No. 20 West Virginia led by as many as 18, but the Jayhawks forced overtime before taking control and claiming the Big 12 championship outright by clipping the Mountaineers 76-69 in Allen Fieldhouse.
"That was the best win I think I've ever had in Allen Fieldhouse," said Kansas coach Bill Self, who has directed the Jayhawks (24-6, 13-4 Big 12) to 11 consecutive conference titles.
To get the win over West Virginia -- and cap a perfect run at home this season -- the Jayhawks needed sophomore point guard Frank Mason to seal things with eight points at the end of overtime and a team-high 19 on the night.
Junior forward Jamari Traylor was big at the beginning of overtime, contributing six of his 14 points, helping Kansas win its home finale for the 32nd consecutive season.
For West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, the difference was an overwhelming discrepancy in free-throw shooting. The Mountaineers were outscored 34-16 from the foul line. The Jayhawks had 43 attempts to 28 for the Mountaineers (22-8, 10-7).
"When you're standing where I'm standing, you think sometimes things aren't equitable," Huggins said. "That's a nice way to say it."
The 18-point advantage from the foul line allowed the Jayhawks to overcome the Mountaineers' 27-0 margin in 3-pointers, as well as West Virginia's 46-34 domination on the boards.
West Virginia freshman guard Daxter Miles Jr., a 30 percent shooter from behind the arc, made five of nine treys as part of his game-high 23 points. Kansas, meanwhile, went 0-for-15 as a team from 3-point range.
Nonetheless, the Jayhawks summoned enough toughness to overcome the deficit, despite missing Perry Ellis. The junior forward, who leads Kansas in scoring and rebounding, was injured late in the first half and watched from the bench in the second half and overtime.
Mason hit two big buckets at the end of regulation, then followed by scoring the last eight points for Kansas in overtime, including six of six free throws.
"We kept thinking to just get stops, keep believing, keep fighting," said Mason, who logged 42 minutes and had three assists against one turnover.
Kansas freshman guard Devonte' Graham forged the tie at the end of regulation by making two free throws with 11.5 seconds left. Graham went six of eight from the line and finished with 10 points. Freshman guard Kelly Oubre added 12 points by shooting 5-for-7 from the floor, but he fouled out after playing just 19 minutes.
"We played tight and didn't seem to have the bounce," Self said. "They played hard and were really good. ... We had to splice it together, but somehow guys found a way."
From Traylor's standpoint, he needed to offer a boost inside with Ellis unavailable.
"We were not scared," Traylor said. "We always know it's a possibility we can come back. We know we've got to keep pushing it."
The chance to claim the Big 12 crown outright weighed on the Jayhawks but also provided incentive.
"It was definitely important. You never want to share it," Traylor said. "We wanted to cut down the nets here, because we hardly ever get to do that."
The Mountaineers established control early, then maintained the lead throughout most of the second half. Sophomore guard Tarik Phillip contributed 13 points for West Virginia, and junior forward Jonathan Holton scored 12.
The Mountaineers played without senior guard Juwan Staten. The preseason player of the year in the Big 12 missed his second consecutive game with a knee injury. In addition, senior guard Gary Browne was out with an ankle injury.
Huggins bristled when asked about the absence of his two senior guards and preferred instead to credit younger players who fought Kansas to the wire.
"We deserved to win the game," he said. "We didn't do enough at the end. We played hard; we didn't play smart."
NOTES: Injuries prevented G Juwan Staten (knee) and G Gary Browne (ankle) from suiting up for West Virginia. It was the second straight game Staten, the Mountaineers' leading scorer with a 14.5-point average, sat out. Browne was injured in a Feb. 28 loss at Baylor. ... Staten scored 20 points in the Mountaineers' win over the Jayhawks on Feb. 16 and is one of three Big 12 players to net 20 in three consecutive games against Kansas. ... West Virginia came into the game forcing 20.2 turnovers on average, six more than the Big 12 team ranked second in that category, Oklahoma. ... Kansas F Cliff Alexander missed his second straight game as the NCAA conducts an investigation into a matter involving the Chicago freshman. ... The only college basketball programs with longer runs of successive titles than Kansas are UCLA (13 from 1967-79 in the Pac-10) and Gonzaga (11 from 2001-11 in the West Coast Conference).
But it wasn't easy.
Trailing by as many as nine points midway through the second half, Kentucky (30-0, 17-0 SEC) found itself behind by six points, 62-56, with 5:36 remaining. But from that point forward, Kentucky outscored Georgia 16-2, including a 14-0 spurt, to secure the victory.
"You have kids here that have a will to win," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "They believe they're going to win."
Sophomore guard Aaron Harrison started the run with a breakaway layup after a steal by junior forward Willie Cauley-Stein. Harrison was fouled on the play and missed his free throw, but Cauley-Stein grabbed the offensive rebound and dunked.
"We're not trying to protect being undefeated," Aaron Harrison said. "We're not playing not to lose."
"We fight for each other," freshman center Karl-Anthony Towns added. "We don't fight for the record."
Towns scored six of Kentucky's next 12 points. Harrison added three points and freshman guard Devin Booker closed the book with two free throws with nine seconds remaining.
The game featured 10 ties and 17 lead changes.
"When we were down nine, I was hoping it would get to 10," Calipari said. "We learn from everything and we needed to find out who's who. Who's going to make plays? I kept saying, 'Scared money don't make no money.'"
Towns paced Kentucky with 19 points, tying a career high, and hit 8 of 12 shots. Seventeen of the 19 came in the second half during 15 minutes of playing time. Aaron Harrison added 16 and twin brother Andrew Harrison had 12.
"They're starting to become empowered," Calipari said. "When we broke a timeout huddle, they huddled up again on the court. That's what I want to see. I don't want them relying so much on me. I want to get out of the way."
Georgia (18-10, 9-7) was paced by senior forward Nemanja Djurisic with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. Senior forward Marcus Thornton added 14 points and junior guard Kenny Gaines added 11.
"We played hard. We played very well. But we didn't play perfect," Georgia coach Mark Fox said. "And they are so dang good that you almost have to play perfect. And that's not realistic."
Kentucky faced a packed, hostile house and a "black out" student section. The result was a frustrating first half for the Wildcats.
Going more than five minutes without a field goal late in the first half, Kentucky found itself trailing Georgia 27-25. But that's when Andrew Harrison took over.
The point guard scored seven straight points to push Kentucky on top 32-27 with 2:00 remaining before halftime. He hit a 3-pointer, made a steal and hit two free throws after a flagrant foul by Kenny Gaines. Next, Harrison hit a step-back jumper to give Kentucky the five-point lead.
Georgia, however, charged back before intermission to tie the game, 32-32, with its own 5-0 spurt -- a free throw by forward Yante Maten, a layup by guard Charles Mann and a drive at the buzzer by Djurisic.
"Georgia is good; they're an NCAA Tournament team," Calipari said. "We didn't play that bad."
Kentucky made just 33.3 percent of its shots in the first half and was outrebounded 24-19. Georgia rallied from a slow start to make 43 percent of its field-goal attempts despite going 1-for-8 from 3-point range.
NOTES: Kentucky, which clinched the regular-season Southeastern Conference title with Saturday's win over Arkansas, now has 46 SEC regular-season championships. The rest of the league combined has 49. ... Kentucky has faced six ranked opponents this season, winning all six by an average margin of 17.2 points. ... Of 1,175 minutes played this year, Kentucky has been in the lead 88 percent of the time. ... Georgia has now won 10 or more SEC games two years in a row. That happened only one other time in school history, 2002-03. ... Georgia is now 0-17 against No. 1-ranked teams.
After an offensive foul called on Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono with six seconds to play, Creighton center Will Artino missed a layup with two seconds to play.
Arcidiacono got the rebound and was fouled by Bluejays guard Austin Chatman with less than one second to go. He made both free throws, sealing the win for the Wildcats (28-2, 15-2 Big East).
"That was the most physical and aggressive I've seen them play," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "It's not easy to respond to that, and that's why I'm proud of our guys."
Trailing 66-65 with 1:40 remaining in regulation, the Bluejays forced a jump ball and worked the 35-second clock down to five before Villanova guard Josh Hart was whistled for a foul.
Chatman stepped to the line and made both free throws to put Creighton up 68-67. Chatman then was called for a foul while Arcidiacono successfully converted a layup with 49 seconds to go.
Arcidiacono made the ensuing free throw to put Villanova back ahead 69-67. Guard Devin Brooks turned the ball over on Creighton's next trip down the floor.
The Bluejays (13-17, 4-13) called a timeout with 32 seconds to go. Villanova broke Creighton's press when action resumed, and Wildcats guard Darrun Hilliard was fouled seven seconds later by guard Avery Dingman.
Hilliard made both free throws for a 71-67 lead.
"Six seconds to go, at the other end, that's all up to the players," Wright said. "They communicated with themselves, they knew the scouting report, that's what an experienced team does."
Arcidiacono finished with a game-high 23 points. Villanova guard Dylan Ennis added 19 points, and forward Daniel Ochefu had nine points and nine rebounds. Hilliard shot just 2-for-10 from the floor and was limited to seven points.
Chatman paced the Bluejays with 21 points. Brooks and guard James Milliken each scored 12 for Creighton, and guard Rick Kreklow contributed 11.
"It's hard, it's really hard to have your team compete and fight and continue to believe in each other the way this group has and not crumble from within and not have them rewarded for the effort," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. "To beat a team like that, you have to be relatively perfect because they don't give up."
Creighton outplayed Villanova much of the first half and held a 30-29 advantage at halftime.
The Bluejays led 21-12 and had the Century Link Center crowd of 16,337 screaming and dreaming of an upset of a leading candidate for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Milliken was the key offensive cog in the opening 20 minutes, leading the way with nine points by making three of his four shots, including a pair from 3-point range.
"They're a tough team at home, and we just have to keep grinding," Arcidiacono said. "They were playing some great defense. I would say that was one of our gutsiest performances of the year."
NOTES: Villanova was ranked No. 4 when the two teams met in January 2014, and Creighton came away with a 96-68 victory in Philadelphia. The Bluejays also won the rematch in Omaha, 101-80, a month later when the Wildcats were still in the Top 10... The Wildcats have six players who average between 8.9 and 14.4 points per game. Villanova began the night averaging 75.7 points per game. ... The Wildcats play host to St. John's on Saturday in their regular-season finale. ... The Bluejays close their season Saturday with a home game against Xavier.
But it wasn't easy.
Trailing by as many as nine points midway through the second half, Kentucky (30-0, 17-0 SEC) found itself behind by six points, 62-56, with 5:36 remaining. But from that point forward, Kentucky outscored Georgia 16-2, including a 14-0 spurt to secure the victory.
Sophomore guard Aaron Harrison started the run with a breakaway layup after a steal by junior forward Willie Cauley-Stein. Harrison was fouled on the play and missed his free throw, but Cauley-Stein grabbed the offensive rebound and dunked.
Freshman center Karl-Anthony Towns, who led the Wildcats with 19 points, scored six of Kentucky's next 12 points.
Georgia (18-10, 9-7) was paced by senior forward Nemanja Djurisic with 18 points.
Kentucky has one more regular-season game left before the start of the SEC tournament.
Villanova 76, Creighton 72
OMAHA, Neb. -- Fourth-ranked Villanova survived two intense Creighton rallies to slip away with a Big East Conference victory.
With Villanova leading by two points, Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono was called for an offensive foul with six seconds to play. But Creighton center Will Artino missed a layup with two seconds to play.
Arcidiacono, who finished with a game-high 23 points, got the rebound and was fouled by Bluejays guard Austin Chatman with less than one second to go. He made both free throws, sealing the win for the Wildcats (28-2, 15-2 Big East).
