College basketball scores, winners and losers: Arizona stuns at home, UConn returns to winners’ circle

The first full Saturday of 2023 produced a college basketball roster packed with what we love about the game. There have been blowouts, thrilling finales and shocking upsets as conference play has been in full swing across the country.

No. 7 Alabama Offers the Most Dramatic Blowouts 78-52 over Kentucky, though no. 25 Iowa State finished with a thrilling 69-67 score for No. 1. 17 TCUs. As for the shocking upset, there’s no question it belongs to Washington State.

The Cougars took first place. 5 Arizona beat a top-five opponent 74-61 on the road for the program’s first-ever road win. The win also marked the Cougars’ first victory over a top-five team since 1983, which was especially shocking given WSU’s poor start to the season.

Arizona (14-2, 3-2 Pac-12) shot just 31.7 percent from the field, scored just two points off the bench, and trailed by as many as 18 in the second half. Mouhamed Gueye led Washington State with 24 points, including 13 in the second half, as the Cougars improved to 7-10 (2-4).

Such a surprise result only goes to show how few truly dominant teams have been in college basketball this season. The top six teams in the AP Top 25 lost four games this week as the sport begins to descend into chaos as the new calendar year begins.

Let’s take a deeper look at Saturday’s action by examining winners and losers from around the country.

Winners: UConn returns to winners’ circle

The Lottas dropped the UConn ship and swam thousands of miles in the opposite direction after losing back-to-back games (both Big East games) to Xavier and Providence, closing out the 2022 calendar year and opening new year. Now, a lot of people look silly now. The No. 4 Huskies clinched their business to top contender Creighton 69-60, ending their two-game losing streak in a not-so-close game. The two teams clashed in the second half, but UConn took control midway through the final inning and extended its lead to as many as 12 before winning by a narrow nine at home.

After two straight losses in the league, UConn needs not just a win, but a win against a good team that could help it get back into the regular season. That’s what limited the dire situation for the visiting Blue Jays — the Big East’s third-best 3-point shooter — to go 2 for 16 from 3-point range. It’s only the third time Creighton has made two or fewer 3-pointers in a regular-season league game since Greg McDermott took over the program in 2010-11.

“Our identity is an elite defense, a top-five defense,” UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “What sets the team apart is when they’re very efficient on both ends of the floor and our defense is just right.”

Loser: Kentucky draws again

Kentucky suffered its second-biggest loss since an SEC opponent since John Calipari arrived in Lexington on Saturday, as the Wildcats fell flat 78-52 at the hands of Alabama. It was the Crimson Tide’s biggest victory over the Wildcats, breaking their 25-point mark since 1990.

“That was a guy I didn’t know if I wanted to watch tape,” Calipari said after the game. “We did what we wanted to do, but we missed every single shot. You can’t have your three starters go 3 for 27 — you’re counting on three starters to shoot. We looked messed up again , because everyone sticks to the ball. Everyone catches it and bounces first. You have to give [Alabama] Credit. “

It was Kentucky’s third road loss this season after playing against Kentucky in a semi-road setting (not a kennel, but not necessarily a neutral field). Gonzaga turned 20 in November and then lost to Missouri State on New Year’s Eve. Great Britain has led by a combined 23 seconds in those two losses and has never led against Gonzaga and Alabama.

Winner: Michigan State’s yo-yo movement is on the rise

It’s still early January, and it feels like Michigan State has had a season of volatility. The Spartans, used to be number one. 12, has been living outside the polls for the past month after two crushing losses to Notre Dame and Northwestern on Nov. 12. 30 and Dec. 4. Since then, the Spartans have won six straight. While some of these were against mid-level primary opponents, the Spartans have been winning easily and defending solidly. The Spartans held the Wolverines to 34.5 percent shooting in Saturday’s 59-53 win over rival Michigan. While the win wasn’t a work of art, it improved Michigan State to 11-4 (3-1 Big Ten), which might be enough to get Sparty ranked again on Monday.

Winner: Jerome Tang for Best Mentor Award

For 19 years, Jerome Tang, side by side with Scott Drew, has helped build a champion — a actual champion! — at Baylor. That changed last offseason when Don finally spread his wings and took over as head coach at Kansas State, leading Don’s Wildcats to go head-to-head against the Drew Bears at least twice a year.

Score count: 1-0, Don.

K-State came into Waco on Saturday, beating Baylor 97-95 in overtime after Markquis Nowell’s 32 points and 14 rebounds. Florida transfer Keyontae Johnson scored 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting to help beat the Bears at home.

“I love Scott,” Don said after the game. “Thanks to the Baylor fans and the welcome. That was really cool. It turned out to be a great basketball game.”

