Duke re­mains on top in AP Top 25 rankings

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Jim O’con­nell

Duke held onto its com­fort­able lead in the AP col­lege bas­ket­ball poll while Cincin­nati and Cal­i­for­nia are new­com­ers in the first reg­u­lar-sea­son poll. The Blue Devils re­ceived 58 first-place votes.

Duke (2-0) re­ceived 58 first-place votes from the 65-mem­ber na­tional me­dia panel Mon­day, keep­ing its large lead over Ken­tucky, which was No. 1 on one bal­lot.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Vil­lanova re­ceived five first­place votes and moved up one place to third, re­plac­ing Kansas, one of three ranked teams that lost last week. Ore­gon and North Carolina both moved up one spot to fourth and fifth, while In­di­ana, which beat Kansas 103-99 in over­time, jumped from 11th to sixth. The Hoosiers were No. 1 on one bal­lot.

Kansas was sev­enth fol­lowed by Vir­ginia, Wis­con­sin and Ari­zona, which beat then-No. 12 Michi­gan State.

Xavier, which was ranked sev­enth, fell to 11th fol­low­ing an 84-81 vic­tory over Le­high. Michi­gan State fell to No. 13.

The only ranked team to lose to an un­ranked team was Con­necti­cut, which dropped out of the poll from 18th fol­low­ing its loss to Wag­ner . Mary­land, which beat Amer­i­can 6256 , dropped out from 25th. No. 24 Cincin­nati and No. 25 Cal­i­for­nia were both ranked for six weeks last sea­son.

There will be more ranked losses on Tues­day when Duke meets Kansas and Ken­tucky faces Michi­gan State in the State Farm Cham­pi­ons Clas­sic at Madi­son Square Gar­den. NO. 2 KENTUCKEY 93,

CANISIUS 69 >> Isa­iah Briscoe ex­pected all those NBA work­outs fo­cused on im­prov­ing his game to pay off with ef­forts like this.

Judg­ing from how new­comer De’Aaron Fox fol­lowed his lead, Briscoe picked up some lead­er­ship point­ers as well.

Briscoe and Fox both scored a ca­reer-high 21 points, Ma­lik Monk added 16 and No. 2 Ken­tucky pulled away from Canisius early in the se­cond half for a 93-69 vic­tory Sun­day night.

Briscoe topped his pre­vi­ous high of 20 last De­cem­ber at UCLA be­hind 9-of-13 shoot­ing that helped Ken­tucky (2-0) rally from a seven-point first half deficit to build a 44-35 half­time ad­van­tage.

“I was just do­ing what­ever I needed to do to keep my team in the game,” said Briscoe, who at­tended those camps be­fore re­turn­ing for his sopho­more sea­son. “We came out slug­gish, we weren’t hit­ting shots, so I had to keep us in the game.”

Fresh­men and fel­low guards Fox and Monk com­bined to shoot 11 of 24 en route to ca­reer scor­ing bests in their short ca­reers, while 6-foot-10 new­comer Bam Ade­bayo had 14 points and 11 re­bounds a game af­ter a foul-plagued de­but on Fri­day.

Those con­tri­bu­tions came only af­ter the Wild­cats en­dured some early strug­gles. A 9-2 deficit forced Ken­tucky coach John Cali­pari to call time­out and calm his team down.

“When you’re play­ing so many young guys, some­times you just have to set­tle them down,” he said.

Briscoe spoke up as well, and the Wild­cats re­sponded with steady play that spoke vol­umes.

“We’ve had to face that ad­ver­sity since we’ve been here,” Fox said, “but he’s done that in a few games last year. We all just lis­tened to what he was say­ing.”

Ken­tucky shot 51 per­cent from the field.

Kas­sius Robert­son had 16 points, Jer­maine Crump­ton 13 and Phil Valenti 12 for Canisius (0-1) in the coach­ing de­but of Reg­gie Wither­spoon. The Golden Griffins ini­tially pushed the pace and had Ken­tucky re­act­ing but had no long-term an­swer for the Wild­cats’ pace and back­court.

The big pic­ture

Canisius: Solid shoot­ing ini­tially helped the Golden Griffins, who made 46 per­cent in the first half and played Ken­tucky nearly even on the boards (3936). But they com­mit­ted 18 turnovers lead­ing to 29 Ken­tucky points and cooled off to 37 per­cent shoot­ing af­ter the break and fin­ished 42 per­cent over­all.


Duke guard Grayson Allen shoots against Marist guard Khal­lid Hart (5) dur­ing the first half of an NCAA col­lege bas­ket­ball game in Durham, N.C., Fri­day.

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