College basketball scores, winners & losers: Duke standing tall in the ACC, Seton Hall falls again
A spin through Saturday with relevant results and outcomes in context
Certainly, No. 5 Louisville headlined the losers in college basketball on Saturday with a measly 14-point first-half effort in a It was the Cardinals' second straight Quadrant 2 loss, and it left No. 7 Duke alone atop the ACC standings as the Blue Devils throttled Notre Dame 94-60.
But the Cardinals' misery featured plenty of company at the bottom of the top 25, where No. 25 LSU, No. 24 Texas Tech, No. 22 Illinois, No. 20 Houston and No. 19 Butler all lost. Louisville might find itself somewhere in that range when the new polls come out Monday as yet another weekend of college basketball chaos swept the country.
Elsewhere, Baylor and Kansas continued to show their supremacy in the Big 12, with the Bears crushing No. 14 West Virginia and Kansas handling Oklahoma with relative ease. If Texas Tech held any hopes of catching up, those died in Stillwater, Oklahoma, in a loss to Oklahoma State.
And in the SEC, Kentucky emerged as a winner, despite getting a test from Ole Miss. The Wildcats held on for a 67-62 victory and ascended to sole possession of first place in the league, thanks to losses by LSU and No. 11 Auburn.
Here's a taste of the rest of the action from around the country as we recap the day with winners and losers.
Winner: Duke's chances at an ACC title
Duke is arguably the biggest benefactor of Louisville's misfortune, as the Blue Devils (22-3, 12-2 ACC) are now a game ahead of the Cardinals (21-5, 12-3) in the conference race. Louisville holds the tiebreaker by virtue of its head-to-head victory on Jan. 18, but Duke is likely to be favored in its final six regular-season games. The Blue Devils don't play Louisville or Florida State again, and enter the final stretch of ACC play on a seven-game winning streak. The absence of third-leading scorer Cassius Stanley, who missed the game with an eye injury, was barely noticeable Saturday as Duke rolled to a 94-60 win over the Fighting Irish.
Winner: Florida State's depth
Outside of Louisville, Florida State is the only team with a realistic shot at catching Duke in the ACC standings. The Seminoles flashed their depth again Saturday when they played without leading scorer Devin Vassell and beat Syracuse 80-77. The test became even more real for the No. 8 Seminoles (21-4, 11-3 ACC) when third-leading scorer M.J. Walker took an elbow to the face in the first half and was limited to just 18 minutes. But coach Leonard Hamilton's squad still went 10 deep and out-rebounded the Orange 47-29. Hamilton declined to say why Vassell did not play, but Walker still managed to score 16 points, even in his limited action.
Winner: Marcus Garrett
Kansas senior Marcus Garrett entered Saturday's game against Oklahoma with five 3-point makes in Big 12 play. He hit a career-high six against the Sooners and finished with another career-high 24 points in an 87-70 Jayhawks victory.
"If Marcus makes six 3s (every game), we'd be hard to deal with," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "But he needed to, because it was a night we missed a lot shots we normally make in tight, especially in the first half."
Speaking of Self, the Kansas coach received his first technical foul of the season when he ran down the sideline and bumped an official while protesting an out-of-bounds call with the Jayhawks leading by 16 late in the game.
Iowa State's Hilton Coliseum is a notoriously difficult place to play, but the Cylcones have been far from imposing there -- or anywhere -- this season. A game against Texas remedied that Saturday. The Longhorns shot 29.3 percent and lost 81-52. It was just two weeks ago that Shaka Smart's squad seemed to be trending up with a record of 14-7 (4-4 Big 12). Now the Longhorns have dropped four straight and look destined to miss the NCAA Tournament for the third time in Smart's five seasons as coach.
Winner: The Buckeyes are back
No, really. You can trust them this time. The Ohio State team which rose to No. 2 in December, only to find itself unranked four weeks later, is finding its groove again. The Buckeyes improved to .500 in Big Ten play for the first time since December with a 68-52 victory over Purdue. It was their fifth win in their last six games and their best defensive outing yet in conference play. That stretch of six losses in seven games a few weeks ago? Just pretend it never happened
Loser: South Florida starts slow
South Florida scored 11 points in the first half. You might be shocked to learn that was a season-low for the Bulls, who rallied to score 37 in the second half of a 56-48 home loss to Tulsa. USF (11-14, 4-8 AAC) turned the ball over 13 times in the first half and made just 5 of 17 shots as it fell behind by 14 points entering the break. It was the fourth time Frank Haith's Tulsa squad (17-8, 9-3) has held a conference opponent below 50 points this season.
