Saturday's Top 25: Hunter rallies No. 3 Virginia past No. 18 Louisville

By Gary B. Graves
Associated Press
Louisville guard Christen Cunningham (1) tempts a layup past the defense of Virginia forward Jay Huff (30) during the second half Saturday. Virginia won 64-52.

Louisville, Ky. — De’Andre Hunter was hungry to do his part.

The hard part was waiting nearly 9½ minutes on the bench with two fouls. Once Hunter returned, he couldn’t miss and all was right for No. 3 Virginia on Saturday as it rallied from a double-digit halftime deficit against No. 18 Louisville.

Hunter scored 19 of his career-high 26 points after halftime, and the Cavaliers recovered from a 12-point hole to win 64-52. Virginia won its fourth straight game and kept at least a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference lead. Louisville has lost five of its last seven.

The Cavaliers (24-2, ACC 12-2) trailed early in the second half. The Cardinals (18-10, 9-6) then turned cold while Virginia found its touch. The Cavaliers shot 59 percent after halftime and used a 12-1 run over 4:36 for a 55-48 lead they stretched to 12.

After the break, Hunter made all six shots, including two 3-pointers, to finish 9-of-11 from the field. The sophomore guard also made all five shots from the free throw line and six for the game.

“I was making my shots, so I was feeling good,” said Hunter, whose previous best was 23 points. “I just wanted to keep shooting and teammates kept feeding me the ball.”

Hunter thrived at Louisville for the second year in a row. His buzzer-beating 3-pointer capped Virginia’s five-point rally in the final 5 seconds to win 67-66 last March.

The wait to get back on the court was not easy.

“I just want to be out there so when I get a chance I can be aggressive,” he said.

Mamadi Diakite added 14 points for Virginia while Jay Huff came off the bench to score eight of his 12 in the first half.

Louisville made 10 of 16 from behind the arc in the first half before cooling off. The Cardinals were just 2-of-17 the rest of the way.

“We knew they were shooting it really well,” Virginia guard Kyle Guy said. “We didn’t really sweat it because we knew they weren’t going to make it the whole game, and if they did we’d just have to start making shots.”

The defeat for the Cardinals came 11 days after they blew a 23-point, second-half lead against No. 2 Duke in a 71-69 loss, and three days after they were shellacked 69-49 at Syracuse .

“(Being) up 10 and you lose is unacceptable,” said guard Christen Cunningham, who had nine points. “We’ve blown leads now in three of the last five games. We go to Syracuse and just got annihilated. We’ve got to change be more resilient.”

Jordan Nwora had 17 points and reserve Ryan McMahon scored 12 for the Cardinals.

Virginia and Louisville committed just five turnovers apiece.

Virginia continued its push toward the top of the AP Top 25 . Louisville figures to fall from the poll with its second double-digit loss this week.

The Cavaliers improved to 8-2 against ranked opponents and beat Louisville for the eighth consecutive time. Denying the inside was key: Virginia shut out the Cardinals, outscoring them 20-0, in the first half, and 38-4 overall. Patience paid off as the Cardinals shot themselves out of the game. Virginia owned the boards 39-28.

“We are such a post-scoring team,” coach Tony Bennett said, “but there are different ways to get it in the paint, whether it be drives or tough finishes. The rebounding and the tough play in the lane, we did some nice things off the ball screen.”

The Cardinals needed to win for reasons beyond conquering their nemesis. They instead continued their freefall in the standings, and their failure to generate anything inside was a key factor. Especially when their reliance on perimeter shots began to backfire.

More Top 25

No. 1 Duke 75, (at) Syracuse 65: Three days after Jim Boeheim struck and killed a pedestrian on a darkened highway, he returned to the bench. Jorge Jimenez, 51, was trying to get to safety when he was struck by the 74-year-old Boeheim’s SUV. Boeheim had swerved to avoid the disabled car, which was perpendicular across two lanes. A moment of silence was observed before the game for Jorge Jimenez and his family.

