Saturday's Top 25 basketball: No. 6 Gonzaga holds off No. 15 Arizona
Tucson, Ariz. — Sixth-ranked Gonzaga was at its efficient best at both ends of the floor through most of the second half, building a 15-point lead over No. 15 Arizona, ready to cruise to an easy victory over a tough road opponent.
Then the shots stopped falling. So did the free throws. Gonzaga committed a couple of key turnovers. Arizona had the crowd roaring with each basket. The lead was down to two in the closing seconds.
Any other team might have folded under the pressure. The veteran Zags kept their poise, pulling out a victory in one of college basketball's toughest road environments.
That's a sure sign of a veteran, resilient team.
Corey Kispert scored 18 points, Filip Petrusev added 16 and Gonzaga held on for an 84-80 win on Saturday night.
"We're really resilient," said Gonzaga's Joel Ayayi, who had 15 points. "We never quit. We never think the game's over until it's over. For us to win on the road in that type of atmosphere is a pretty good win."
The Zags (11-1) fought through a tense first half and shut down Arizona during two second-half runs to go up 80-65 with 2:12 left.
Arizona (10-2) then went on a 15-2 run. Jemarl Baker scored on a driving layup to pull Arizona within 82-80, but Ryan Woolridge shut out the crowd noise and sealed it by hitting two free throws with 1.7 seconds left.
The Bulldogs won their 10th straight road game to extend the nation's longest streak. They did it with Killian Tillie in foul trouble most of the night before he limped off to the locker room with about seven minutes left.
"When you get a win here, I'm not going to worry about how we got to that point," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "To get a win in this building, against that team, in this kind of environment is special."
More Top 25
(At) No. 1 Louisville 99, Eastern Kentucky 67: Louisville rebounded from a lackluster defeat that will end its stay at No. 1 with the offensive patience and accuracy that fueled its rise to the top.
Jordan Nwora scored 26 points, Steven Enoch had a career-high 23 and the Cardinals shot 63% in both halves.
After taking their first loss Tuesday against Texas Tech in the Jimmy V Classic behind 34% shooting, the Cardinals (10-1) responded with baskets from all over the floor. They made 17 of 27 from the field before and after halftime, including 9 of 19 from long range, to pull away from their in-state opponent.
No. 2 Kansas 98, (at) UMKC 57: David McCormack scored a career-high 28 points, Devon Dotson added 18 and Kansas overwhelmed Kansas City in its annual Jayhawk Shootout at the Sprint Center.
Marcus Garrett added 13 points for the Jayhawks (9-1), who shrugged off a slow start to beat their neighbors from down Interstate 70 for the eighth time in as many meetings. Kansas led 43-24 at halftime, built on the advantage early in the second half and never looked back as it gazes toward a potential No. 1 ranking Monday.
Javan White and Marvin Nesbitt Jr. scored 12 apiece for the Roos (5-7), who committed 22 turnovers and struggled all night with the Jayhawks’ length.
(At) No. 8 Kentucky 67, Georgia Tech 53: Ashton Hagans scored 21 points to lead Kentucky past Georgia Tech.
The Wildcats (8-1) won their sixth straight game going into a two-game trip to Las Vegas ahead of their Christmas break.
Hagans scored eight of Kentucky’s first 11 points and led the Wildcats with 11 points in the first half. Hagans finished with seven assists and seven rebounds. Immanuel Quickley tied a career high with 16 points, Nick Richards scored 12 and Keion Brooks Jr. contributed 10 points off the bench.
Moses Wright led the Yellow Jackets (4-4) with 13 points.
(At) No. 12 Auburn 67, Saint Louis 61: J’Von McCormick scored 20 points, freshman Isaac Okoro added 12 and Auburn improved to 9-0, beating Saint Louis in the Mike Slive Invitational at Legacy Arena.
The teams struggled to generate offense early, but the Tigers used physical defense, feeding into transition buckets, to create separation in the second half.
Auburn failed to find a rhythm in the first half, shooting just 33% from the field and 4 of 10 from the free-throw line, but shot 50% from 3-point territory in the second half.
