Saturday's Top 25: Washington, No. 8 Kentucky top No. 9 Kansas
Lexington, Ky. — PJ Washington and No. 8 Kentucky hit the glass hard against No. 9 Kansas.
Washington scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half, and the Wildcats beat the Jayhawks 71-63 on Saturday in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge.
Washington, Reid Travis and Keldon Johnson powered Kentucky to a 49-36 rebounding advantage. Washington grabbed 13 boards, Travis had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Johnson also posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
“I just came out aggressive, and that just shows on the glass,” Washington said after his fifth double-double this season. “I just tried to look for my shot, look for my teammates, just be aggressive.”
Neither team reached 40 percent shooting, but the Wildcats (16-3) were much better in the second half and held the Jayhawks (16-4) in check down the stretch of the marquee matchup between college basketball’s two winningest programs.
Kentucky dropped its three previous games against Kansas and trailed 33-30 at the break, but Johnson made three 3-pointers to help fuel the Wildcats’ big second half.
“I knew my teammates would give me the right shots,” said Johnson, who was 5 of 9 from the field. “I’ve worked very hard on my game, and I had confidence to come out and hit the big shots when I needed to.”
Kentucky earned its sixth consecutive win, with the last three coming against Top 25 teams.
Dedric Lawson had 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Jayhawks, and Quentin Grimes added 13 points. It was Lawson’s 14th double-double this season.
Kansas shot 37 percent (23 for 63) from the field in its second loss in three games.
“They didn’t really pressure us, but they didn’t have to,” coach Bill Self said. “And then when we do get in there, you’ve got to score over a lot of length and big guys. We didn’t do as good a job as we should have.”
Kentucky missed each of its eight 3-point attempts in the first half, and then went 4 for 10 from long range in the second half.
“That was the difference in the game,” coach John Calipari said. “If we go 0 for 10 in the second half, we lose the game. This is a good 3-point shooting team. That’s why I get bothered at times.”
Kentucky guard Ashton Hagans scored 12 points on 4-for-11 shooting, but once again made his biggest impact as a defensive force and facilitator. He had eight assists and three steals.
Kentucky could rise in the AP poll after beating its third ranked opponent in a week. Kansas could tumble out of the top 10 with its recent trouble.
Lawson had a double-double by halftime, and the Jayhawks held their own on the glass for one half. They finished 9 of 23 from behind the arc but couldn’t match Kentucky’s athleticism in the second half.
“We wanted to win, but it’s not the end of the world,” Lawson said. “They went to the glass pretty hard, but our guys competed.”
The Wildcats still have their share of challenges ahead when Southeastern Conference play resumes next week, but they are coming along. Travis got off to a nice start, and his teammates picked up their play in the second half.
More Top 25
(At) No. 1 Tennessee 83, West Virginia 66: Lamonte’ Turner had 23 points and No. 1 Tennessee held West Virginia scoreless for a 9½-minute stretch Saturday on its way to an 83-66 victory.
Tennessee (18-1) erased its first double-digit deficit of the season and took command by ending the first half on a 24-2 run and scoring the first four points of the second half. That put the Volunteers on track for their 14th consecutive victory in the school’s longest win streak since it opened the 1922-23 season with 14 straight wins.
Grant Williams scored 19 points for Tennessee, and Admiral Schofield had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Esa Ahmad scored 16 points and Derek Culver had 15 for West Virginia (9-11), which lost for the seventh time in its last eight games.
(At) No. 2 Duke 66, Georgia Tech 53: RJ Barrett had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Duke pulled away for the victory.
Zion Williamson added 22 points to help the Blue Devils (17-2, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) win their 12th in a row in the series with Georgia Tech.
Duke finished a season-worst 2 of 21 from 3-point range but hit 52 percent from the field in the second half to win its lowest-scoring game of the year.
Abdoulaye Gueye had 14 points and Michael Devoe added 11 for the Yellow Jackets (11-9, 3-4), who have dropped four of six.
No. 3 Virginia 82, (at) Notre Dame 55: De’Andre Hunter scored 19 points to lead Virginia to the road win.
The Cavaliers shot 52.2 from the field in their second straight victory since a 72-70 loss at Duke on Jan. 19. Kyle Guy, Indiana’s 2016 Mr. Basketball at Lawrence Central near Indianapolis, had 15 points. Ty Jerome added 13 points, and Kihei Clark finished with 12.
Virginia (18-1, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) dominated the boards 45-33 and committed just two turnovers.
John Mooney had his ACC-leading 12th double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds for struggling Notre Dame (11-9, 1-6), which dropped its fourth in a row.
(At) No. 10 Virginia Tech 78, Syracuse 56: Justin Robinson scored 24 of his career-high 35 points in the first half and Virginia Tech beat Syracuse. Robinson made a career-best seven 3-pointers before halftime when the Hokies (16-3, 5-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) used a 20-5 run to open a 34-16 lead. Robinson had 12 points in the surge as Virginia Tech led by as many as 22 in the half and by 43-24 at the break.
