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Andy Wittry | | February 13, 2022

Rutgers wins at No. 14 Wisconsin, Auburn's Kessler records another triple-double and more from Saturday

Duke's Wendell Moore Jr. discusses his scary moment

Twenty-one teams ranked in the latest men's basketball AP Top 25 poll are in action on Saturday, including three ranked matchups, two of which are on the West Coast. Here's everything you need to know about Saturday's men's basketball results.

Here are Saturday's top-25 games

Click or tap here to view the complete men's basketball scoreboard for Saturday.

Auburn rolls behind Walker Kessler's second triple-double

With College GameDay in town, No. 1 Auburn rolled to a 75-58 win over Texas A&M on Saturday, four days after the Tigers suffered their first loss in 77 days, when Auburn lost in overtime on the road against Arkansas. In Auburn's 23rd win of the season — a season win total the program has only achieved six times previously, three of which came under current coach Bruce Pearl — it was sophomore center Walker Kessler who made history with his second triple-double of the season and just the third in program history.

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Before the first media timeout of the game, Kessler already had four blocks and he had seven by halftime. Kessler entered the weekend ranked second nationally in blocks per game at 4.33. A few weeks ago, analyzed the country's top shot-blockers and estimated how many points they've saved this season with their swats, and the 7-foot-1 Kessler had blocked roughly 90 points' worth of shots through Jan. 30.

He added to that total in a major way on Saturday with a career-high 12 blocks, one better than his previous best of 11 against LSU earlier this season. Prior to Saturday, there had been just five instances in DI men's basketball this season where a player blocked at least 10 shots in a game and Kessler was responsible for one of them. Now he has two of the three single-game highs in blocked shots this season with a new national-best block total for the 2021-22 campaign.

However, despite his defensive dominance in the first half, it wasn't clear he would make a run at a triple-double. Kessler entered halftime with two fouls and just two points, but he finished strong, going for 12 points, 11 rebounds and 12 blocks, picking up two more fouls in the second half but importantly, not three.

Rutgers' NCAA tournament hopes get massive boost with road win at Wisconsin

In 2021, Rutgers ended the program's 30-year NCAA tournament drought and it entered this season hoping to make the tournament in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1975 and '76 seasons. But the Scarlet Knights, which lost three consecutive games in November to DePaul, Lafayette and UMass, had their work cut out for them.

As of Saturday morning, Rutgers was listed among the final schools in the "Other At-Larges" section of Bracket Matrix, a well-regarded tool that compiles NCAA tournament bracket projections from dozens of prognosticators. Only one bracketologist had included Rutgers, and as a No. 12 seed.

On Saturday, they got one major step closer to a return trip to the Big Dance with a 73-65 road win at No. 14 Wisconsin – their first win in the Kohl Center since joining the conference. The Scarlet Knights were previously 2-7 on the road this season and the Badgers were previously 10-2 at home, so while Purdue is the highest-ranked team Rutgers has beaten, the Scarlet Knights' win in Madison could prove to be their best from a resume perspective.

There was a massive disparity between how Rutgers and Wisconsin shot the ball from 3-point range and at the free throw line. Rutgers was seven for 12 from deep (58.3 percent) and 16 for 18 at the charity stripe (88.9 percent), while Wisconsin was four for 19, and 9 for 17, respectively. Rutgers' Ron Harper Jr. led the way with 21 points and three 3-pointers, while Paul Mulcahy scored 18 on an efficient 6-for-9 shooting performance.

The Scarlet Knights are now 9-5 in the Big Ten with six games to play. Their best conference record in the Big Ten came in 2020, when they went 11-9. However, the road ahead will be a challenging one, with games against the top three teams in the conference – Illinois, Purdue and Wisconsin – plus road games at Michigan and Indiana.

Wisconsin is now a half-game back of first-place Illinois, which has a 10-3 conference record before hosting Northwestern on Sunday.

Memphis topples No. 6 Houston in Houston

For the first time since 2017, Memphis won at Houston on Saturday and it could ultimately prove to be the difference if the Tigers make the NCAA tournament for the first time under coach Penny Hardaway. The Cougars had won three games in a row over the Tigers, but in a game in which neither team could seem to take care of the ball (19 turnovers apiece), it was Memphis' strong 3-point shooting (9 for 22) and near-perfect free throw shooting (18 for 19) that made the difference.

Memphis forward Landers Nolley II scored a game-high 20 points on an efficient 5-for-7 shooting performance, with four 3-pointers, plus six free throws. Three other Tigers scored in double figures – Jalen Duren (14 points), Lester Quinones (13 points) and DeAndre Williams (13 points).

Houston only got to the free throw line nine times and it made just four of them, and the Cougars knocked down just 30 percent of their 3-point attempts.

Memphis is now riding a five-game winning streak as it improved to 14-8 overall and 8-4 in the AAC, while Houston has now lost consecutive games for the first time since Mach 15, 2017 – nearly five years. At 20-4 overall and 9-2 in the conference, the Cougars will still retain at least a share of the ACC lead regardless of the outcomes of Saturday's games across the conference, but they're perhaps for the first time this season showing cracks after losing Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark for the season with injuries.

Baylor holds serve to stay in pursuit of Kansas

After a mid-January skid in which Texas lost three of four games to drop to .500 in Big 12 play at 3-3, the Longhorns appeared to make a late-January turnaround that one might expect from a team with a new head coach and a roster full of transfer players. The Longhorns, currently ranked No. 20, had won five of six, improving to 7-4 in the conference, beating Kansas at home and winning a Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup over Tennessee during the stretch.

