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COLLEGE HOOPS ROUNDUP: UGA men win third straight; Auburn nearly upsets No. 12 Illinois; FSU, Georgia Tech both extend win streaks

Georgia Bulldogs forward Nemanja Djurisic (42) attempts a shot over Florida A&M's Walter Davis during the first half Saturday in Athens. Georgia won, 82-73, behind Djurisic's career-high 21 points.

Georgia Bulldogs forward Nemanja Djurisic (42) attempts a shot over Florida A&M's Walter Davis during the first half Saturday in Athens. Georgia won, 82-73, behind Djurisic's career-high 21 points.

No. 1 Duke avoids scare from Santa Clara; No. 4 Louisville downs in-state rival Kentucky

DURHAM, N.C. — Seth Curry scored 12 of his season-high 31 points during the late run that helped No. 1 Duke pull away for a 90-77 victory over pesky Santa Clara on Saturday.

Mason Plumlee added 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Blue Devils (12-0), who needed a huge run late to overcome both a big game from Kevin Foster and a real scare from the Broncos (11-3).

Foster scored 18 of his 29 points in the first half, and his soaring baseline dunk put the Broncos up 45-41 with 16:30 left. But the Broncos managed just one field goal over the next 8½ minutes.

Curry hit two 3-pointers and followed with three layups during the Blue Devils’ 26-5 run.

Ryan Kelly had 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Quinn Cook finished with 15 points for Duke, which is 12-0 for the 10th time under coach Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils won their 101st straight nonconference game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Evan Roquemore added 17 points while Marc Trasolini and Raymond Cowels III had 10 apiece for Santa Clara, which was playing the No. 1 team for just the second time since 1981 and fell to 0-12 all-time against top-ranked opponents.

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No. 2 MICHIGAN 88, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 73

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Trey Burke had 22 points and 10 assists as Michigan finished its non-conference schedule with a victory over Central Michigan.

Michigan played without junior Tim Hardaway Jr. who missed the first game of his career with an ankle injury. That meant the Wolverines started three freshmen — Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Caris LeVert — along with Burke and Jordan Morgan.

Robinson had 20 points, while Stauskas finished with 19 for Michigan (13-0), which is off to the second-best start in school history. The 1985-86 Wolverines team, led by Gary Grant, Roy Tarpley and Glen Rice, started the season 16-0 on its way to a Big Ten championship.

Central Michigan (7-6) was hoping to match the success of its football team, which won the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Wednesday, but never recovered from falling behind by seven points in the first three minutes.

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No. 4 LOUISVILLE 80, KENTUCKY 77

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Russ Smith scored 21 points and Chane Behanan had 20 and Louisville ended a four-game losing streak to rival Kentucky.

Peyton Siva added 19 points as the Cardinals (12-1) won a hard-fought Battle of the Bluegrass. Though the Cardinals trail the series 30-15, their victory followed last spring’s 69-61 national semifinal loss to the Wildcats, who went on to win their eighth national championship.

The Wildcats (8-4) trailed 51-34 but outscored the Cardinals 28-14 to get within 65-62 before Smith’s two baskets keyed an 8-5 run to give Louisville some space.

Behanan sealed Louisville’s win with late two dunks, the final one following his steal of a pass by Archie Goodwin with 18 seconds remaining.

Goodwin scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half for Kentucky and Ryan Harrow added 17 points.

Poor foul shooting doomed the Wildcats’ comeback. They shot just 11 of 23 (48 percent) from the line, matching their percentage from the field.

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No. 6 KANSAS 89, AMERICAN 57

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Travis Releford scored 19 points and Kansas hit a scorching 13 of its first 18 3-point attempts, rolling to a victory over American.

Kansas (11-1) took command with a 21-4 spree in the opening minutes and wound up with six players scoring at least nine points against the outmanned Eagles (4-9). Releford was 7 for 8 from the floor, including 5 of 6 3-pointers. Elijah Johnson had 12 points and was 4 for 5 from behind the arc as the Jayhawks finished with 15-for-24 3-point shooting.

