Saturday's college basketball: No. 1 Auburn downs Oklahoma 86-68
Auburn, Ala. — Jabari Smith bounced back from a rough shooting night with 23 points and 12 rebounds and Walker Kessler scored 21 to lead No. 1 Auburn to an 86-68 victory over Oklahoma on Saturday.
The Tigers (20-1) built a big lead, lost most of it and then dominated the final minutes for their nation-leading 17th consecutive win. The Sooners (13-8) visited as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
Smith was just 2-of-15 shooting for five points in a 55-54 win over Missouri Tuesday. He and Kessler took over this one.
The 7-foot-1 Kessler was 9 of 11 from the floor, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked four shots. He also hit his fourth and fifth 3-pointers of the season.
K.D. Johnson scored 13 after producing the last five points in the Missouri win.
Jordan Goldwire led Oklahoma with a career-high 19 points. Umoja Gibson scored 14 points and Tanner Groves had 13.
►No. 3 Arizona 67, Arizona State 56: Bennedict Mathurin and Oumar Ballo scored 14 points each as No. 3 Arizona turned up the defensive pressure in the second half to win despite some woeful shooting.
The Wildcats (17-2, 7-1 Pac-12) shot 32% from the floor and went 3 for 23 from 3, yet found a way to win behind superb second-half defense.
Arizona State (6-12, 2-6) managed to slow down one of the nation’s fastest-tempo teams and seemed to have the Wildcats on the ropes several times. The Sun Devils kept letting the cold-shooting Wildcats hang around, then went cold themselves to lose for the 11th time in 12 games at McKale Center.
DJ Horne led Arizona State with 15 points, but had just two in the second half.
►Alabama 87, No. 4 Baylor 78: Jaden Shackelford scored 19 points and had nine rebounds for Alabama to key the upset in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
Alabama (14-7) has now beaten three teams that reached the Final Four last season. The Crimson Tide also knocked off then-No. 1 Gonzaga in early December and topped Houston a week later.
The Crimson Tide led by four points with under three minutes to play, then freshman J.D. Davison scored seven of his 14 points to seal the win.
Jahvon Quinerly scored 20 points for Alabama, Juwan Gary had 15 and Keon Ellis 11.
Baylor (18-3) played without its leading scorer, LJ Cryer, who’s had foot soreness. James Akinjo had just eight points and didn’t hit his first basket until midway through the second half.
►No. 12 Kentucky 80, No. 5 Kansas 62: Keion Brooks scored 27 points as Kentucky manhandled the Jayhawks.
The Wildcats grabbed a 20-point halftime lead in Allen Fieldhouse and cruised to improve to 24-10 all-time in the series. Kansas had won four of the past five coming in. The last Kentucky win in Allen Fieldhouse was in 1985.
Oscar Tshiebwe had a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds for Kentucky (17-4), which also got 12 points from Kellan Grady and 11 from Jacob Toppin.
Kansas (17-3) was led by Ochai Agbaji, who had 13 points, 10 in the second half. But the two-time reigning Big 12 Player of the Week was held well below his Big 12-leading 21.3 points per game. Christian Braun also had 13 points.
►No. 7 Houston 63, UCF 49: Kyler Edwards scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half and Josh Carlton added 13 points and 14 rebounds Houston beat UCF for its 10th straight victory.
Houston (18-2, 7-0 American) rallied from an early nine-point deficit and maintained control the final 30 minutes of the game. The Cougars closed the first half with a 19-4 run and held firm in the second half after UCF clawed to within 42-39. After UCF got within 47-43 midway through the second half with 6:20 to play, Houston responded with a 10-3 burst keyed by two Taze Moore 3-pointers to push its lead back out to 57-46.
UCF (12-7, 4-5) lost its second straight game and for a third time in the past five games.
►No. 9 Duke 74, Louisville 65: AJ Griffin scored 22 points, including consecutive 3-pointers during a late 12-0 run to help No. 9 Duke escape.
The Blue Devils (17-3, 7-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) led 24-8 after 10 minutes before Louisville eventually rallied to forge several ties, the last at 60-all on El Ellis’ long 3-pointer with 8:28 remaining. Wendell Moore Jr.‘s two free throws put Duke back up 62-60 before Paolo Banchero and Mark Williams followed with timely blocks, the latter of which set up Griffin’s critical 3 to make it 65-60.
Griffin then followed Williams’ block of Mason Faulkner with another big 3 for an eight-point lead with 4:50 left and Louisville couldn’t recover in Mike Pegues’ second debut as interim coach. Pegues took over for a second time this season on Wednesday when Chris Mack and the school agreed to part ways.
►No. 13 Texas Tech 76, Mississippi 50: Adonis Arms had 16 points and seven assists as Texas Tech stayed undefeated at home.
Kevin Obanor added 13 points while Mylik Wilson had 12 and Bryson Williams 10 for the Red Raiders (16-5), who are 13-0 at home this season. Marcus Santos-Silva had nine rebounds.
Mississippi State (13-7) had a season-high 22 turnovers while scoring its fewest points this season. The Bulldogs never led after Arms made the first of his three 3s less than three minutes into the game.
Bulldogs leading scorer Iverson Molinar was held to 12 points, nearly seven below his season average that was tied for second in the SEC, and had a team-high five turnovers. DJ. Jeffries had 11 points and Rocket Watts 10.