Freshman forward RJ Barrett scored 30 points to lead Duke and Alex O’Connell had 20. Blue Devils star Zion Williamson sat out with a sprained knee. Tyus Battle led Syracuse with 16 points. The Blue Devils (24-3, 12-2) improved to 7-0 on the road in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

(At) No. 2 Gonzaga 102, BYU 68: Zach Norvell Jr. scored 25 points, Rui Hachimura added 23 points and 10 rebounds and Gonzaga beat BYU, clearing the way for the Bulldogs to possibly be ranked No. 1 on Monday.

Josh Perkins had 21 points and seven assists for Gonzaga (27-2, 14-0). The Bulldogs have won 18 in a row, the longest streak in the nation, and have clinched the West Coast Conference regular-season title.

Yoeli Childs and TJ Haws each had18 points for BYU (18-12, 10-5). The Cougars have lost two straight.

(At) No. 4 Kentucky 80, Auburn 53: Kentucky coach John Calipari surpassed Joe B. Hall on the school’s all-time wins list and is second behind Adolph Rupp. Calipari is 298-68 in 10 seasons with the Wildcats. Hall compiled a 297-100 record in 13 seasons and led the Wildcats to a national championship in 1978.

PJ Washington scored 24 points to lead No. 4 Kentucky. Washington led three players in double figures and helped lead the Wildcats to a regular-season sweep of the Tigers. The Wildcats (23-4, 12-2 Southeastern Conference) defeated Auburn 82-80 last month and made things easier the second time around. Tyler Herro followed Washington with 17 points and Ashton Hagans added 14.

Kentucky played without senior forward Reid Travis, who sprained his right ankle in a 66-58 win at Missouri last Tuesday. Travis is expected to miss the next two weeks.

Chuma Okeke led Auburn (18-9, 7-7) with 14 points, followed by Jared Harper with 12 and Anfernee McLemore with 10.

No. 13 LSU 82, No. 5 Tennessee 80, OT: Javonte Smart capped a career-best 29-point performance with a crucial rebound and go-ahead free throws in the final seconds. Smart, a freshman who grew up near Baton Rouge, began to take over the game with about six minutes left in regulation, scoring 11 straight Tigers points to prevent Tennessee from pulling away.

Skyler Mays added 23 points, including a game-tying 3 with 1:16 left in regulation for LSU (22-5, 12-2 SEC), which pulled into a tie with Tennessee and Kentucky atop the Southeastern Conference despite playing without its leading scorer, point guard Tremont Waters.

Admiral Schofield had 27 points and Grant Williams 18 for Tennessee (24-3, 12-2), which has lost two of three after spending about a month ranked first in the nation.

Waters was ruled out with an undisclosed illness shortly before the game, and the challenge only got tougher for LSU when starting forward Naz Reid committed two early fouls. Reid never found his rhythm, missing all nine shots he attempted from the floor. He scored his only point when he hit the second of two free throws in the final minute of overtime.

(At) No. 6 Nevada 74, Fresno State 68: Caleb Martin scored 24 points and Nevada avoided losing consecutive games for the first time this season.

The Wolf Pack trailed 62-60 with 4:34 left, but went on an 8-0 run over the next two minutes to grab its largest lead.

Jordan Caroline added 17 points, Tre’Shawn Thurman had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Jazz Johnson scored 10 points in his first start of the season for Nevada (25-2, 12-2 Mountain West).

Deshon Taylor led Fresno State (19-8, 10-5) with 30 points.

(At) No. 8 North Carolina 77, No. 16 Florida State 59: Cameron Johnson had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Luke Maye added 15 points and 11 rebounds, while freshman Nassir Little scored 18 points and Coby White finished with 10. The Tar Heels (22-5, 12-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) have won 10 of 11 to remain in a first-place tie.

They shot 48 percent in the second half while holding Florida State to 25 percent shooting after halftime, following their victory at No. 1 Duke three nights earlier by snapping the ACC’s longest active winning streak.

David Nichols scored 16 points and Terance Mann added 10 for the Seminoles (21-6, 9-5), who had won eight straight but were held to 31 percent shooting in their first loss in more than a month.

