numbers were higher than the points scored by the Sun Devils.

      Utah made nine of its final 11 shots from the field in the first half. It started with a 3-pointer from guard Brandon Taylor that made it 20-7 and ended with another 3-pointer from forward Brekkott Chapman with 31 seconds remaining before halftime.

      Nothing really changed in the script for Utah after halftime. The Utes continued to dominate Arizona State in every sense of the word.

      Utah made nine straight baskets at one point, pushing its lead to 70-24 on a 3-pointer from guard Isaiah Wright -- the last in that sequence -- with 6:14 remaining in the game.

      "We would've needed about 50 timeouts tonight," Sendek. "We could've called a timeout after every possession. That might have been the only way (to slow Utah down)."

      NOTES: Arizona State scored its fewest first-half points since it had eight against Washington State on Feb. 8, 2012. Utah matched its season high for blocked shots in the first half with 10. The Utes had 10 blocks previously against San Diego State on Nov. 18. ... G Delon Wright is on pace to become just the second Utah player to amass 1,000 career points, 375 rebounds, 350 assists, 150 steals and 70 blocks.

  • Friday, February 27, 2015
    Top 25 roundup: Arizona clobbers Colorado
    By The Sports Xchange

    BOULDER, Colo. -- Forward Stanley Johnson scored 15 points, and seventh-ranked Arizona beat Colorado 82-54 Thursday night.

    • Center Kaleb Tarczewski and guard Gabe York had 14 points each for Arizona, which has won five straight and 11 of 12 to lead the Pac-12 Conference with a little more than a week left in the regular season.

      Senior guard Askia Booker paced Colorado with 14 points. The Buffaloes (12-15, 5-10 Pac-12) lost their third game in a row and their sixth in seven to fall near the bottom of the conference standings.

      The Wildcats (25-3, 13-2) have a chance to clinch the conference title outright when they travel to play No. 13 Utah on Saturday.

      Gonzaga 59, San Diego 39

      SPOKANE, Wash. -- Center Przemek Karnowski led all players with 14 points and eight rebounds, leading the third-ranked Bulldogs to a win over the Toreros.

      Gonzaga, which already clinched the West Coast Conference championship, overcame a sluggish start to extend its winning streaks to 22 overall, 41 at home and 22 against WCC opponents. Gary Bell scored 13 points for the Bulldogs, and fellow guard Byron Wesley added 12. Forward Domantas Sabonis had 11 points and seven rebounds.

      Forward Brandon Perry led San Diego (14-15, 7-10) with nine points. The Toreros' scoring leader, guard Johnny Dee, was held to six points on 2-for-10 shooting.

      Utah 83, Arizona State 41

      SALT LAKE CITY -- Guard Delon Wright scored 12 points to spearheaded a balanced scoring attack, and center Jakob Poeltl had six blocked shots to propel a ferocious defense that lifted the 13th-ranked Utes to a rout of the Sun Devils.

      Utes guard Kenneth Ogbe added 11 points off the bench. Utah (22-5, 12-3 Pac-12) shot 63.3 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from 3-point range to extend its home winning streak to 18 games.

      Guard Gerry Blakes and forward Willie Atwood each scored 12 points to lead Arizona State (15-13, 7-8), which endured its most lopsided loss of the season.

      SMU 66, Memphis 57

      MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Guard Nic Moore scored 16 points, leading the 21st-ranked Mustangs to a victory over the Tigers in an American Athletic Conference game.

      The Mustangs (23-5, 14-2 AAC) won their seventh consecutive league road game. SMU shot 58 percent in the second half, including 4-for-6 from beyond the 3-point arc. Mustangs guard Ryan Manuel and center Yanick Moreira each contributed 11 points.

      Memphis (17-11, 9-6) got a game-high 17 points from forward Shaq Goodwin. Reserve forward Nick King added 14 off the bench. Tigers forward Austin Nichols, the team's leading scorer, was held to six points on 2-of-11 shooting.