Dayton Daily News
Kentucky Wildcats beat Mississippi State, 71-67
PJ Washington scored 23 points, Keldon Johnson added 13 and No. 5 Kentucky held on to beat Mississippi State 71-67 on Saturday.
Kentucky (20-3, 9-1 Southeastern Conference) has won 10 straight games since losing to Alabama in its conference opener on Jan. 5. The Wildcats had to work for this one after an 18-point lead dwindled to one possession with 1:18 left, but the Bulldogs weren’t able to score again.
The Wildcats looked like they might cruise to the win after Washington hit a 3-pointer early in the second half to give them a 49-31 lead. But Mississippi State responded with a huge run to pull within 51-50 on a pair of free throws by Quinndary Weatherspoon with 8:41 left.
After Washington and Ashton Hagans hit backto-back layups to squash the Bulldogs’ momentum, but Weatherspoon made a free throw to cut Kentucky’s advantage to 70-67 with 1:18 left.
Mississippi State (16-7, 4-6) led 17-15 midway through the first half, but Tyler Herro nailed a contested 3-pointer to give Kentucky the lead. The Wildcats never trailed again, outscoring the Bulldogs 25-8 over the rest of the first half for a 40-25 halftime advantage.
Lamar Peters led the Bulldogs with 16 points. Weatherspoon added 14.
No. 21 LSU 83, Auburn 78
Tremont Waters had 19 points and 10 assists and No. 21 LSU overcame a sluggish start to beat Auburn 83-78 on Saturday.
Skylar Mays had 20 points for LSU (19-4, 9-1 SEC), which bounced back from its lone conference loss with a pair of league victories heading into its toughest road test yet at fifth-ranked Kentucky.
While Auburn shot better from deep, Naz Reid and Kavell Bigby-Williams helped LSU own the paint, where it outrebounded Auburn 47-34 and outscored it 38-18.
Reid finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, including a reverse, tomahawk dunk late in the second half. Bigby-Williams, an Oregon transfer in his first eligible season at LSU, grabbed 10 rebounds to go with seven points, highlighted by a couple of vicious two-handed dunks.
Jared Harper scored 25 for Auburn (16-7, 5-5), which saw its three-game winning streak snapped.
Harper sank five of Auburn’s 16 3-pointers, his last with 31 seconds left to trim LSU’s lead to 79-76. LSU then turned the ball over on a 5-second violation, and Auburn made it 79-78 on Chuma Okeke’s layup with 26 seconds left.
TCU 92, No. 17 Iowa State 83
Kendric Davis scored a season-high 22 points, and TCU stunned No. 17 Iowa State 92-83 on Saturday for its first road win over a Top 25 team in 21 years.
Kouat Noi, Desmond Bane and Alex Robinson each had 17 for the Horned Frogs (17-6, 5-5 Big 12). They used a staggering 27-4 first-half run to blow past the beleaguered Cyclones and greatly boost their NCAA Tournament chances.
TCU, a 9-point underdog that had lost its previous two road games by an average of 22.5 points, capped a stretch of seven straight makes to open the second half with a layup by Noi to jump ahead 54-36 with 15:32 left.
The Horned Frogs opened the second half shooting 13 of 17 from the floor, and Davis’ scoop layup made it 69-50 with 8:14 to go. Bane’s steal and lay-in a few minutes later pushed TCU’s lead to 75-56.
Iowa State went on a late 10-0 run, but TCU had answers for everything the Cyclones threw at them.
Marial Shayok scored 24 points and Michael Jacobson had 16 to lead the Cyclones (18-6, 7-4), who saw their winning streak snapped at four games.
No. 9 Mich. State 79, Minnesota 55
Nick Ward had 22 points and Matt McQuaid scored a season-high 18, leading No. 9 Michigan State to a 79-55 win over Minnesota on Saturday.
The Spartans (19-5, 10-3 Big Ten) ended a three-game losing streak, their longest skid in two years.
The Golden Gophers (16-8, 6-7) have lost a season-high three games. Michigan State was very motivated to play well in part because Magic Johnson was in the stands, attending the game as part of a celebration for the 1979 national championship team.
