Daniel Ochefu (20 points) and Josh Hart (15) once again led the way for No. 11 Villanova (13-2, 3-0), who keeps on rolling. The Wildcats held off Seton Hall (12-3, 2-1) , 73-62, handing the Pirates their first conference loss, depriving them of a needed marquee win in the process.
No. 10 Xavier (14-1, 2-1), still without the injured Edmond Sumner, remains a game back of the conference lead after picking up a closer than expected 74-66 win at St. John's (7-9, 0-3)
It looked like Wake Forest (9-5, 0-2) might just give No. 14 Duke (13-2, 2-0) a game, thanks to a late first-half Demon Deacon rally that cut the Blue Devils' lead at the interval to three, but the visitors put the pedal down in the second half, earning a 91-75 victory in Winston-Salem. Grayson Allen led the Blue Devils with 24, while Luke Kennard added 23.
No. 24 Pittsburgh (13-1, 2-0) had five players hit double figures, which was enough to neutralize Adam Smith 's 30-point effort for Georgia Tech (10-5, 0-2), as the Panthers picked up a necessary 89-84 win that wasn't all that close.
Third-ranked Maryland (14-1, 3-0) didn't give Rutgers (6-10, 0-3) a chance as expected, even though Melo Trimble only scored four points due to leaving the game early due to an injured hamstring. So, Jake Layman (18 points) and Diamond Stone (15 and 10 boards) carried the Terps to an 88-63 win.
Ohio State (11-5, 3-0) won its seventh in a row, topping host Northwestern (13-3, 1-2), 65-56, in a game that was marked by plenty of fouls and offensive issues, particularly for the Wildcats. NU's Tre Demps was a woeful three-of-17 from the floor and one-of-eight from three on the night. Kam Williams came off the bench to lead the Buckeyes, who are moving into more secure bid position (for early January anyway), with 21.
California (12-4, 2-1) became Oregon's (12-3, 1-1) first conference victim, as the Golden Bears just didn't have enough in the final moments in Eugene, as the Ducks won the matchup of two possible NCAA squads by a 68-65 score. Jaylen Brown led the visitors with 20, while Chris Boucher led Oregon with 18. Later in Corvallis, Stanford (9-5, 2-1) cooled off red-hot Oregon State (10-3, 1-1), 78-72, with Rosco Allen scoring 21 and grabbing eight rebounds, on a night when the Cardinal outmuscled the Beavers, especially when needing to earn second-chance buckets.
Texas Tech (11-2, 1-1) had a chance in the final two minutes to make a statement at No. 13 Iowa State (12-2, 1-1), but the Cyclones slammed the door on the Red Raiders late, grabbing a 76-69 win. Matt Thomas surprisingly led ISU with 22 points on the night. Tubby Smith's squad will have to wait for another night to grab a marquee win.
A red-hot Tennessee (8-6, 1-1) squad embarrassed Florida (9-5, 1-1) in Knoxville, 83-69, a score that doesn't reflect the comprehensiveness of the Volunteer victory. Kevin Punter scored 26 for the Vols, going nine-for-16 from the floor and three-for-three from three-land, and Admiral Schofield added 17. KeVaughn Allen led UF with 18.
Surprisingly, the best game of the night in the league played out in Starkville where No. 21 Texas A&M (12-2, 2-0) got more than it bargained for from Mississippi State (7-6, 0-1), as the Aggies won 61-60 despite playing through a poor offensive night. A Quinndary Weatherspoon three as time expired reduced the margin to one.
Georgia (8-4, 1-1) used the three ball to blow by Missouri (7-7, 0-1), 77-59, with J.J. Frazier going four-of-six from beyond the arc as he racked up 16 points for the Bulldogs.
USF (3-13, 0-3) traveled up Interstate 4 and all they got for the trouble was a 75-64 loss at the hands of hosts UCF (8-5, 2-0).
Freshly-ranked No. 25 Dayton (12-2, 2-0) continues to look like the class of the league. The Flyers annihilated visiting UMass (8-6, 1-1) by 30, 93-63. Eleven Flyers scored, with a half-dozen scoring 10 or more on the night. On the flip side, George Washington (12-3, 1-1) picked up the dreaded bad loss at Saint Louis (6-8, 1-1), as Mike Crawford's 20 points helped push the Billikens past the Colonials at Chaifetz Arena, 65-62.
Davidson (9-4, 1-1) even their league mark with a 77-66 home win over Duquesne (77-66), while St. Bonaventure (10-3, 2-0) built off their Saturday win over the Wildcats, blasting George Mason (6-9, 0-2) in Fairfax, 77-58. La Salle (4-8, 0-2) remains winless early in A 10 play, following a 66-61 setback at Fordham (10-3, 1-1).
Usual suspects Stony Brook (10-4, 1-0), Albany (12-4, 1-0), and Vermont (9-7, 1-0) all started their America East seasons with victories, over Binghamton, UMBC, and Maine, respectively.
Defending Atlantic Sun tournament champ North Florida (12-6, 1-0) did the same, topping in-state rival Stetson(6-10, 0-1) by a 97-79 score. On the other hand, NJIT (9-8) dropped a non-conference road game to Ivy contender Yale (9-5), 83-65.
Eight teams opened MAC play on Wednesday night. Bowling Green (10-4, 1-0) defended its home floor with a Miami, Ohio RedHawks (6-8, 0-2) Toledo (9-5, 0-1) fell at Ball State Cardinals (10-4, 1-0), 87-69. Eastern Michigan (9-5, 1-0) picked up a nice road win at Central Michigan (7-7, 0-1), 99-80. And in the game of the night, Northern Illinois (12-2, 1-0) took out Ohio (9-4, 0-1) by 11, 80-69.
In the Missouri Valley, Evansville (13-3, 2-1) fought bravely at Wichita State (9-5, 3-0), but didn't have enough, falling by a 67-64 score. The Shockers will continue to share first place, however, as Illinois State (9-7, 3-0) was victorious at home against Loyola of Chicago (7-8, 0-3) by a 54-52 score, and Southern Illinois (14-2, 3-0) romped at Bradley (2-14, 0-3), 65-44. Northern Iowa (9-7, 1-2), meanwhile, continues to perplex. The Panthers fell at Missouri State (5-10, 1-2), 59-58.
Heading into Mountain West play, UNLV (9-6, 0-2) looked like an at-large possibility, thanks to wins over Indiana and Oregon, but the Runnin' Rebels are running out of rope after they fell at Colorado State (9-6, 1-1), 66-65 at Moby Arena. Elsewhere, San Diego State (10-6, 3-0) predictably topped San Jose State (5-10, 0-3) at Viejas, 77-62 and Fresno State (11-5, 2-1) had no trouble disposing of Nevada (9-6, 1-2), 85-63.
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