College basketball scores, games, highlights: Kentucky, Duke and Gonzaga rally to avoid upsets Saturday
Here's what you need to know from Saturday's college basketball action
College basketball shared the Saturday sports spotlight with the NFL playoffs and delivered far and away the most exciting results. There were buzzer-beaters, likeand securing himself a moment none will soon forget. There were upsets, like on the road and clinching a signature win for Kermit Davis.
And most of all, as college basketball tends to produce, there were shockers, like Louisville beating UNC by 21, officially handing the Tar Heels their most lopsided home loss ever under Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams.
There were plenty of other interesting results -- No. 17 Houston extended its sport-best home win streak to 19 -- but this is college basketball so would you expect anything different? It was a meaningful Saturday, a day that officially marked the halfway point of the season (postseason play included).
The biggest outcomes are detailed below. You can find scores to everything you need to know as well, in addition to highlights.
Saturday's college basketball notable scores
- No. 1 Duke 80, No. 13 Florida State 78 --
- No. 3 Tennessee 78, Florida 67 -- Box score
- No. 4 Virginia 63, Clemson 43 -- Box score
- No. 5 Gonzaga 96, San Francisco 83 -- Box score
- No. 7 Kansas 73, Baylor 68 -- Box score
- No. 8 Texas Tech 68, Texas 62 -- Box score
- Louisville 83, No. 12 North Carolina 62 -- Box score
- Ole Miss 81, No. 14 Mississippi State 77 --
- Iowa 72, No. 16 Ohio State 62 -- Box score
- No. 15 NC State 86, Pitt 80 -- Box score
- No. 18 Kentucky 56, Vanderbilt 47 -- Box score
- Kansas State 58, No. 20 Iowa State 57 -- Box score
- No. 23 Oklahoma 76, No. 25 TCU 74 -- Box score
- DePaul 79, No. 24 St. John's 71 -- Box score
Gonzaga nearly takes a loss, yet manages to win by 13
We're serious. Gonzaga's 96-83 win at San Francisco was, for a shade over 38 minutes of gameplay, the most entertaining game of Saturday. USF, now 14-3, had a shot to get its first win over a top-five team since 1981. The No. 5 Zags led 84-81 game with 2:20 to go, but a few plays later, GU's Brandon Clarke did this, and it sucked the spirit out of the Dons' upset bid.
So Gonzaga (15-2) remains undefeated in the WCC and should stay on as a top-five team when the polls refresh Monday. San Francisco, meanwhile, showed well for itself. The West Coast Conference is in play for at least two bids this season so long as USF is able to steal some games on the road and take most others at home. The rematch between the top two WCC teams comes at Gonzaga on Feb. 7.
Kentucky has slow start, easily overcomes Vandy
The No. 18 Wildcats trailed by 12 points early on their home floor against a Vanderbilt team that, unfortunately, will find it challenging to make the NIT. But the final score? The Cats win 56-47 after a strong defensive turnaround, to say the least. Is it a good thing that Kentucky won this game with room to spare and yet it finished with a season-low in points -- 15 points below the previous mark of 71? UK is 12-3 as it curls past the halfway point of the season., though, the true litmus test is Jan. 19 at Auburn .
No. 3 Tennessee outlasts Florida
Florida and Tennessee played one heck of a college basketball game, but the third-ranked Volunteers got the better of the Gators 78-67. There was too much Grant Williams, who had 20 points and nine rebounds, too much Jordan Bowden, who had 17 points in 29 minutes, and too many missed opportunities for the Gators, who missed chances in crunch time to deal UT a finishing blow.
Tennessee hasn't lost since November -- when it fell to Kansas in overtime -- and by golly it sure doesn't look like it will be going down anytime soon the way Williams and Admiral Schofield are playing.
Two teams from Texas have heroic heaves at the horn
UTEP knocked off Rice 65-64 thanks to a play that's almost guaranteed not to be duplicated this season or any time soon. An opposite-end pass finds its way into the hands of the Miners' Jordan Lathon, who got the winner off in less than 0.5 seconds.
But UTEP wasn't the only team from the Lone Star State to pull off a big victory at the buzzer on Saturday.
A few days after Texas A&M hit a relatively meaningless, but noteworthy long 3-pointer in a loss to Kentucky, this time a wild shot as time expired was quite important. Watch as the Aggies' T.J. Starks banks home a 3-pointer as the horn sounds to beat Alabama 81-80.
