Top-ranked UK steps on Heels
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Devin Booker and Willie Cauley-Stein each scored 15 points and top-ranked Kentucky shook off the shock of losing junior forward Alex Poythress by rolling past No. 21 North Carolina 84-70 on Saturday.
Buoyed by Poythress’ pregame talk and courtside presence two days after sustaining a season-ending knee injury in practice, the Wildcats (11-0) combined depth, length and strong shooting to post a convincing win over the Tar Heels (6-3).
Booker returned from a one-game absence to make all three long-range attempts and 5 of 8 overall on a day that Kentucky shot 57 percent from the field.
Kentucky never trailed and eventually built a 19-point second half lead, though North Carolina got within 66-57 midway through as Marcus Paige (14 points) warmed up from outside. The Wildcats answered with a 14-5 run over 5:56 for another safe cushion.
Aaron Harrison added 14 points and Trey Lyles had nine starting in Poythress’ place.
Brice Johnson’s 15 points led the Tar Heels, who won the rebounding battle 31-24 but found little success against the Wildcats’ size.
No. 5 Wisconsin 86, Nicholls St. 43
Josh Gasser had 14 points, while Nigel Hayes added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Badgers (10-1). Frank Kaminsky and Vitto Brown scored 10 apiece.
Nicholls State (1-5) was led by Amin Torres with 14 points.
The game was over early. Wisconsin shot 70 percent from the floor in the first half, had 11 assists on the 19 shots it made and grabbed 21 rebounds. It took the Badgers just 14 minutes to build a 31-point lead as Kaminsky stole the ball at the top of the key and went coast-to-coast for a dunk that made it 37-6.
It was the worst offensive performance of the season for the Colonels, who averaged 66 points coming in.
No. 11 Wichita St. 77, Detroit 68
DETROIT (AP) — Darius Carter had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and No. 11 Wichita State rallied from a 10-point second half deficit to beat Detroit 77-68 on Saturday.
Ron Baker added 19 points for the Shockers (7-1), who went on a decisive 15-3 run in the final minutes. The Titans (6-4) fell short in their upset bid despite a 27-point performance by Juwan Howard Jr.
Carter had five of Wichita State’s 18 offensive rebounds. The Shockers eventually wore Detroit down with their rebounding and defensive pressure.
Wichita State has won three in a row since a Dec. 3 loss at Utah that snapped its 35-game regular-season winning streak.