The Bluejays (13-17, 4-13) were led by Chatman, who had 21 points.
Kansas 76, West Virginia 69
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- No. 9 Kansas rallied from an 18-point deficit to forge overtime, then outlasted No. 20 West Virginia in Allen Fieldhouse.
Junior forward Jamari Traylor scored six of his 14 points in the overtime, including a bucket with 3:02 remaining to give the Jayhawks the lead for good. Sophomore guard Frank Mason added a team-high 19 points.
Kansas (24-6, 13-4 Big 12) claimed the conference title outright, its 11th consecutive Big 12 crown. The Jayhawks were in jeopardy, however, of losing their home finale for the first time since 1983 before extending that streak to 32 straight wins.
West Virginia (22-8, 10-7) was led by freshman guard Dexter Miles, who scored 23 points.
The Mountaineers were playing without senior guard Juwan Staten, who missed his second straight game with a knee injury, and guard Gary Browne, who was out with an ankle injury.
But West Virginia was ahead 40-22 lead late in the first half, and held an 11-point advantage with 11:43 to go in the second half.
Georgetown 60, Butler 54
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis native D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 16 points, including two key free throws with 6.2 seconds remaining, to lift Georgetown to victory against 21st-ranked Butler in Hinkle Fieldhouse.
With the Hoyas (19-9, 11-6 Big East) leading 56-54, Smith-Rivera rebounded a missed free throw by teammate Joshua Smith and was fouled. The guard then made the two free throws, and after a Butler turnover, guard Isaac Copeland iced it with two more free throws with 4.8 seconds left.
Butler (21-9, 11-6), which was only 10 of 22 from the line, got 15 points and 16 rebounds from forward Kameron Woods.
Maryland 60, Rutgers 50
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - No. 10 Maryland won its sixth consecutive game, turning back Rutgers in a matchup of the Big Ten conference's two newest teams at the Louis Brown Athletic Center.
Rutgers (10-20, 2-15) lost its 13th game in a row, the second-longest skid in school history. Its last win was the upset of then-No. 4 Wisconsin on Jan. 11. The Scarlet Knights lost 16 consecutive games in 1987-88.
Swingman Dez Wells led the Terrapins (25-5, 13-4 Big Ten) with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Center Greg Lewis led Rutgers with 14 points, and he also hauled in seven rebounds. Rutgers forward Kadeem Jack grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds.
North Carolina 81, Georgia Tech 49
ATLANTA -- Guards Justin Jackson and Joel Berry II combined for 28 points to spark the No. 19 North Carolina Tar Heels to an Atlantic Coast Conference victory.
Berry was 5-for-8 and scored 15 points and Jackson was 6-for-10 and scored 13 points for the Tar Heels. They were the only two players in double figures for North Carolina (21-9, 11-6 ACC). Forward Brice Johnson led the Tar Heels with nine rebounds.
Georgia Tech (12-18, 3-15 ACC) got 13 points and eight rebounds from forward Charles Mitchell and 14 points and eight rebounds from center Demarco Cox, one of the team's three seniors who were honored before the game.
Georgia Tech has lost four straight.
It was a special opportunity for the Indianapolis native when he stepped to the free throw line with 6.2 seconds remaining, and the unranked Hoyas leading 21st-ranked Butler, 56-54.
He calmly sank two free throws, finishing with a game-best 16 points, and lifting Georgetown to a 60-54 victory on Tuesday.
Smith-Rivera rebounded a missed free throw by teammate Joshua Smith and was fouled. Smith-Rivera then made the two free throws, and after a Butler turnover, Hoyas guard Isaac Copeland iced it with two more free throws with 4.8 seconds left.
"It meant a lot to me to make those last two free throws," Smith-Rivera said. "At that point, I knew I could be sealing the game. It meant a lot, too, to play well in front of a lot of people I grew up with.
"I had played in Hinkle in a high school regional tournament game and then again last year with Georgetown. On that last play, Kameron Woods kind of had the rebound, but he exposed the ball. In my mind, it was either get it, or I would have been in trouble, because coach tells me to sprint back on defense in that situation."
Butler, which was only 10 of 22 from the line, got 15 points and 16 rebounds from forward Kameron Woods, and guard Alex Barlow added 13.
Georgetown coach John Thompson III was surprised by all the missed Butler free throws.
"Sometimes, it just happens," Thompson said. "They usually don't shoot like that. We were fortunate that happened, because they killed us on the boards, 39-20. That was horrible for us. We were very fortunate to win.
"That was a big-time win for us against an outstanding team. Butler is a team that does not make mistakes. They don't hurt themselves. You have to come into this place and find a way. I thought we responded, even though it was not always pretty."
Georgetown improved to 19-9, 11-6 in the Big East, and swept a two-game series with Butler. The Bulldogs fell to 21-9, 11-6.
Bulldogs' forward Andrew Chrabascz made a 3-pointer at 3:01 to pull the Bulldogs within 54-52, but Smith-Rivera's jumper with 1:55 to go made it 56-52. Butler got to within 56-54 on Barlow's layup with 56 seconds remaining.
Guard Aaron Bowen's 3-pointer from the left wing gave Georgetown a 52-47 lead with 4:13 left, only 27 seconds after Chrabascz missed two free throws that would have tied the game at 49.
Georgetown shot 46.5 percent (20 of 43). Butler shot 35.3 percent (18 of 61).
"We are really disappointed, but Georgetown is physical and active and made it tough for us to score," Butler coach Chris Holtmann said. "We can play better than that, and we will. We tried to make it difficult for Smith-Rivera to score, but he made some plays."
Barlow said Butler's 15 turnovers that led to 19 Georgetown points were a huge factor.
"We could have executed better," Barlow said.
Woods said Georgetown's size made Butler's task difficult.
"They challenged us with a lot of back cuts, and then we simply made too many turnovers," Woods said.
The Hoyas used a 19-4 run from the 8:50 mark until 1:12 remained in the first half to erase a 17-11 deficit and create a 30-21 lead. Chrabascz sank a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left to pull the Bulldogs to within 30-24 at halftime.
Freshman guard Tre Campbell had eight points and Smith-Rivera had five during Georgetown's 19-4 blitz.
Butler, which led throughout most of the first 11 minutes, scored only seven points during the half's final 9:46 -- a pair of 3-pointers and a free throw.
Guard Jabril Trawick scored the Hoyas' first nine points and led his team in scoring during the first 20 minutes. Woods had seven points and seven rebounds to lead Butler's first-half production.
The Bulldogs made only 9 of 27 first-half shots (33.3 percent), including 0 of 4 from their leading scorer, guard Kellen Dunham, who finished 3 of 12 for only eight points.
Georgetown was 12 of 21 from the field (57.1 percent). Butler outrebounded the Hoyas 17-11 during the opening 20 minutes but also was only 2 of 7 from the free throw line.
NOTES: After missing four games with a broken hand suffered in a Feb. 14 loss to Villanova, F Andrew Chrabascz returned to action, entering the game with 15:54 left in the first half. ... On Senior Night, senior G Jackson Aldridge started in place of G Kellen Dunham for Butler. Dunham entered after 2:49. ... The game featured the Big East's top two teams in terms of rebounding margin -- Butler at No. 1 and Georgetown just behind.
The (25-5, 13-4 Big Ten), winners of six straight, trail No. 6 Wisconsin in the conference standings. Maryland travels to Nebraska on Sunday to close out the regular season. The Badgers are at Minnesota on Thursday and at Ohio State on Sunday.
Maryland is ranked in the AP Top 10 for the first time since it was No. 8 in the Feb. 3, 2003, poll.
Playing in its first season in the Big Ten, coach Mark Turgeon's team is headed to the NCAA tournament for the first time in four seasons.
"It (second place) means a lot," said Turgeon. "I started thinking about it after the Michigan game (last Saturday), but I tried not to let my team know.
"We've battled. It's a long season. The grind is unbelievable."
Swingman Dez Wells led the Terrapins with his first double-double of the campaign. He scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Forward Jake Layman added 14 points, and freshman guard Melo Trimble scored 10 points despite shooting 3-for-13 from the floor.
Center Greg Lewis led Rutgers with 14 points, and he also hauled in seven rebounds. Senior guard Myles Mack, a four-year starter, tossed in eight points in his final home game. Rutgers forward Kadeem Jack grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds.
Rutgers (10-20, 2-15) lost its 13th game in a row, the second-longest skid in school history. The Scarlet Knights lost 16 consecutive games in 1987-88.
"We're on a streak that I try not to think about," said Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan. "I'm concerned about my team and what we need to do to get better."
The Scarlet Knights close out their first regular season in the Big Ten at Michigan on Saturday. The only conference victories for Rutgers were against Wisconsin and Penn State.
Rutgers was able to get within 53-50 on a Lewis tip-in with two minutes left, but Maryland scored the final seven points, six from the foul line.
"Our effort was great," Jordan said. "We had to play perfect basketball and we didn't, but we gave great effort.
"From a talent level, we have to get better. We're playing great teams in this conference with good players that can pick you apart. They see the reads and the breakdowns."
The Scarlet Knights battled back from an 11-point deficit with 13:39 remaining to tie it at 45-45 on Mack's 3-pointer from the top of the key with six minutes to play. The Terrapins countered with an 8-0 burst, receiving six points from Wells on a jumper, two free throws and a break-away dunk to move ahead 53-45 with 3:40 left.
"He (Wells) put us on our back the last six or seven minutes and carried us," said Turgeon. "He played under control. He was clearly the best player on the court tonight."
The Scarlet Knights squandered an 18-15 lead with 9:59 left in the first half. Led by five points from Trimble and four points by Wells, Maryland used a 16-5 run to close the half with a 31-23 cushion.
"We didn't rebound great," said Turgeon. "That kept them (Rutgers) around. Bu that's kind of what our team does. We let a team come back and then we do what we do down the stretch."
The Terps were outrebounded 42-38.
Rutgers, one of the poorest shooting teams in the country, converted just one of 14 from the field in the sequence and committed four turnovers. Rutgers shot 30 percent in the first half, 32.2 percent for the game.
Wells scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds for Maryland in the opening half.
Maryland shot 38.6 percent from the floor overall.
NOTES: Rutgers G Myles Mack scored eight points and now has 1,637. He moved past head coach Eddie Jordan for seventh place on Rutgers' all-time list. ... Maryland has been ranked in the AP Top 25 poll for 14 straight weeks, its longest streak since the 2002-03 season when it was ranked all 19 weeks. ... Maryland's freshman G Melo Trimble was selected Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week. He shared the honor with Ohio State G D'Angelo Russell. ... Maryland finished 18-1 at home this season. ... Rutgers averages 59 points, which ranks last among teams in major conferences. It has the third-lowest field goal shooting percentage among those teams at 38.8 percent and is fourth worst on 3-pointers (29.5 percent). Rutgers shot 32 percent on Tuesday, 26.7 percent from beyond the arc. ... The Scarlet Knights honored G Myles Mack and forwards Kadeem Jack, Malick Kone and Stephen Zurich on Senior Night. Mack is eighth on Rutgers' career scoring list, second in steals and fourth in assists. Jack is one of 41 members in the Scarlet Knights' 1,000-point club. ... Thirteen NBA scouts were credentialed for the game.
The Tar Heels were solid from the field, with guards Justin Jackson and Joel Berry II combining for 28 points to spark No. 19 North Carolina to an 81-49 win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in an Atlantic Coast Conference contest Tuesday.
Berry was 5-for-8 and scored 15 and Jackson was 6-for-10 and scored 13 points for the Tar Heels. They were the only two players in double figures for North Carolina (21-9, 11-6 ACC). Forward Brice Johnson led the Tar Heels with nine rebounds.
