Saturday’s top 25: Villanova too much for Providence

Associated Press

Providence, R.I. — Villanova was overpowered on both ends of the floor in its overtime loss at home to Providence last month, the first vulnerability shown by a team that was unbeaten in Big East play.

The Friars came in a step slower for the rematch and the Wildcats took full advantage.

Darryl Reynolds had a career-high 19 points and 10 rebounds and third-ranked Villanova held off a late rally to defeat No. 11 Providence 72-60 on Saturday.

The win gets the Wildcats to 20 victories and avenges its lone Big East loss this season. Ryan Arcidiacono added 16 points as the Wildcats (20-3, 10-1) earned their 12th victory in 13 games.

Providence’s Ben Bentil, who came in as the conference’s leading scorer, didn’t start and was bothered by the right ankle he sprained in the Friars’ loss at DePaul on Tuesday. After scoring just two points in the first half, he scored 18 in the final 20 minutes.

But it wasn’t enough to pull the Friars out of a deep deficit.

“We’re going to talk about a lot of great things we did, but we’re not dismissing the fact their best player and leading scorer was not at 100 percent. But that’s basketball,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said.

Villanova led by as many as 17 in the second half before seeing its lead cut to four with 2:59 to play on a 3-pointer by Bentil.

But the Wildcats handled the Friars’ full court pressure down the stretch, knocking down open shots late in the shot clock and capitalizing on extra possessions after offensive rebounds.

Villanova also stepped up on the defensive end, pushing Providence to take perimeter shots. The Friars shot just 33 percent (19 of 57) from the field for the game and were outscored in the paint 32-14.

The Wildcats played without 6-foot-11 Daniel Ochefu, who missed his third straight game with a concussion he sustained in practice. He remains under the university’s concussion protocol.

“It feels good, but we definitely miss our senior leader,” Reynolds said. “The goal is to keep it going. Our coach is always preaching that one guy goes down, the next one is ready to step up.”

Bentil led Providence (18-6, 6-5) with 20 points. Kris Dunn added 11.

Villanova seized on Bentil’s absence to start the game, quickly taking a 10-0 lead.

Bentil began the game on the sideline riding an exercise bike, but after the first seven Wildcats’ points, Providence coach Ed Cooley checked him into the game.

Even with their leader on the court, the Friars struggled. They missed seven of their first eight shots and couldn’t match the Wildcats’ aggressiveness on the inside.

Villanova built a 19-point lead in the opening 20 minutes and held a 27-15 rebounding advantage.

“I think you need to have a simple message to your team. It’s a long season, but we’re still in good shape. It’s tough with the way we’ve played lately,” Cooley said.

(At) Kansas State 80, No. 1 Oklahoma 69: Wesley Iwundu scored 22 points, and Kansas State shook up the Big 12 race once again. Freshman reserve Dean Wade had 17 points for the Wildcats (14-9, 3-7), who ended the Sooners’ four-game winning streak by holding in check player of the year front-runner Buddy Hield.

The high-scoring guard had 23 points, but a big chunk came in the final minutes, when the Sooners (19-3, 7-3) were desperately trying to rally against a team that wouldn’t budge an inch.

It was Kansas State’s first victory against a No. 1 team since it topped Kansas on Feb. 11, 2011, and just the fifth time the program had knocked off the nation’s best team.

No. 2 North Carolina also lost, falling 80-76 at Notre Dame. According to STATS, it was the first time the top two teams in the country lost to unranked schools on the same day since Jan. 21, 2006, when No. 1 Duke lost to Georgetown and No. 2 Florida was defeated by Tennessee.

(At) Notre Dame 80, No. 2 North Carolina 76: Demetrius Jackson scored 19 points, helping Notre Dame rally. It was the second straight loss for the Tar Heels (19-4, 8-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), and Fighting Irish fans celebrated by gathering on the court.

Bonzie Colson added 19 points and 10 rebounds for Notre Dame (16-7, 7-4).

North Carolina’s Marcus Paige broke out of a six-game shooting slump, finishing with 21 points. Brice Johnson had 14 points and 14 rebounds.

(At) No. 6 Xavier 90, Marquette 82: J.P. Macura scored a career-high 20 points and hit a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch. The Musketeers (21-2, 9-2 Big East) have won five in a row and six of seven against the Golden Eagles (15-9, 4-7), who led throughout the second half before Macura led Xavier’s comeback. He had back-to-back 3s that put Xavier ahead to stay with 2:55 to go.

Henry Ellenson led Marquette with 22 points.

