Top 25 roundup: Monk scores 47, Kentucky tops North Carolina
Las Vegas — Midway through the first half, a frustrated North Carolina fan stood and screamed at Malik Monk.
“You can miss!” she yelled, before pausing and changing tactics. “Please?” she added.
Monk rarely complied, setting a Kentucky freshman record with 47 points and hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer with 16.7 seconds left to lead the sixth-ranked Wildcats past No. 7 North Carolina 103-100 on Saturday.
“If you watched that game, if you never liked basketball, you’re going to start liking basketball,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “Like, wow.”
North Carolina’s Justin Jackson nearly outshined Monk with 34 points, and his basket with 45 seconds left put the Tar Heels (10-2) ahead after trailing much of the second half.
Monk responded with a right-wing 3 in transition to put Kentucky up 101-100 — going against Calipari’s wishes.
“Coach told me to drive, but I was hot and I shot it,” Monk said.
After Isaiah Hicks only hit the backboard at the other end, Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox hit two free throws with 1.9 seconds left.
North Carolina got the ball in the front court with less than a second left. But Kenny Williams’ desperation 3 at the buzzer got lodged between the rim and backboard.
“Heck of a college basketball game if you don’t care who won,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. “But I do care who wins. . Malik was off the charts.”
Monk hit 18 of 28 shots, including 8 of 12 3-point attempts, scoring in various ways in an electric performance that was the most points in Division I this season. Only Duke’s Dick Groat (48 points) in 1952 has scored more against the Tar Heels.
And Kentucky needed Monk’s huge effort to offset Jackson’s four 3s and 10 free throws in a game played at a furious pace.
“Those are games you live for,” Fox said.
Fox added 24 points for Kentucky (10-1), which shot 54 percent from the field. North Carolina shot 53 percent. They combined for 37 assists and just 19 turnovers.
The Tar Heels fell to 52-2 when they score 100 points under Williams and 180-4 when they shoot better than 50 percent.
Joel Berry II returned from injury to score 23 points for the Tar Heels, but was slowed by foul trouble in the second half.
The enthusiastic crowd at the new T-Mobile Arena just off the Las Vegas Strip made it feel like an Elite Eight game. The quality of play in the CBS Sports Classic matchup gave it more of a Final Four feel.
With two of the highest-scoring and fastest teams squaring off, Calipari joked earlier in the week he and Williams would be constantly yelling, “Get back!” on defense.
In the 38th meeting between the schools, Monk dominated early and Kentucky raced to a 12-point lead. Jackson and Berry, who returned from a two-game absence due to a sprained left ankle, kept scoring off the dribble as North Carolina closed to 56-51 at halftime.
There was hardly time to catch a breath. Kentucky took a 10-point lead in the second half. The Tar Heels rallied to tie it on Tony Bradley’s two free throws with 2:51 left and went ahead on Jackson’s 3 with 1:33 remaining.
More Top 25
(At) No. 3 Kansas 89, Davidson 71: Josh Jackson and Frank Mason III scored 18 points apiece, helping Kansas overcome a sluggish, sloppy first half to beat Davidson at Sprint Center. Svi Mykhailiuk also had 13 points for the Jayhawks (10-1), who extended their nation-leading home winning streak to 49 games. Kansas considered the matchup with the Wildcats (5-4) a home game even though it was played just down the road from its campus in Lawrence.
No. 4 Baylor 82, Jackson State 57: Al Freeman scored a season-high 19 points and made a career-best five 3-pointers and Baylor returned to Fort Hood with a victory over Jackson State. There was a near-capacity crowd that included soldiers and their families at 2,400-seat Abrams Gym. Edric Dennis scored 21 points for Jackson State (3-8).
(At) No. 10 Creighton 66, Oral Roberts 65: Marcus Foster scored 22 points and Creighton rallied to beat Oral Roberts 66-65 on Saturday night.The Bluejays (11-0) led by as many as 13 early in the second half, but saw the Golden Eagles (2-10) claw back to take a five-point lead with 6:08 left in the game. Creighton held Oral Robert the rest of the way, talking the lead on Foster’s short jumper in the lane with 3:28 left.
