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COLLEGE BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: No. 11 Florida pulls away from FSU; Mercer upsets Ga. Tech

Florida’s Patric Young, right, gets hung up as he tries to get around Florida State’s Okaro White, center, during Thursday’s game, which the No. 11 Gators won, 82-64.

Florida’s Patric Young, right, gets hung up as he tries to get around Florida State’s Okaro White, center, during Thursday’s game, which the No. 11 Gators won, 82-64.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida State’s lopsided loss at No. 11 Florida left coach Leonard Hamilton contemplating a lineup change.

Hamilton said he is considering switching to a three-guard lineup following an 82-64 loss in Gainesville on Wednesday night that exposed his team’s ability to handle the ball and defend the 3-point line.

The Seminoles (8-4) likely will insert Ian Miller into the starting five. Miller, who sat out the first semester because of academics, made his season debut against Florida and scored seven points in 22 minutes.

Luke Loucks led Florida State with 15 points and Terry Whisnant added 11. Antwan Space also made his season debut, giving Hamilton more options on the floor.

None of them worked.

“Our team is kind of in a flux a little bit,” Hamilton said. “We’re going to have to maybe put another perimeter guy in the game to take advantage of our depth in another way. We have not taken care of the ball very well. You turn the ball over 19 times against Florida, that’s not the right formula for success.”

Bradley Beal led Florida (10-2) with 21 points as the Gators extended their winning streak to five and their home winning streak to 12. Patric Young showed the best post moves of his career, a performance that included dunks, layups and several nifty hook shots with each hand.

More impressive was what he did on the other end of the floor.

Young scored 15 points and had a highlight-reel block — a left-handed gem that sparked a decisive second-half run.

“Whenever you block somebody’s shot and pull it down with one hand, that’s making ‘SportsCenter,’” Young said. “I just saw him going for the roll and I was able to time it right. I didn’t think I was going to rip it down. It was just perfect. It just came right in my hand.

“I’ve pinned someone’s dunk before. I haven’t ripped it out with one hand before, though.”

Florida State had no answer for Young inside and did little to slow down Beal’s long-range shooting and slicing drives. Seemingly more complex for the Seminoles (8-4) was Florida’s press. The result was a third consecutive loss in the series.

The Seminoles had eight turnovers in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, errors that fueled a 15-2 spurt that turned a two-point game into a lopsided affair.

“This Florida team is the most difficult team for us to beat, at least since I’ve been at Florida State,” Hamilton said. “They play so well together; they execute their system almost to perfection. You have little room for error.”


GEORGIA TECH LOSSES: Mercer finally got its breakthrough victory over one of Georgia’s major college teams.

Travis Smith went 6 of 6 at the foul line in the final minute and Mercer overcame a seven-point second half deficit, snapping a nine-game losing streak to in-state foe Georgia Tech with a 65-59 victory Thursday night.

Monty Brown scored a career-best 13 points off the bench to lead four double-figure scorers for Mercer (8-5). Glen Rice Jr. had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets (7-5).

“This is a big victory for us and something for us to build on,” Mercer coach Bob Hoffman said. “I’m just thrilled to see these guys enjoy the fruits of their labors.”

Mercer’s last victory over Tech had come on Jan. 28, 1974, when the Bears won 102-85 in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets had won 20 of the past 22 meetings in a series that goes back to 1909.

“This isn’t just for us,” the Bears’ Bud Thomas said. “This is for Mercer and all the teams that came before us.”

Mercer led Georgia by eight points in the first half at Athens on Tuesday before losing 72-58. It was the 15th straight loss to the Bulldogs for Mercer, which almost upset them last season before losing 56-53.

The Bears, a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference, also had some close games against Tech in recent years. This time Mercer broke through.

Tech went on an 11-3 run to go up 51-44 with 7:02 left to play. But Mercer closed the game on a 21-8 run. After Rice’s two free throws with 1:16 left got Tech back within two points, Mercer went 7 of 8 at the foul line to close out the win. The Yellow Jackets’ only score in the final minute was a 3-pointer by Jason Morris.


No. 1 Syracuse 80, Tulane 61: James Southerland and Brandon Triche each hit a pair of 3-pointers to key a 19-point first-half surge, and top-ranked Syracuse beat Tulane 80-61 on Thursday night to remain unbeaten.

It’s the third straight season Syracuse has won its first 13 games. The Orange have won three straight since reaching the top spot in the rankings 10 days ago, including victories over North Carolina State and Bucknell.

Tulane (11-2) had faced the No. 1 team in the nation twice before, losing to Cincinnati (72-59) in January 2000 and Memphis (97-71) in February 2008. The Green Wave has never defeated a top-five team and hasn’t beaten a top-10 since a 49-47 victory over No. 9 Memphis in February 1983.

Dion Waiters had 15 points, Kris Joseph added 13, and Southerland 10 for the Orange.

Kendall Timmons led Tulane with 16 points, Ricky Tarrant had 15, and Jordan Callahan 10.