It has not been a good week for Alabama.
No. 1 Duke downs No. 13 Florida State in final seconds
Coach K: Wizard. Cam Reddish: Cold-blooded. As a result, Duke SURVIVES!
The Blue Devils looked dead in the water late on the road against No. 13 Florida State on Saturday afternoon, but after regaining possession following a missed free throw, Mike Krzyzewski drew up a winning look for true freshman Cam Reddish, and he delivered his best moment as a college player yet.
Duke 80, Florida State 78.
RJ Barrett led Duke with 32 and Reddish had 23 in the win. Zion Williamson had 11 points and eight rebounds, and did not play in the second half after getting poked in the eye just before halftime.
Cincy avoids bad home loss to forlorn UConn
One of the most intense -- and not all that pretty -- games of Saturday took place in the Queen City. Alterique Gilbert forced overtime on a pretty finish as time expired, but UConn couldn't pull the upset on its sort-of AAC rival. The Bearcats could ill afford that kind of home loss, anyway. The American is angling to be a three-bid league this season and so it can't have its top three teams losing home games to schools that are likely to finish sixth or worse in conference. Mick Cronin's team moves to 14-3 with a 3-1 conference record, while UConn drops to 10-7 and 1-3 in the AAC.
No. 7 Kansas holds off late Baylor push
Kansas started fast against Baylor. Like, Brad Keselowski fast. It opened the first 10 minutes of the game 18-2, and took a cozy 35-25 lead into halftime.
Then Baylor made its run, and at least made things interesting, getting within four in the final 30 seconds before KU closed it to win 73-68. The No. 7 Jayhawks move to 3-1 in Big 12 play and drop Baylor, which already suffered a loss earlier in the day when sophomore Tristan Clark underwent season-ending knee surgery, to 1-2.
No. 23 Sooners clamp down, beat No. 25 TCU
The No. 23 Sooners avoided a week of heartbreak Saturday, knocking off No. 25 TCU 76-74 after falling flat to Texas Tech earlier this week. OU trailed at halftime by six but used its defensive clamps to limit TCU to only 31 second half points while it managed 39 of its own in the final 20 minutes. It was a nice, and maybe necessary win for Oklahoma. A loss would have been three of four, but a win gets it back to 2-2 in league play. Oklahoma started the season as one of the hottest teams in the sport at 11-1, and sits at 13-3 going into an intriguing game this week against Kansas State.
No. 8 Texas Tech bucks slow start, hooks 'Horns
Texas Tech started slow but finished with a statement mark Saturday to improve to 15-1 on the season and 4-0 in league play with a 68-62 comeback win over Texas. The No. 8 Red Raiders trailed by four at halftime but outscored the Longhorns on the road by 10 in the second half. Texas did a good job limiting star Jarrett Culver, who finished with 14 points, but grad transfer Matt Mooney happily stepped into Culver's scoring role by busting out for 22 -- a career-high in his short stint thus far in Lubbock.
North Carolina gets routed at home
To find the last time No. 12 North Carolina got beat by more than 20 points under Roy Williams, you have to hop in the time machine and rewind all the way to 2002. The Tar Heels were beaten handily by the visiting Louisville Cardinals, 83-62, going down, officially, as the worst home loss of the Williams era.
He wasn't particularly pleased about it, either.
"I'm a little bit at a loss, but that's OK, it happens in coaching," Williams said. "The bottom line is that they played better and they coached better."
Ole Miss upsets in-state rival Mississippi State
Ole Miss extended its win streak to 10 on Saturday as the Rebels knocked off host No. 14 Mississippi State 81-77. It's the second consecutive loss for the Bulldogs, who coming into the week had a nine-game winning streak. Leading the way for the Rebels was freshman guard Blake Hinson, who went absolutely bananas and stepped up to the Egg Bowl challenge. He notched a career-high 26 points and made 5 of his 11 3-point attempts to lead his team to victory.
No. 4 Virginia cruises past Clemson
The fourth-ranked Cavaliers stayed undefeated with their 63-43 win over the Tigers. This was all Tony Bennett's team from start to finish, as Kyle Guy led the way for Virginia with 13 points while De'Andre Hunter joined him with double digits as he dropped in 12 on the afternoon. Virginia will look to remain unbeaten this Tuesday as it welcomes Virginia Tech.
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