Freshman Perry Ellis had 11 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double.

Stephen Lumpkins had 16 points and six rebounds for the Eagles.

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No. 9 SYRACUSE 57, ALCORN STATE 36

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — C.J. Fair scored 13 points, Trevor Cooney added 12, all in the second half to key a late surge, and Syracuse beat Alcorn State in the final game of the Gotham Classic.

It was the 901st win for Orange coach Jim Boeheim, one behind Bob Knight for second place all-time among Division I men’s coaches. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski leads with 939 wins.

Syracuse (11-1), coming off an 83-79 loss to Temple at Madison Square Garden a week ago, increased its home winning streak to 31 games, longest in the nation. Alcorn State (2-13), which was late arriving because of the weather, dropped to 0-9 on the road in losing its ninth straight.

Marquiz Baker, who had averaged 25.7 in three games since returning from a knee injury that had sidelined him since November of 2011, finished with 15 points to lead the Braves.

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No. 10 OHIO ST. 87, CHICAGO ST. 44

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Deshaun Thomas scored 17 points and Ohio State regained its shooting touch in its final tuneup before beginning Big Ten play.

LaQuinton Ross added 15 points, Lenzelle Smith Jr. had 13, Amedeo Della Valle had career-high 11 and Aaron Craft scored 10 for the Buckeyes (10-2), who complete an eight-game homestand when they host Nebraska in the conference opener on Wednesday.

The Buckeyes hit 33 of 58 shots from the field (57 percent).

Quinton Pippen, a nephew of ex-Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen, had 12 points for Chicago State (3-12), which fell to 0-11 away from home with its fourth straight defeat.

Tuckeyes opened the second half by making their first four attempts from the field. A 10-2 blitz at the outset of the second half swelled the lead to 47-26. The Cougars never got closer than 17 points again.

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No. 14 FLORIDA 78, AIR FORCE 61

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Kenny Boynton snapped a shooting slump with three 3-pointers in the second half when Florida pulled away.

Boynton had made only 4 of 32 from 3-point range over the previous five games, but he hit three in a span of 8 minutes to break the game open. The Gators used their superior size and smothering defense to grind down the Falcons, who shot 48 percent in the first half and 33 percent in the second half.

Florida (9-2) won for only the second time in the past four games. Air Force (8-3) fell to 2-77 against ranked teams.

Boynton, who ranks third in career 3-pointers made at Florida with 282, went 3 for 7 from long range and scored 14 points.

Erik Murphy of Florida scored 21 points, had seven rebounds and added four assists while missing only two shots in 29 minutes. He was chosen the game’s MVP.

The Falcons matched the second-best start in school history in their first 10 games but hadn’t faced a team of Florida’s caliber. Air Force’s Michael Lyons was held to 11 points, nine below his average, and he shot only 3 for 14.

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No. 16 CREIGHTON 87, EVANSVILLE 70

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Doug McDermott scored 14 of his 29 points in a 6½-minute stretch of the second half when Creighton pulled away from Evansville.

Gregory Echenique had 13 points and 13 rebounds, Jahenns Manigat added 13 points, and Avery Dingman had 11 for the Bluejays (12-1), who won their Missouri Valley Conference opener.

McDermott, the Bluejays’ returning All-American, also had 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.

Colt Ryan, who scored an arena-record 43 points in his last visit, matched his season high with 25 for the Purple Aces (7-6, 0-1). Troy Taylor added 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for Evansville, which has lost 14 straight in Omaha since 1999.

Evansville cut a 17-point deficit to seven early in the second half. McDermott wasn’t much of a factor as he went scoreless during a span of 10:32 over the halves.