No. 2 Ohio State 69, Miami (Ohio) 40: William Buford scored 18 points and Aaron Craft dominated at both ends as No. 2 Ohio State started fast and never looked back to beat Miami of Ohio 69-40 on Thursday night.

Deshaun Thomas added 15 points and Jared Sullinger 11 for the Buckeyes (12-1), who won their 33rd straight at home. The game was played at Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL’s Blue Jackets. The building will host second- and third-round NCAA tournament games in March.

Julian Mavunga led the RedHawks (3-7) with 19 points.

Craft had just four points but set the tempo at both ends with eight assists, two steals, three rebounds and several other plays that led to points.


NO. 3 KENTUCKY 87, LOYOLA (MD.) 63: Reserve Kyle Wiltjer scored a personal-best 24 points and a trio of freshmen sparked Kentucky on a 17-2 second-half run for the Wildcats’ 42nd straight home win.

Freshmen Wiltjer, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist all had afternoons to remember as Kentucky (11-1) heads into a five-day break before the schedule begins to ramp up.

Davis contributed 15 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, Kidd-Gilchrist added 15 points and seven rebounds and Darius Miller had 13 points. Kentucky hosts Lamar on Wednesday night before renewing its in-state rivalry with No. 4 Louisville on Dec. 31.

Erik Etherly scored 14 points, Dylon Cormier 13 and Justin Drummond 10 for Loyola (8-3).


NO. 8 CONNECTICUT 79, FAIRFIELD 71: Shabazz Napier scored 24 points to lead Connecticut in the final game before coach Jim Calhoun serves a three-game suspension for NCAA recruiting violations.

Jeremy Lamb added 18 points and Andre Drummond had 16 points, nine rebounds, four steals and two blocks for the Huskies (10-1), who won their 41st straight non-conference game.

Rakim Sanders had 20 points, Sean Crawford 14 and Derek Needham 12 for Fairfield (7-5), which cut a 22-point second-half deficit to three with 2:23 left before bowing to the Huskies.

Calhoun will return to the sideline Jan. 7 at Rutgers after he sits out three Big East games against South Florida, St. John’s and Seton Hall.


NO. 16 GEORGETOWN 70, MEMPHIS 59: Jason Clark scored 18 points and Hollis Thompson added 17 as Georgetown extended its winning streak to eight games.

Georgetown (10-1) held the lead for the entire game and opened the margin to as much as 20 points before a late surge by Memphis, although the Tigers were unable to complete the comeback.

Chris Crawford scored 17 and Will Barton had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis, which has lost three of its last four games.

The teams were playing a rare non-conference rematch. Georgetown beat then-No. 8 Memphis 91-88 in overtime in the fifth-place game of the Maui Invitational on Nov. 23.


NO. 17 INDIANA 89, UMBC 47: Matt Roth scored a season-high 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc to lead the depleted Hoosiers.

Indiana heated up from long range in the second half, shooting 69 percent (9 of 13) from the 3-point line after going 2 for 14 in the first half. Indiana came in as the No. 1 team in the country in 3-point field goal percentage at 47 percent.

Christian Watford led Indiana (12-0) with 22 points.

Chase Plummer, Quentin Jones and Ryan Cook each scored 10 points for the Retrievers (1-10).

Indiana outscored UMBC 52-24 in the second half.


NO. 18 MISSISSIPPI STATE 82, NORTHWESTERN STATE 67: Arnett Moultrie had 24 points and 14 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season for Mississippi State.

Moultrie led a big night for the Bulldogs’ big men. Reserve Wendell Lewis scored 14 points, while Renardo Sidney added nine points and four rebounds in the first half before sitting out the rest of the game because of a strained patella tendon in his left knee.

Mississippi State (12-1) has won 11 straight games.

Shamir Davis scored 15 points for Northwestern State (7-6), which pulled within 45-39 early in the second half before MSU responded with an 11-1 run.


NO. 20 MICHIGAN 77, BRADLEY 66: Evan Smotrycz had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Tim Hardaway Jr. added a soaring dunk during a decisive run in the second half to lead Michigan.

The Wolverines (10-2) overcame uncharacteristically poor shooting in the first half. The game was tied at 45 in the second when Smotrycz made a 3-pointer to put Michigan ahead to stay. Bradley (5-7) still trailed by one at 50-49 when the Wolverines went on a 21-7 run.

Hardaway scored 16 points and Trey Burke added 12 points for the Wolverines.

Taylor Brown led the Braves with 17 points, including a 3-pointer from about 35 feet on the final shot of the first half that tied the game at 33.


NO. 23 CREIGHTON 87, NORTHWESTERN 79: Doug McDermott scored 18 of his 27 points in the second half and Creighton defeated a Big Ten opponent for the third time this season.

McDermott’s performance trumped that of Northwestern’s Drew Crawford, who scored 34 points to tie an opponent record at the CenturyLink Center.

Antoine Young scored 13 points, Gregory Echenique and Manigat had 11 apiece, and Wragge added 10 for Missouri Valley Conference favorite Creighton (10-1), which also has wins over the Big Ten’s Iowa and Nebraska.

John Shurna had 18 points and Davide Curletti added 10 for Northwestern (10-2).