No. 7 Kansas 75, (at) TCU 56: Perry Ellis had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Kansas started the second half of its Big 12 Conference schedule with a victory. Kansas (19-4, 7-3), which had lost its previous three conference road games, never trailed after scoring the game’s first seven points.

Devonte Graham added 15 points for the Jayhawks, who shot 50 percent from the field.

Brandon Parrish and JD Miller had 13 points each for TCU (10-13, 1-9).

No. 25 South Carolina 81, (at) No. 8 Texas A&M 78: Sindarius Thornwell had 25 points and nine assists. Michael Carrera scored 20 points on 6-for-6 shooting for the Gamecocks (20-3, 7-3 Southeastern Conference), who bounced back from a 69-56 loss at Georgia on Tuesday. Mindaugus Kacinas finished with 11 points.

Danuel House and Alex Caruso had 16 points each for Texas A&M (18-5, 7-3), which has lost two in a row and three of four. Jalen Jones scored 14 points in the Aggies’ first home loss of the season.

No. 9 Virginia 64, (at) Pittsburgh 50: Malcolm Brogdon scored 21 points, and Virginia earned its sixth consecutive victory.

London Perrantes added 14 for the Cavaliers (19-4, 8-3), who remain unbeaten (4-0) against the Panthers since Pitt moved to the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013. Virginia took control after the Panthers tied it early in the second half, knocking down three straight 3-pointers during a game-turning 12-0 run.

Jamel Artis led Pittsburgh (17-5, 6-4) with 17 points, and Michael Young had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

No. 13 Iowa State 64, (at) Oklahoma State 59: Georges Niang had 18 points and nine rebounds. Niang was 8 for 16 from the field. Monte Morris and Matt Thomas each scored 16 points for the Cyclones (17-6, 6-4 Big 12).

Jeffrey Carroll had 18 points and seven rebounds for Oklahoma State (11-12, 2-8), which lost for the fourth time in five games.

(At) No. 14 West Virginia 80, No. 15 Baylor 69: Daxter Miles Jr. scored a season-high 20 points and West Virginia grabbed sole possession of first place in the Big 12.

West Virginia (19-4, 8-2) took over at the top of the standings after No. 1 Oklahoma lost to Kansas State.

Jaysean Paige scored 17 points for West Virginia, which finally found a way to beat Baylor after four straight losses to the Bears going back two years.

King McClure and Ishmail Wainright had 11 points each for Baylor (17-6, 6-4).

(At) No. 19 Louisville 79, Boston College 47: Trey Lewis scored 16 points as Louisville rolled a day after the school imposed a postseason ban for recruiting violations. The Cardinals (19-4, 8-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) followed up Monday’s upset of No. 2 North Carolina with a lopsided win despite uneven stretches. The absence of leading scorer Damion Lee (bruised knee) impacted their rotation, but plenty of teammates stepped up to fill the void in an emotional game.

Sammy Barnes-Thompkins scored 11 for Boston College (7-16, 0-10).

(At) No. 20 Kentucky 80, Florida 61: Jamal Murray scored a career-high 35, and Kentucky ended a rare two-game losing streak.

The Wildcats (17-6, 7-3 Southeastern Conference) improved to 15-0 at home.

Murray made a career-best eight of Kentucky’s season-high 12 3-pointers.

Dorian Finney-Smith led the Gators (15-8, 6-4) with 24 points.

(At) Illinois State 58, No. 21 Wichita State 53: Paris Lee had a career-high 19 points to help Illinois State. Deontae Hawkins scored 14 points for Illinois State (14-11, 8-4 Missouri Valley), which erased a 16-point deficit in the second half.

Wichita State (17-6, 11-1) had won 12 in a row. Shaquille Morris and Ron Baker each scored 10 points for the Shockers, who shot 35.2 percent (19 for 54) from the field.

No. 23 Arizona 77, (at) Washington 72: Ryan Anderson had 22 points and 15 rebounds for Arizona, and Kadeem Allen hit a 3-pointer with 1:01 left as the shot clock expired.

Anderson was a force inside, making 6 of 12 shots and hitting 10 of 11 free throws, and Allen’s big play gave the Wildcats a 75-70 lead.

Gabe York added 18 points for Arizona (19-5, 7-4 Pac-12).

Andrew Andrews led Washington (15-8, 7-4) with 20 points.

No. 24 Dayton 98, (at) George Mason 64: Charles Cooke scored 24 points to help Dayton to its seventh straight win.

The Flyers (19-3, 9-1) moved into a tie atop the Atlantic 10 standings after Virginia Commonwealth’s loss earlier in the day to George Washington.

Otis Livingston led George Mason (8-15, 2-8) with 21 points.