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Evan Marinofsky | | January 26, 2022

Men's college basketball scores: Short-handed Illinois impresses, No. 1 Auburn and No. 12 Kentucky survive SEC scares

2022 March Madness men's bracket predictions, 50 days to Selection Sunday

Tuesday's men's college basketball slate of games featured 10 top-25 teams in action, including two games between ranked opponents. 

Here's everything you need to know from an entertaining Tuesday night in men's college basketball. 

Top-25 scores 

Click or tap here to view Tuesday's complete scoreboard

No. 24 Illinois holds off No. 10 Michigan State's late comeback for a 56-55 win

Spartans forward Malik Hall drove the hoop with under three seconds to play and down by two. As he tossed up a layup with time expiring, Illinois forward Coleman Hawkins created just enough contact to be called for a foul. It would be up to Hall making his final two free throws to tie the game. 

After he missed the first, it didn't matter that he made the second — No. 24 Illinois escaped with a 56-55 win over No. 10 Michigan State.

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With the win, the Fighting Illini held off the Spartans' comeback. Illinois led by 14 points at half and Michigan State went off for a 35-22 advantage in the second half. Still, it wasn't enough. 

Illinois pulled off the win without stars Kofi Cockburn and Andre Curbelo. Cockburn sat out his second consecutive game after suffering a concussion in a 2OT loss at Purdue on Jan. 17. Curbelo was out due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. 

The Fighting Illini didn't let the two key cogs being out stop them from taking down their Big Ten rivals. Others stepped up in Cockburn and Curbelo's absence. Senior guard Trent Frazier was massive, putting up 16 points and five assists. Graduate student guard Alfonso Plummer dropped 11 points, freshman guard Luke Goode had nine and redshirt sophomore forward Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk scored eight. 

With the win, Illinois moves into first place in the Big Ten. 

No. 1 Auburn survives scare against Missouri, No. 12 Kentucky needs OT to beat Mississippi State

Two of the top teams in the SEC put scares in their fanbases Tuesday night. In the end, however, both pulled out wins. 

For the entirety of Tuesday night's game, Missouri hung in there with Auburn — the newly-minted No. 1 team in the nation. Even when Auburn went up 55-51 with 47 seconds left, Missouri senior Javon Pickett responded with a three-pointer to bring his squad to within one. 

It wasn't enough, as No. 1 Auburn squeaked out a 55-54 win on the road at Missouri. 

Auburn sophomore K.D. Johnson led with a team-high 17 points. Fellow Auburn sophomore Walker Kessler posted a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, coming up big in the win. Auburn won the game despite only shooting 30.0 percent from the field and 21.4 percent from beyond the arc. Missouri didn't post numbers that much better, as it only shot 38.5 percent from the field and 29.4 percent from three-point range. 

POLL: Here's the latest AP poll

With the win, Auburn improves to 19-1 on the season and now has won 16 straight games. 

Kentucky's game with Mississippi State wasn't such a punch-for-punch battle, but more about holding off a comeback from the Bulldogs. The Wildcats led by as much as 15 midway through the second half, but Mississippi State battled back to tie it, 72-72, to force overtime. 

Ice was popping through graduate student Kellan Grady's veins, as he scored eight in overtime to power Kentucky past the Bulldogs, 82-74. Grady finished with 18 points, while junior Oscar Tshiebwe put on a performance to remember. The forward put up 21 points and a whopping 22 rebounds.

It's the first 20-20 game since Mike Phillips put up 26 points and 28 rebounds against Tennessee on Jan. 10, 1976. 

Kentucky improves to 6-2 in SEC play. 

No. 9 Duke escapes close one with Clemson, wins 71-69

Despite a valiant effort from Clemson, No. 9 Duke ended Tuesday night with a 71-69 win at Cameron Indoor Stadium. 

Star Paolo Banchero scored the game-winning layup with 10 seconds left. He finished the night with a team-high 19 points. Center Mark Williams was massive in the win as well, posting a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Wendell Moore Jr. turned in a solid game with 13 points. So did senior Joey Baker who posted 11 of his own. 

Clemson was powered by sophomore PJ Hall with 14 points, senior Hunter Tyson with 13 and sophomore Chase Hunter with 12. 

No. 7 UCLA takes care of No. 3 Arizona in 75-59 win 

In a battle between the top two teams in the Pac-12, No. 7 UCLA had no problem cruising past No. 3 Arizona with a 75-59 win. 

Junior Johnny Juzang and senior Jules Bernard led the way offensively for the Bruins with 15 points each. UCLA had a massive advantage shooting, putting up 50 percent from the field and 47.1 percent beyond the arc. To compare, Arizona only mustered up 31.1 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from three. 

You want more of this rivalry? These teams meet again in a little over a week on Feb. 3. That game will be in Arizona. 

Georgia upsets SEC rival Alabama in 82-76 stunner 

Even though neither of these squads are ranked, this is still quite the upset. 

Georgia entered the night with a record of 5-14. Alabama countered at 13-7. The Bulldogs didn't seem to care about the discrepancy between records and took down the Crimson Tide, 82-76. 

The Bulldogs were led by graduate student Aaron Cook with 15 points, sophomore Jabri Abdur-Rahim and redshirt senior Braelen Bridges with 13 apiece and sophomore Kario Oquendo with 11 points and seven rebounds. 

BRACKET SZN: Check out Andy Katz's bracket predictions, 50 days from Selection Sunday

Georgia had previously lost eight in a row with six coming against SEC opponents. But after Tuesday, the Bulldogs find themselves with a one-game win streak and it came against a great opponent in Alabama. They improve to 1-6 in SEC play. The Crimson Tide fall to 4-4. 

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