Kentucky rallies past Southern Illinois
No. 2 Kentucky 71, Southern Illinois 59: Keldon Johnson and Immanuel Quickley each scored 15 points, Nick Richards grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds and Kentucky rallied in the second half to beat Southern Illinois.
The Wildcats (1-1) bounced back from Tuesday night’s 118-84 shellacking by No. 4 Duke, but had to work hard in the second half to overcome the veteran Salukis.
They trailed 44-37 before Quade Green (14 points) scored five points during a 10-2 run for a 47-46 lead with 12:19 left.
SIU didn’t quit, but the Wildcats slowly extended their lead to 61-52 on consecutive three-point plays by Johnson and Green.
Richards’ rebounding provided the biggest lift as Kentucky dominated SIU 48-19 on the glass.
No. 6 Tennessee 87, Louisiana-Lafayette 65: Grant Williams scored 31 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and showcased his newfound 3-point range as Tennessee breezed to a victory over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Williams shot 3 of 4 from beyond the arc to match his 2017-18 season total for 3-pointers.
The 6-foot-7 forward was 3 of 25 on 3-point attempts last season, though he still averaged 15.2 points and was selected by Southeastern Conference coaches as the league’s player of the year.
He shot 11 of 15 overall to lead five Tennessee players in double figures.
No. 8 North Carolina 116, Elon 67: Cameron Johnson and freshman Nassir Little scored 21 points apiece as North Carolina routed Elon.
Freshman Coby White added 14 points to help the Tar Heels (2-0) sweep their two-game, season-opening barnstorming tour of regional mid-majors. They beat Wofford 78-67 on Tuesday night in Spartanburg, South Carolina, before having a much easier time against the Phoenix, who christened their new $40 million on-campus arena.
Little was 9 of 13 while Johnson finished 7 of 11.
Sterling Manley added 11 points and Luke Maye finished with 10 rebounds for North Carolina, which shot 52 percent – including 56 percent during a defenseoptional first half that ended with the Tar Heels leading 63-45.
They finished with a 60-31 rebounding edge and outscored Elon 56-22 in the paint, pushing their lead into the 20s for good on White’s 3-pointer barely a minute into the second half and going up by 30 on Little’s dunk with less than 14 minutes to play.
No. 12 Kansas State 56, Kennesaw State 41: Barry Brown and Makol Mawien each scored 15 points, Dean Waded added 13 and Kansas State stumbled through a season-opening victory over Kennesaw State.
Austin Trice added 12 rebounds in his debut for the Wildcats, who led just 3127 at halftime before leaning on their stingy defense to embark on a late run for a comfortable final margin.
The Wildcats won their 24th consecutive non-conference game at Bramlage Coliseum despite playing without Xavier Sneed, one of the heroes of the Elite Eight run last season. Sneed tweaked an ankle in practice Thursday and coach Bruce Weber held him out as a precaution.
Kosta Jankovic had 10 points to lead the Owls (1-1).
No. 15 Virginia Tech 87, GardnerWebb 59: Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Isaiah Wilkins scored 21 points apiece, and Virginia Tech opened its season with a win over Gardner-Webb.
Kerry Blackshear Jr. added 12 points for the Hokies, who allowed GardnerWebb to keep it close until after halftime.
Nate Johnson scored 17 points to lead the Runnin’ Bulldogs (0-2), who crept within four points less than five minutes into the second half. Virginia Tech responded with an 8-0 run and then pulled away.
No. 18 Mississippi State 95, Austin Peay 67: Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 21 points, Nick Weatherspoon added 19 and Mississippi State beat Austin Peay in its season opener.
Quinndary Weatherspoon shot 10 of 15 from the field during the first game of his senior season and also grabbed five rebounds. He’s been the Bulldogs’ best all-around player the past three years and now has 1,404 career points, which is 16th in school history.
Tyson Carter scored 12 points and Abdul Ado added 11. Aric Holman had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Mississippi State shot nearly 58 percent from the field.
Austin Peay was competitive for most of the night and pulled to 60-50 after a 3-pointer with 13:59 left. But the Bulldogs responded with an 11-3 run to put the game away.
Mississippi State (1-0) never trailed, jumping out to a 22-13 lead after nine minutes. The Bulldogs pulled ahead 5034 by halftime thanks to 56 percent shooting from the field. Quinndary Weatherspoon led all scorers with 13 points in the first half on 6-of-9 shooting.
No. 22 Clemson 71, N.C. Central 51: David Skara scored 16 points and Clemson opened a large early lead in cruising to a victory over North Carolina Central.
It was a matchup of NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago. While the Tigers reached the Sweet 16, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament champion North Carolina Central lost to Texas Southern in a First Four matchup.
Skara, a Valparaiso transfer in his second and final season with the Tigers, has reached double figures in both games as Clemson opened 2-0 for the 17th time in 18 years. He scored in double digits only once last season.
Aamir Simms had 14 points and Shelton Mitchell 11 for Clemson. The team’s leading scorer last season, Marcquise Reed, was held to six points on 1-of-7 shooting.
Not that it mattered much. Clemson started the game by hitting its first eight shots against the Eagles (0-1).
No. 23 LSU 97, UNC-Greensboro 91: Naz Reid scored 29 points and Tremont Waters had 21 points and 10 assists as LSU beat North Carolina-Greensboro.
The Tigers (2-0) led by 16 points with seven minutes remaining in the game, but they needed to withstand a late rally by the Spartans. UNC-Greensboro went on a 22-11 run to pull to 93-88 with 13 seconds to play.
Skylar Mays and Waters each made a pair of foul shots in the final seconds to preserve the victory for LSU. The Tigers made 28 of 31 foul shots in the game. Ja’vonte Smart joined Reid and Waters in double figures for the Tigers with 13 points.
Women’s Top 10
No. 1 Notre Dame 103, Harvard 58: Arike Ogunbowale scored 30 points in three quarters as top-ranked Notre Dame opened its national title defense with a victory over Harvard.
No. 5 Louisville 75, Chattanooga 49: Asia Durr scored 24 points as Louisville used another third-quarter burst to pull away and beat Chattanooga.
No. 6 Mississippi St. 72, Virginia 44: Teaira McCowan had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Mississippi State spoiled Tina Thompson’s debut as Virginia’s coach.
No. 9 Maryland 93, Coppin State 36: Taylor Mikesell scored 18 points, Stephanie Jones had 17 and Maryland beat Coppin State.
Kentucky guard Quade Green shoots the ball against Southern Illinois guard Darius Beane on Friday at Rupp Arena.