Oklahoma State storms past Kansas in second half to take 72-65 win
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Marcus Smart scored 20 of his 21 points in the second half to help Oklahoma State defeat No. 5 Kansas 72-65 on Saturday night and give a major boost to the Cowboys' once-fading NCAA tournament hopes.
Oklahoma State (19-10, 7-9 Big 12) overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half. The Cowboys improved to 3-0 since Smart returned from a three-game suspension.
Andrew Wiggins scored 15 points for Kansas (22-7, 13-3), which already had clinched the Big 12 title outright before tipoff because Texas and Iowa State lost earlier.
The student section was filled nearly an hour before the opening tip. The crowd included Oklahoma City Thunder players Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and their coach, Scott Brooks.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Dorian Finney-Smith scored 16 points, and top-ranked Florida used a season-high 13 3-pointers to overwhelm LSU 79-61 Saturday and extend its school-record winning streak to 21 games.
Casey Prather and Michael Frazier II added 14 points apiece for the Gators, who also won their 31st in a row at home.
This one was never in doubt.
Florida (27-2, 16-0 Southeastern Conference) scored the first eight points of the game, opened up a double-digit lead with consecutive 3-pointers from DeVon Walker and Finney-Smith and put the game away early in the second half with a flurry of points in the paint.
Prather made three consecutive driving finger rolls after the break. Patric Young had a dunk and then a left-handed hook shot. And Prather followed with a dunk and another driving layup that put Florida up 62-38 with about 11 minutes remaining.
Johnny O'Bryant III led the Tigers (17-11, 8-8) with 18 points. Jordan Mickey added 14 points and 10 rebounds for LSU, which lost its seventh in a row on the road.
WICHITA, Kan. -- Wichita State will carry its pursuit of perfection into the Missouri Valley tournament.
Cleanthony Early scored 19 points, Ron Baker added 13 and the second-ranked Shockers rolled to a 68-45 victory against Missouri State on Saturday, easily putting away a team that had given them fits this season.
Relying on the same stubborn defense that carried it on last year's improbable March run, Wichita State (31-0, 18-0) became the first team since Saint Joseph's in 2004 to enter its league tournament unbeaten. The Shockers will have a first-round bye in St. Louis next week.
Missouri State (19-11, 9-9) had them in trouble when they met Jan. 11 in Springfield, Mo., but the Bears blew a 19-point second-half lead and ultimately lost 72-69 in overtime.
They never came close to making it a game Saturday, trailing by double-digits in the opening minutes.
The Shockers are off to the best start since UNLV began 34-0 and lost in the 1991 national title game. They're also off to the best start by a Missouri Valley team since Indiana State, led by Larry Bird, won its first 33 games and fell to Michigan State in the 1979 title game.
The Shockers' last loss came in the Final Four, too -- to eventual champ Louisville last year.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Malcolm Brogdon scored eight of his 19 points during a decisive second-half run and No. 12 Virginia clinched the top seed in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament by beating No. 4 Syracuse 75-56 on Saturday.
Akil Mitchell added 12 points and nine rebounds and Mike Tobey and Justin Anderson scored 11 each for the Cavaliers (25-5, 16-1 ACC), who won their only outright ACC regular-season title 33 years ago -- 1980-81 -- when Ralph Sampson was a sophomore. The victory was their 13th in a row and the final buzzer brought hundreds streaming onto the court.
Tyler Ennis and C.J. Fair scored 13 each for the Orange (26-3, 13-3), who lost for the third time in four games. Syracuse played much of the game without ailing Jerami Grant because of a sore back.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Chris Crawford hit a 3-pointer with 1:36 left to put Memphis ahead to stay, and the 21st-ranked Tigers beat seventh-ranked Louisville 72-66 on Saturday, sweeping the regular-season series from the Cardinals.
No. 21 Memphis (22-7, 11-5 American Athletic Conference) trailed 65-57 with 4:45 left when Michael Dixon Jr. scored six in a row, jumpstarting the Tigers who scored 15 of the final 16 points.
No. 7 Louisville (24-5, 13-3) went cold after taking its biggest lead. The Cardinals didn't score again until Chris Jones hit a free throw with 40.3 seconds to go.
Montrezl Harrell scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Russ Smith scored 15 of his 19 points in the first half. Luke Hancock had 11.
Dixon finished with 18, and Geron Johnson scored 15 points. Austin Nichols added 14, and Crawford finished with 12 points, going 4-for-5 from beyond the arc.
CINCINNATI -- Justin Martin had 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds on Saturday, and Xavier led most of the way during a 75-69 victory against No. 9 Creighton in front of the largest crowd in the 14-year history of the Musketeers' arena.
