Buckeyes Hold Off Spartans, 68-60
Ohio State's Evan Ravenel celebrates the team's impending win over Michigan State as time runs out in an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State beat Michigan State 68-60. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Columbus, Ohio — Aaron Craft slashed through the lane for a career-high 21 points yesterday — more than he had scored in the last three games combined — to lead No. 18 Ohio State to a 68-60 victory over fourth-ranked Michigan State.
The loss crippled the Spartans’ hopes of catching up with top-ranked Indiana, which now leads the Big Ten race by two full games with four remaining.
Deshaun Thomas added 12 of his 14 points in the second half for the Buckeyes (20-7, 10-5), who stand fifth in the conference. Evan Ravenel added 10 points and a crucial block in the final minute.
Freshman Gary Harris had 14 points and Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix each had 12 for the Spartans (22-6, 11-4), who have dropped two in a row after winning 11 of 12.
No. 7 Michigan 71
Ann Arbor, Mich. — Trey Burke had 26 points and eight assists to help Michigan bounce back from a slow start to beat Illinois.
The Wolverines (23-4, 10-4 Big Ten) shook off a sluggish first half with a strong second half to win consecutive games for the first time in nearly a month.
The Fighting Illini (20-9, 7-8) had won five straight, a streak that started Feb. 7 by beating top-ranked Indiana.
Michigan played for the first time in a week and looked rusty and sloppy early, turning the ball over the missing open shots. Illinois led by as much as eight points in the first half and didn’t trail until Tim Hardaway Jr. had a three-point play with 3:30 to go.
Brandon Paul scored all 10 of points in the first half to help the Illini lead 31-28 at halftime. Paul didn’t attempt a shot in the second half.
No. 20 Pittsburgh 63
St. John’s 47
New York — Tray Woodall scored a season-high 25 points, including two huge 3-pointers in the second half, and Pittsburgh snapped a two-game losing streak with a victory over St. John’s.
The game was basically decided by the teams’ leading scorers: Woodall, who came in averaging 10.9 points per game, and finished 8 of 14 from the field, and D’Angelo Harrison of the Red Storm, the Big East’s No. 3 scorer with an 18.3 average, who finished with six points on 1-of-12 shooting.
Lamar Patterson had 11 points for the Panthers (21-7, 9-6 Big East), who have won five of their past seven road games.
JaKarr Sampson had 14 points and Phil Greene added 11 for the Red Storm (16-11, 8-7), who have lost three of four overall and eight of the past nine games against Pittsburgh.
No. 25 Notre Dame 62 Cincinnati 41
South Bend, Ind. — Jerian Grant scored 13 points to lead Notre Dame to a win over Cincinnati.
Grant shot just 2-of-9 from the field but was perfect from the free-throw line, hitting a season-high nine.
The Irish (22-6, 10-5 Big East) had four players score in double figures. Tom Knight scored 12, followed by Jack Cooley and Eric Atkins with 11.
Unlike their last game against Pittsburgh, when they managed only one field goal over the first 9 minutes, the Irish started hot, hitting their first four attempts. Cincinnati, by contrast, converted just 3 of their first 15 tries, and finished the first half shooting 7-of-25, or 28 percent.
No. 2 Notre Dame 84 DePaul 56
Chicago — There were was a loud roar before the game when Doug Bruno got a ring in honor of the U.S. National Team’s gold medal run at the Olympics. There was nothing for DePaul fans to cheer about after that.
Skylar Diggins finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and No. 2 Notre Dame won its 20th straight.
Jewell Loyd added 19 points. Kayla McBride scored 16, and the Fighting Irish (25-1, 13-0 Big East) cruised to another easy victory. Their only loss was to Baylor in early December.
No. 14 Dayton 67
Dayton, Ohio — Andrea Hoover led five players for Dayton in scoring with 14 points as it blew out Temple.
Ally Malott and Olivia Applewhite scored 12 apiece, Amber Dean added 11 and Samantha Mackay chipped in 10 and seven assists for Dayton (24-1, 12-0), which has won 12 straight games.
In the first half, Dayton shot 38.7 percent (12 of 31), but held Temple to just 33.3 percent (8 of 24). Dayton led at halftime 34-22.
Dayton led by as many as 22 points in the second half.
The Flyers scored 31 points off of 26 Temple turnovers. Dayton turned the ball over 12 times, and the Owls only scored six points off turnovers.
Tyonna Williams led Temple (12-15, 5-7) with 13 points, but was the only Owl in double figures. The Owls have now lost three straight.
, and DePaul (18-9, 7-6) never had a chance in this one.
“I’ve not been able to figure out best how to restructure how we play,” said Bruno, whose team has been hit hard by injuries this season and has dropped four of the past six games. “I really over these last 15 days have not been happy with what we’ve demonstrated and what we’ve shown. ... We just can’t stand there and sit there and just take it without fight. That’s what our program has always been about — fighting.”
Notre Dame took it right to DePaul and won by 20 or more for the fourth straight game while sending the Blue Demons to their second straight blowout loss. The Fighting Irish still have some big hurdles to clear if they’re going to stay unbeaten in conference play, with Syracuse up next and Connecticut looming in the finale after a trip to Providence. But they sure are looking good at the moment.
The Irish forced 21 turnovers and held DePaul to 33.3-percent shooting. Brittany Hrynko scored 15 points but was just 4 of 19 from the field, and the Blue Demons fell hard again after getting blasted 81-55 by Louisville a week earlier.
Diggins, Notre Dame’s second-leading all-time scorer, came through with her second career triple-double and the fourth in school history. She also had one against Maryland in the Elite Eight last season, the first for the Fighting Irish since 1990, and the 10 rebounds were one shy of her personal best.