"It started with our steals on the other end," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "We did some good things, but a big part of the game was how short-handed (Georgia Tech) was."
North Carolina had 11 steals, part of 18 turnovers forced, which led to 25 points. The Tar Heels shot 53.1 percent from the field and went 17-for-28 in the second half (60.7 percent). Not bad for a team that had topped 50 percent only twice in its previous eight games.
Georgia Tech's chances took a big turn for the worse when forward Marcus Georges-Hunt, the team's leading scorer and second-leading rebounder, hurt his right foot at the 16:41 mark and spent the rest of the half with his ankle wrapped in ice. The Yellow Jackets were already without 6-foot-8 forward Quinton Stephens, who sat with an abdominal strain.
"Without Hunt and Stephens, they ran out of gas," Williams said.
Georgia Tech was also limited on its use of point guard Josh Heath, who has been sick with a virus and was only able to play 13 minutes. That forced the Yellow Jackets into some odd combinations and at one time they had four freshmen and a walk-on sophomore on the court.
"I knew being short-handed (without Stephens) would put us in a tight spot," Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said. "And then Marcus got hurt and threw us out of sorts."
North Carolina was able to immediately take advantage of the absence of Georges-Hunt. The Tar Heels scored two quick baskets off steals, then added another after at Georgia Tech timeout.
The Tar Heels stretched the lead to 10 points when Berry drained a 3-pointer with 8:48 left in the first half. They kept pouring it on until the lead reached 20 when Berry made his third trey of the half with 1:55 remaining. Berry had 11 points at the half.
"That little spurt right there was the most important part of the game for us, especially on the offensive side," Williams said. "That gave us an 18-point spread and that gave us a pretty good cushion to play from for the rest of the game."
The Tar Heels forced 11 turnovers in the first half and turned them into 21 points, taking a 39-21 lead into the break.
"The turnovers was the key to the whole thing," Williams said.
It was North Carolina's second decisive victory over Georgia Tech in the last two weeks. The Tar Heels beat Georgia Tech by 29 on Feb. 21 and never trailed in the rematch.
Georgia Tech (12-18, 3-15 ACC) got 13 points and eight rebounds from forward Charles Mitchell and 14 points and eight rebounds from center Demarco Cox, one of the team's three seniors who were honored before the game. Georgia Tech has lost four straight.
The Yellow Jackets continued to struggle from the perimeter. They were 1-for-16 on 3-pointers, with guard Tadric Jackson only 1-for-7.
North Carolina had 10 players score. The Tar Heels are starting to get healthy in time for the tournament, with forward Theo Pinson, guard Luke Davis and guard Stilman White all getting a chance to play.
Gregory wasn't certain if Georges-Hunt or Stephens would be back for the ACC Tournament.
"Marcus didn't sprain it or step on anybody," Gregory said. "We'll just hope for the best, but it doesn't look good."
NOTES: North Carolina has won 20 or more games 11 times in 12 seasons under coach Roy Williams. The Tar Heels coach entered Tuesday's game with the second-best all-time ACC road inning percent of .643, trailing only Duke's Vic Bubas (.667). ... North Carolina closes the regular season on Saturday at arch-rival Duke in Chapel Hill. Georgia Tech's regular season is complete and the Yellow Jackets will play in one of the two first-round games in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.
Guard Gary Bell Jr. was named the WCC defensive player of the year, Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer, a junior forward, was chosen newcomer of the year and Mark Few was selected as coach of the year.
Pangos averaged 11.6 points, 5.0 assists and 2.1 3-pointers per game during the regular season.
Wiltjer led Gonzaga in scoring at 16.5 points per game and also averaged 5.7 rebounds in 31 games.
Few won the coach of the year award for the 10th time in his career. He also became the WCC coach to top 200 conference wins.
The Larry Bird Player of the Year award went to a Northern Iowa player for just the third time in school history.
Tuttle led the Panthers to a 27-3 record in the regular season and the program's first top 10 national ranking.
Tuttle received 38 of 47 first-place votes to beat out Wichita State's Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet.
The active leader in scoring and rebounding the the MVC, Tuttle averaged 15.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game this season.
The Cyclones were getting hammered -- down 20 to Oklahoma -- before the call kicked off a huge Iowa State run and fueled a 77-70 win.
Oklahoma had all the momentum about five minutes into the second half, extending their lead to 20, 48-28, when Sooners junior forward Ryan Spangler blocked the shot of Iowa State junior forward Georges Niang out of bounds.
But OU junior guard Isaiah Cousins was called for a technical foul for abusive language on the play and the Cyclones used it to get back into the game.
Niang hit both free throws, then scored with a quick three-point play and the Iowa State run was on.
"That's two points," Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. "I don't know that it was anything more than that. Could've happened at any point. Isaiah just applauded the blocked shot and he should've have done it."
By the time the Sooners scored again, they trailed.
Iowa State ripped off 22 consecutive points to take their first lead less than six minutes after Cousins' technical.
The Cyclones scored on seven consecutive possessions to start the run. Niang and sophomore guard Monte Morris combined for 18 of Iowa State's points during the stretch.
While Kruger might've downplayed the technical's impact, Niang saw things differently.
"I think when someone gets in your face telling you how they're kicking your butt, you're going to retaliate in some way and luckily we retaliated in the right way. I think that was the push that we needed."
Niang led the Cyclones (21-8, 11-6 Big 12) with 23 before fouling out in the final minute while Morris added 19 and junior forward Jameel McKay 14.
After scoring just 28 points in the first 25 minutes of the game, Iowa State scored 49 in the final 15.
"I didn't go in there and jump on them," Hoiberg said of his halftime speech. "I talked about going out and playing the right way."
After being dominated on the glass in the first half, Iowa State outrebounded Oklahoma 28-16 in the second half and outscored the Sooners 19-4 off turnovers.
After Cousins' technical, the Sooners were 5 of 19 from the floor with eight turnovers and were just 12 of 20 from the free-throw line.
"We weren't too comfortable," Oklahoma junior guard Buddy Hield said of the Sooners' approach in the second half. "We know what they're capable of doing. At halftime, I told the guys to stay poised and they made their run. It's tough when that crowd's going crazy and stuff like that but they did their job. We had a good first half and they stormed back on us."
Hield led the Sooners with 26 points.
The outcome guarantees Kansas a share of the Big 12 regular-season title for the 11th consecutive season.
Oklahoma (20-9, 11-6 Big 12) hosts the Jayhawks on Saturday in the teams' regular-season finales.
But Iowa State took a little bit of the luster off that matchup with a huge second-half comeback.
The Cyclones had a 21-game home winning streak snapped the week before against Baylor and for most of the game it looked like the Sooners would make it two consecutive home losses for Iowa State.
The game was important not only for the Big 12 race but also the possibility of staying close to home in the NCAA Tournament.
The Sooners and Cyclones are among the teams battling for one of two spots in Omaha -- the only early-round site in the Central time zone this season -- for high-seeded teams.
Oklahoma poured it on early, jumping out to a 19-point lead by halftime.
The Sooners did it with a 22-16 rebounding edge, by turning 10 Iowa State turnovers into 12 first-half points and with a 7-0 edge in second-chance points.
Cousins helped fuel a 9-0 run late in the half with his midcourt steal from Iowa State junior forward Abdul Nader and breakaway dunk that forced a timeout from Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg.
Iowa State went more than eight minutes between field goals during the stretch.
About the only bright spot for the Cyclones before the break was McKay, who scored 10 of Iowa State's season-low 18 first-half points on 5-of-7 shooting.
Oklahoma led 37-18 at the break.
In the teams' first meeting, a 94-83 Sooners win, the game was tied at 46 at halftime.
NOTES: Oklahoma junior F Ryan Spangler had eight rebounds in the first half. Spangler, last season's Big 12 leader in rebounding, had just four in the previous two games combined. ... Iowa State came in with six players averaging in double figures. No Big 12 team has ever finished with six players averaging 10 or more points. ... The Cyclones wrap up the regular season at TCU on Saturday while Oklahoma hosts Kansas. ... Iowa State honored its seniors -- Fs Dustin Hogue and Daniel Edozie and G Bryce Dejean-Jones—before the game. ... Oklahoma signee Akolda Manyang, a 7-foot center who plays at nearby Indian Hills Community College, sat behind the Sooners bench.
For a night at least, Texas reversed the trend as the Longhorns overcame the 14th-ranked Bears 61-59 in overtime Monday at the Frank Erwin Center.
Texas guard Isaiah Taylor hit a floater in the lane with four seconds left in overtime, and forward Myles Turner blocked Baylor guard Kenny Chery's attempt to answer at the other end as time expired.
The Longhorns had the ball with the chance to win at the end of regulation and overtime. In the extra period, Taylor let his teammates know in a timeout with 21 seconds left that he wanted the ball.
"My teammates pulled us into overtime," Taylor said. "Going into that timeout, I told my teammates just get me the ball and I'll get the bucket, and that's what I did."
Texas (18-12, 7-10 Big 12) snapped a four-game losing streak. Baylor (22-8, 10-7) saw its four-game winning streak end.
However, Longhorns coach Rick Barnes wasn't completely relieved that the losing streak is over, saying that he still was looking for a complete effort.
"A little bit disappointed, too, that we don't do it all the time," Barnes said. "A couple guys are too nonchalant. It can't be. But the second half, I think there were a lot of things that if we could get it all the time, it would make all the difference in the world."
Guard Demarcus Holland led Texas with 12 points. Guard Kendal Yancy added 11, and guard Javan Felix scored 10.
Baylor forward Taurean Prince scored a game-high 17 points. Bears forward Rico Gathers contributed 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
A melee broke out after Taylor and Baylor forward Royce O'Neale both dived for a loose ball with 1:57 left in overtime. The incident resulted in seven total ejections, four for Texas and three for Baylor, all for leaving the bench area. No technical foul shots were taken, and the coaches for both teams said they didn't expect further suspensions to result from the incident.
"I was disappointed the game had to end like that as far as players leaving and being ejected for coming off the bench," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "Coach Barnes and I were pleased the players on the court maintained their cool and the ones that came off the bench didn't do anything that would get them suspended. That's a plus because this time of year you don't want to lose anybody."
Texas forward Jonathan Holmes tied the game 54-54 with a 3-pointer from the left side with 1:04 left in regulation, the first time the Longhorns pulled even since early in the first half.
Longhorns forward Prince Ibeh swatted a layup attempt by Chery with 34 seconds left, giving Texas a chance at the last shot in regulation. However, Holmes missed from near the same spot where he connected moments earlier. Holland got the rebound but couldn't get a shot off before the buzzer.
Baylor made just one of its first 14 field-goal attempts in the second half and scored just four points in the first eight minutes after halftime.
Texas took advantage of the Bears' scoring drought, cutting a seven-point halftime deficit to one when Felix hit a 3-pointer with 13:55 left.
Baylor found the range again after Prince broke the spell with a layup. Prince added a 3-pointer, and guards Lester Medford and Al Freeman hit 3-pointers.
When Bears forward Johnathan Motley nailed a jumper from the free-throw line, the Bears had a 13-4 run to grab their largest lead of the game, 48-38 with 6:38 left.
However, Texas bounced back with a 16-6 run, capped by Holmes' tying 3-pointer.
"They made their runs, and we didn't stick together," Chery said. "They converted and we didn't."
Baylor shot 29.2 percent from the field in the second half, 33.3 percent for the game. Texas shot 40.7 percent overall and blocked 11 Bears shots, six by Turner.
"Our 11 blocks are huge, too," Barnes said. "Myles is getting so much better defensively right now."
