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Saturday's Top 25: Clemson, Newman surprise No. 5 Louisville with 77-62 win

Pete Iacobelli
Associated Press

Clemson, S.C. — Clemson’s John Newman III had one goal against No. 5 Louisville — stay aggressive.

That resolve brought the Tigers a stunning 77-62 upset win over the Cardinals — and another major moment in what’s been an up-and-down season. 

Clemson's John Newman lll (15) drives to the basket as Louisville's Jordan Nwora, left, David Johnson, center, and Ryan McMahon defend during the first half Saturday.

Newman had a career-high 23 points as Clemson beat its second AP top-five opponent this year — something it hadn’t done since the 1975-76 season. 

“It’s just crazy for real,” Newman said. 

“People that know me just tell me to stay aggressive because sometimes I’m passive,” he continued. “My coaches, my teammates they believe in me.”

Newman made seven of nine shots and went 7 of 7 from the foul line as Louisville (21-5, 12-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) desperately tried to come back by sending the Tigers to the foul line down the stretch. 

Newman hadn’t cracked double-figure points in more than a month, his last time coming when he scored 14 in the 79-72 upset over then-third-ranked Duke. 

It’s no coincidence that when Newman is active and engaged, the Tigers (13-12, 7-8) are a more dangerous team, Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. 

“When we get multiple guys playing well, we’re just a different team,” Brownell said. 

That’s especially true on defense, where Clemson locked up Louisville in the first half and ACC leading scorer Jordan Nwora throughout. 

The Cardinals missed 15 of their last 16 shots of the opening period, their 14 points their lowest first-half output this season. 

Nwora ended with five points and one basket that came with Louisville already trailing by double digits. 

It was only the second time this season the Cardinals lost consecutive games. 

“This week wasn’t a good week for us,” Louisville coach Chris Mack said. 

Louisville did cut a 21-point lead to 44-34 on Dwayne Sutton’s jumper with 9:49 left. That’s when Clemson took off on an 11-2 run to put the Cardinals in a hole they could not climb out of. 

Tevin Mack’s basket started Clemson’s clinching surge, then Aamir Simms, Newman and Alex Hemenway added 3s to restore the large lead. 

Fans rushed the court when the final buzzer sounded, surrounding players and cheering Clemson’s victory. 

Mack finished with 14 points and Simms 13 for the Tigers. 

Clemson’s Brownell was disappointed with his team’s defensive play in an 80-62 loss at Louisville last month. He would have few complaints in the rematch as the Tigers swarmed Louisville and Nwora throughout. 

Nwora’s only basket was a 3-pointer with 1:52 to play that drew his team within 11 points, as close as they’d come down the stretch. 

The slump dropped Louisville out of first in the ACC after No. 7 Duke topped Notre Dame on Saturday to improve to 12-2 in the league. 

Nwora had a season-low two points (he shot 1 of 6 from the field) in the loss at Georgia Tech and Chris Mack gave freshman Samuell Williamson his first start of the season. 

But even when Nwora returned, it didn’t help the Cardinals much in the opening half as they struggled to penetrate Clemson’s defense. 

Louisville made only five of its 32 field-goal attempts the first 20 minutes. 

The Tigers, who have often struggled to make shots this year, had no such trouble early on. They made their first five attempts (including 3-pointers by Johnny Newman and Mack) to take a 12-5 lead that they increased to 17 points by halftime. 

Sutton led Louisville with 18 points. 

Mack didn’t have an answer to why his team is struggling. 

“The teams we’re playing are too together and we’re not right now,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, but it happens sometimes and my job is to keep our team on course and get better.”

More Top 25

(At) No. 1 Baylor 70, No. 14 West Virginia 59: Jared Butler scored 16 of his 21 points in the first half, and top-ranked Baylor never trailed while tying the longest winning streak in Big 12 history at 22 games.

The Bears (23-1, 12-0 Big 12) cruised without second-leading scorer MaCio Teague, a junior whose streak of 90 consecutive games ended because of a right wrist injury.

Taz Sherman scored a season-high 20 points for the Mountaineers (18-7, 6-6), who had 11 of their season high-tying 22 turnovers in the first 12 minutes and shot 35% in a third consecutive loss.

Matthew Mayer finished with 13 points and eight rebounds for the Bears, who matched Kansas’ record run in the Big 12. The Jayhawks started 22-0 in 1996-97, the league’s first season.

Butler was 5 of 7 from 3-point range as Baylor extended the longest winning streak in school history while breaking the school mark with a 12th consecutive conference win, topping the 1945-46 team in the old Southwest Conference.