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No. 18 BUTLER 68, VANDERBILT 49

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Rotnei Clarke hit six 3-pointers and finished with 22 points and the Butler Bulldogs shook off a sluggish start and routed Vanderbilt for their seventh straight victory.

The Bulldogs (10-2) missed their first seven 3-pointers and led only 25-22 at halftime before taking control of the game with a 14-3 run to open the second half.

Clarke, who missed his first six shots, had another memorable game in Memorial Gym. He scored 36 points in January 2011 playing for Arkansas, hitting 6-of-8 beyond the arc in that game.

This time around, the senior guard hit 6-of-9 from 3-point range before Butler coach Brad Stevens starting pulling his starters. Kellen Dunham added 12 points.

Kyle Fuller led Vanderbilt with 10 points. Kedren Johnson finished with nine, well below his average of 17.8 points and didn’t score until nearly three minutes into the second half.

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NORTH CAROLINA 79, No. 20 UNLV 73

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — P.J. Hairston scored 15 points in his first career start for North Carolina.

Dexter Strickland added a season-high 16 points for the Tar Heels (10-3), who led by 15 points in the first half and by nine at the break. But UNC had to turn away a second-half surge by the Runnin’ Rebels (11-2) to earn the program’s 63rd straight home win against nonconference opponents.

Freshman Anthony Bennett had 15 points and 13 rebounds for UNLV, which led by a point briefly in the second half but spent most of the game in catch-up mode. Katin Reinhardt and Anthony Marshall each added 15 points for the Runnin’ Rebels, who also got Mike Moser back from an elbow injury after a four-game absence.

Hairston started in place of Reggie Bullock, who sat out with a mild concussion suffered in Thursday’s practice, and finished 5 for 10 from the field and hit two 3-pointers. He made two free throws with 28.5 seconds left after the Runnin’ Rebels had closed within 76-73.

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No. 23 NORTH CAROLINA ST. 84, W. MICHIGAN 68

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — C.J. Leslie scored 19 points to lead North Carolina State.

Richard Howell added 18 points on 8-of-8 shooting for the Wolfpack (10-2), who won their sixth consecutive game.

N.C. State shot 55 percent from the field, padding its NCAA-leading field goal percentage.

T.J. Warren scored 15 points, Scott Wood had 11 and Lorenzo Brown added 10 for the Wolfpack.

Nate Hutcheson scored 16 points to lead the Broncos (8-5). Shayne Whittington added 14 points and Darius Paul had 12 for Western Michigan.

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No. 25 KANSAS STATE 52, MISSOURI-KANSAS CITY 44

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Rodney McGruder scored 17 points, Thomas Gipson had 13 points and six rebounds and Kansas State struggled to a victory over Missouri-Kansas City.

Playing without guards Angel Rodriguez and Martavious Irving due to injuries, the Wildcats (10-2) shot just 32 percent from the field and went 2 of 10 from beyond the arc in their first game since beating then-No. 8 Florida on a neutral floor.

They certainly looked nothing like the team that beat the Gators last weekend.

Fred Chatmon had nine points and 16 rebounds for the ‘Roos (4-9), who were within 40-36 with 3:11 remaining before Nino Williams’ three-point play gave the Wildcats some breathing room.

McGruder’s soft floater in the lane moments later helped put the game away.

ATHENS — On a day when the leading scorer in the Southeastern Conference was a little off his game, Georgia's basketball team needed a boost and got it in the form of Nemanja Djurisic's career-high 21 points.

"We need people to step up and score if I am not making baskets," said Kentavious Caldwell-Pope after scoring a season-low 11 points Saturday in Georgia's 82-73 win over Florida A&M.

Djurisic grinned sheepishly nearby as Caldwell-Pope bragged on him, but said he could have played a lot better.

"The truth is I have not been playing as well as I can," he said. After starting eight of Georgia's first nine games, he has come off the bench during a current three-game winning streak.