NOTES: Texas' four players ejected for leaving the bench were C Cameron Ridley, F Connor Lammert, G Kendal Yancy and F Prince Ibeh. Baylor's three players ejected were F Johnathan Motley, G Austin Mills and F John Heard. ... Texas' Rick Barnes became the ninth active coach to reach 400 wins at his current school. He has a 400-178 record in 17 seasons with the Longhorns. ... Texas played its fifth consecutive game against an opponent ranked in the AP Top 25, the first time the Longhorns faced such a run in program history. Monday's win was the Longhorns' first in that span. ... Baylor fell to 9-1 against teams from the state of Texas this season.
For a night at least, Texas reversed the trend as the Longhorns overcame the 14th-ranked Bears 61-59 in overtime Monday at the Frank Erwin Center.
Texas guard Isaiah Taylor hit a floater in the lane with four seconds left in overtime, and forward Myles Turner blocked Baylor guard Kenny Chery's attempt to answer at the other end as time expired.
Texas (18-12, 7-10 Big 12) snapped a four-game losing streak. Baylor (22-8, 10-7) saw its four-game winning streak end.
Guard Demarcus Holland led Texas with 12 points. Guard Kendal Yancy added 11, and guard Javan Felix scored 10. Baylor forward Taurean Prince scored a game-high 17 points. Bears forward Rico Gathers contributed 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Virginia 59, Syracuse 47
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The second-ranked Cavaliers overcame a sluggish start to clinch their second consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championship.
In winning their ninth consecutive game, the Cavaliers improved to 16-1 in the ACC and 28-1 overall, the best start in school history. It is likely Virginia will get a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and could return to the Carrier Dome for the East Regional on March 27 and 29 in Syracuse.
Junior forward Anthony Gill led the Cavaliers with 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting and also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Virginia sophomore guard London Perrantes scored 10 points and had 10 assists with just one turnover. Guard Trevor Cooney led the Orange (18-12, 9-8) with 14 points.
Iowa State 77, Oklahoma 70
AMES, Iowa -- The 17th-ranked Cyclones were down by 20 points to the 15th-ranked Sooner before a technical foul fueled a huge run and helped boost Iowa State to a win.
About five minutes into the second half, Oklahoma forward Ryan Spangler blocked a shot of Iowa State forward Georges Niang out of bounds. However, Oklahoma guard Isaiah Cousins was called for a technical foul for abusive language on the play, and the Cyclones got back into the game.
Niang hit both free throws, then scored with a quick three-point play, and the Iowa State run was on. By the time the Sooners scored again, they trailed. Iowa State ripped off 22 consecutive points.
Niang led the Cyclones (21-8, 11-6 Big 12) with 23 points. Guard Buddy Hield led the Sooners (20-9, 11-6) with 26 points.
The Orange's famed 2-3 zone completed flummoxed the Cavaliers, who 14 minutes into the game had just one field goal and had as many turnovers (10) as shots.
However, after falling behind 13-2, the second-ranked Cavaliers outscored Syracuse 38-14 over the next 11 1/2 minutes and clinched their second consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championship with a 59-47 victory before 25,338 fans at the Carrier Dome.
"That's a tough feeling," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said about scoring two points in 14 minutes. "I'm really proud of the way they responded. We talk all the time about resiliency, and they did respond because that was really shaky. And for them to fight through and play that well, I thought (it) was a great way for them to clinch an outright title."
In winning their ninth consecutive game, the Cavaliers improved to 16-1 in the ACC and 28-1 overall, the best start in school history. It is likely Virginia will get a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and the Cavaliers could return to the Carrier Dome for the East Regional, March 27 and 29.
"They're clearly the second-best team in the country, from what I've seen," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "Their players are underrated; they're better players than people might think. There's a reason they've lost just one game."
Junior forward Anthony Gill led the Cavaliers with 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting and tied for the team high with nine rebounds. Virginia sophomore guard London Perrantes scored 10 points and had 10 assists with just one turnover.
Virginia finished the first half on a 21-7 run and opened the second half by outscoring the Orange 17-7 to build a 40-27 cushion. Junior guard Malcolm Brogdon sank two 3-pointers at the start of the second half to spark a surge that ended with junior center Mike Tobey's thunderous dunk.
"That was all part of getting used to the zone and not letting it affect us," Brogdon said about the Cavaliers' shaky start. "We're a group that's been here before, and we know what it takes to get through a game like this."
Guard Trevor Cooney led the Orange (18-12, 9-8) with 14 points.
Syracuse's self-imposed post-season ban will keep the Orange from playing in the ACC, NCAA and NIT tournaments, leaving the team with only one game to play, at North Caroline State on Saturday.
The loss spoiled Senior Night for Orange center Rakeem Christmas, a national player of the year candidate. Frustrated by Virginia's stifling defense like the rest of his teammates, Christmas finished with 10 points and six rebounds, far below his season averages (17.8 and 9.2).
"He's had a great career and he's done everything we've asked him to do," Boeheim said of Christmas. "He's battled for 40 minutes just about every game just to give us a chance to win."
Virginia, which leads the nation in scoring defense (50.1 points per game entering Monday's game), limited the Orange to 38.3 percent shooting (18-for-47), including 21 percent (4-for-19) from 3-point range. To combat Virginia's defense, the Orange tried a slightly taller lineup, inserting junior swingman Michael Gbinije at the point and sophomore B.J. Johnson in the starting lineup at small forward.
It didn't work, as Gbinije shot 2-for-11 overall and 1-for-6 from 3-point range, and Johnson finished with just three points. Ultimately, Syracuse's taller defense didn't work, either.
"We knew that eventually we'd find a way to get through the zone," Perrantes said. "We knew from the get-go that we'd have to feel our way around, and it took us a little while, a lot longer than it should have. It took us a little bit, but it was fine after that."
Trailing by 13 in the second half, the Orange excited the crowd on junior guard Trevor Cooney's steal that led to sophomore forward Tyler Roberson's dunk that cut Virginia's lead to 40-29. Another dunk by Gbinije sliced the Cavaliers' lead to 10, but Perrantes' two free throws and Gill's bucket in the paint restored Virginia's lead to 49-35 with 7:24 remaining in the game.
Virginia outrebounded the Orange 42-20, including 16 offensive boards (seven by Gill). The Cavaliers had 15 second-chance points, and their rebounding kept them in the game during their first-half scoring drought.
"They flat-out killed us on the boards," Gbinije said. "I don't have an explanation for that. They just kicked our butts. That number is not acceptable."
The explanation is that Virginia is national title contender with back-to-back conference titles in a league that features the likes of Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, Notre Dame and Syracuse.
"To get it outright back-to-back years with these guys, I'm so thankful because these young men have stayed true to their identity as a team," Bennett said. "They've found ways, and that's remarkable to me in a very good conference with great depth."
NOTES: Before the game, Syracuse honored C Rakeem Christmas, its only scholarship senior. He ranks in the ACC's top five in scoring, rebounding and blocks. Christmas recently became the 59th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. ... Virginia improved to 7-0 without Justin Anderson, a 6-foot-6 junior guard who was averaging a team-high 13.4 points per game when he fractured a finger on his left hand in a win over Louisville on Feb. 7. Anderson isn't expected back until the ACC tournament at the earliest. ... In the ACC's 50-plus-year history, there were only three games in which a team doubled the score on its opponent in conference play, and Virginia won two of them this year: 57-28 over Georgia Tech in January, and 70-34 over Wake Forest last week.
Sulaimon was kicked off the team on Jan. 29. Krzyzewski said the junior guard "repeatedly struggled to meet the necessary obligations" of being a member of the team.
Sulaimon was the first player dismissed by Krzyzewski during his tenure at Duke.
Duke's student newspaper, the Chronicle, reported Monday that Sulaimon was accused of sexual assault by two women, who told others of what took place. The women did not file complaints with the university or Durham, N.C., police department.
The Chronicle reported Krzyzewski and other members of the athletic department knew of the allegations in March 2014, 10 months before Sulaimon was kicked off the team.
When queried on Monday, Krzyzewski replied: ""Yeah, I don't have any comment about that. Thanks for asking, though."
Kentucky (29-0) earned all 65 first-place votes while the Cavaliers were a solid second choice.
Changes took place right below Virginia. Losses by Gonzaga and Wisconsin paved the wave for Duke to move up to No. 3 and Villanova to ascend to the No. 4 spots.
Rounding out the top five was Arizona.
The Badgers fell to sixth while the Zags tumbled to No. 7.
Wichita State was back in the top 10 in the eighth spot. Despite losing to rival Kansas State in a game where fans stormed the floor, Kansas dropped to No. 9.
For the first time in more than a decade, the Maryland Terrapins find themselves among the nation's elite. The Terrapins, who capped off an 18-1 home-court record with a win over Michigan on Saturday, are ranked 10th.
Gonzaga looked like it was ready to lock up one of the coveted four top slots, with a 29-1 record whose only blemish was a three-point overtime loss on the road at No. 3 Arizona.
Then the Cougars came to Spokane and walked away with a shocking 73-70 victory in the regular-season finale on Saturday night.
"They came in here and were just far more aggressive than we were," coach Mark Few said of BYU.
At 29-2 the Zags still have an argument to make for a top seed, but their strength of schedule (77) will certainly be a knock against them when the selection committee convenes. It's the worst of any team in the top nine in the latest AP poll.
Two of the No. 1 seeds are basically locked in -- Kentucky (29-0) is easily the top overall seed and the odds-on favorite to win the national championship, with its first two games in nearby Louisville, and Virginia (27-1, 15-1) has been almost as dominant thanks to the nation's best defense. The Cavaliers aren't done proving themselves with the ACC tournament on deck.
After that, there are a bunch of teams that could find themselves anywhere in the top eight seeds in the tournament: Villanova, Wisconsin, Duke, Wichita State and Kansas.
Gonzaga's loss certainly could open the door for one of those teams that's been lurking on the No. 2 line for the last few weeks to move one up.
"I'm concerned," Few said, "but I'm concerned all the time. That's pretty much the state of mind I'm in all season."
The most likely beneficiary is Villanova, the Big East's regular-season champions for the second consecutive year, considering Kansas' six losses are likely too much to overlook and Wichita State lacks the strength of schedule (93rd).
The Wildcats' 27-2 resume (14-2 Big East) doesn't have any stellar non-conference wins on it, but plenty of victories over solid teams: VCU, Michigan, Temple, Syracuse and Illinois, among others. And with a SOS of 26 and a top-three ranking in the RPI, Jay Wright's squad has the numbers that the committee wants to see; if they can make a run to the Big East championship, they should be in pretty good shape.
If Villanova drops one of its final two regular-season contests--to either Creighton or St. John's--or loses early in the Big East Tournament, it would open the door for likely either Arizona (26-3, 14-2 Pac-12) or Duke (26-3, 13-3), or perhaps Gonzaga would find itself with that last spot. The Bulldogs figure to get another look at BYU next week in Las Vegas in the WCC tournament.
--Five Teams Soon to be Dancing
1. Murray State. If anybody else wins the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, it'll be quite the shock. The Racers haven't lost since Nov. 29, a 24-game winning streak that included a perfect 16-0 mark in the OVC, so they're certainly the ones with the targets on their back headed into the OVC tournament (March 4-7, Nashville). Sophomore Cameron Payne has emerged as one of the nation's leading scorers and better mid-major guards (20.2 ppg, 5.7 apg), and with three other players averaging in double figures, Steve Prohm certainly doesn't lack for offensive firepower.
2. Iona. The Gaels pack one of mid-major basketball's better 1-2 punches in senior forward David Laury (20.4 ppg, 9.5 rpg) and junior guard A.J. English (19.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 5.2 apg), with freshman Schadrac Casimir chipping in 15.5 ppg on 44 percent from beyond the arc to boot. Tim Cluess' squad will be the top seed at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's tournament (March 5-9, Albany) after putting together a 24-7 overall record (17-3 MAAC), with only two losses since the calendar hit the new year. If they end up with a 12-or-13 seed, Iona very well could pull off an upset in the NCAA Tournament's Round of 64.