Javonte Perkins led the Billikens (8-2) with 16 points.
No. 13 Memphis 51, (at) No. 19 Tennessee 47: Damion Baugh sank a 3-pointer with 1:43 remaining to put Memphis ahead for good and the Tigers outlasted Tennessee to snap the Volunteers’ 31-game home winning streak.
Tennessee (7-2) had owned the longest active home winning streak of any Division I team. The Vols hadn’t lost at home since falling to Auburn 94-84 on Jan. 2, 2018.
Memphis (8-1) erased an early 12-point deficit for its second straight come-from-behind road victory.
D.J. Jeffries and Tyler Harris each scored 11 points and Baugh added 10 for Memphis, which found a way to win despite scoring just five points in the game’s first 12 minutes.
Josiah-Jordan James scored 14 for Tennessee.
(At) No. 14 Dayton 78, Drake 47: Ibi Watson scored a season-high 20 points and led a first-half run that put Dayton in control as the Flyers pulled away to beat Drake.
Dayton (8-1) took the court with its highest ranking in a dozen years but trailed midway through the first half. Watson came off the bench and scored seven straight points to change the momentum.
Obi Toppin added 19 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots. Trey Landers had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Drake (8-3) couldn’t handle the Flyers’ versatile offense. Roman Penn had 13 points for the Bulldogs, who have lost nine straight against ranked teams since 2013.
(At) No. 18 Butler 66, Southern 41: Bryce Golden scored 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting to lead Butler’s balanced scoring attack in a romp over Southern.
Also cracking double figures for the Bulldogs (10-1) were Sean McDermott with 11 points on 3-of-5 3-point shooting and Khalif Battle with 10. Twelve Bulldogs played and 11 scored.
Kamar Baldwin, Butler’s leading scorer with a 17.1 average entering the game, finished with two points.
Isaiah Rollins topped Southern (3-8) with 13 points.
No. 20 Villanova 78, Delaware 70: Jermaine Samuels scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half and Villanova won its season-high fourth straight game by holding off Delaware in the Never Forget Tribute Classic at the Prudential Center.
Justin Moore came off the bench to add 16, Saddiq Bey had 13 and Cole Swider 12 as the Wildcats (8-2) beat the Blue Hens (9-2) for the 15th straight time.
Nate Darling scored 29 points for Delaware, which has lost two straight after setting a school record by starting the season with nine consecutive wins. Kevin Anderson added 14 points, while Justyn Mutts added eight points and 11 rebounds.
(At) Rutgers 68, No. 22 Seton Hall 48: Seton Hall star Myles Powell sat out the second half with a head injury, and Rutgers’ Ron Harper Jr. had 18 points and six rebounds to help the Scarlet Knights beat the Pirates in the Garden State Hardwood Classic.
Powell did not return to the Seton Hall bench in the second half. Sixth in the country at 22.9 points per game, Powell didn’t score his first points until nearly 10 minutes into the game. He finished with six points on 3-of-9 shooting.
Harper won the Joe Calabrese Award — named in honor of the late journalist who covered the rivalry for 38 years — as the most valuable player. He had two early alley-oop dunks. Akwasi Yeboah added 14 points and seven rebounds for Rutgers (8-3).
Quincy McKnight led Seton Hall (6-4) with 11 points. They have lost two in a row.
Wake Forest 80, (at) No 23 Xavier 78: Chaundee Brown scored 26 points, Brandon Childress added 22 and Wake Forest beat Xavier in the Musketeers’ first game this season on an opponent’s home court.
Xavier (9-2), which trailed the entire second half, had a chance to win in the final seconds, but Quentin Goodin’s 3-point attempt bounced off the rim as time expired.
Wake Forest (6-5) led by 13 points in the second half. But Childress missed the first of two free-throw attempts to give the Musketeers a final shot for a win.
Paul Scruggs scored 30 points for Xavier. Naji Marshall added 16 before fouling out with 3:45 remaining.