UConn (14-5, 5-2 AAC) picked up a crucial late non-conference win by topping Georgetown (12-8, 5-3 Big East) in Hartford 68-62, holding on to win after struggling to make field goals in the second half. The Huskies used balance to defeat the Hoyas, with four players scoring 11 or more, led by 17 from Rodney Purvis off the bench.
Saturday afternoon started with a pair of comfortable wins for the hosts. No. 15 Miami (15-3, 4-2) stepped on the gas in the second half to leave Wake Forest (10-9, 1-6) in the dust, 77-63. Ja'Quan Newton led the Hurricanes with 18. Simultaneously, Boston College (7-12, 0-6) was no match for Notre Dame (14-5, 5-2), which outscored the Eagles by 22 in the second half to claim a 76-49 win. However, the Irish lost Demetrius Jackson to the dreaded hamstring injury in the victory.
No. 20 Duke (15-5, 4-3) ended its three-game skid by handing North Carolina State (11-9, 1-6) a costly loss for its NCAA hopes, 88-78 in Raleight. Cat Barber led five Wolfpack players who hit double figures with 19, but their contributions were no match for those of the Blue Devils' Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram, who combined for 53 on the afternoon.
No. 17 Louisville (16-3, 5-1) took advantage of Georgia Tech's (11-8, 1-5) complete inability to seal the deal in Atlanta, turning a 39-32 Yellow Jacket halftime lead into a 75-71 win. Damion Lee led the Cardinals with 17, while Chinanu Onuaku recorded yet another double-double (12 and 11). Meanwhile, a late technical didn't cost Pitt (16-3, 5-2) at Florida State (12-7, 2-5), who was yet another team to miss a golden opportunity for a quality home win on Saturday. The Panthers' Jamel Artis and Sterling Smith and Malik Beasley of the Seminoles each scored 16.
No. 13 Baylor's (15-4, 5-2) ownership of first in the Big 12 is over, as current No. 1 Oklahoma (16-2, 5-2) walked out of Waco with an 82-72 victory, The Sooners hit 16 three-pointers in the win, with Buddy Hield hitting four (19 points) and Jordan Woodard knocking in five (20 points).
Texas Tech (12-6, 2-5) missed a golden opportunity to improve its fading NCAA hopes, as No. 6 West Virginia (16-3, 5-2) scored the final eight points in Lubbock to turn a 76-72 deficit with 1:10 left into an 80-76 win, snapping a two-game skid. Jaysean Paige and Tarik Phillip combined to score 42 off the bench for the Mountaineers, while Zach Smith led the red Raiders with 18.
Seton Hall (13-6, 3-4) lost its second consecutive close game to a Big East contender, dropping an 84-76 decision at No. 5 Xavier (17-2, 5-2). James Farr scored 24 and grabbed 15 boards for the Musketeers, who recovered nicely from Tuesday's loss to Georgetown.
Creighton (14-6, 5-2) is quietly putting together a good season in Omaha. The Bluejays topped Butler (13-6, 2-5) 72-64, thanks in no small part to 20 points and six assists from Maurice Watson Jr. The Bulldogs still have no bad losses, but they need to get some quality wins to complement their neutral-court victory over Purdue soon.
No. 11 Michigan State (17-4, 4-4) got back on track with a 74-65 home win over seventh-ranked Maryland (17-3, 6-2), who is still lacking a Top 50 win. Bryn Forbes led the Spartans with 23, while Denzel Valentine, who was looking a little gimpy in the second half, almost earned a triple-double, falling short on assists (17-13-8). But Matt Costello, who had 13 on the night made some big plays late to put the game out of Maryland's reach. The Terps' Melo Trimble led all scorers with 24, however.
As I wrote in yesterday's TV preview No. 25 Indiana (17-3, 7-0) has struggled with Northwestern (15-6, 3-5) lately, but not today. The Hoosiers handed the Wildcats their third defeat in a row, 89-57. Ten of Tom Crean's players scored, led by Yogi Ferrell, who had 17 points and six assists,
Michigan (15-5, 5-2) didn't have the easiest trip to Nebraska (12-9, 4-4), thanks to second half turnovers, but the Wolverines ended the Huskers' four-game winning streak by finishing strong, 81-68. Derrick Walton Jr. had yet another double-double for the Maize and Blue, scoring 19 and ripping down 12 boards.
