The Associated Press

Cincinnati 63, No. 16 Louisville 54 -- Box Score

CINCINNATI -- The storm clouds were brewing, but Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin refused to let the raindrops hit him.

Cronin kept telling the Bearcats to believe in themselves even as they dropped three of four, even as star forward Yancy Gates found himself suspended and then benched in the second half of a loss to St. John's on Sunday.

"I told them, 'We're 19-6, we need to be proud of it, need to act like it,''' Cronin said. "We don't need to let anybody define us individually or as a group that's outside of our locker room.''

His team responded with the defining win of its season.

Cashmere Wright scored 20 points, Sean Kilpatrick added 18 and Cincinnati bolstered its NCAA tournament resume with a 63-54 victory against No. 16 Louisville on Wednesday night.

No. 3 Texas 73, Oklahoma State 55 -- Box Score

AUSTIN, Texas -- Gary Johnson had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 3 Texas beat Oklahoma State 73-55 on Wednesday night to tighten its grip on first place in the Big 12.

The Longhorns (23-3, 11-0) have a two-game lead against No. 1 Kansas with five games left in the regular season.

Jordan Hamilton added 15 points and Tristan Thompson scored 14 for Texas, which has won 10 of the last 11 meetings with Oklahoma State (16-9, 4-7). The Longhorns have seldom been challenged in conference play, winning 10 of their 11 league games by 10 or more points.

Markel Brown scored 14 points to lead Oklahoma State.

No. 4 Pittsburgh 67, South Florida 55 -- Box Score

PITTSBURGH -- Leading by two points at home with eight minutes to play against a Big East bottom-feeder, former Pittsburgh guard and current assistant Brandin Knight ripped his team during a timeout.

When the Panthers took the floor, they took out their aggression on South Florida.

Nasir Robinson and Brad Wanamaker each scored 13 points and No. 4 Pittsburgh pulled away late for a 67-55 victory Wednesday night.

"We went into the huddle and Brandin Knight ... told us we weren't playing our hardest - but he said it in different words,'' guard Travon Woodall said. "I just went out there and tried to make a hustle play.''

No. 5 Duke 56, Virginia 41 -- Box Score

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Sputtering offensively, Duke relied on its defense and Nolan Smith to beat Virginia for the seventh consecutive time.

Smith had 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists to lead the fifth-ranked Blue Devils to a 56-41 victory Wednesday night.

The Blue Devils (24-2, 11-1) won their fifth consecutive overall, despite getting only two points from second-leading scorer Kyle Singler and being held to their lowest scoring output of the season.

"You know, points were hard to come by,'' Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Their defense was good. I thought ours was a little bit better.

"Again, Nolan was a huge difference in the game. To get 22 points in a game like this is a lot of points. It's a lot of points.''

No. 13 Connecticut 78, No. 9 Georgetown 70 -- Box Score

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Kemba Walker had the ball at about the free throw line and he was being covered after a switch by a player 9 inches taller than him.

He had quite a list of possible plays in front of him. He could have faked and faded for a jumper. He could have put his head down and drove and then either tried to score or pass.

What he finally did isn't on the list of options for almost every basketball player in the world.

Walker did fake to his left, then threw the ball hard off the backboard and since he was the only player who had any inkling of the play, he grabbed the ball and flipped it in from about 4 feet, just one of his many highlight-reel plays in No. 13 Connecticut's 78-70 victory against No. 9 Georgetown on Wednesday night.

No. 11 Purdue 70, No. 10 Wisconsin 62 -- Box Score 

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Lewis Jackson has had few blemishes during his breakout junior season. He made up for one of them Wednesday night.

The 5-foot-9 point guard had 18 points and five assists to help No. 11 Purdue beat No. 10 Wisconsin 70-62. That came after Jackson scored just one point when the Badgers beat Purdue 66-59 on Feb. 1.

In the rematch, he shot 6 for 9 from the field, did not commit a turnover and was solid in his matchup with Wisconsin star Jordan Taylor.

Purdue's players and coaches made their expectations of Jackson clear.

"They just told me earlier today I had to be special, whether that was getting a lot of assists, shutting down Jordan Taylor or scoring the ball,'' he said.

No. 18 Vanderbilt 64, Georgia 56 -- Box Score

ATHENS, Ga. -- All John Jenkins needed was one good shot to end his scoring drought and launch Vanderbilt's comeback against Georgia.

Jenkins scored all of his 21 points in the second half and No. 18 Vandy rallied from a second-half deficit of 14 points to beat the Bulldogs 64-56 on Wednesday night.

Jenkins, the leading scorer in the Southeastern Conference, was scoreless before making a 3-pointer with 13:15 remaining when Georgia led 40-26. It was the first of five 3-pointers for the sophomore.

"Their defense was so good, it was hard to do anything,'' Jenkins said. "I got that one little good look, and that boosted my confidence for the rest of the game.''

No. 21 Texas A&M 71, Iowa State 66 -- Box Score

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M knows a five-point home win against the worst team in the Big 12 isn't all that impressive.

But their latest victory got the Aggies to 20 wins for a seventh consecutive season, and that's what matters to them.

Nathan Walkup scored 19 points and No. 21 Texas A&M held off Iowa State 71-66 on Wednesday night.

The Aggies (20-5, 7-4 Big 12) were up by seven before Iowa State cut the lead to 66-62 on a 3-pointer by Scott Christopherson with 1 1/2 minutes remaining. Texas A&M's Khris Middleton made three free throws in the next minute to push the lead back to seven, and the Aggies held on.

No. 24 Xavier 74, St. Joseph's 54 -- Box Score

PHILADELPHIA -- Xavier took first place in the Atlantic 10, then earned its first national ranking of the year.

May as well celebrate by punishing Saint Joseph's.

Mark Lyons scored 24 points, Kenny Frease had 17 points and 10 rebounds and No. 24 Xavier beat Saint Joseph's 74-54 on Wednesday night.

The Musketeers (19-6, 10-1 Atlantic 10) are the team to beat again in the conference, winning four consecutive games and 11 of 12 overall with five games left before the conference tournament.

No. 25 Utah State 100, Montana-Western 66 -- Box Score

LOGAN, Utah -- Tai Wesley and Brian Green each scored 20 points to lead No. 25 Utah State to a 100-66 win against Montana Western on Wednesday night in a game delayed about 50 minutes after two backboards were shattered at halftime.

Wesley, a 6-foot-8 senior forward, broke the first one when he dunked during second-half warmups. Workers replacing the backboard then smashed the backup while trying to position it upright and attach the shot clock.

While the visiting Bulldogs were jeered by the Utah State student section as they continued to warm up, a third backboard was found. The shot clock was placed on the floor near a portable unit that held up for the rest of the game, though it wobbled at times.

Nate Bendall added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Aggies (24-3), while Brady Jardine scored 11.