No. 2 Better Than No. 1
Chicago — With Keith Appling, Gary Harris and Adreian Payne all scoring in double figures for No. 2 Michigan State, Branden Dawson came up with the biggest basket, tipping in a miss with less than six seconds left to give the Spartans a 78-74 victory over top-ranked Kentucky on Tuesday night.
James Young missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, and the Spartans erupted in delight, with Harris holding up his index finger.
It was the earliest meeting of 1 vs. 2, and the first since 2008, and the matchup did not disappoint for many who see it as a sneak preview of the Final Four. Julius Randle had 23 of his 27 points in the second half, as the Wildcats (2-1) erased a 13-point deficit. But they couldn’t overcome their troubles at the free throw line, going a dismal 20 of 36.
No. 3 Louisville 97 Hofstra 69
Louisville, Ky. — Russ Smith scored 21 of his game-high 30 points in the first half and No. 3 Louisville made 12 3-pointers to set the tone for a rout of Hofstra.
The senior guard shot 12 of 22 from the field including 5 of 12 from beyond the arc.
No. 7 Michigan 93 S. Carolina St. 59
Ann Arbor, Mich. — Caris LeVert made his first five 3-point attempts, and No. 7 Michigan had a terrific night from beyond the arc, breezing to a victory over South Carolina State.
LeVert finished with 24 points, going 6 of 7 from long distance. Nik Stauskas added 23 points — he was 5 of 6 from 3-point range. Both sophomores set career highs in scoring.
No. 8 Oklahoma St. 93 Utah Valley 40
Stillwater, Okla. — Phil Forte scored 19 points to lead six double-figure scorers and No. 8 Oklahoma State cruised past Utah Valley.
The Cowboys (2-0) hit 10 of 18 from 3-point range in the first half and 14 of 33 from beyond the arc for the game. Forte and Marcus Smart, who scored 14 points, combined to hit 8 of 17 from 3-point range.
No. 9 Syracuse 89 Fordham 74
Syracuse, n.y. — C.J. Fair scored a career-high 26 points, Jerami Grant added 16 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 9 Syracuse beat Fordham.
The Orange had the game in hand by halftime, leading by 25 behind 15 points from Fair as the Syracuse defense clamped down from the opening tip.
No. 10 Ohio St. 79, Ohio 69
Columbus, Ohio — Aaron Craft scored 17 points — including eight free throws down the stretch — to help No. 10 Ohio State hold off neighboring rival Ohio.
Amir Williams had a career-high 14 points, reserve Sam Thompson had 12 and LaQuinton Ross added 10 for the Buckeyes (2-0).
No. 14 VCU 59 No. 25 Virginia 56
Charlottesville, Va. — Treveon Graham scored 22 points, including a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds to play, and No. 14 VCU beat No. 25 Virginia.
The Rams (2-0) trailed for almost all of the final 10 minutes until Graham’s steal and baseline jumper gave them a 56-55 lead with 1:18 left.
No. 17 Marquette 114 Grambling St. 71
Milwaukee — Chris Otule scored 17 points and Steve Taylor added 16 points and 11 rebounds to help No. 17 Marquette roll over Grambling State.
Deonte Burton added 14 points, JuJuan Johnson 12 and Jamil Thomas, Juan Anderson and Jake Thomas each a had 11 for Marquette.
No. 23 Baylor 66 S. Carolina 64
Waco, Texas — Brady Heslip scored 18 points with five 3-pointers and No. 23 Baylor held on for a victory over South Carolina, without making a field goal in the final 7 minutes and having to wait out a lengthy review after the final buzzer before officials determined there wasn’t yet another foul in the game.
South Carolina (1-1) was desperately trying to get a tying basket, and the ball was still being batted around when the buzzer sounded at the same time a referee blew a whistle for an apparent foul. The refs reviewed the video before declaring the game was over.
Vermont 77, Siena 66
Burlington — Clancy Rugg scored 19 points and hit 11 free throws as Vermont put away Siena.
The Catamounts (1-1) jumped out to an early 18-6 lead capped off by a 3-pointer by Candon Rusin, but Siena closed the gap with a late surge in the first half, trimming the deficit to three at the break.
The Catamounts shot 43.2 percent from the field with four players in double figures. Brian Volkel had 11 rebounds and 10 assists, but was just four points short of recording a triple-double.