Ward, in particular, started the game inspired and appeared to stay motivated to bounce back from his previous home game. He was 1 of 9 at the free throw line, including a miss that would have put his team ahead late in regulation, and the Spartans were 8 of 22 as a team in a 79-75 overtime loss to Indiana last Sunday.
The junior forward opened game with a basket, grabbed eight of his nine rebounds over the first 20 minutes, and closed the first half with a block to help Michigan State lead Minnesota 35-24. Ward made the first two shots after halftime and the Spartans went on to lead by 28 points midway through the second half.
Michigan State, which has struggled to stay healthy, may have another injury concern. Senior forward Kenny Goins played just 7 minutes in the first half and didn’t play after halftime because of a bruise on his left elbow. Freshman Thomas Kithier took advantage of the opportunity to play in Goins’ place, scoring a season-high eight points. Cassius Winston had 11 points and nine assists for the Spartans.
Clemson 59, No. 11 Virginia Tech 51
Clemson coach Brad Brownell has seen plenty of teams with high expectations fall apart when adversity hits. He is proud that his Tigers are not among them.
Shelton Mitchell scored 22 points with a career-best five 3-pointers as Clemson won its fourth straight with a 59-51 victory over No. 11 Virginia Tech on Saturday.
The Tigers (15-8, 5-5 ACC) were ranked when the year began, but looked done after losing five of their first six Atlantic Coast Conference games, including a 69-67 loss at North Carolina State after blowing a six-point lead in the final minute — a defeat that would have crushed plenty of teams.
Not these Tigers, led by four starting seniors including Mitchell.
“It doesn’t surprise me that with their backs against the wall in terms of basketball that they’re going to fight,” Brownell said.
It took plenty of fight to upend the Hokies (18-5, 7-5), who had not lost consecutive games all season.
Clemson limited Virginia Tech to just one field goal over the final eight minutes to beat a ranked opponent for the first time this season.
No. 7 Michigan 61, No. 19 Wisconsin 52
Michigan avenged its loss to Wisconsin last month — and coach John Beilein wants no part of a rubber match against the Badgers.
“Ethan Happ said to me after the game: ‘I hope to see you again this season,’” Beilein said. “No Ethan. I don’t want to see you again the rest of my life.”
Happ had 18 points and 11 rebounds for No. 19 Wisconsin, but Michigan’s Jon Teske more than held his own inside, and Charles Matthews scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half to lift the No. 7 Wolverines to a 61-52 victory Saturday. Teske had 17 points and 12 rebounds.
The Big Ten-leading Wolverines (22-2, 11-2) won despite going 0 for 10 from 3-point range in the second half. Michigan led 51-50 in a tight defensive struggle before pulling away with eight straight points.
The Badgers (17-7, 9-4) had their six-game winning streak snapped. That run began with a 64-54 win over then-undefeated Michigan last month.
“A little bit of a flip of the script, in terms of them making plays in the last two minutes,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said.
No. 13 Kansas 84, Oklahoma State 72
Kansas got the lift it needed against Oklahoma State on Saturday from a pair of guys that would have been just about the longest of long shots to provide it just a couple of months ago.
Ochai Agbaji was still redshirting back then. Mitch Lightfoot was buried deep on the bench.
Yet it was Agbaji who was pouring in five 3-pointers and 23 points against the Cowboys, and it was Lightfoot playing above the rim at both ends of the floor. And along with Dedric Lawson, who had a game-high 25 points, the No. 13 Jayhawks shrugged off a slow start for an 84-72 victory.
“It’s about taking your opportunities and making the best of them,” said Lightfoot, who finished with six points and nine rebounds. “That could be two minutes or it could be 20.”
Devon Dotson added 18 points for the short-handed Jayhawks (18-6, 7-4 Big 12), who were playing their first game without Lagerald Vick. He left the team this week to deal with a personal issue. Vick’s departure came at a tough time for the Jayhawks, who lost earlier in the week to rival Kansas State.