It was a long-awaited rematch for Xavier, (20-9, 10-6), which lost one of the Big East's most wide-open games at Creighton in January.
Martin led the way. He helped Xavier control the tempo and build a 13-point lead early in the second half that was more than enough.
Creighton (23-5, 13-3) couldn't catch up despite 27 points by Doug McDermott, who leads the nation in scoring.
McDermott had 35 points during the Bluejays' 95-89 win at home on Jan. 12, a game that showed the reconfigured Big East was a whole different conference. Xavier had more going for it in the rematch.
Semaj Christon scored 21 points, Dee Davis added 15, and the Musketeers shot 50 percent from the field.
Xavier got its first victory against a top-10 team since it beat No. 8 Indiana 80-65 on Nov. 24, 2007.
RICHMOND, Va. -- Treveon Graham had 17 points and eight rebounds, and VCU added a quality win to its NCAA tournament resume by beating No. 10 Saint Louis 67-56 on Saturday night.
Briante Weber added 13 points and four steals for the Rams (22-7, 10-4 Atlantic 10), who handed Saint Louis its second consecutive defeat following a school-record 19-game winning streak. The Billikens were upset at home Thursday night by Duquesne, a 14-point underdog.
Jordair Jett led Saint Louis (25-4, 12-2) with 18 points. Austin McBroom had 11 points off the bench and Rob Loe grabbed nine rebounds but turned the ball over six times.
Leading scorer Dwayne Evans had just four points on 2 of 11 shooting after scoring 21 when the Billikens beat VCU 64-62 on Feb. 15 in St. Louis.
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Shabazz Napier scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Connecticut to a 51-45 upset of No. 11 Cincinnati on Saturday.
The Huskies (23-6, 11-5 American Athletic Conference) won despite going without a field goal for the game's final 7 1/2 minutes.
But they held Cincinnati (24-5, 13-3) to just 13 baskets on 48 shots.
Napier, the Huskies' player of the year candidate, bested Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick, who finished with 16 points.
UConn led by one at halftime. But the Bearcats had just one field goal in the first 7 1/2 minutes after intermission, and the Huskies went on a 13-4 run during the first 11 1/2 minutes to open a 39-29 lead.
The Bearcats were able to cut that to three points late, but UConn hit five free throws down the stretch to hold on.
FRESNO, Calif. -- Xavier Thames scored 19 points, Aqueel Quinn added 17 and No. 13 San Diego State beat Fresno State 82-67 on Saturday night.
The Aztecs (24-3, 14-2 Mountain West) shot 60 percent from the field, including 9 of 15 on 3-pointers, to cool off a Fresno State team that had won seven of eight. Quinn was 4 of 5 from long range to help San Diego State snap a two-game skid on the road.
It was the largest margin of defeat during conference play for Fresno State (15-15, 8-9).
San Diego State led by five at halftime and pulled away in the second half, particularly when Bulldogs top scorer Tyler Johnson went to the bench because of foul problems.
Winston Shepard scored on a runner in transition to give the Aztecs their first double-digit lead, 47-37, with 18:11 remaining.
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Shane Southwell had 13 points and Kansas State overcame a huge game by Iowa State star Melvin Ejim to beat the 15th-ranked Cyclones 80-73 on Saturday night.
Thomas Gipson and D.J. Johnson added 11 points apiece for the Wildcats (19-9, 10-6 Big 12), who can still earn the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. They play at Oklahoma State on Monday and then host Baylor on Saturday to end the regular season.
Kansas State has won 15 in a row at Bramlage Coliseum, its longest home winning streak since the 1981-82 season.
Ejim had 30 points and 16 rebounds, and DeAndre Kain added 24 points and eight rebounds to pace the Cyclones (22-6, 10-6).
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Nik Stauskas scored 21 points and Glenn Robinson III provided an emotional lift with his dunks as No. 16 Michigan clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title with a 66-56 victory against Minnesota on Saturday.
The Wolverines (21-7, 13-3) didn't arrive at the Crisler Center expecting to have a chance to lock up their third banner in three years, but Illinois changed that by upsetting Michigan State in East Lansing.
Michigan can clinch its first outright conference title since 1986 with a win Tuesday at Illinois or next Saturday at home against Indiana.
Caris LeVert added 13 points for Michigan, and Jordan Morgan had 10 rebounds. The Crisler Center crowd wasn't told about Michigan State's loss until after the game ended.
Austin Hollins led Minnesota (18-12, 7-10) with 16 points. Andre Hollins had 10 on 3-of-10 shooting.