(At) No. 11 Louisville 87, Eastern Kentucky 56: Donovan Mitchell scored 15 points, Quentin Snider added 13 and Louisville (10-1) used a 20-0 run to close the first half for its fifth straight victory.Seeking a good tuneup for next week’s rivalry game against No. 6 Kentucky, the Cardinals (10-1) shook off a sluggish start and 12-6 deficit to outscore EKU 30-4 the rest of the half and hold the Colonels scoreless for the final 7 minutes. Nick Mayo had 15 points and Asante Gist added 12 for the Colonels (6-6).
(At) No. 12 West Virginia 112, Missouri-Kansas City 67: Coach Bob Huggins earned his 800th win as West Virginia used a 37-4 first-half run to cruise to the victory. Huggins is the 10th coach to reach 800 wins and only the third to achieve that milestone at his alma mater, the others being Jim Boeheim at Syracuse and Adolph Rupp at Kentucky. Nathan Adrian led seven players in double figures for the Mountaineers (9-1) with 13 points. LaVell Boyd led the Kangaroos (7-6) with 14 points.
(At) No. 13 Virginia 79, Robert Morris 39: Devon Hall matched his career high with 13 points for Virginia. Freshman Kyle Guy also scored 13 points and Jack Salt had a career-best 10 for the Cavaliers (9-1), who overcame a sluggish start and broke the game open with a 38-8 run spanning halftime. Isaiah Still led Robert Morris (3-9) with 16 points.
No. 16 South Carolina 77, South Florida 66: PJ Dozier scored 11 of his 23 points in the closing minutes for South Carolina (9-1), which was without leading scorer and rebounder Sindarius Thornwell, who has been suspended indefinitely for violating athletic department policy. Jahmal McMurray led USF (5-4) with 25 points.
(At) No. 17 Xavier 69, Wake Forest 65: Trevon Bluiett scored 20 points, including three free throws in the final 19 seconds, and Xavier (9-2) held off Wake Forest. Bryant Crawford scored 20 points for the Demon Deacons (8-3)
No. 19 Arizona 67, Texas A&M 63: Dusan Ristic tied a season-high with 18 points and Arizona (10-2) had to hold off a furious rally by Texas A&M for its fourth straight win. Lauri Markkanen added 17 points and seven rebounds, and Kobi Simmons chipped in 14 points for the Wildcats. Tyler Davis had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Texas A&M (7-3), which had its three-game winning streak snapped.
No. 22 Oregon 83, UNLV 63: At Portland, Oregon, Dillon Brooks had 20 points, including 16 in the second half, and Oregon extended its winning streak to eight. Tyler Dorsey added 18 points while Jordan Bell had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Oregon (10-2), which led by 23 points in the second half. The Ducks have held 11 straight opponents under 70 points. Jovan Mooring led the Rebels (6-5) with 20 points. Tyrell Green added 18 points and eight rebounds. Oregon was without leading scorer Chris Boucher, who was on crutches and wearing a boot on his right foot on the Ducks’ bench.
No. 23 Florida State 83, Manhattan 67: Dwayne Bacon scored 16 points and Florida State dominated inside to earn its seventh consecutive victory in the opening game at the Orange Bowl Classic.The Seminoles (11-1) are off to their best start in school history, and the winning streak is their longest since 2012. Zavier Turner had 18 points for Manhattan (3-8), which hasn’t beaten a ranked team since 1995.
(At) No. 25 Cincinnati 119, Fairleigh Dickinson 68: Senior Kevin Johnson scored a career-high 18 points as Cincinnati (9-2) rolled to the highest-scoring game of coach Mick Cronin’s 11-year career. Stephan Jiggetts scored 24 points to lead the Knights (2-9), who have lost seven straight and eight of nine.