Photo by Mary Ann Chastain
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Georgia found out Saturday night what No. 1 Kentucky already knew: South Carolina's never out of it with Devan Downey.
The Gamecock senior star had 33 points, including the driving, go-ahead basket with 50 seconds to go, in a 78-77 win over the Bulldogs.
Downey's performance followed a 30-point showing in a 68-62 victory over the top-ranked Wildcats last Tuesday night.
"To see a guy, he's the guy that has to be stopped, he's option one, two and three for us, and still put up 30 a game at this level," South Carolina coach Darrin Horn said. "That's pretty special."
More and more fans around the Southeastern Conference have discovered that, too.
A week ago, Downey hit an improbable driving bank shot with 5 seconds left that looked like it beat Florida before the Gators' Chandler Parsons trumped him with a buzzer-beating three.
Then came Kentucky, where Downey continually drove past freshman star John Wall and floated buckets and bankers over Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins.
This time, Downey rescued the Gamecocks (13-8, 4-3 SEC) down the stretch, when more than few people in the Colonial Life Arena wondered if the spark they saw a few nights earlier would be there.
South Carolina trailed 63-54 with less than 10 minutes left when Downey got going, scoring half of his team's last 24 points.
The capper came in the final minute, Downey driving through and around four Bulldogs to lay in a banker high off the glass.
"At the end, the ball's in my hands," Downey said. "There's no other way."
Georgia had its chances to win after Downey's last basket.
Trey Thompkins slipped under the hoop for what seemed a simple put-in that sailed over the rim and out of bounds.
Then, after Downey fouled Dustin Ware, the Bulldogs' most reliable foul shooter missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 3.5 seconds left.
On Ware's miss, Georgia coach Mark Fox chose to put three players back to keep Downey from a game-winning coast-to-coast drive. Instead Ramon Galloway collected the rebound and South Carolina held on.
Fox said his strategy was as much his confidence in Ware -- third in the SEC at 82.8 percent from the line -- as his fear of Downey's talent.
"We're competing and we keep responding through each experience to get better," Fox said. "As difficult as this is to get on the bus with, we'll go back to work."
No one's worked harder than Downey this season. The senior, the SEC's leading scorer, has 30 or more points in five of seven league games.
Downey's focused completely on his team's showing, pushing aside his amazing run.
"It's the run the team's on," he chided one questioner.
With Downey, anything seems possible for South Carolina.
Sam Muldrow had a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double in 70 career games.
The Gamecocks looked done when Thompkins nailed a 3-pointer to move in front 63-54 with 9:26 to go.
Muldrow began South Carolina's rally with a bucket, then blocked Thompkins' shot to set up a basket for Brandis Raley-Ross.
Downey hit a 3 to keep things going and Raley-Ross added one from behind the arc to draw the Gamecocks within 70-67.
Downey tied it a minute later with a 3-pointer. And then, after Thompkins' bucket, made two foul shots to knot it at 74-all.
Ware gave Georgia its final lead, 77-76, after a 3 with 1:16 to play.
It ended a crazy week around campus that began with South Carolina's landmark win over Kentucky. Horn was a national radio guest and Downey's stellar performance in leading the Gamecocks to their first victory over a No. 1 team was shown again and again.
Horn, who went recruiting the morning after the Kentucky win, stressed the importance of returning to work ready to improve.
It looked like the Downey and the Gamecocks listened.
FSU CHOPS DOWN BOSTON COLLEGE:
BOSTON -- Derwin Kitchen hit Florida State's only 3-pointer of the game in the closing minute and Solomon Alabi scored 16 points and had six rebounds, lifting the Seminoles to a scrappy 61-57 win over Boston College on Saturday.
Michael Snaer, Chris Singleton and Ryan Reid each finished with 10 points for the Seminoles (16-5, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). It was just Florida State's third win in its last six games after a seven-game winning streak.
Rakim Sanders led the Eagles (12-10, 3-5) with 17 points. Joe Trapani had 15 and seven rebounds.
Kitchen also hit two free throws to seal it with 7.8 seconds left.
Florida State, which entered the game leading the ACC in field goal defense, held Boston College to 43.6 percent shooting -- the 57th straight opponent below 50 percent.
With the score tied at 54-54, Alabi came up with a loose ball in a scramble on the defensive end after BC's Courtney Dunn was trapped near the foul line.
Kitchen then hit his 3-pointer on the other end, giving the Seminoles a 57-54 lead with 43.9 seconds left.
"I was just clear coming down the court," he said. "It was either make it or miss it."