Winner: Georgetown's skeleton crew
Two bench players combined for just 15 minutes as three Georgetown starters played all 40 minutes in a 73-66 win at Butler that was huge for the Hoyas' NCAA Tournament hopes. It's been a season of adversity for coach Patrick Ewing's squad, and Saturday's game embodied it. A roster already depleted by three early-season departures was without both of its top two scorers as Mac McClung and Omer Yurtseven missed the game due to injury. But senior guard Terrell Allen matched his career high with 22 as the Hoyas (15-10, 5-7 Big East) claimed their fifth Quadrant 1 victory of the season.
Loser: Other teams missing stars
Georgetown's shorthanded road win over a ranked foe was all the more impressive in light of what happened to Illinois and Auburn. Playing without leading scorer Ayo Dosumnu, the No. 22 Fighting Illini faded in the second half and lost 72-57 at Rutgers. Dosumnu suffered a scary fall in the final moments of a loss to Michigan State on Tuesday and was held out Saturday. There is no structural damage in the sophomore guard's knee, so there is optimism that he will return soon. Illinois (16-9, 8-6 Big 10) has lost four straight and needs him back. Similarly, Auburn freshman forward Isaac Okoro missed the Tigers' 85-73 loss at Missouri on Saturday after injuring a hamstring in Wednesday's win over Alabama. The No. 11 Tigers (22-3, 9-3 SEC) struggled defensively without Okoro, who is also the team's second-leading scorer.
Loser: Arkansas' Cinderella season
There is perhaps no team missing one of its stars more than an Arkansas squad predicted by media to finish 10th in the Southeastern Conference. The Razorbacks are suddenly looking the part of a lower-tier SEC team without sophomore guard Isaiah Joe, who remains out indefinitely following knee surgery. The Razorbacks dropped their fourth straight game -- a streak spanning the duration of Joe's absence -- Saturday in an NCAA Tournament bubble battle with Mississippi State. The loss came in crushing fashion as Mississippi State's Abdul Ado tipped in a miss with 0.6 seconds left to help the Bulldogs escape Bud Walton Arena with a 78-77 win. Now 16-9 (4-8 SEC), the Razorbacks will need to finish with a flurry to land on the right side of the bubble come Selection Sunday.
Winner: Ivy excitement!
Harvard and Columbia combined to score more points in a couple of five-minute overtime periods than they did in the entire second half. Harvard outscored Columbia 24-20 in the extra periods to prevail 77-73 and remain in the hunt for an Ivy League title. Both teams scored 21 points in the second half before the pace quickened in the overtimes. Mike Smith scored a career-high 38 for Columbia to finish with over half the Lions' points.
Loser: Big Ten field
Is separation finally developing in the Big Ten? Maryland and Penn State both won Saturday to give themselves some space from the rest of the league at the top. It's a shame the Nittany Lions and Terrapins met on Dec. 10 and won't meet again. Penn State won that meeting 76-69, but no one realized the implications at the time. Maryland is now 11-3 in the league after a 67-60 win over Michigan State, and Penn State is 10-4 after a 77-61 victory over Northwestern. Rutgers and Michigan State are still in the mix with 9-6 league records. But Maryland and Penn State have both won eight straight, and maybe -- just maybe -- could have staying power at the top of a crazy conference.
Winner: The Big East field
Seton Hall entered the week with a 10-1 Big East record and a No. 10 national ranking. It looked like a team one good week away from running away with a regular-season conference crown. But after losing at home to No. 23 Creighton on Wednesday and falling 74-71 at Providence on Saturday, the Pirates (18-7, 10-3 Big East) are going to have to sweat it out. Creighton (20-6, 9-4) stayed hot Saturday with a 93-64 win over DePaul. Villanova and Marquette are still in the hunt as well after Seton Hall's bad week. But perhaps the Pirates can claim a moral victory from Saturday. They trailed the Friars 34-9 in the first half before rallying to make it a close game late.
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