3. Harvard. The Ivy League doesn't have a postseason tournament, and with two games left the Ancient Eight's race for the automatic bid is down to Yale and Harvard, who are both 10-2 in league play. The two will meet on Friday to likely decide the title, with Harvard finishing up against Brown and Yale getting Dartmouth on Saturday night. The previous meeting, at Yale on February 7, ended with a 52-50 decision in favor of the Crimson, who certainly look like the favorite to go dancing for the fourth straight year under Tommy Amaker.
4. William & Mary. In the Tribe's 100-plus year history of playing NCAA basketball, they have never once made the NCAA Tournament. That makes them one of just five original Division I teams who's yet to go dancing--and they came agonizingly close last year, falling to Delaware 75-74 in the Colonial Athletic Association championship. While the Blue Hens' senior guards made the difference last year, it's now W&M who has the CAA's best guard in Marcus Thornton (19.4 ppg, 2.9 apg), who's already past the 2000-point mark for his career. Although there are four teams at 12-6 in the CAA heading into the tournament (March 6-9, Baltimore), this feels like it's William & Mary's turn to finally punch that ticket.
5. Albany. Will Brown has brought the Great Danes to the NCAA Tournament in each of the past two seasons, though the 13th-year head coach has yet to win a game there in four attempts. Last year's tournament was played in Albany, which helped the fourth-seeded Great Danes take home the title; this year's edition will be played on home courts only, which is fine for Brown, whose team went 15-1 in the America East regular season (21-8 overall) to claim the top overall seed in the league. They're led by versatile senior Sam Rowley (14.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg), with three others averaging 9.6 ppg or more.
--Five Games to Watch
1. Wisconsin at Ohio State (Sunday, 4:30 PM ET). Speaking of teams with hopes of having a No. 1 next to its name on Selection Sunday, the Badgers have a very good opportunity to close out the season on a high note with a trio to the Buckeyes. Though Wisconsin's two games clear of Maryland with two games remaining, they need to pick up at least one win (or have the Terps lose to either Rutgers or Nebraska) if they want to earn the top seed not just in the NCAAs but in the Big Ten Tournament as well. Ohio State, meanwhile, has a solid resume but could certainly use a win over the best team RPI-wise in the conference to boost its NCAA stock entering the postseason.
2. Virginia Commonwealth at Davidson (Thursday, 9 PM). The Selection Committee's going to have an interesting case in VCU, whose 21-8 (11-5 Atlantic 10) record belies the fact that the Rams are just 4-5 since senior guard and the country's best defender, Briante Weber, went down with a torn ACL. They can end any potential speculation with a win on the road on Thursday, though that's not an easy task. It's at a Davidson squad who's won seven straight games to move onto the right side of the bubble, and the Wildcats still don't want to leave anything up in the air.
3. Iowa at Indiana (Tuesday, 7 PM). Indiana (19-10, 9-7) has been alternating wins and losses over its eight games and is 4-6 over its last 10, but there are two opportunities this week for Tom Crean's bunch to pick up some big RPI wins to try and get to that 20-win plateau. First up is another team that's on the bubble in Iowa (19-10, 10-6), who's won four straight but still needs a few nice wins to flesh out the resume and get off the bubble. Crean's future in Bloomington could very well hinge on his teams' NCAA hopes this year, which means this is a crucial game for the seventh-year head coach.
4. Georgetown at Butler (Tuesday, March 3). The first time these two teams met this season was quite an entertaining affair, with Georgetown's Isaac Copeland hitting a game-winning 3-pointer in the final six seconds of a 61-59 victory on its home court. Now Butler (21-8, 11-5) hosts the rematch, and though both teams are looking comfortable on the NCAA Tournament bubble, Georgetown (18-9, 10-6) certainly doesn't want to leave anything up to chance. This one also has plenty of Big East Tournament implications, with Butler holding onto the number two seed for now but with Georgetown and Providence just a game behind--and those are the two teams the Bulldogs face to end the season.
5. Duke at North Carolina (Saturday, 9 PM). Perhaps the biggest rivalry in college hoops lived up to its reputation the first time around this season, with freshman guard Tyus Jones' 22 points leading the Blue Devils to a 92-90 overtime win at Cameron Indoor back on Feb. 18. Assuming Duke (26-3, 13-3) gets past Wake Forest on Wednesday, they'll be on a 10-game winning streak heading down Tobacco Road, while UNC (20-9, 10-6) is 3-5 in its last eight games with a trip to Georgia Tech on Tuesday before hosting its archrival.
--Five Player of the Year Contenders
1. Jahlil Okafor (Fr., Duke). The frontrunner for several national awards as well as the likely No. 1 overall pick in this years' NBA Draft, Okafor is averaging 18.2 ppg and 9.6 rpg as the anchor down low for the Blue Devils, who look ready to wrap up one of those coveted No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. He's playing over 30 minutes per game, shooting 66.3 percent overall and is a monster on the offensive glass. His 11 double-doubles are second nationally amongst freshmen and second in the Atlantic Coast Conference as well.
2. D'Angelo Russell (Fr., Ohio State). Another freshman who seemingly didn't need a second to adjust to the college game is this 6-5 combo guard, who's averaging 18.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg and 5.4 apg while shooting 46 percent overall and 42.7 percent on his 3-point attempts. Aside from a six-point outing in his second college game, he's scored in double figures in every outing this season, including 13 games of 20-plus points and one triple-double, a 23-point, 11-rebound, 11-assist performance against Rutgers in February. The Buckeyes certainly wouldn't be 21-8 (10-6) without him, and probably wouldn't be an NCAA Tournament team, either.
3. Rakeem Christmas (Sr., Syracuse). Nobody expected Christmas to be anywhere near this list after he averaged 5.8 ppg and 5.1 rpg just one year ago, but the Philadelphia native has exploded onto NBA draft boards with a stellar final campaign. The 6-9 forward is averaging 17.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg and 2.4 bpg as a force on both ends of the court, though he's having a fantastic season in what's been a rocky year for the Orange; they'll be missing out on the postseason thanks to self-imposed penalties for some violations that occurred back as early as 2007.
4. Frank Kaminsky (Sr., Wisconsin). This 7-footer has followed up on a breakout junior season (13.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg) by stepping up every aspect of his game, averaging 17.7 ppg and 8.3 rpg to lead the Badgers to a 26-3 record heading into the final week of play. For evidence of how important he is to Bo Ryan's plans this season, look no further than the one game he missed--a 67-62 loss at lowly Rutgers back on Jan. 11. He's one of those players who could lead his team into a Final Four, and after falling short at that stage last year, he's got his eyes set on nothing less than a national title.
5. Jerian Grant (Sr., Notre Dame). The Fighting Irish have turned things around after missing out on the NCAA Tournament last year with a 15-17 record, going 24-5 with two games left on the schedule. A big reason for the struggle last year was the loss of Grant midway through the season to academic ineligibility, but he was able to fix those problems and has been a key piece for Mike Brey this year. The 6-5 guard is averaging 16.9 ppg and 6.6 apg on the offensive end, while throwing in 1.8 steals as a versatile defender with good length and athleticism.
--Five Mid-Major Seniors to Catch Before They're Gone
1. Saah Nimley (G, Charleston Southern). Perhaps the best pound-for-pound player in the entire country, Nimley is a force to be reckoned with despite his 5-foot-6, 140-pound frame. He's averaging 21.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg and 4.1 apg, leading the Buccaneers to a 19-10 record (13-5 Big South) and top overall seed in the Big South tournament (March 4-8, HTC Center, South Carolina). He's never let his size hold him down, as he's scored 1,800 career points, with 500 assists and 400 rebounds in a stellar four-year career.
2. Marcus Thornton (SG, William & Mary). The all-time leading scorer in William & Mary history with 2,081 points, Thornton has been one of the biggest perimeter threats in the Colonial Athletic Association over the last four years. He's transformed himself from a pure volume scorer early in his career to one who's averaging nearly 3.0 apg while shooting a career-best 46.4 percent overall and 40.9 percent from three-point range. The Tribe have never gone dancing, but Thornton is good enough to bring them a CAA title this weekend in Baltimore.
3. Corey Hawkins (SG, UC Davis). The son of former NBA star Hershey Hawkins, Corey has developed a name for himself out on the West Coast. After averaging 2.0 ppg as a freshman at Arizona State back in 2010-11, he's gone on to score more than 1,570 points in three years at UC Davis, which is enjoying by far its best season in 11 years at the Division I level. The Aggies are 22-5 (12-2 Big West), and are one win away from wrapping up a regular-season conference title for the first time. Hawkins, a 6-3 guard, is averaging 20.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg and 3.6 apg.
4. Wesley Saunders (G, Harvard). Saunders (16.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 4.1 apg) has had another monster year for Harvard, who's on the cusp of its fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance. This is the third straight year that the 6-5 California native has averaged more than 14 points, four rebounds and three assists per game, but he's putting up career-best numbers in all three right now. The defending Ivy League Player of the Year has some competition to repeat as winner this year, but if he leads the Crimson to two more wins this week and another Ivy title, he might just do it.
5. David Laury (PF, Iona). Despite his 6-9, 245-pound frame, Laury is much more than just a big body in the post. He's an extremely skilled forward at the mid-major level, capable of bringing the ball upcourt or attacking the rim from the perimeter. His 20.4 ppg and 9.5 rpg averages are both second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and he's shooting 39.7 percent from 3-point territory as well. If he and the Gaels get into the NCAA Tournament, Laury is one of those players who could make a national name for himself with a big performance or two.
The senior forward logged his fifth double-double of the season with a game-high 25 points and 15 rebounds and grabbed his 1,000th career rebound in the process as the 25th ranked Providence Friars toppled Big East foe the Marquette Golden Eagles 77-66 on Sunday at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
"I hope our team takes on LaDontae's personality coming down the stretch here, because he was a possessed man today," Providence coach Ed Cooley said. "When you've got that senior sense of urgency, he showed that urgency and willed us, especially when it started getting tight we were trying to get him the ball in a lot of different ways.
Henton became the seventh player in program history to have 1,000 points and 1,000 boards and is now less than 20 points away from joining former Friars standout Ryan Gomes as the only two Providence players to finish their careers with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
"They mean a lot, to be a part of something so great," Henton said about the achievements. "But it's more important to share it with my teammates and be able to get wins like this."
Junior forward Tyler Harris had a strong first half and finished with 13 points, and sophomore guard Kris Dunn sliced up the defense for 16 points and nine assists for the Friars.
"They have two stars," Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said. "Kris Dunn reminds me of like a John Wall-type player. He's an NBA talent. He's going to go really high in the draft. He's a big time player."
Duane Wilson, a redshirt freshman guard, totaled a team-high 22 points and guard Matt Carlino contributed 21 points for Marquette (11-17, 3-13). The Golden Eagles lost their fifth game in a row and are 3-10 since the start of 2015.
"I thought Duane was terrific," said Wojciechowski. "I thought he and Matt, those two kids in particular, competed at the level you need to compete in the Big East conference. I wish we had more guys follow suit, but Duane was very good and gave us a chance."
After dominating the latter portion of the first half, Providence stretched its double-digit halftime lead to as many as 24 points early in the second half. A late push by Marquette brought the score within five with 2:00 to play, but that was as close as the Golden Eagles would come.
"I think more than anything, it was our defense," said Wojciechowski. "We just got manhandled on the defensive boards. They scored 18 points on second shots and we got zero. You can't give a team like that multiple shots at the basket."
Marquette jumped ahead by six at 17-11 early in the first half on back-to-back 3-pointers from Wilson, but Providence responded with six straight points to reclaim a one-point lead.