The Seminoles finished just 1-for-13 from 3-point range.
Following a turnover by the Eagles, Snaer hit two free throws with 30.5 seconds to go.
"We needed it," Singleton said of Kitchen's shot.
"We design plays so if they try to defend it, they can get open shots," said Alabi, who had a pair of key baskets late in the game.
No. 22 Georgia Tech 98, Kentucky State 50
ATLANTA -- Glen Rice Jr. scored 15 points, D'Andre Bell added 14 and the Yellow Jackets breezed to an easy win over the Division II Thorobreds.
Georgia Tech (16-5) has won four of five and improved to 11-1 at home.
Jarrod Gay had 16 points to lead the Thorobreds, (4-13) who hit just 28.3 percent from the field. Tony Johnson added eight for Kentucky State after shooting 2 for 11.
WASHINGTON -- Chris Wright and Georgetown put on a show for the commander in chief.
With President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden seated in the front row, the No. 7 Hoyas shot 71.7 percent -- their best shooting game in 30 years -- to run away from No. 8 Duke, 89-77 on Saturday.
It couldn't have been a much bigger day for Georgetown: the president at his first Hoyas game, its first sellout this season at the Verizon Center, a crowd wearing "We Are Georgetown" T-shirts, the 200th win for coach John Thompson III and the launch of an initiative for Darfur.
Wright seemed pumped for it all, scoring 21 points on 8-for-9 shooting and making two defensive plays that helped ignite an 18-3 run and gave the Hoyas (16-4) the lead for good.
Nolan Smith scored 19 points, Kyle Singler had 18 before fouling out with 2:10 to play, and Jon Scheyer added 17 for the Blue Devils (17-4), who shot 37 percent.
No. 1 Kentucky 85, No. 21 Vanderbilt 72
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- DeMarcus Cousins posted his 12th double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds as Kentucky beat Vanderbilt to bounce back from Tuesday's loss at South Carolina.
Darnell Dodson added 16 points in a rare start for the Wildcats (20-1, 5-1 Southeastern Conference), who played like the nation's top-ranked team for long stretches in front of special guest LeBron James.
Kentucky built an early 19-point lead and then made it hold up while the NBA star, a friend of coach John Calipari, watched from courtside.
Jermaine Beal led the Commodores (16-4, 5-1) with 19 points.
No. 2 Kansas 81, No. 11 Kansas St. 79, OT
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- Sherron Collins returned from a back injury to score on a hard drive with 9 seconds left in overtime, helping Kansas pull out a gritty win over Kansas State.
The Jayhawks (20-1, 6-0 Big 12) dismantled Missouri on Monday and closed out the rivalry week sweep by winning a back-and-forth thriller with Kansas State (17-4, 4-3).
Collins hit the floor with 2:44 left in overtime and went to the bench holding his back, then returned just in time to score on a baseline drive that put Kansas up by three. He was fouled on the play and missed the free throw, but Cole Aldrich grabbed the rebound and Brady Morningstar hit two foul shots to close out the Jayhawks' 26th win in their last 27 games in Manhattan.
Aldrich had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Collins finished with 16 points.
Kansas State had a chance to win in regulation, but Kansas' Tyrel Reed stripped a streaking Dominique Sutton at the buzzer. Jacob Pullen had 22 points for the Wildcats.
No. 4 Syracuse 59, DePaul 57
ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) -- Wes Johnson scored 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and the Orange rallied from 18 down to win their eighth straight game.
Syracuse scored 16 straight to cut its deficit to two late in the first half, then took the lead with a 16-2 run in the second. DePaul's Will Walker missed a 3 in the closing seconds.
Kris Joseph added 15 points for Syracuse (21-1, 8-1 Big East). Rick Jackson scored 10.
Walker poured in 21 for DePaul (8-13, 1-8), which has lost nine of 10.
No. 5 Michigan St. 79, Northwestern 70
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Durrell Summers started each half with an alley-oop dunk and finished with a season-high 24 points and 10 rebounds, leading Michigan State over Northwestern.
The Spartans (19-3) are off to their first 9-0 start in Big Ten play.
John Shurna made six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 31 points for the Wildcats (14-7, 3-6).
Michigan State opened the second half with an 18-4 run after leading by just two at halftime following six lead changes and four ties. Kalin Lucas had 23 points for the Spartans.
No. 24 Baylor 80, No. 6 Texas 77, OT
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Freshman guard A.J. Walton, a 47 percent free-throw shooter, made three of four foul shots in the final 17 seconds of overtime to help Baylor hold off Texas.