(At) No. 3 Kansas 87, Oklahoma 70: Marcus Garrett scored a career-high 24 points, Devon Dotson added 19 and third-ranked Kansas rolled to victory over Oklahoma to keep pace with No. 1 Baylor in what has become a two-team race toward the Big 12 title.

Garrett hit a career-best six 3-pointers while adding seven assists, five rebounds and four steals. Udoka Azubuike added 15 points and 17 rebounds, and Ochai Agbaji scored 10 points, as the Jayhawks (22-3, 11-1) won their 10th straight since falling to the Bears at Allen Fieldhouse in early January.

Kristian Doolittle had 27 points and 12 rebounds to lead Oklahoma (16-9, 6-6), but the senior forward needed 20 field-goal attempts to get there. Austin Reaves added 12 points while leading scorer Brady Manek dealt with early foul trouble and was held to seven points and 1-for-6 shooting from the arc.

Oklahoma has now lost 19 straight at the Phog since 1993.

No. 6 Dayton 71, (at) Massachusetts 63: Obi Toppin scored 19 points, Jalen Crutcher addeded 17 and No. 6 Dayton won its 14th straight game.

Ryan Mikesell added nine points for Dayton (23-2, 12-0 in Atlantic 10), which hasn’t lost since a 78-76 overtime defeat against Colorado on Dec. 21. The Flyers remain unbeaten in regulation this season after carrying the fifth-longest winning streak in Division I into the game.

Tre Mitchell had a game-high 26 points and 10 rebounds and Samba Diallo added 10 points for the Minutemen (10-15, 4-8).

(At) No. 7 Duke 94, Notre Dame 60: Vernon Carey Jr. scored 21 points, Tre Jones added 19 and No. 7 Duke used a high-intensity man-to-man defense to beat Notre Dame for its seventh straight win.

With No. 5 Louisville losing to Clemson, the win vaulted the Blue Devils (22-3, 12-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) into sole possession of first place in the ACC standings, one-half game ahead of the Cardinals.

The Irish (15-10, 6-8) had success when they were able to get the ball inside to Juwan Durham, whose 21 points marked a career high, and John Mooney, who scored 19.

But just as often, the Blue Devils’ defense pushed Notre Dame far from the basket, forced a turnover and was off to the races in transition. The Blue Devils outscored Notre Dame 13-0 on the fast break in the first half and 24-7 for the game.

(At) No. 8 Florida State 80, Syracuse 77: Patrick Williams scored 17 points and pulled down seven rebounds as No. 8 Florida State played without star guard Devin Vassell and held off Syracuse.

M.J. Walker scored 16 points, including five 3-pointers, as the Seminoles (21-4, 11-3 ACC) won their 20th straight home game. Walker missed a large chunk of the game after taking an elbow to his lip, which required 12 stitches.

Elijah Hughes added 25 points and four rebounds, playing all 40 minutes as he returned from a groin injury that limited him to 3 minutes in Tuesday’s game against NC State. Hughes missed a 25-footer that went off the rim and would have tied the game in the final seconds.

Joseph Girard scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Syracuse (14-11, 7-7), which has lost four of its last five games.

(At) Providence 74, No. 10 Seton Hall 71: Alpha Diallo scored a career-high 35 points to lead Providence past No. 10 Seton Hall.

Luwane Pipkins added 13 points for the Friars, who avenged a 73-64 loss to Seton Hall last month.

The Pirates (18-7, 11-2 Big East) got 27 points from Myles Powell, while Quincy McKnight added 14 points, though he was just 1 for 8 from the field. Seton Hall, in first place in the conference, has dropped back-to-back games for the second time this season.

The Friars (14-12, 7-6) stormed to a 20-2 lead and led by as many as 25 points in the first half. The Pirates regrouped behind a 12-2 run to pull within 41-27 at halftime.

Seton Hall continued to make a strong push in the second half but couldn’t quite catch the Friars, who snapped a two-game losing streak.

(At) Missouri 85, No. 11 Auburn 73: Guards Dru Smith and Xavier Pinson each scored 28 points to lead Missouri to the upset.

Smith and Pinson repeatedly drove into the lane and scored for Missouri (12-13, 4-8 Southeastern Conference). Kobe Brown added 10 points and nine rebounds.

Smith and Pinson combined to score 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting in the first half.

Austin Wiley led Auburn (22-3, 9-3) with 22 points and 10 rebounds, J’Von McCormick added 21 points and Samir Doughty scored 16. Auburn made just 1 of 17 3-point attempts.

