Lawrence, Kan. — Lagerald Vick had never watched last season’s Final Four loss to Villanova before this week, when top-ranked Kansas had to endure every minute of it while prepping for Saturday’s game against the Wildcats.
“We watched it for like, a week straight,” Vick said. “It was definitely hard.”
He’ll have better memories of the rematch.
Vick poured in 29 points Saturday, Dedric Lawson added 28 points and 12 rebounds, and both helped the Jayhawks make just enough free throws in the closing minutes to hold off the No. 17 Wildcats 74-71 in a game that was nip-and-tuck almost the entire way.
Devon Dotson added 11 points for the Jayhawks, including four effortless free throws in the final 1:10 to help Kansas (9-0) end a three-game losing streak to Villanova — the last two in the NCAA Tournament.
“This atmosphere was just awesome,” Wildcats coach Jay Wright. “We played a great program, just a great atmosphere – tough game – and they just did a great job getting Lagerald Vick in spots where he wanted it, and Dedric Lawson, you know you’re not going to shut them out.”
Still, the Wildcats (8-4) had chances in the final couple minutes.
Collin Gillespie’s three-point play drew them within 69-65 with 31 seconds left, and Vick gave them an opening when he threw the ball away on the ensuing inbounds play. But Vick atoned for the mistake by pulling down a defensive rebound, and then calmly made a pair of free throws at the other end.
Phil Booth’s deep, line-drive 3 got Villanova within 71-68, and after Lawson made the second of two foul shots for a 72-68 lead, Booth added another driving layup to trim the deficit to two.
Lawson added two more free throws to restore a 72-68 lead with 7.5 seconds left, and Gillespie was fouled at the other end. He made the first but was forced to miss the second on purpose, and the ball squirted toward the Wildcats’ bench, where a scrum ultimately gave Kansas the ball with 0.4 seconds left.
Once the Jayhawks inbounded the ball, they finally had a long-awaited win over the Wildcats.
Even if it came with far less on the line.
“We’re still 1-2 against Villanova,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “We beat them in the Sweet 16. They beat us in the Elite Eight. They beat us in the Final Four. The game today was nice, but it wasn’t a real game like the others were real games.”
Booth finished with 29 points for the Wildcats. Eric Paschall scored 17 but was rendered ineffective down the stretch because of foul trouble, and Gillespie finished with 15 but was just 1 for 7 from 3-point range.
Kansas has now won 39 straight in Allen Fieldhouse as the nation’s top-ranked team.
“They’re a very good defensive team,” Booth said. “We missed some shots at the end, but they did some great things defensively with their length. They just did a great job.”
The Jayhawks led 33-31 at halftime, despite playing most of the way without Dotson and fellow starter Quentin Grimes. Grimes picked up three early fouls and Dotson had two, relegating them to the bench.
Their teammates picked them up with the kind of defensive effort Kansas sorely needed in their lopsided Final Four loss, when Paschall and Co. made just about shot they took. The Jayhawks harried the senior forward into a couple of crucial turnovers while largely shutting down the paint.
Villanova found its offensive stride in the second half.
More Top 25
No. 3 Tennessee 102, Memphis 92: Admiral Schofield scored 20 of his 29 points in the second half and added 11 rebounds as Tennessee snapped a three-game skid to its in-state rival.
The Volunteers (8-1) avoided any letdown after a weeklong layoff for finals since upsetting then-No. 1 ranked Gonzaga last weekend in Phoenix. Grant Williams added 19 points for Tennessee.
Kyvon Davenport scored 26 of his career-high 31 points after halftime and had 11 boards. Tyler Harris added 10 points for Memphis (5-5).
(At) No. 7 Nevada 72, South Dakota State 68: Jordan Caroline scored 21 points and No. 7 Nevada mounted yet another comeback in a win over South Dakota State.
The Jackrabbits jumped ahead 40-33 at halftime in the matchup of 2018 NCAA Tournament teams. Nevada opened the second half on a 12-3 run en route to its fourth straight comeback of seven points or more.
Caleb Martin scored 20 points for Nevada (12-0), and Cody Martin and Trey Porter had 12 each.
Skyler Flatten led South Dakota State (9-4) with 20 points. Owen King scored 13 points, shooting 5 of 6 from the floor.