(At) No. 9 Houston 71, South Florida 59: DeJon Jarreau scored 17 points, Corey Davis Jr. added 15 and Houston won its 11th straight.

Houston (26-1, 13-1 American Athletic Conference) shot 48 percent and never trailed in its 33rd straight home victory.

David Collins had 12 points on 2-of-14 shooting from the field and grabbed eight rebounds for USF (18-9, 7-7). The Bulls shot 31 percent from the field.

No. 11 Marquette 76, (at) Providence 58: Sam Hauser had 18 points and 13 rebounds, while Sacar Anim scored 18. The Golden Eagles (23-4, 12-2 in the Big East) led by 11 points at halftime and showed no signs of letting up, shooting 53.6 percent in the second half to finish at 54.9 percent for the game. Anim went 8 for 12 and Hauser 7 for 10 for Marquette, which got only 14 points on 2-of-12 shooting from leading scorer Markus Howard.

Alpha Diallo had 19 points and six rebounds for the Friars (15-13, 5-10 Big East). Providence went from shooting 27.6 percent in the first half to 50 percent in the second half, yet Marquette was too tough a cover on a day that the Golden Eagles had five players in double figures.

(At) No. 14 Texas Tech 91, No. 12 Kansas 62: Jarrett Culver scored 26 points and was one of six Texas Tech players to make multiple 3-pointers.

The Red Raiders (22-5, 10-4 Big 12) never trailed, scoring the game’s first five points. They made a season-high 16 3s while winning their fifth game in a row.

When Davide Moretti made their eighth 3-pointer with 6 1/2 minutes left in the first half, it was already 37-17, the largest deficit to that point for Kansas this season. The margin grew to as large as 33.

Texas Tech took over sole possession of second place in the Big 12, one game behind Kansas State (21-6, 11-3) with four regular-season games remaining.

It was most lopsided Big 12 loss for the Jayhawks (20-7, 9-5) since an 86-53 loss at Oklahoma State on Feb. 7, 2000. Dedric Lawson led Kansas with 14 points.

(At) TCU 75, No. 19 Iowa State 72: Kouat Noi had 20 points with 13 rebounds, while Alex Robinson also had a double-double and TCU ended a three-game losing streak.

TCU, which had blown a 10-point lead it built before halftime, finally went ahead to stay when Desmond Bane hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with just under two minutes left to snap a 68-68 tie. JD Miller later drove hard for a layup, knocking down one defender without a call and getting fouled by another to make it 73-70 in the final 41 seconds. He missed the free throw.

Iowa State (19-8, 8-6 Big 12) was within 73-72 when Marial Shayok found a gap and drove for a layup with 22 seconds left. Noi added two free throws before the Cyclones got to attempt two 3-pointers in the final three seconds, the last after a TCU turnover while the buzzer sounded before a lengthy review that added .4 seconds on the clock.

The Frogs (18-9, 6-8) hadn’t won since a 92-83 victory at Iowa State two weeks ago, which was their first road win over a ranked team in 21 years.

No. 20 Virginia Tech 67, (at) Notre Dame 59: Kerry Blackshear Jr. had 22 points and 14 rebounds to help Virginia Tech beat Notre Dame.

The Hokies (21-6, 10-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) raced to a 14-4 lead.

The Fighting Irish (13-14, 3-11), who got as close as six points on three occasions in the second half, lost their third straight game and their ninth in their last 11 outings.

T.J. Gibbs led Notre Dame with 18 points.

(At) No. 23 Kansas State 85, Oklahoma State 46: Balanced offense, stellar defense and good shooting propelled No. 23 Kansas State.

The Wildcats had no problems as Xavier Sneed and Austin Trice led the team with 12 points each and Kamau Stokes had 11. K-State had 10 players score.

The Wildcats (21-6, 11-3 in Big 12 play) shot 62 percent and held the Cowboys to 31 percent. Oklahoma State (10-17, 3-11) was led by Yor Anei, who had 12 points as the Cowboys struggled the entire game to find the basket.

Barry Brown led the Wildcats in rebounding with seven as the team outrebounded the Cowboys 36-23.