(At) No. 12 Kentucky 67, Mississippi 62: Nick Richards had 16 points, including two go-ahead free throws 1:11 remaining, and Immanuel Quickley and Keion Brooks each made two more in the closing seconds to help No. 12 Kentucky (20-5, 10-2 Southeastern Conference) escape Mississippi.

Devontae Shuler then airballed a 3-pointer out of bounds with nine seconds left. Quickley, who had 17 points, was fouled a few seconds later and added two from the line with 6.6 left before Keion Brooks Jr. sealed the win with two more.

Tyrese Maxey had 14 points while EJ Montgomery and Richards combined for 15 rebounds as Kentucky beat the Rebels 41-33 on the glass.

Breein Tyree had 19 points, while Blake Hinson and KJ Buffen each had 13 for Ole Miss (13-12, 4-8), which had won three in a row. The Rebels dropped their 11th consecutive series game to the Wildcats.

Georgetown 73, (at) No. 19 Butler 66: Terrell Allen tied a career high with 22 points, including key baskets on back-to-back possessions late, and short-handed Georgetown endured on the road without its top two scorers to knock off No. 19 Butler.

The Hoyas (15-10, 5-7 Big East) were missing injured starters Mac McClung and Omer Yurtseven, but Allen hit the game’s first shot and stayed hot to keep the visitors ahead for much of the game. He hit 9 of 14 field-goal attempts, including all four 3-point attempts, as Georgetown improved to 6-1 lifetime at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Butler (19-7, 7-6) struggled without injured point guard Aaron Thompson but gradually erased an early nine-point deficit and pulled to within 61-60 with 3:46 remaining.

That’s when Allen stepped up again with a pull-up jumper in the paint, then his final 3-pointer, from the left wing, gave Georgetown a 66-60 lead with 1:28 remaining.

Kamar Baldwin and Jordan Tucker led Butler with 17 and 16 points, respectively.

(At) SMU 73, No. 20 Houston 72, OT: Emmanuel Bandoumel hit an off-balance 3-point shot with 30 seconds remaining in overtime to give SMU the upset.

Bandoumel scored seven points in the game and had missed his first two 3-point attempts.

Houston freshman Marcus Sasser made three free throws with three seconds left to send the game to overtime, and he gave the Cougars a 72-70 lead with 1:05 remaining in the extra period.

Sasser reached a career-high 26 points to lead all scorers. He scored half of them in the second half to rally Houston (20-6, 10-3 American Athletic Conference) from an 11-point halftime deficit. His last-minute free throws tied the game for the first time since it was 2-2.

The lead changed hands only once in regulation play, and then four times in overtime.

Tyson Jolly led SMU (18-6, 8-4) with 20 points. 

(At) No. 23 Creighton 93, DePaul 64: Ty-Shon Alexander matched his season high with 24 points in one of his best all-around games, and No. 23 Creighton blew out DePaul.

Creighton (20-6, 9-4 Big East) won its 12th straight in the series and has beaten DePaul in 15 of 16 meetings since joining the Big East. The Blue Demons (13-12, 1-11) lost their seventh straight.

Mitch Ballock made four of the Bluejays’ season-high 14 3-pointers and finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. Damien Jefferson had 12 points and six rebounds.

Charlie Moore had 20 points and five assists and Romeo Weems (New Haven) had 12 points to lead the Blue Demons, who committed 21 turnovers.

(At) Oklahoma State 73, No. 24 Texas Tech 70: Jonathan Laurent and Kalib Boone each scored 16 points as Oklahoma State registered its first win over a ranked opponent this season.

Isaac Likekele added 14 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals for the Cowboys (13-12, 3-9 Big 12), who have won three of four after dropping their first eight conference games.

Kevin McCullar and Davide Moretti each scored 15 points and Jahmiús Ramsey added 14 for Texas Tech (16-9, 7-5), which had won its previous three games. 

(At) Alabama 88, No. 25 LSU 82: Kira Lewis Jr. scored 27 points, Jaden Shackelford had 26 and Alabama held off a big comeback attempt by No. 25 LSU.

The Crimson Tide (13-12, 6-6 Southeastern Conference) knocked the Tigers (18-7, 9-3) from a share of the league lead after blowing virtually all of an 18-point lead. 

LSU came into the day in a three-way tie for atop the SEC with Auburn and No. 12 Kentucky but has lost three of its last four games since an 8-0 league start.

LSU guard Skylar Mays had 24 points and nine rebounds in his third straight game scoring 20-plus. Trendon Watford, who’s from nearby Birmingham, had 18 points despite a cascade of boos from Tide fans every time he touched the ball. Smart scored 16 and he and Mays both hit four 3s. Herbert Jones had 17 rebounds. Emmitt Williams had 13 points and 10 rebounds.