top 25 roundup \ Tuesday’s games
South Carolina 68, No. 1 Kentucky 62
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Kentucky’s return to No. 1 might not last very long. Devan Downey scored 30 points and South Carolina sent Kentucky to its first loss of the season. The Wildcats (19-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) moved atop the rankings for this week for the first time since 2003. They were cautioned by no less a fan than President Barack Obama earlier Tuesday to keep their focus and play with the same passion that brought them to the top. The president or Kentucky didn’t count on Downey, the SEC’s leading scorer to broke the 30-point mark for the fourth time in six league games for South Carolina (12-8, 3-3). The Gamecocks had lost all seven previous games they’d played against No. 1-ranked teams. DeMarcus Cousins matched his career best of 27 points to lead Kentucky, which had been the nation’s last unbeaten team.
No. 9 West Virginia 62, DePaul 46
ROSEMONT, Ill. — Da’Sean Butler and Wellington Smith scored 14 points apiece to lead No. 9 West Virginia to a 62-46 win over DePaul on Tuesday night. Devin Ebanks added 14 for West Virginia (16-3, 5-2 Big East), who has won three straight after a 72-71 loss to Syracuse on Jan. 16. Leading 37-28 at the half, Smith made back-to-back 3s for West Virginia and Devin Ebanks had a putback to build the Mountaineers lead to 45-30. Will Walker led DePaul (8-12, 1-7) with 17 points, who trailed by double-digits for most of the second half. After back-to-back non-conference wins against Marshall and rallying from a 12-point halftime deficit to beat Ohio State on Saturday, the Mountaineers returned to Big East play by starting the game by connecting on their first three 3-point attempts. Butler hit back-to-back 3s to start and Smith followed with another 3. Ebanks gave West Virginia a 13-2 lead on a putback and Smith extended the Moutaineers advantage to 20-4 on another 3. But DePaul answered with a 14-5 run. Walker made a 3 to get DePaul to 24-18 and Eric Wallace made two free throws to cut the West Virginia lead to 29-25. The Mountaineers finished the half by outscoring the Blue Demons 8-3 to take a 37-28 lead. Butler led West Virginia with 12 points in the first half and Walker had 13 points, connecting on 3 of 4 3-point attempts. The troubles continued for DePaul, which has lost 34 of its last 37 regular season Big East games dating back to Jan. 26, 2008. DePaul interim head coach Tracy Webster is now 1-4 since taking over for Jerry Wainwright, who was fired on Jan. 11.
No. 11 Kansas St. 76, No. 24 Baylor 74
WACO, Texas — Jacob Pullen made two free throws with 8.2 seconds left and scored 25 points, lifting Kansas State. Only three days after having their school-record 14-game home court winning streak snapped in a loss to Oklahoma State, the Wildcats (17-3, 4-2 Big 12) put an end to Baylor’s 11-game winning streak that was also a school record. Baylor (15-4, 2-3) still had one more chance after Pullen’s two free throws. But LaceDarius Dunn, who struggled all night, lost the handle in the lane after driving the court and then recovered in time to throw up a wild one-handed shot that never had a chance.
No. 25 UAB 65, Tulsa 55
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Elijah Millsap had 19 points and 12 rebounds and helped pull UAB out of a lengthy offensive funk. The Blazers (18-2, 6-0 Conference USA) blew a 16-point halftime cushion but rebounded from a 12-minute span without a basket in time to survive a matchup of the only two remaining CUSA teams without a league loss. Millsap broke that frigid spell with a basket and free throw with 6:16 left to halt a 19-2 run that had given the Golden Hurricane (16-4, 5-1) a 46-44 lead. Then he added a one-handed fastbreak dunk off a bounce pass from Aaron Johnson a minute later and was fouled then, too. George Drake hit eight straight free throws in the final 5:39 and finished with 17 points. The Blazers made their first 16 attempts from the foul line after halftime to hold on when the jump shots stopped falling.
No. 1 Connecticut 73, Rutgers 36
HARTFORD, Conn. — Maya Moore had 19 points and 10 rebounds to help top-ranked Connecticut win its 59th straight game. Kalana Greene added 17 points for UConn (20-0, 7-0 Big East), which has won every game during its streak by at least double digits. Even Rutgers, which has been the only real nuisance for UConn in the conference over the last few years, was no match. The Scarlet Knights were the last team to beat Connecticut during the regular season, topping the Huskies in New Jersey by two in 2008. On Tuesday, they could only stay close for 8 minutes before UConn used a 20-2 run to put the game away. Chelsey Lee scored 10 points to lead Rutgers (12-8, 4-2). UConn, which stands only 11 wins short of the NCAA and school record of 70 straight victories, has now beaten 129 straight unranked opponents.
No. 15 Oklahoma State 75, Missouri 60
STILLWATER, Okla. — Andrea Riley scored 29 points, Tegan Cunningham had 24 points and No. 15 Oklahoma State beat Missouri 75-60 on Tuesday night for its 13th straight home victory. Riley, who hit 10 of 27 from the floor and was 9 of 9 from the foul line for Oklahoma State (17-3, 5-1 Big 12), scored in double figures for the 78th consecutive game. Cunningham pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds. Amanda Hanneman, who hit five shots from 3-point range, led the Tigers (11-8, 1-5) with 19 points. Her basket with 7:00 remaining cut Oklahoma State’s lead to 55-46 but the hosts went on a quick 9-0 run to regain control. Jessra Johnson added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers, who hit just 18 of 64 shots.