No. 8 Auburn 75, UAB 71, OT: Jared Harper scored 23 of Auburn’s last 30 points and finished with 31 to help the No. 8 Tigers outlast UAB in the Mike Slive Invitational.
In front of a crowd of 15,856, the budding in-state rivals raced to the overtime finish via the 3-point arc. After Harper scored 12 of the Tigers’ last 15, UAB’s Jeremiah Bell hit a pair of triples in the final 40 seconds, including a contested shot with 10 seconds left to send the contest to overtime. Bell finished with 13 points. Guard Jalen Perry led the Blazers (6-4) with 18 points on 6-for-13 shooting.
Chuma Okeke added 11 points for Auburn (9-1).
Harper took over in the overtime period, scoring or assisting on 25 of Auburn’s final 32 points. That streak began midway through the second half when Harper converted on a coast-to-coast lay-in. The basket tied the game after UAB led by as many as seven in the half.
(At) No. 11 Texas Tech 82, Abilene Christian 48: Jarrett Culver scored a career-high 30 points, Matt Mooney added 14 and No. 11 Texas Tech raced past Abilene Christian in the final game at sold-out Lubbock Municipal Coliseum.
The Red Raiders (10-0) called the Coliseum home from 1956-99, and Saturday was the second throwback game in the building. It will close next summer after a rodeo event.
The last time Tech started a season with at least 10 consecutive wins was 1929-30.
Jalone Friday scored 12 points for ACU before fouling out, and Jaren Lewis added nine. The Wildcats (9-2) fell victim to the same stingy Texas Tech defense that every opponent this season has.
No. 12 North Carolina 103, No. 4 Gonzaga 90: Cameron Johnson had 25 points and six 3-pointers while North Carolina shot 55 percent to beat Gonzaga.
Luke Maye added 20 points and 16 rebounds for the Tar Heels, who led by 14 at halftime and never let the Zags closer than eight after the break.
North Carolina (8-2) made 13 of 25 3-pointers to go along with a 42-21 rebounding advantage. That included 14 offensive boards that led to a 27-0 edge in second-chance points, which proved critical on a night when neither team missed too often.
Zach Norvell Jr. scored 21 points to lead the Bulldogs (9-2), who shot 56 percent after halftime and 51 percent overall.
No. 13 Virginia Tech 73, Washington 61: Nikell Alexander-Walker scored 24 points to lead No. 13 Virginia Tech over Washington in the Air Force Reserve Boardwalk Classic.
Justin Thomas, Kerry Blackshear and Ahmed Hill each added 10 points for the Hokies (9-1), who won their fourth straight. They led by 18 points at halftime.
Matisse Thybulle scored 16 points to lead Washington (7-4), which pulled within seven points with nine minutes left but couldn’t get any closer. David Crisp scored 12 points, and Naz Carter had 11 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
The Huskies (7-4) pulled within seven points with nine minutes left in regulation but couldn’t sustain the comeback.
(At) No. 14 Buffalo 73, Southern Illinois: Nick Perkins had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and No. 14 Buffalo beat Southern Illinois.
CJ Massinburg scored 14 points, Davonta Jordan had 11 and the Bulls (10-0) continued their best start since 1930-31, when they finished 15-0. They have won 17 consecutive home games dating to last season.
Sean Lloyd Jr. had 14 points for Southern Illinois (7-5) in its second straight loss.
(At) No. 15 Ohio State 73, Bucknell 71: Kaleb Wesson had a career-high 20 points and Ohio State held off a comeback bid by Bucknell.
Ohio State went on an 11-2 run to take an 11-point lead with under 10 minutes remaining, but Bucknell stormed back to within three with a 10-2 run and a late 3-pointer by Avi Toomer. The Bison got the ball with 14 seconds left, but a 3-point try by Bruce Moore hit the front of the rim.
Keyshawn Woods had 13 points on 5-of-9 3-point shooting for Ohio State (9-1). Wesson had 10 rebounds.
Toomer and Kimbal McKenzie led Bucknell (4-4) with 13 points each.
(At) No. 18 Mississippi State 70, Cincinnati 59: Quinndary Weatherspoon and Lamar Peters scored 14 points each, Reggie Perry and Tyson Carter both added 12, and No. 18 Mississippi State beat Cincinnati.
Mississippi State (9-1) used a 7-0 run midway through the second half – holding the Bearcats scoreless for more than four minutes – to break a tie game and take a 52-45 lead.