Illinois (10-10, 2-5) forced overtime at Minnesota (6-14, 0-8) and once there, prevented the Gophers from picking up their first conference win of the year 76-71.
Oregon (16-4, 5-2) completed a home sweep of the L.A. schools with an easy 86-72 victory over UCLA (12-8, 3-4). The Ducks' starting frontcourt of Elgin Cook, Dillon Brooks, and Chris Boucher dominated the Bruins, combining to score 60, while nabbing 22 rebounds.
Jordan Mathews (28 points) pushed California (14-6, 4-3) past No. 12 Arizona (16-4, 4-3) 74-73 on a thrilling evening in Berkeley. Gabe York led the Wildcats with 15 on a rough shooting night (6-17 from the field). The victory boosted the Golden Bears' record against the RPI Top 50 to 5-3.
This SEC Saturday started with a shock, as No. 24 South Carolina (17-2, 4-2) fell to Tennessee, (10-9, 3-4) 78-69, with Kevin Punter Jr. scoring 36 for the Vols, who have a long way to go to get into the bid picture even with this win.
LSU (12-7, 5-2) barely avoided a disastrous loss at Alabama (10-8, 1-5), 72-70. Ben Simmons scored 23 and picked up eight rebounds for the Tigers, while Retin Obasohan scored 20 for the Tide, but he just couldn't get anything to fall late.
On the other hand, Ole Miss (12-7, 2-5) picked up a bad loss at Mississippi State (8-10, 1-5), 83-77, but it comes with an asterisk, as the Rebels were without both Stefan Moody, Martavious Newby, and Sebastian Saiz.
Vanderbilt (11-8, 3-4) got sunk at No. 23 Kentucky (15-4, 5-2) 76-57, thanks to a 64% shooting performance from the Wildcats in the second half. The Commodores' at-large hopes are in even more serious trouble after this loss to a Wildcat squad that looked a bit vulnerable heading into the day. No.10 Texas A&M (17-2, 7-0) keeps on rolling, winning 66-53 over Missouri (8-11, 1-5) in College Station, with Jalen Jones scoring 20 for the Aggies on the afternoon.
In the final game of the night, Florida (13-6, 5-2) played its best game of the season, starting out red hot from the field, from beyond the arc, and from the line, as they annihilated visiting Auburn (9-9, 3-4) 95-63. Five Gators hit double-figures on a night when they shot nearly 57% from the field, 47% from three, and an astounding (for this team) 83% from the foul line.
Montana (12-7, 7-1), by virtue of a 74-69 win over Eastern Washington (9-10, 3-4) and Weber State's (13-6, 5-1) 69-68 loss at Idaho State 98-10, 3-3), is now two games up in the win column on the Wildcats in the Big Sky.
Northeastern (12-9, 4-4) has dropped two in a row and four of five in the CAA, thanks to a 79-72 loss at Towson (14-7, 5-3). James Madison (16-5, 6-2) moved into temporary possession of first place by smoking Elon (12-9, 3-5) 82-64.
San Diego State (14-6, 7-0) is on a roll in the Mountain West, as the Aztecs defeated Utah State (11-8, 3-5) 70-55 at Viejas. Boise State (15-5, 6-1) remains a game back after picking up a needed win at Wyoming (10-11, 3-5) 81-71.
Houston Baptist (12-7, 7-0) won at Lamar (10-9, 2-5) 92-79 to stay a half-game up on Stephen F. Austin (13-5, 6-0), who topped Sam Houston State (10-10, 5-2) 76-64, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (15-3, 6-0), 97-76 winners over New Orleans (5-12, 1-5), in the Southland.
UT Arlington (14-4, 5-2), in its second game without star Kevin Hervey, dug itself partially out of a 42-14 halftime hole, but still fell short at home to Sun Belt leader Little Rock (17-2, 7-1) 68-62.
Saint Mary's (18-2, 8-1) consolidated its WCC lead with a 89-74 home win over Portland (9-13, 3-6). Gonzaga (15-5, 7-2) earned a weekend split by prevailing 71-61 at Pacific (6-13, 4-5). The Bulldogs remain a game behind the Gaels. However, BYU (14-7, 5-3) fell further back, falling at Pepperdine (13-7, 6-3) 71-65.