Could the group that was ranked No. 5 in the preseason AP poll finally be rounding into form?

It might be worth pumping the brakes on any such narrative, even if Texas has recently played its basketball of the season. On Saturday, No. 10 Baylor showed that Kansas and Baylor are still the class of the conference, as the Bears rolled the Longhorns 80-63 in Waco, dropping Texas' road record to 2-6 on the season.

Baylor's defense stifled Texas, which shot just under 33 percent from the field. It actually made more of its threes (37 percent) than its twos (31 percent), while Baylor had five players who scored in double figures, including two who needed five or fewer shots to get there. Texas only had only double-figure scorer, Andrew Jones, who had 11 points on 11 shots.

Baylor's Adam Flagler scored a game-high 20 points, including four 3-pointers, and center Flo Thamba, not typically a major scorer, had 12 points and 11 rebounds thanks to his 8-for-11 free throw shooting. However, Saturday wasn't all good news for the Bears, who suffered the loss of Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, who suffered a knee injury running down the floor. A key reserve on Baylor's national championship team, Tchamwa Tchatchoua, was averaging 8.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game prior to Saturday.

Baylor is now 9-3 in conference play as it chases Kansas, which entered the day in first place at 8-2, prior to its home win over Oklahoma Saturday, which pushed the Jayhawks to a 9-2 conference record, which is a half-game ahead of the Bears.

On Feb. 26, Baylor will host Kansas in the return game of the schools' home-and-home series within conference play. The Jayhawks won the first meeting in Lawrence, 83-59, last weekend.

Southern California takes down UCLA in the Battle for LA

No. 21 Southern California rode the hot hand of Drew Peterson all the way to a 67-64 win over No. 12 UCLA. 

Peterson was the MVP of the game for the Trojans with a career high 27 points along with 12 rebounds. This season he has averaged 10.9 points per game. This performance was huge for USC considering it was without leading scorer, Isaiah Mobley, for the second-straight game.

Mobley's presence was missed on the rebounding-side of USC's game. The Bruins did a great job of getting rebounds on offense with 18 to the Trojans' 10. Although UCLA did get a ton of second chances, they failed to capitalize with only 13 second-chance points.

This was the Trojans' fifth-straight win over UCLA. The last time the Bruins won was Jan. 19, 2019. UCLA still leads the all-time series with 32 wins and 22 losses against USC. 

Kansas survives scare against Oklahoma

At the end of the regular season, Oklahoma will look back to its two games against Kansas and wonder what could've been. On Saturday, Kansas held of Oklahoma 71-69 inside Allen Fieldhouse, giving the Jayhawks the season sweep of the Sooners by just a combined five points. Kansas won at Oklahoma 67-64 in mid-January, and the Sooners' latest loss dropped them to 14-11 and 4-8 in the Big 12. With six conference games remaining, Oklahoma will need to go 5-1 down the stretch to even reach .500 in conference play in the first season of coach Porter Moser's tenure.

Oklahoma controlled most of the first half, posting a pair of eight-point leads, before going into halftime up 34-31 on the road. However, an early second-half run in which Kansas' Christian Braun, Jalen Wilson and David McCormack outscored Oklahoma 13-5 over the span of two and a half minutes, the Jayhawks took a 46-45 lead, their first since they were up 11-9.

A Kansas 9-0 run later turned a five-point deficit for the Jayhawks into a four-point advantage, and they iced the game at the free throw line to hold onto first place in the conference.

Providence prevails against DePaul in overtime

Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Right now, the Big East crown remains with No. 11 Providence after a 76-73 overtime win against DePaul. The Friars now improve to 9-0 in games decided by five points or less, the best mark in the NCAA.

The Blue Demons had a 10-point lead around midway through the second half. The Friars didn't lose hope, they clawed their way back to a tie game with a minute and a half left. Shortly after, they managed to get their first lead since 15:51 in the first half when the score was 6-4. 

DePaul's Nick Ongenda came up clutch when his number was called, and he made a short shot to force overtime. The Blue Demons couldn't finish their comeback in overtime as the Friars go

Providence was led by Jared Bynum, Al Durham and Nate Watson who combined for 57 points. Free throw shooting ended up playing a big factor in this game. Providence shot 19-22 from the line, while DePaul went 8-14. 

North Carolina's 18-0 start over Florida State propels Tar Heel victory

For all intents and purposes, Saturday's ACC clash in Chapel Hill between the hosts, North Carolina, and the visitors, Florida State, was probably over before the latter scored a point. Florida State missed its first 11 shots as North Carolina sprinted out to an 18-0 lead in about the first six and a half minutes. Brady Manek had seven points, Caleb Love had six, Leaky Black had three and Armando Bacot scored two before any Florida State player scored any points.

An injury to Florida State guard Caleb Mills, whose foot twisted awkwardly while defending a drive to the rim, didn't help things for the visiting team.

That Tar Heels advantage grew to 24-1 and North Carolina scored 62 points by halftime, thanks to R.J. Davis' wide-open jumper in the final minute of the half. There have been five games this season where Florida State's opponent didn't reach 62 points. North Carolina got there by halftime on Saturday.

Ultimately, the Tar Heels won 94-74, as their torrent of scoring couldn't sustain its ridiculous pace from the first half and as the team's reserves saw the floor when the game's result was guaranteed.

Four of North Carolina's starters scored at least 15 points — Love with a game-high 18, Bacot with 17 and Manek and Davis with 16 apiece.

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