The Longhorns had a chance to tie it at the end but Avery Bradley's 3-pointer bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Baylor (16-4, 3-3 Big 12) got its first regular-season win over Texas (18-3, 4-2) since 1998. Tweety Carter led the Bears with 27 points.
Texas rallied from 14 points down early in the second half. Damion James had 20 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, but fouled out in the final minute of overtime.
No. 9 West Virginia 77, Louisville 74
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Da'Sean Butler scored a season-high 27 points, including the go-ahead basket with 16 seconds left, as the Mountaineers overcame a 12-point second-half deficit.
West Virginia (17-3, 6-2 Big East) snapped a four-game losing streak to the Cardinals (13-8, 4-4), who managed only two baskets over the final seven minutes.
Samardo Samuels and Reginald Delk scored 16 points apiece for Louisville.
No. 12 BYU 82, Utah 69
PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Jimmer Fredette scored 36 points, including 23 in the second half, and BYU held off Utah's rally for its sixth victory in the last seven meetings between the state rivals.
Tyler Haws added 15 points and seven rebounds, and Jackson Emery had six steals for BYU (21-2, 6-1 Mountain West).
Utah (10-11, 3-4) trimmed an 18-point deficit to four, but couldn't complete the comeback. Jay Watkins led the Utes with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Players from both teams had to be separated after a scuffle on the baseline with 34 seconds left. Officials and coaches kept it from escalating.
San Francisco 81, No. 13 Gonzaga 77, OT
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Dior Lowhorn hit consecutive 3-pointers in overtime and scored 22 points, leading San Francisco to an upset of Gonzaga.
Matt Bouldin scored Gonzaga's only three baskets in the extra session and the Bulldogs (17-4, 6-1 West Coast Conference), who squandered a 10-point lead, lost for the first time in 28 regular-season WCC games.
Elias Harris had 21 points and Robert Sacre 19 for Gonzaga, which had won nine straight overall and 22 in a row against league opponents.
Angelo Caloiaro made a 3 with 32.8 seconds left that helped San Francisco end a nine-game skid in the series. Lowhorn went 5 of 7 on 3-pointers after coming in 8 for 47 from long range this season, sending the Dons (8-14, 3-4) to their first win over Gonzaga since Jan. 20, 2005.
Lowhorn hit a tying 3 with 9.8 seconds left in regulation.
No. 15 Temple 64, La Salle 52
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Ramone Moore scored 14 points, Lavoy Allen had 12 points and 10 rebounds and the Owls held on before a crowd that included longtime coach John Chaney.
Temple (18-4, 6-1 A-10) got key buckets down the stretch from their second-teamers during an 11-2 run that helped squash La Salle's upset bid.
Rodney Green led La Salle (11-10, 3-5) with 13 points.
Marquette 70, No. 19 Connecticut 68
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Jimmy Butler's driving shot with 2.4 seconds left gave the Golden Eagles their first road win of the season.
Butler finished with 21 points and Lazar Hayward had 20 for Marquette (13-8, 4-5 Big East).
Jerome Dyson had 18 points for UConn (13-8, 3-5), which has lost two straight after beating then No. 1-Texas a week ago. The Huskies played their fourth straight without coach Jim Calhoun, who is on a doctor-ordered medical leave.
No. 23 New Mexico 73, TCU 57
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Darington Hobson scored 19 points with some key second-half baskets and New Mexico stretched its winning streak to six games with a victory over TCU.
Plagued by turnovers, pesky TCU was still close until Hobson scored consecutive baskets for the Lobos (20-3, 6-2 Mountain West) to start a 9-0 run in the second half.
The Lobos' winning streak has come since starting conference play with consecutive losses. They clinched their third straight 20-win season under third-year coach Steve Alford.
Phillip McDonald had 18 points and Roman Martinez 16 for New Mexico.
Ronnie Moss led TCU (10-12, 2-5) with 30 points, on 12-of-17 shooting with five 3-pointers, and eight assists.
UTEP 74, No. 25 UAB 65, 2OT
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Derrick Caracter had 20 points and 13 rebounds to lead UTEP past UAB in double overtime.
Caracter scored five points to help the Miners outscore the Blazers 11-2 in the second extra period. Jeremy Williams added 16 points for UTEP (15-5, 6-1 Conference USA) and Randy Culpepper had 14.
Kenneth Cooper had 18 points and 12 rebounds for UAB (18-3, 6-1).
With the score tied 58-all at the end of regulation, an apparent winning shot by UTEP's Julyan Stone was nullified when teammate Arnett Moultrie was called for basket interference.