No. 22 Michigan State's big second half boosts it by No. 24 Iowa 86-76
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Keith Appling scored in double figures for the first time in more than five weeks and No. 22 Michigan State looked healthier than it had in months in an 86-76 victory versus No. 24 Iowa on Thursday night.
Appling showed his old aggressiveness before hip and wrist injuries and scored 12 points for the Spartans (23-7, 12-5 Big Ten). Travis Trice, Appling's backup, was 3-for-4 from 3-point range and had 16 points, while Adreian Payne added 14 points in his final home game.
Denzel Valentine had 13 points and nine assists for Michigan State, which looked a lot like the team that is 19-2 with a healthy Branden Dawson in the lineup.
Roy Devyn Marble had 24 points for Iowa (20-10, 9-8).
CINCINNATI -- Darrun Hilliard scored 19 points and No. 6 Villanova clinched the outright Big East championship for the first time in 32 years by holding off undermanned Xavier 77-70 on Thursday night.
JayVaughn Pinkston added 15 points -- eight in the last 3:20 -- James Bell finished with 12 and Ryan Arcidiacono chipped in with 11 as the Wildcats (27-3, 15-2 Big East) extended their school record for regular-season wins with their fifth consecutive and 11th in their past 12 games.
The Wildcats went into the night with a 1 1-2 game lead against No. 13 Creighton in the Big East and two games remaining. The Bluejays have one game to play.
Villanova, which last won the title alone in 1981-82, is scheduled to wrap up its regular season Saturday at home against Georgetown.
Justin Martin had 20 points for Xavier (20-11, 10-8) while Semaj Christon added 18 points and Isaiah Philmore finished with 15.
CINCINNATI -- Sean Kilpatrick scored a season-high 34 points in his final home game, and a trio of senior starters steadied No. 15 Cincinnati to a 97-84 victory against No. 20 Memphis on Thursday night that left the American Athletic Conference race tied with a game to go.
The Bearcats (25-5, 14-3 AAC) remained tied atop the first-year league with No. 11 Louisville. The Cardinals won 84-71 at No. 18 SMU on Wednesday night and finish at home against No. 19 Connecticut. The Bearcats close the regular season at Rutgers.
With a chance to break the race open, the Tigers (22-8, 11-6) fell apart in the opening minutes and never fully recovered. Cincinnati's seniors kept the Bearcats ahead the whole game.
Forward Titus Rubles had a career-high 24 points, and forward Justin Jackson added 13 points and nine rebounds.
Joe Jackson scored 21 points for Memphis.