Syracuse made a run to start the second half, scoring the first 11 points to get to 43-35, but the Hokies answered with a 14-1 burst, rebuilding the lead to 57-36. The Orange (14-6, 5-2) never got closer than 15 again. Oshae Brissett scored 16 to lead Syracuse and Frank Howard had 13, while Elijah Hughes, their second-leading scorer at 15.3 points per game, managed just six on 2-for-13 shooting with four turnovers.
No. 12 Marquette 87, (at) Xavier 82: Markus Howard scored 19 of his 31 points down the stretch to help Marquette rally for its seventh consecutive win.
Joey Hauser added 21 points for the Golden Eagles (18-3, 7-1 Big East).
After Xavier (11-10, 3-5) pulled ahead 58-47 with 14 minutes left, Howard hit a pair of baskets that started Marquette’s comeback. His long 3-pointer put the Golden Eagles ahead 79-71 with 1:59 left, and his two free throws with 9.1 seconds left closed it out.
Paul Scruggs scored 21 points for Xavier, and Tyrique Jones matched his career high with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
(At) No. 14 Texas Tech 67, Arkansas 64: Davide Moretti had 21 points, and Texas Tech stopped a three-game slide.
Moretti’s two free throws with five seconds left sealed the SEC/Big 12 Challenge game for the Red Raiders (16-4) after their double-digit lead was trimmed to two with a minute left. They didn’t make another field goal after Norense Odiase’s dunk made it 60-48 with 7:41 left.
Daniel Gafford led Arkansas (11-8) with 14 points after missing most of the first half in foul trouble.
(At) No. 22 Mississippi State 92, No. 16 Auburn 84: Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 27 points, helping Mississippi State to the win.
Auburn and Mississippi State (15-4, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) were locked in a tight game for much of the second half before Mississippi State broke a 70-70 tie with Weatherspoon’s 3-pointer and Reggie Perry’s dunk in quick succession.
An irate Auburn coach Bruce Pearl then was called for a technical foul after arguing with officials and Weatherspoon hit two free throws to give the Bulldogs a 77-70 lead with 7:13 left.
Auburn (13-6, 2-4) has lost three straight. The Tigers shot 53 percent from the field and were led by Bryce Brown’s 18 points, but were hurt by 19 turnovers.
No. 24 Iowa State 87, (at) No. 20 Mississippi 73: Talen Horton-Tucker scored 23 points and Lindell Wigginton had 18, leading Iowa State to the victory in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
Iowa State (15-5) put on an offensive show, making 13 straight shots during the second half to turn a tight game into a relatively easy victory. The Cyclones shot 69.1 percent from the field, including nearly 77 percent in the second half.
The 6-foot-4 Horton-Tucker, who leads all Big 12 freshmen in scoring, made 11 of 18 shots from the field.
Ole Miss (14-5) was led by Breein Tyree, who finished with 22 points.
(At) No. 21 North Carolina State 69, Clemson 67: Braxton Beverly hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to lift North Carolina State to the dramatic win.
The Wolfpack (16-4, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed by six with 26.5 seconds left, but Clemson missed four straight free throws to keep the door ajar.
After Marcquise Reed missed two free throws with 7.5 seconds left, the Wolfpack strolled right through it.
C.J. Bryce got the rebound and pushed up court with no timeouts, then turned back to find Beverly for a 3 on what had otherwise been a quiet day for the sophomore.
Reed scored 19 points for the Tigers (11-8, 1-5) but missed four straight free throws in the final 15 seconds.
(At) No. 23 Louisville 66, Pittsburgh 51: Jordan Nwora scored 17 points to help Louisville avenge its only conference loss this season.
The Cardinals (15-5, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) shot just 39 percent, but their strong defense shut down the Panthers (12-8, 2-5) in the second half. Pittsburgh led 41-40 after a Trey McGowens three-point play with 15:37 remaining.
Nwora, who was limited by foul trouble in the first half, made a 3-pointer to give Louisville a 65-47 advantage with 3:21 left.
Jared Wilson-Frame led Pittsburgh with 14 points.
No. 25 LSU 86, (at) Missouri 80, OT: Skylar Mays scored 11 points of his 24 points in the last three minutes of regulation and LSU overcame a 14-point deficit in the final 2:08 to force overtime in the win.
Ja’Vonte Smart made two 3-pointers in OT and scored 14 points for the Tigers (16-3, 6-0 Southeastern Conference). Naz Reid also had 14 points.
Jordan Geist had 25 points and 11 rebounds for Missouri (10-8, 1-5). Jeremiah Tilmon added 15 points, and Javon Pickett had 13.