Harris scored all 11 of his first-half points in the final 11:55 of the period and helped spark a 26-10 run for the Friars, giving them an 11-point lead, 40-29, heading into halftime.
Henton, who didn't score until a driving layup with 7:37 in the first half, finished the half with nine points and seven rebounds. With his third board of the game, Henton registered his 1,000th career rebound and was given a standing ovation by the Friar faithful.
"He just started attacking the offensive glass and we didn't block him out and he scored layups," Wojciechowski said. "He's a big time player."
"It's March now, it's coming down the stretch," Henton said. "I'm just doing everything to help my team win, and guys out there (are) battling and fighting, so I'm out there doing the same."
Wilson had nine points and Carlino added seven for the Golden Eagles in the first half.
NOTES: Marquette is 14-6 in the all-time series against No. 25 Providence. The Golden Eagles handled the Friars in their first meeting of the year, winning 75-66 on Jan. 3.... Marquette led the Big East in steals per game (7.9) entering Sunday. Golden Eagles graduate student G and leading scorer Matt Carlino led the conference in 3-pointers made per game (2.7). ... Providence is ranked in the AP Top 25 poll for the first time since 2004, when the team was No. 21. ... Friars senior F LaDontae Henton, the Big East's leading scorer, is 17 points shy of becoming the second player in school history to have 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. ... Marquette closes out the campaign with home games against St. John's on Wednesday and DePaul on Saturday. Providence is at Seton Hall on Wednesday before hosting No. 23 Butler in its regular season finale next Saturday.
Izzo would give the nod to Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky, who scored a season-high 31 points in his final career home game while helping No. 5 Wisconsin claim at least a share of the Big Ten Conference title with a 68-61 win over Michigan State on Sunday at the Kohl Center.
"I would like to give my early vote that Kaminsky is, no question, the best player in this country this year," Izzo said of the senior who is averaging 19.5 points per game in Big Ten games.
"That kid made some plays, made some shots -- with his right hand, with his left hand, he made passes, played pretty good defense. I've never been more impressed with a player in our league since maybe Big Dog (Glenn Robinson of Purdue in the early 1990s)."
Kaminksy also had eight rebounds, three blocked shots and three assists in the victory for Wisconsin, which rebounded from a loss at Maryland and won for the 11th time in 12 games.
The Badgers had few problems dispatching Michigan State, which had a four-game winning streak snapped three days earlier with an overtime home loss against Minnesota. Wisconsin (26-3, 14-2 Big Ten) shot 52 percent in the win and outrebounded Michigan State 35-24 to clinch its first Big Ten title since 2008 and fourth under coach Bo Ryan.
Badgers forward Nigel Hayes scored 14 points, and guard Josh Gasser added nine.
Kaminsky found a quiet moment for himself prior to in his final home game, and he said he was determined to make an impact.
"I wanted to do something special, and I was in my own thoughts thinking about everything, so I just mentally tried to psych myself up," said Kaminsky, who shot 11-for-17 from the field and made three of four 3-point attempts.
Guard Bryn Forbes led Michigan State (19-10, 10-6) with 21 points. Spartans guard Travis Trice contributed 16 points, and guard Denzel Valentine finished with 10 points, six assists and five rebounds.
Kaminsky, a Wooden Award finalist, scored 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting to pace Wisconsin to a 36-25 halftime lead. Kaminsky and Hayes combined to score Wisconsin's first 19 points.
Hayes found early success in the paint, scoring six of Wisconsin's first eight points.
The Spartans shot 5-for-9 from 3-point range in the first half, with Forbes drilling three 3-pointers. He ended the game 5-for-5 from long distance. Michigan State shot 52.9 percent (9-of-17) from 3-point range but made just 45.3 percent of its field-goal attempts overall.
Wisconsin maintained control to open the second as junior forward Sam Dekker made consecutive baskets to extend the advantage to 40-25. The Badgers then drained four consecutive free throws, capped off by two from Gasser after a technical foul on Izzo.
Michigan State, which got 35 points from bench players, closed the game with an 18-6 run that included four 3-pointers.
Izzo defended his choice to start freshman forward Marvin Clark Jr. in place of senior Branden Dawson, who started all previous Big Ten games and was averaging 12.3 points per game on the season. Clark finished with no points and no rebounds in 17 minutes, while Dawson had four points and two boards in 21 minutes.
Izzo said he wasn't pleased with Dawson's lackluster effort against Minnesota.
"I'm going to coach my team for now," Izzo said. "I'm not for the media, not for recruiting, not for anything. I'm going to coach it for what's right and what's wrong. We're not going to play at 25 or 30 percent, and I thought he did. So, that was my decision, and I'll take full responsibility for it."
Senior Day festivities were held before and after the game for Kaminsky, forward Duje Dukan and guards Traevon Jackson and Gasser. Jackson, who broke his right foot at Rutgers on Jan. 11, did not play and still is recovering from the injury.
Ryan said the Badgers' objective, particularly the four seniors, is to win the league title outright and make another run in the NCAA tournament. Last season, Wisconsin lost to Kentucky in the Final Four.
Wisconsin closes its regular-season schedule with road games at Minnesota and Ohio State.
"When you put in the work that they have and have players that have been as dedicated as these guys are, it's fun to want," Ryan said. "I just hope that each day they come to practice, they're working at satisfying the want. And that is being successful, continuing to play as long as we can."
NOTES: Wisconsin G Josh Gasser and F Duje Dukan are fifth-year players, and with 107 wins, they are members of the winningest class in program history. ... The Big Ten title is Wisconsin's 19th in program history. ... Michigan State won six of the past eight meetings with Wisconsin. The teams split a two-game series last season. ... In 14 seasons under Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, the Badgers have a 15-12 record against Michigan State, the only Big Ten team to have a winning record against the Spartans in that span.
Purvis, a sophomore guard, scored 14 of his career-high 28 points in the second half and senior guard Ryan Boatright added 23 points and five assists as UConn upset 21st-ranked SMU 81-73, snapping the Mustangs' five-game winning streak.
UConn freshman forward Daniel Hamilton also scored 14 points in the second half and finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists as the Huskies (17-11, 10-6 American) beat the Mustangs for the first time in five tries in the series history.
The loss knocked SMU (23-6, 14-3) into second place in the American Athletic Conference behind Tulsa (21-7, 14-2). Forward Markus Kennedy led the Mustangs with 18 points, and center Yanick Moreira had 14.
Wisconsin 68, Michigan State 61
MADISON, Wis. -- Frank Kaminsky scored a season-high 31 points in his final career home game, and he helped the fifth-ranked Badgers claim a share of the Big Ten Conference title with a win over the Spartans. The senior forward also had eight rebounds, three blocked shots and three assists.
Wisconsin (26-3, 14-2 Big Ten) shot 52 percent and outrebounded Michigan State 35-24 to clinch its first Big Ten title since 2008 and fourth under coach Bo Ryan. Badgers forward Nigel Hayes scored 14 points, and guard Josh Gasser added nine.
Guard Bryn Forbes led Michigan State (19-10, 10-6) with 21 points. Spartans guard Travis Trice contributed 16 points, and guard Denzel Valentine finished with 10 points, six assists and five rebounds.
Providence 77, Marquette 66
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- LaDontae Henton grabbed his 1,000th career rebound and became the seventh player in program history to have 1,000 points and 1,000 boards as the 25th-ranked Friars toppled the Golden Eagles.
The senior forward had a double-double with 25 points and 15 rebounds to lead Providence (20-9, 10-6 Big East), which bounced back from an ugly 28-point loss at No. 6 ranked Villanova on Tuesday and now has 20 or more wins in back-to-back campaigns.
Redshirt freshman guard Duane Wilson totaled a team-high 22 points and guard Matt Carlino contributed 21 points for Marquette (11-17, 3-13). The Golden Eagles lost their fifth game in a row and fell to 3-10 since the start of 2015.
The Huskies beg to differ. On Sunday at the XL Center before an appreciative crowd of 15,564, UConn finally put its full potential on display with an 81-73 victory over the No. 21 Southern Methodist Mustangs.
Sophomore guard Rodney Purvis, scored 14 of his career-high 28 points in the second half and senior guard Ryan Boatright added 23 points and five assists as UConn (17-11, 10-6 American) snapped a five-game winning streak for the Mustangs and prevented SMU from taking control of the American Athletic Conference race.
Purvis and Boatright combined for 51 points against a team that gives up an average of just 59 points a game. The 81 points were a season-high against SMU.
Both players agreed that the Huskies are a different team when Purvis plays aggressively.
"We could be real dangerous," Boatright said. "The sky's the limit. We just want to keep getting better every day, take care of each game, and just get in the tournament. Once we get in the tournament, anything could happen."
UConn freshman forward Daniel Hamilton also scored 14 points in the second half and finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists as the Huskies beat the Mustangs for the first time in five tries in the series history.
The loss knocked SMU (23-6, 14-3) into second place in the conference behind Tulsa (21-7, 14-2). Tulsa plays Cincinnati on Wednesday, then travels to SMU on March 8.
Forward Markus Kennedy led SMU with 18 points, and center Yanick Moreira had 14.
"We're a pretty good defensive team, and I don't think this was our best effort," SMU coach Larry Brown said. "But I also think you should give credit to the people we played against."
UConn pulled into fifth place in the AAC, one full game ahead of Memphis (9-7 AAC) for the final first-round bye spot in the conference tournament. Memphis plays at UConn Thursday, the Huskies finish the regular season Saturday at Temple and then the AAC tournament is at the XL Center.
"We've got two games left against two great teams that already beat us," UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. "We want to respond the right way, like we've been responding to teams that have already beaten us earlier in the season."
Hamilton, who scored two points in the first half, sparked a 17-4 run by the Huskies that turned a 53-51 deficit into a 68-57 lead with 3:59 left. Hamilton started the run with consecutive 3-pointers and wrapped it up with two free throws.
With UConn leading by four, Purvis may have made the play of the season for the struggling Huskies. Purvis stole the ball from SMU guard Ryan Manuel, drove to the basket, scored on a layup and was fouled by Manuel. Purvis hit the free throw for a three-point play that gave UConn a 64-57 lead with 4:55 left.
"I was laughing," Brown said. "Purvis, I think, was shooting 40 percent from the free throw line. He makes everyone and a lot that mattered."
UConn jumped out to an early 10-4 lead in just over six minutes. Purvis opened the scoring with a 3-pointer and had eight of those 10 points. Boatright had the other basket on a runner from the right side.
Purvis, a sophomore transfer from North Carolina State, was 4 of 8 from the field in the first half and 2 of 4 from 3-point range. He continued to have the hot hand in the second half, knocking down a 3-pointer and then driving the lane for an explosive dunk with 16:55 left.
"I just came out aggressive," Purvis said. "That's what the coaches have been pitching to me. We showed a lot of toughness. Earlier in the year, we probably would have bit the dust. We've made a lot of growth."
Another basket by Purvis put UConn ahead 48-43. But, led by Kennedy, the Mustangs grabbed the momentum with a spurt midway through the second half. Kennedy was fouled by forward Phillip Nolan and completed a three-point play. Sophomore guard Sterling Brown dropped a 3 from the left corner and Kennedy hit a jumper to give SMU its first and only lead, 53-51 with 8:10 left.
"In the second half, we got back into the game, took some ill-advised quick shots, and then they capitalized," Brown said. "I thought they were more disciplined on their end of the court. I don't know how many teams would have beaten them tonight."