The Bulldogs were able to keep a fairly comfortable advantage the rest of the way. Mississippi State shot 12 of 23 (52 percent) from 3-point range. Peters added nine assists.
Cincinnati (9-2) had its nine-game winning streak snapped. Jarron Cumberland led the Bearcats with 21 points. Keith Williams added 15.
(At) No. 19 Kentucky 88, Utah 61: Freshman Keldon Johnson scored 24 points, including five 3-pointers in the first half, and Kentucky beat Utah.
Johnson made a career-high six shots from long range on seven attempts as Kentucky (8-2) made a season-high 12 3-pointers.
Both Gach led the Utes (4-5) with 22 points, followed by Jayce Johnson with 11.
No. 20 Arizona State 76, (at) Georgia 74: Remy Martin scored 21 points, Romello White added 16 and No. 20 Arizona State rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat Georgia.
Martin gave the Sun Devils (8-1) their first lead of the game with a baseline jumper to make it 71-70 with 2:43 remaining.
Rayshaun Hammonds and Tyree Crump each scored 19 points for Georgia (5-4). Nicolas Claxton had nine points and 13 rebounds, but the Bulldogs, looking for their first signature win under coach Tom Crean, were undone by 10 turnovers that led to 12 Arizona State points in the second half.
Tye Fagan’s reverse layup put Georgia back ahead with 25 seconds remaining, but Luguentz Dort beat Claxton off the dribble to make it 75-74 with 11 seconds to go.
No. 22 Iowa 77, Northern Iowa 54: Tyler Cook had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Luka Garza scored 17, and No. 22 Iowa cruised past Northern Iowa for its second straight win.
Freshman Joe Wieskamp added 10 points for the Hawkeyes (8-2), who opened the game with a 25-7 run and never looked back.
This was the last scheduled game between these two long-time rivals. They had split the last 14 meetings – but the bigger and more athletic Hawkeyes ran roughshod over the scuffling Panthers (4-6) from the opening tip.
Wyatt Lohaus led Northern Iowa with 15 points, but freshman star A.J. Green had just two points on 1-for-8 shooting.
(At) No. 23 Furman 93, UNC Wilmington 50: Clay Mounce tied his career high with 26 points and had 10 rebounds as No. 23 Furman ran past UNC Wilmington, moving to 12-0.
The Paladins long ago surpassed their best previous start to a season (5-0) and have won 19 of their past 20 games.
Devontae Cacok had 11 points to lead UNC Wilmington (4-7).
Old Dominion 68, (at) No. 25 Syracuse 62: B.J. Stith scored all of his 18 points in the second half, and Old Dominion overcame an 11-point second-half deficit to stun Syracuse.
Xavier Green had 15 points and Marquis Godwin added 11 for the Monarchs (8-3), who trailed by 13 points late in the first half and by 11 early in the second before rallying for their sixth straight victory.
After Elijah Hughes made a 3-pointer to put the Orange (7-3) ahead 39-28, Old Dominion went on a 13-2 run.
Tyus Battle led Syracuse with 23 points on just 5-of-14 shooting.
No. 25 Indiana 71, Butler 68: Rob Phinisee hit a deep, buzzer-beating 3-pointer, and Juwan Morgan scored a career-high 35 points to give the Indiana a victory over Butler in the Crossroads Classic.
The Hoosiers (9-2) barely won their fourth straight, scrambling to get a shot before time ran out. Phinisee eventually wound up with the ball in his hands and threw up the decisive 25-footer.
Sean McDermott made a career-high six 3s and finished with 20 points to lead Butler (7-3), which lost for the first time since Dec. 1.
(At) No. 25 Kansas State 71, Georgia State 59: Barry Brown had 21 points and No. 25 Kansas State beat Georgia State.
Brown scored the first eight points for the Wildcats (7-2) and was key during a later 7-0 run. K-State let the Panthers hang around with 19 turnovers leading to 25 points as Georgia State again competed well with a Power Five school after wins over Georgia and Alabama this season.
Jeff Thomas led the Panthers (7-4) with 13 points, Nelson Phillips had 11 and D’Marcus Simonds had 10.
Two Wildcats starters went down hurt. Dean Wade injured his right ankle with 13 minutes left, and Kamau Stokes injured his left ankle just a few minutes later. Neither returned, but Wade ended the game with 12 points and Stokes had 15.