Loser: TCU’s home field advantage

With Iowa State marching into Fort Worth and winning 69-67, TCU lost to home in its second loss all season, falling to 13-2 that was sparse at best and completely empty.

Of course, TCU fans might have other ideas — the Horned Frogs are off to a fantastic season with the College Football Playoff national championship on Monday — but seeing a 13-1 team (now 13-2) ) is still disturbing to schedule this type of family attendance.

Winner: Providence Hot

Providence went 6-0 in a Big East game for the first time in program history, but it wasn’t without drama. The Friars took the lead at one point, then outscored their opponents 83-80 in the final moments, saving precious lives. British stone. John’s. The Friars were drafted fifth in the league, but are off to another sizzling start after outperforming in similar fashion last season. The Friars were drafted seventh in the Big East for the 2021-22 season, but ended up winning the league title. Veteran coach Ed Cooley lost five of his team’s top six scorers but proved once again that he is a transfer portal magician. All five starters scored in double figures for Providence against the Red Storm, who are 1-5 to start the league.

Underdog: Villanova misses chance for quality win

You could count Xavier as the winner of the weekend and in the same category as Big East rival Providence, but I don’t think its win is as important and impactful as Villanova’s loss. An 88-80 loss at home cut the score to 2-3 in league play and lost a great chance to win a Quad 1 victory at home. The Wildcats have had an up-and-down first year under new coach Kyle Neptune, and while it’s too soon to write off any team for a week in the calendar year, it feels like it’s getting closer Be an NIT team than an NCAA tournament team. Only one win all season came against a team in Jerry Palm’s newest roster projected to the field: Oklahoma State, which narrowly projected to 68. Nova will have to come alive and make it short in Big East fashion.

Underdog: Wisconsin misses chance at Big Ten

Illinois headed to No. 14. Wisconsin is off to a 0-3 start into the Big Ten without key freshman guard Skyy Clark, who exited the program for personal reasons. Wisconsin is off to a 3-0 start in conference play and has a chance to go from that day on to become the only Big Ten team undefeated in conference play. The Illini scored 49 points in the second half in a 79-69 victory, an opportunity the Badgers squandered with a porous defense. Wisconsin made just 30.8 percent of its threes, but Illinois shot 10 of 19 from beyond the arc to hand the Badgers its first league loss.

Alabama made the biggest statement of the day at the SEC by eliminating Kentucky. But if there’s such a thing as an “impressive” win over puny South Carolina, it’s number one. 8 Tennessee found it. The Volunteers beat the Gamecocks 85-42 on the road to improve to 3-0 in the SEC. The Volunteers held South Carolina to a ridiculous 25 percent shooting and held star freshman GG Jackson scoreless. Tennessee’s two division victories have been by more than 30 points.

Loser: Duke needs late luck

No. 16 Duke beat Boston College 65-64, making just 1 of its final 14 field goals. The Blue Devils led 52-38 in the second half, but nearly made the game late. Fortunately, Duke made 17 of 19 free throws and helped the Blue Devils overcome 15 turnovers, shooting 29.2% in the second half. A win is a win, especially away from home. But after Wednesday’s 84-60 loss to NC State, there was nothing particularly inspiring about the way Duke played.

Winner: 13th straight win for FAU

The Florida Atlantic came close to losing a 20-point lead against Charlotte, but the Owls won 71-67 to extend their winning streak to 13 games. The Owls are No. 1. No. 12 in the NET, and while they haven’t garnered any respect from AP’s top 25 voters, there’s no question that something special is brewing in Boca Raton. The winning streak is the longest in the program’s history, and if it stays that way, the Owls could find themselves with a shot at the program’s second NCAA tournament bid.

Loser: Arkansas gets colder on the road

In a 72-59 loss to Auburn, No. 13 Arkansas officially went 2-for-16 from beyond the arc in a 72-59 loss to Auburn. The Razorbacks started the league on just four of 25 long-range attempts in LSU’s road loss, which means they’re only six of 41 in their only real road game so far. At 12-3 (1-2 seconds), the Razorbacks are at home against the No. 1 seed. 7. Alabama is next and needs better shooting from the range of the friendly Bud Walton Arena to contend with the red-hot Crimson Tide.

Winner: Clemson is last ACC undefeated

Clemson beat the Pitts 75-74 to go 4-0 into league play and improve to 5-0 with a 5-0 run to get off to its best start ever in the ACC. The Tigers trailed 67-59 with 5:30 left but took control of the game from there with a 13-2 run. Four players hit double figures, led by Chase Hunter’s 17 points. The young guard scored 13 points in the second half to lead the Tigers to the last undefeated team in ACC competition. Duke is on the road next Wednesday, but the Tigers suddenly look strong after a 1-3 start to the season.

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