NOTES: SMU, third in the AAC in steals with 195 before the game, turned up its defense late in the first half to record five steals by halftime. SMU scored 10 points off UConn's eight first-half turnovers. UConn had only four turnovers in the second half. "It's just being strong with the ball and making strong decisions," UConn point guard Ryan Boatright said. ... SMU will return to Hartford in 12 days. The XL Center is the site for the American Athletic Conference championship tournament, set to run March 12-15. The top five seeds receive a bye from first round action, so SMU will open March 13. ... Senior G Ryan Boatright scored seven points in the first half, moving into a tie for ninth place on the all-time UConn scoring list with Wes Bialosuknia (1964-67) with 1,673 points. With 23 for the game, Boatright moved into ninth by himself with 1,689 points.
BYU halted Gonzaga's 22-game winning streak by limiting the Bulldogs to 37 percent shooting from the field in the second half. The Cougars held Gonzaga scoring leader Kyle Wiltjer to a season-low four points.
"We just tried to front him and just be aggressive," scrappy BYU guard Kyle Collingsworth said. "Credit to us, and also, sometimes guys just have bad nights."
Collingsworth certainly didn't have a bad night. He led the Cougars with 20 points and eight rebounds on the final day of the regular season in the West Coast Conference.
"He's a great player," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "Just hustles. So smart.
He knows where the ball is. He absolutely killed us on the offensive glass."
Six of Collingsworth's rebounds came at the offensive end, including one he put back up for a basket to give BYU a 71-66 lead with 17.3 seconds left. The remainder of the game's scoring came at the free-throw line.
The nation's longest home winning streak ended at 41 when Wiltjer's shot from beyond midcourt bounced high off the iron.
"They came in here and were just far more aggressive than we were," Few said.
Gonzaga guard Byron Wesley said, "That was the story of the game."
Gonzaga (29-2, 17-1 WCC) had already clinched the top seed in the WCC tournament. The victory gave BYU (23-8, 13-5) the second seed. The Bulldogs and Cougars have first-round byes when the tournament opens Friday in Las Vegas.
Wesley, who transferred to Gonzaga from USC for his senior season, led the Bulldogs with 17 points and nine rebounds before a raucous sellout crowd of 6,000.
Gonzaga's two other seniors, point guard Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., struggled on Senior Night.
Pangos had eight points, five assists and four steals but went 3 of 12 from the field. Bell played tough defense against WCC scoring leader Tyler Hawks (10 points, 3-of-11 shooting), but Bell's only points came on a 3-pointer with 1:49 to go.
Collingsworth said the Cougars "absolutely" played their best defense of the season. Wiltjer, a junior forward who was averaging 17 points per game, made just 2 of 11 shots from the floor.
"I've got to continue to keep my head up and I'll be fine," Wiltjer said.
Skyler Halford came off the bench to score 14 points for BYU and backcourt partner Chase Fischer added 13.
Reserve forward Domantas Sobonis had 12 points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs but missed 4 of 8 free throws.
Gonzaga never led in the game and managed just one tie.
The Bulldogs set a McCarthey Athletic Center record by holding San Diego to 39 points Thursday, but their play has been spotty at both ends of the court lately.
"I'm concerned," Few said, "but I'm concerned all the time. That's pretty much the state of mind I'm in all season."
Gonzaga and BYU battled to a 36-36 tie at the half. The Bulldogs missed 10 of their first 11 shots from the floor in falling behind 11-2. The Cougars led from the opening basket until Pangos ran the clock down before hitting a tying jumper with four seconds left in the half.
Few said he was disappointed that Gonzaga did not dominate under the basket like it usually does.
Bulldogs junior center Przemek Karnowski had eight points, three rebounds and three blocked shots. BYU freshman center Corbin Kaufusi countered with seven points, six rebounds and three blocks.
"He's going to be a stud," Collingsworth said of Kaufusi.
NOTES: Gonzaga has won the WCC regular-season championship 14 of the past 15 seasons, including the past three years. The Bulldogs have won the past two WCC tournaments and three of the past four. ... Gonzaga is headed to the NCAA Tournament for the 17th consecutive year, including all 16 years since Mark Few was promoted from assistant coach when Dan Monson left for Minnesota in 1999. ... BYU G Tyler Haws ranked second in the nation through Friday with 186 made free throws. His 210 attempts ranked sixth. Haws became BYU's career scoring leader Thursday at Portland, passing Jimmer Fredette.
York raced into the wide-open lane, grabbed the ball and put it in for a go-ahead layup. It was part of a game-ending 8-0 run that lifted No. 7 Arizona past No. 13 Utah 63-57 on Saturday night.
It offered an example of the sort of hustle plays that saved the Wildcats when things weren't going right offensively. As York watched the ball bounce a couple of times and no one pounce on it, he saw a chance to redeem his own missed free throw.
"It was late in the game and I knew I had missed the free throw, so I knew coached might be a little (upset) at me, so I tried to make a good play," York said.
Center Kaleb Tarczewski scored 13 points and York and Stanley Johnson added 12 apiece to help the Wildcats (26-3, 14-2 Pac-12) clinch the regular-season Pac-12 title.
Guard Delon Wright scored 17 points and forward Jordan Loveridge added 10 to lead the Utes.
Utah (22-6, 12-4 Pac-12) saw its 18 game home-court winning streak snapped.
The Wildcats dominated the glass, outrebounding the Utes 44-35. Utah also struggled on offense throughout the game, shooting 31 percent from the floor and 32 percent from 3-point range.
"They're one of the toughest teams in the country," Wright said. "They play really good defense. That's why they're a top 10 team. They all just do a great job."
Defense saved Arizona.
The Wildcats missed heir first 10 shots from the field of the second half and 15 of 17 overall before getting on track offensively. Arizona quickly fell behind when Wright bookended a Loveridge jumper with two free throws and a layup to give Utah a 36-32 lead.
Johnson ended Arizona's drought when took a steal in for a layup for the team's first basket of the half to cut the Utes' lead to two.
"I actually didn't think our offense looked bad," Arizona guard T.J. McConnell said. "We just couldn't make shots. We were executing -- just couldn't make shots. But we were resilient and that's how we came out on top."
Once behind, Arizona had trouble getting retaking the lead. The Utes pushed their lead to six at 47-41 after guard Brandon Taylor hit his first 3-pointer of the game.
York answered with a 3-pointer out of an Arizona timeout and forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson followed with a dunk to cut Utah's lead to one.
The Wildcats retook the lead when Hollis-Jefferson made two free throws to put Arizona up 50-49 with 6:12 remaining.
"Our defense didn't change," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "We stayed with it. Offensively, you always know more when you watch the film, but you can get down on yourself when the ball is not going in. That affects defense. Our missed shots never affected our defense. That's a sign of a tough-minded team -- especially on the road."
Utah and Arizona traded baskets and free throws through the final six minutes. Utah took a 57-55 lead on a Taylor 3-pointer with 1:55 left. Then York hit one free throw and rebounded the miss to score a layup and give the Wildcats a 58-57 lead going into the final minute.
Hollis-Jefferson added two free throws to make it 60-57 with 35 seconds left. Taylor had a chance to cut it to one but missed a layup with 10.8 seconds remaining. York and Hollis-Jefferson sealed the win with three free throws in the final seconds.
"I'm real disappointed," Wright said. "We had a shot at a Pac-12 title."
NOTES: Arizona has won 12 straight games against Utah. The Utes last defeated the Wildcats in the West Regional Final of the 1998 NCAA Tournament. ... Utah leads the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (.495) and Arizona is second (.491). ... This was the first conference game for Utah featuring two AP top 15 teams since the No. 4 Utes beat No. 11 New Mexico 78-58 on March 1, 1997. ... Both teams combined for 46 fouls and 58 free throws.
Reserve guard Skyler Halford added 14 points to help BYU (23-8, 13-5 WCC) also end the nation's longest home-court winning streak at 41.
Guard Byron Wesley led Gonzaga (29-2, 17-1) with 17 points and nine rebounds.
Bulldogs scoring leader Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points on 2-of-11 shooting from the field, and his potential game-tying shot from beyond midcourt bounced harmlessly off the rim at the final horn.
Kentucky 84, Arkansas 67
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After nearly 10 weeks, No. 1 Kentucky finally was tested by a ranked opponent on Saturday when No. 18 Arkansas, riding a seven-game win streak, faced the Wildcats at Rupp Arena. Kentucky passed the exam with flying colors.
The Wildcats improved to 29-0, 16-0 in the Southeastern Conference, and Arkansas fell to 23-6, 12-4.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early 11-2 lead, but it wasn't until the second half that they began to pour it on. Kentucky enjoyed its largest lead at 78-47 with 8:01 left in the game. At that point, it had made 15 of its 20 shots from the field in the second half.
The Wildcats, with 25 NBA scouts looking on, were led by 6-foot-10 freshman forward Trey Lyles with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field. Sophomore point guard Andrew Harrison also had 18 points.
Arkansas, which did manage to trim the final margin to 17 points, placed four players in double figures. Senior guard Michaell Qualls was tops with 17 points.
Virginia 69, Virginia Tech 57
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Second-ranked Virginia closed out its home schedule with a victory over in-state rival Virginia Tech.
The Cavaliers finished their home slate with a 15-1 record, giving them 15 or more wins at home for the third consecutive season.
Virginia Tech (10-19, 2-14 ACC) used an 11-2 run to close to within 50-46 with 7:32 to play, only to see their run be topped by a 12-0 spurt that gave the Cavaliers a commanding 16-point lead.
Virginia (27-1, 15-1) boasted four players in double figures as guard Malcolm Brogdon scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Virginia Tech was led by guard Adam Smith, who tied Brogdon with a game-high 19 points.
Kansas 69, Texas 64
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Kanss survived a challenge from Texas and moved closer to an 11th straight Big 12 title.
Junior forward Perry Ellis led Kansas (23-6, 12-4 Big 12) with game highs of 28 points and 13 rebounds. Guard Kelly Oubre added 15 points and nine rebounds.
Point guard Isaiah Taylor paced Texas (17-12, 6-10) with 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
With Kansas leading by two points late in the second half, Taylor came out of a timeout and raced up the court looking to tie the score. He lifted a layup that bounced off the glass and into the arms of Oubre.
Duke 73, Syracuse 54
DURHAM, N.C. -- Freshman forward Justise Winslow led fourth-ranked Duke in scoring for the first time in 15 games as his season-high 23 points propelled the Blue Devils past Syracuse at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Guard Quinn Cook's 17 points and center Jahlil Okafor's 13 points and 14 rebounds helped the Blue Devils (26-3, 13-3 ACC), who have won nine in a row. Duke stayed two games behind first-place Virginia in the ACC standings with two games remaining after handing the Orange (18-11, 9-7) their most-lopsided loss of the season.
Center Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse's scoring leader at 18.1 points per game, fouled out with 11 points and five rebounds with 9:42 left. The Orange trailed 58-38 after Okafor made one of the two ensuing free throws. Forward Tyler Roberson scored 16 points for Syracuse, which hasn't won back-to-back games since mid-January.
Maryland 66, Michigan 56
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Freshman guard Melo Trimble had 19 points and five assists, and senior guard Dez Wells added 13 points and three assists as No. 14 Maryland defeated Michigan.
The Terrapins (24-5, 12-4 Big Ten) claimed their fifth win in row and held onto second place in the Big Ten. Maryland, playing on Senior Day in its first year in the Big Ten, ended the regular season with a 9-0 record at home against conference opponents.
Senior forward Evan Smotrycz, in his last home game against his former team, made his second start of the season for the Terps and had nine rebounds and four assists.
Michigan (14-14, 7-9), which trailed by nine points at halftime, has lost six of its last seven games and is 2-6 on the road in the conference. Forward Zak Irvin and guard Spike Albrecht each had 15 points for the Wolverines.
Louisville 81, Florida State 59
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Arguably the toughest week of the season for No. 17 Louisville ended on a high note when the Cardinals won their third straight game.
