No. 18 Kentucky 73, ?No. 6 Louisville 66
Kentucky coach John Calipari was so focused on coaching his team that he barely noticed star forward Julius Randle was on the bench being treated for cramps.
Fortunately for the Wildcats, guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison knew he wasn’t there and their work in offsetting his absence proved crucial in overcoming visiting Louisville. The identical twin freshmen combined for 28 points, including 11 during a crucial second-half stretch with Randle sidelined, helping the 18th-ranked Wildcats earn a victory on Saturday.
“It always hurts you when you lose a great player,” said Andrew Harrison, who went 6 of 16 from the field. “But at the same time, we all knew we had to bring it and that just means we all had to step it up a little bit.”
Randle’s 17 first-half points staked Kentucky (10-3) to a 41-36 halftime lead before the 6-foot-9 forward went to the locker room early in the second with leg cramps. He returned but soon limped to the bench with more cramps and spent the rest of the game on the bench.
The Harrison twins amply filled the void, turning a 52-51 deficit with 11:01 remaining into a 68-58 lead with four minutes left. Andrew Harrison and James Young each scored 18 points with Young adding a key 3-pointer during the 17-6 run that helped Kentucky beat its in-state archrival for the fifth time in six meetings.
“Andrew played incredible today down the stretch,” forward Alex Poythress said.
The young, talented Wildcats also earned their first win against a ranked opponent in four tries this season.
Russ Smith scored 19 points but was just 5-of-10 from the foul line for Louisville (11-2), which failed to capitalize after rallying from the halftime hole. Chris Jones added 18 points for the Cardinals, who made just 14-of-22 free throws and missed their second chance to beat a top-25 school.
No. 2 Syracuse 78, ?No. 8 Villanova 62
Jim Boeheim stared up in frustration at the Carrier Dome scoreboard, his host Orange in big trouble against Villanova.
The Wildcats had started Saturday’s game by hitting four consecutive 3-pointers — three swishes by James Bell and another by Darrun Hilliard — and led 25-7 midway through the first half after a dunk by Josh Hart.
Syracuse struggled to create open looks and went nearly 4 minutes without a basket as the Wildcats looked exactly like the team that had already beaten two ranked teams.
“There was no indication we were going to get going,” Boeheim said.
If the Orange were frazzled by their largest deficit of the season, it never showed. They responded with a 20-0 run over the next 5 minutes to take their first lead and never trailed again, winning a game between two of nine unbeaten teams left in Division I.
Syracuse (12-0) tightened its defense and the Wildcats (11-1) missed seven shots, committed three fouls and were called for a travel before losing the ball out of bounds as the game began to slip away.
Villanova trailed 34-30 at the half, not bad considering leading scorer JayVaughn Pinkston had only three points on 1-of-3 shooting, his only make coming on a desperation 3 at the shot-clock buzzer in the final minute.
“They weathered the storm,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “We hit shots. When you hit shots like that, everything looks great, but you know you’re not going to shoot that percentage for the entire game. They weathered it and kept coming back at us. We had the lead and then we got sloppy.”
Trevor Cooney led Syracuse with 21 points, Tyler Ennis had 20, and Jerami Grant 11.
Bell finished with a career-high six 3-pointers and matched his career high with 25 points to lead Villanova before fouling out with 1:42 left. Hart had 10 points, the only other Villanova player in double figures. Pinkston, averaging 16.5 points, finished with three points, while Hilliard, averaging 14.4, had only five points on 1-of-7 shooting before fouling out in the final minute.
Cooney had 11 points and Fair added six in the Orange’s comeback spurt, which was capped by a driving layup by Ennis at 4:51.
“It was a tough war to get back,” said Cooney, who was 5-of-8 from long range. “Getting behind like that against a team like Villanova, it’s tough to come back. It shows a lot about us.”
No. 4 Wisconsin 80, ?Prarie View A&M 43
Sam Dekker had 16 points and 11 rebounds for his third career double-double as host Wisconsin cruised past Prairie View A&M.
The Badgers (13-0) closed out their nonconference schedule with their best start since the 1913-14 squad went 15-0.
Ben Brust scored 11 for Wisconsin, while Frank Kaminsky and Nigel Hayes added 10 points apiece.
Montrael Scott scored 14 to lead the Panthers (2-10), who finished 1-8 on a nine-game road swing.
Playing for the first time in two weeks, the Badgers were a little rusty from 3-point range. Averaging 40 percent coming in, they finished 9-for-27. However, everything else was working as they dominated at the free-throw line and in rebounding while committing just two turnovers.
No. 5 Michigan State 101, ?New Orleans 48
Keith Appling scored 16 of his career-high-tying 27 points in the first half to help host Michigan State pull away and rout New Orleans. The Spartans (11-1) struggled for several minutes before taking control with a 12-0 run midway through the first half. They led 44-27 at halftime.
The Privateers (3-5) had won two in a row, including its previous game at UTEP.
New Orleans’ Matt Derenbecker scored 16 and Cory Dixon had 11 points.
No. 9 Duke 82, ?Eastern Michigan 59
Jabari Parker scored 23 points and host Duke beat Eastern Michigan (7-4). Andre Dawkins added 20 points with a season-high six 3-pointers as a late replacement for an ill Rodney Hood in the starting lineup. Rasheed Sulaimon added 13 points and came up with the key hustle play during the decisive second-half run that helped the Blue Devils (10-2) polish off their fourth consecutive win.
No. 15 Connecticut 82, ?Eeastern Washington 65
Shabazz Napier had 15 points and nine assists to lead host Connecticut to an 82-65 win over Eastern Washington in a UConn home game played 80 miles from campus in Bridgewater, Conn. Napier led a balanced attack in which five Huskies reached double figures. Ryan Boatright had 14 points and Niels Giffey, making his first start this season, added 13 for UConn (11-1).
No. 17 Memphis 75, ?Jackson State 61
Michael Dixon scored 14 points, Shaq Goodwin had 13 points and seven rebounds, and host Memphis never trailed in beating Jackson State (4-8). David Pellom had 12 points with all five of his field goals coming off dunks from fast-breaks and rebounds. Joe Jackson scored 11 for Memphis (9-2).
No. 23 UMass 69, Providence 67
Derrick Gordon’s put-back with 1.1 seconds left in overtime lifted host Massachusetts over Providence.
Gordon grabbed the rebound after a 3-point attempt by Trey Davis came up short. The Friars’ Bryce Cotton had tied the score at 67 after connecting from beyond the arc with 37 seconds remaining in the extra session.
Cady Lalanne led UMass (11-1) with 14 points and 11 rebounds with Davis and Sampson Carter each scoring 12 points. Senior point guard Chaz Williams finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 1:36 remaining in regulation.
Cotton finished with 24 points, five rebounds and five assists for Providence (10-3). Tyler Harris had 16 points and nine rebounds.
No. 24 Gonzaga 74, ?Santa Clara 60
David Stockton scored 21 points and Kevin Pangos added 17 to spark the host Gonzaga Bulldogs (11-2) over Santa Clara (7-7). Brandon Clark scored 22 points to lead Santa Clara.
No. 25 Missouri 68, ?North Carolina State 64
The visiting Missouri Tigers outscored North Carolina State 8-2 over the final minute to rally from a six-point fourth-quarter deficit. Jabari Brown’s 3-pointer with 55.1 seconds to play put Missouri up 63-62. Jordan Clarkson and Tony Criswell both hit two free throws to give the Tigers a five-point margin with 8 seconds left.