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Brenton Williams scored 24 points for South Carolina, and Kentucky head coach John Calipari was ejected midway through the second half as the Gamecocks held off the 17th-ranked Wildcats 72-67 on Saturday night.
South Carolina (11-18, 4-12 Southeastern Conference) led by three at halftime and hit six of its first eight shots in the second half to go up 48-32 with 14:13 left. Kentucky made a furious charge after Calipari was tossed, but came up short.
The Wildcats (21-8, 11-5) couldn't make a basket, going 15:38 with only one field goal -- on a goaltending call. Calipari was ejected with his team down 12 after getting a second technical with 10:21 left. He walked out of the arena with his suit coat buttoned but his shirttail out.
Calipari's team responded with a 28-17 run and, after a three-point play by Julius Randle, Kentucky trailed 68-67 with 22 seconds left. But freshman Sindarius Thornwell hit two free throws for South Carolina, and Alex Poythress' attempt at a tying 3-pointer fell short.
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Tracy Abrams scored 12 points, leading Illinois to a 53-46 win against No. 18 Michigan State on Saturday.
The Fighting Illini (17-12, 6-10 Big Ten) have three consecutive victories for the first time since winning four in a row from Dec. 21 to Jan. 4. That successful stretch included a win against then-No. 23 Missouri.
The Spartans (22-7, 11-5) have dropped two in a row and six of their past 10 games. They were full strength for the first time in nearly two months, but simply weren't good enough to beat a streaking team that seemed more inspired.
Branden Dawson returned from a broken hand and played for the first time since Jan. 21, when he helped Michigan State beat Indiana to improve to 18-1 overall and 7-0 in conference.
Michigan State's Gary Harris had 19 points, but didn't get much help from his teammates.
The Spartans scored a season-low 46 points -- five fewer than they had two weeks ago in a nine-point loss to Nebraska. They made 39 percent of their shots and had only one player with more than seven points.
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- James Michael McAdoo scored 15 points to lead No. 19 North Carolina past Virginia Tech 60-56 on Saturday for the Tar Heels' 11th consecutive victory.
McAdoo hit 6 of 9 from the floor for the Tar Heels (22-7, 12-4), who started Atlantic Coast Conference play 1-4 and have not lost since. The Tar Heels haven't won this many games in a row since opening the 2008-09 season with 13 consecutive victories.
McAdoo scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half, including 10 after the Hokies had cut the Tar Heel lead to 42-40 on a basket by Jarell Eddie with 8:54 left in the game. North Carolina answered with seven consecutive points, with McAdoo scoring the last two points on a basket with 6:57 left to make it 49-40.
Leslie McDonald added 14 points and J.P. Tokoto finished with 12 for North Carolina.
Eddie led Virginia Tech (9-19, 2-14) with 18 points.
DALLAS -- Markus Kennedy scored 18 points, Nic Moore had 11 of his 13 in the second half and No. 23 SMU took another step toward its first NCAA tournament berth in 21 years with a 70-55 victory against UCF on Saturday.
The Mustangs (23-6, 12-4 American Athletic) improved to 15-0 at home, with the last nine coming at newly renovated Moody Coliseum, going into their final home game Wednesday night against seventh-ranked Louisville. The Cardinals lost to No. 21 Memphis 72-66 on Saturday.
Moore, who also had game highs with six assists and four steals, had consecutive 3-pointers for a 45-27 lead with 13:53 remaining, pumping his arms wildly as he stomped up the court with a loud roar from the sixth sellout crowd since Moody reopened in January.
Isaiah Sykes had 18 points to lead UCF (11-16, 3-13).
The win came in SMU's first home game as a ranked team since March 9, 1985, when the Mustangs lost to Arkansas 68-55. Their last home win as a ranked team was a day before that loss.
NORMAN, Okla. -- Isaiah Cousins scored a career-high 24 points and Oklahoma gained ground in the race for second place in the Big 12 with a 77-65 win against No. 24 Texas on Saturday.
Buddy Hield hit four 3-pointers and scored 17 points for Oklahoma (21-8, 10-6), which entered the game in a four-way battle with Texas (21-8, 10-6), Kansas State and Iowa State behind Kansas.
After Saturday, all four teams will have two games remaining.
Oklahoma committed a season-low seven turnovers while completing a regular-season sweep of the Longhorns. The Sooners have won three of the past four games in the series after Texas had won 12 of the previous 15.
Cameron Ridley had his eighth double-double of the season with 19 points and 14 rebounds for Texas, which has lost three of its past four games after winning nine of its previous 10, all in league play.