Louisville dismissed star guard Chris Jones, who was the Cardinals' third-leading scorer at 13.7 points a game, from the team on Thursday for violating team rules. Shortly after, Jones was charged with felony sexual assault. He has pleaded not guilty.
While the news left the team shaken, Saturday's dominating performance against Florida State proved Louisville (23-6, 11-5 ACC) is far from broken.
Guard Wayne Blackshear led the Cardinals with 18 points and two blocked shots, followed by 14 points from reserve guard Anton Gill, who finished 5-for-5 from the floor, including 4-of-4 from 3-point range. The Cardinals also got several highlight-reel dunks from center Montrezel Harrell, who finished with 16 points.
Florida State (15-15, 7-10) lost its third straight game and couldn't get any more late heroics from freshman point guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who was coming off a 35-point night that tied his career high in a loss to Miami on Wednesday. Rathan-Mayes, who finished with 12 points on 5-of-16 shooting, scored 30 of those 35 points in the final 4:38 of the game. But his hot hand didn't continue Saturday when he started 0-for-5 in the first 10 minutes of the game and went to halftime with only two points on 1-of-9 shooting.
Villanova 78, Xavier 66
CINCINNATI -- Guard Dylan Ennis scored 14 of his team-leading 16 points in the first half, and guard Ryan Arcidiacono added 15, as sixth-ranked Villanova clinched the outright Big East championship with a victory over Xavier.
Forward Kris Jenkins scored all of his 14 points from 3-point range for Villanova (27-2, 14-2 Big East), which extended its winning streak to 10 games.
Forward Jalen Reynolds was a tough matchup for Nova throughout the game, leading the Musketeers with 15 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the floor. Freshman forward Trevon Bluiett added 12 points for Xavier (18-12, 8-9).
Oklahoma 67, TCU 60
NORMAN, Okla. -- The No. 16 Sooners, playing in front of a sparse home crowd thanks to a snow storm, trailed for much of the game but came through in the end to beat TCU.
Oklahoma (20-8, 11-5 Big 12) has a chance to finish with at least a share of the Big 12 title if it can win its last two conference games -- at Iowa State and home against Kansas.
Junior guard Buddy Hield, the Big 12's leading scorer, had struggled in recent games but bounced back against the Horned Frogs, leading the Sooners with 21 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.
Senior guards Kyan Anderson and Trey Zeigler each scored 16 points to lead the Horned Frogs (17-12, 4-12).
North Carolina 73, Miami 64
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Forward Brice Johnson scored a game-high 22 points to lead the No. 15 North Carolina Tar Heels past the Miami Hurricanes.
Johnson added a game-high 11 rebounds as North Carolina (20-9, 10-6 ACC) snapped a four-game losing streak in its rivalry with Miami. Overall, the Tar Heels had also been slumping -- this was just their third win in their past eight games.
Forward J.P. Tokoto tallied 10 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals for the Tar Heels. Guard Marcus Paige added 17 points and forward Justin Jackson scored 11 as North Carolina recorded its 11th 20-win season in 12 years under coach Roy Williams.
Miami (18-11, 8-8), considered a bubble team to make the NCAA tournament, is just 3-6 in its past nine games. Miami is also 3-5 against Top 25 opponents.
Wichita State 74, Northern Iowa 60
WICHITA, Kan. -- No. 11 Wichita State won its second consecutive Missouri Valley Conference title with a victory over No. 10 Northern Iowa.
The Shockers (27-3, 17-1 MVC) have won three of the last four MVC titles, the best run in their time as a conference member. Northern Iowa (27-3, 16-2) finished second.
Guard Ron Baker led Wichita State with 17 points. The Shockers made 11-of- 24 shots from 3-point range and scored 17 points off 10 Northern Iowa turnovers.
Forward Seth Tuttle led the Panthers with 16 points.
Butler 67, DePaul 53
ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Guard Kellen Dunham scored 24 points as No. 23 Butler claimed sole possession of second place in the Big East Conference with a victory over DePaul.
Forward Roosevelt Jones had 16 points, while forward Kameron Woods added 14 as the Bulldogs (21-8, 11-5 Big East) won their second straight and completed a two-game season sweep of the Blue Demons.
Forward Jamee Crockett scored 20 points as DePaul (12-18, 6-11) dropped its sixth straight and ninth in 10 games while playing its season home finale.
Dayton 59, VCU 55
RICHMOND, Va. -- Guard Jordan Sibert scored 19 points as Dayton upset No. 22 Virginia Commonwealth.
VCU (21-8, 11-5 Atlantic 10) had two chances to take the lead in the last minute, but Sibert made two free throws with 2.5 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
Forward Kendall Pollard scored 16 points for Dayton (22-6, 12-4). Forward Dyshawn Pierre had 13 points and seven rebounds.
Guard Treveon Graham and forward Mo Alie-Cox led VCU with 12 points each.
Kansas State 70, Iowa State 69
MANHATTAN, Kan.-- Kansas State used a 15-5 flourish down the stretch to hand No. 12 Iowa State its second straight loss on a snowy Senior Day at Bramlage Coliseum.
The Cyclones fell two games behind first-place Kansas in the Big 12 race with two games remaining.
With Iowa State leading 69-68 with 18.5 seconds left, K-State forward Wesley Iwundu stole the inbounds pass and raced for a dunk to give the Wildcats the lead with 16.4 seconds left. Iowa State's Naz Long missed a 3-point shot at the buzzer.
Kansas State (15-15, 8-9) only connected on 26.3 percent (5 of 19) of their 3-point shots but controlled the paint. The Wildcats were led by reserve guard Nigel Johnson with 17 points, and reserve guard Justin Edwards with 16.
The Cyclones (20-8, 10-6 Big 12) were 11 of 27 from 3-point range but missed their last five attempts. Iowa State was led by forward Georges Niang with 21 points.
Baylor 78, West Virginia 66
WACO, Texas -- The 19th-ranked Baylor Bears capped an impressive week by cruising past West Virginia.
Three days after completing a season sweep of 12th-ranked Iowa State, the Bears did the same to the 20th-ranked Mountaineers.
Baylor forward Taurean Prince scored 20 points to lead the Bears (22-7, 10-6 Big 12) as they posted consecutive wins against ranked opponents for the first time in program history. West Virginia guard Jevon Carter scored 25 points, but the Mountaineers (22-7, 10-6) trailed by 16 at halftime and couldn't get back within nine in the second half.
Boise State 56, San Jose State 46
SAN DIEGO -- Boise State completed a season sweep of No. 24 San Diego State and gained a share of first place in the Mountain West Conference.
With its second straight victory over San Diego State, Boise State holds the tiebreaker between the teams with two conference games remaining.
Boise State (22-7, 12-4) was paced by guard Derrick Marks, the conference's top scorer who had 18 points. Forward James Webb II added 16 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
San Diego State, which saw its four-game overall and 29-game home winning streak snapped, was led by forward Winston Shepard's 13 points.
Arizona 63, Utah 57
SALT LAKE CITY -- Center Kaleb Tarczewski scored 13 points and guard Gabe York and forward Stanley Johnson added 12 apiece to help No. 7 Arizona defeat No. 13 Utah.
The Wildcats (26-3, 14-2 Pac-12) clinched the regular season Pac-12 title.
Guard Delon Wright scored 17 points and forward Jordan Loveridge added 10 to lead Utah (22-6, 12-4 Pac-12), which saw its 18-game home-court winning streak snapped.
Utah and Arizona traded baskets and free throws through the final six minutes. The Utes took a 57-55 lead on a 3-pointer by guard Brandon Taylor with 1:55 left. Then York hit one free throw and rebounded the miss to score a layup and give the Wildcats a 58-57 lead going into the final minute.
Arizona forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added two free throws to make it 60-57 with 35 seconds left. Taylor had a chance to cut it to one but missed a layup with 10.8 seconds left. York and Hollis-Jefferson sealed the win with three free throws in the final seconds.
Junior guard Marvelle Harris scored a team-high 14 points for Fresno State (14-15, 9-7 Mountain West Conference), which shot 52.4 percent from the field while holding the Lobos to 41.5 percent.
Senior guard Deshawn Delaney scored 15 points for New Mexico (14-15, 6-11), which has lost eight in a row. Sophomore center Obij Aget had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Fresno State jumped out to a 12-2 lead in the first five minutes. The Bulldogs followed the early barrage with an 11-0 run to open a 26-6 lead with 9:20 to play in the first half, but the Lobos answered with a 13-0 run to cut the deficit to single digits.
The Bulldogs were up 32-25 at the break, but the Lobos got within two on a jumper by freshman guard Xavier Adams with 16:10 to play. Fresno State regained a double-digit lead on a 3-pointer by Watson with 10:10 remaining.
New Mexico made one last charge to get within two with 2:18 to play, but Fresno State held on for the win.
The visiting Broncos continued their rise to the top of the Mountain West Conference, defeating No. 24 San Diego State 56-46 on Saturday night.
"Nobody comes in here and wins," Boise State coach Leon Rice said after snapping San Diego State's 29-game home winning streak. "For us to get it done, they deserve a lot of atta-boys."
The Broncos (22-7, 12-4) pulled into a tie with the Aztecs (22-7, 12-4) but based on their season sweep hold the tiebreaker edge. Both teams have two conference games remaining. The win also improved the Broncos' chances of making the NCAA Tournament.
Boise State has won 12 of 13 after its first victory ever at San Diego State.
"After we lost our first three, we started to focus on just one game and that is what we are still doing today," said Boise State guard Derrick Marks, the game's leading scorer with 18 points. "That is why we have had so much success. It's all about us. What the other team is doing doesn't matter."
Marks, the conference's leading scorer, had 10 second-half points. Forward James Webb III added 16 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
"We just picked it up on the defensive end," Webb said. "We didn't let them get any easy shots."
Usually it's San Diego State taht prevails at Viejas Arena. But the Aztecs, which shot on 32 percent from the field, saw its four-game winning streak snapped.
Forward Winston Shepard was the lone San Diego State player to score in double figures with 16 points.
That made for some long faces among the Aztecs.
"It's been a long time since I've come up here with a frown on my face and feeling disappointment," San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said. "I've got both of those. We had an opportunity to clinch at least a share of the title and didn't get it done. That's disappointing."
The Broncos fell behind by seven points nearly midway through the second half before rallying. Boise State took the lead at 40-39 with eight minutes to play on Mikey Thompson's two free throws. It was its first advantage since going ahead 2-0.
Meanwhile the Aztecs were fading, going nearly 11 minutes with just two baskets. They led 39-32 when Boise State went on a 10-0 run.
"This was like a boxing match," Rice said. "What this team does in this place is knock you out early. We needed it to go 12 rounds."
The Aztecs' defense was stifling early on, but that couldn't compensate for its challenges offensively, especially in the second half.
San Diego State lost for the first time this season after leading at the half.
In the final 11 minutes of the game, the Aztecs scored seven points and were outscored 24-7.
Neither team shot well in the first half, which spoke to the Aztecs' defense and its lack of offensive punch.
San Diego State led 24-21 at halftime as it held Boise State, the second-highest scoring team in the conference, to 9-of 31 shooting from the field (29 percent).
NOTES: San Diego State F Dwayne Polee II wasn't available because of irregularities with his heart. Polee returned to action in the Aztecs' last game after missing 15 contests when collapsing against UC Riverside on Dec. 22. Polee's medication is going to be adjusted and SDSU said he could play again this season. ... Junior F Skylar Spencer has 213 blocked shots. That's one shy of Leonard Allen's school mark. ... Boise State G Derrick Marks has scored 30 points in six games, among three players in the country to do so. ... The Broncos have won 20 games in three straight years and for the fourth time in coach Leon Rice's five seasons.