►No. 14 Villanova 73, St. John's 62: Collin Gillespie scored 17 points, and Eric Dixon and Caleb Daniels each had 15 as Villanova used a 3-point-happy first half to cruise.
The Wildcats (16-5, 9-2 Big East) put this one away with a decisive 19-2 run and nine 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes for their third straight win.
Montez Mathis led St. John’s (11-8, 3-5), with 14 points.
►No. 15 Southern California 79, California 72: Isaiah Mobley scored a career-high 24 points and Boogie Ellis added a season-high 21 for the Trojans.
Mobley bounced back after missing a potential game-tying 3-pointer during Thursday’s loss against Stanford. The 6-foot-10 junior, who leads the Pac-12 in rebounding and is sixth in scoring, was 9 of 21 from the field and also grabbed six rebounds.
Mobley provided some breathing room with 1:06 remaining when he hit a jumper as the shot clock expired to put the Trojans up 74-69.
Chevez Goodwin added 10 points for USC (18-3, 8-3 Pac-12), which has won four of its last five.
Makale Foreman paced Cal with 13 points, while Jordan Shepherd, Jalen Celestine and Andre Kelly scored 12 apiece for the Golden Bears (9-12, 2-8), who have dropped seven straight.
►Texas 52, No. 18 Tennessee 51: Timmy Allen’s free throw with 6 seconds left sent Texas to a win over Tennessee in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday night after the Volunteers rallied from 17 points down in the second half.
Allen missed his first attempt, then made his second to give the Longhorns the lead. After calling timeout, Tennessee (14-6) scrambled to get the ball up court for Josiah-Jordan James 3-point attempt that bounced off the rim before Texas swatted away the rebound.
The Texas win spoiled the return party for Tennessee coach Rich Barnes, who led the Longhorns program for 17 seasons from 1998-2015 and has the most wins in school history with 402.
Courtney Ramey scored 18 to lead Texas (16-5), which looked to be in total control midway when he made a 3-pointer and then a scoop layup that made it 51-37 with 4:49 to play.
►TCU 77, No. 19 LSU 68: Chuck O’Bannon scored 16 of his career-high 19 points after halftime, including three consecutive 3-pointers from basically the same spot and TCU held on to beat slumping No. 19 LSU in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
TCU (14-4) had its largest lead at 50-34 with 15:59 left after O’Bannon’s third consecutive 3 in a 76-second span from the right wing.
Even though the Tigers (16-5) were able to cut that deficit to one after a 20-5 run over the next 6 1/2 minutes that Tari Eason began with six consecutive points, they were never able to take the lead. LSU lost for the fourth time in five games.
Mike Miles had 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Frogs. Damion Baugh added 14 points.
►No. 20 UConn 57, DePaul 50: R.J. Cole scored 25 points as Connecticut won its fifth in a row.
Cole scored over half of his team’s first-half points, helping the Huskies (15-4, 6-2 Big East) continue their surge up the conference standings.
The Blue Demons (10-10, 1-9) have lost nine of their last 10. Javan Johnson led DePaul with 18 points and Brandon Johnson had 14.
The Blue Demons clawed back to within five during the final minute, but Cole hit a pair of free throws with 22 seconds left to seal the victory.
DePaul’s Javon Freeman-Liberty missed his fourth straight game. Freeman-Liberty, the conference’s leading scorer, has been out since Jan. 13 with a groin injury.
►No. 21 Xavier 74, Creighton 64: Jack Nunge and Paul Scruggs fueled a dramatic second-half turnaround that saw No. 21 Xavier score 29 of the first 31 points of the period to wipe out a 17-point deficit agains Creighton.
Scruggs scored 18 points and Nunge made a career-high four 3-pointers and had all 16 of his points in the second half as the Musketeers won for the first time in three games. Zach Freemantle had 16 points and Nate Johnson made five 3s for all 15 of his points.
Xavier (15-5, 5-4 Big East) swept the two-game season series and won in Omaha for the first time since 2018.
Ryan Nembhard led the Bluejays with 23 points and Ryan Kalkbrenner had 13 as Creighton (12-7, 4-4) dropped its second straight and lost for the first time in conference play at home. It was the Bluejays’ biggest blown lead at CHI Health Center, which opened in 2003.
►No. 23 Iowa State 67, Missouri 50: Izaiah Brockington scored 15 points and Tyrese Hunter added 14 as No. 23 Iowa State won as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
Brockington converted all eight of his free throw attempts and made three 3-pointers for the Cyclones (16-5).
DaJuan Gordon led Missouri (8-12) with 15 points. Amari Davis scored 11.
Iowa State shot 58.3% in the second half and forced 18 Missouri turnovers. The Cyclones seized control with a 15-0 run in the second half, building a 49-34 advantage as Missouri missed 10 of its first 11 shots.
►No. 25 Davidson 77, La Salle 69: Luka Brajkovic scored 22 points, Foster Loyer added 14 points, six rebounds and five assists and No. 25 Davidson held off La Salle in Bob McKillop’s 1,000th game as head coach of the Wildcats.
The 71-year-old McKillop is 624-376 during his 33 seasons at Davidson.
Hyunjung Lee had 14 points, including on four clutch free throws in the final minute, and Sam Mennenga had eight points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats. Davidson (17-3, 7-1 Atlantic 10) bounced back from a 70-68 loss to VCU on Wednesday night, just two days after joining the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2015.
Jack Clark had 18 points for La Salle (6-12, 1-7), which has lost eight of its last nine and remains winless on the road this season.