"I was struggling," he said. "My shooting was not as good, and I lost my confidence. It was frustrating, but the coaches and the players were all patient with me."

Djurisic doesn't consider himself back at full production yet.

"I just had a lot of opportunities," he said. "They passed the ball to me, and I was running the floor well. I missed so many easy layups."

Brandon Morris added 10 points for Georgia (5-7).

Florida A&M (4-8) was led by Muhammad Abdul-Aleem, who came off the bench to score 16 points and grab a game-high 11 rebounds. James Adams added 12 and Markee Teal 10.

Georgia led the entire game, mostly by double figures, but the Rattlers took advantage of a 7-minute cold spell by the Bulldogs in the second half to cut the deficit to six, 53-47, with 12:53 to play.

But Donte' Williams and Caldwell-Pope combined for three baskets in the paint to push the lead back to 59-47.

Florida A&M made one last surge, cutting into the lead, 78-71, with 42 seconds to go after a basket by Adams. The Rattlers forced a turnover on the inbounds play, but another missed 3 ended the comeback attempt.

Georgia coach Mark Fox was concerned with his team's lack of maturity.

"We played pretty well offensively in the first half, but we are so immature," he said. "We obviously did not play well with the lead.

"We are immature in so many ways. As competitors and as people," Fox continued. "That has to change for us to become a good basketball team."

The Rattlers hit 7 of 15 3-point shots in the first half, but missed all 11 long-range shots in the second half. Florida A&M also struggled from the line, hitting 12 of 25 attempts.

"Our team shot poorly from the line, and we gave up a lot of 3s," said Rattler coach Clemon Johnson. "A major takeaway from this game is that we know that we have the effort and the knowledge that is required to play at a high level. I told my players that if we continue to play like this that the MEAC championship will have to come through Florida A&M this year."

The first half was a shooting clinic as both teams hit well from beyond the 3-point line. The Bulldogs made 7 of 11 from long range.

Florida A&M's problem, however, was that it had trouble shooting inside the arc. The Rattlers made 7 of 19 from inside the line, and five of those 2-pointers came in the last 4 minutes of the half.

Georgia's Caldwell-Pope entered the game as the leading scorer in the Southeastern Conference, averaging 18.1 points per game, but he was scoreless until he converted a breakaway opportunity with a slam dunk with 5:25 to go in the half.

Georgia scored the first eight points of the game. Back-to-back 3s by Florida A&M's Jamari Bradshaw closed the deficit to 17-15 with 11:27 to go in the half. But a 15-0 run by the Bulldogs pushed Georgia to a 42-24 lead, capped by Djurisic's 3-pointer with 4:06 to go before halftime.

Georgia led 49-36 at intermission.

The Bulldogs started slowly in the second half, scoring just one field goal in the first 7 minutes.

"In the first half we had a lot of intensity," said Caldwell-Pope. "In the second half we gave up a lot of easy baskets."

The Rattlers got within six at 53-47 when Onyekachukwu Odi hit a pair of free throws with 12:53 to play.

Georgia responded with three baskets in the paint, a dunk by Williams, a follow by Caldwell-Pope and a layup by Williams to stretch the lead to 59-47.

"We are getting better as a team," said Fox. "You didn't see it in the second half. But we are getting better in spite of ourselves. We have made some progress."


Georgia Tech gets revenge, stomps Fordham

ATLANTA — One of the low points of Georgia Tech’s 11-20 season a year ago was a loss at Fordham. The improved Yellow Jackets got their payback Saturday night.

Daniel Miller and Robert Carter Jr. each scored 14 points and Georgia Tech scored 17 straight points in the second half en route to a 73-48 victory over Fordham on Saturday night.

“We lost to Fordham last year and it was a bad game,” Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said. “I kind of let the guys remember that for the last three or four days.”

The victory was the fifth straight for the Yellow Jackets (9-2) and improved their record at new McCamish Pavilion to 7-0. They lost to Fordham 72-66 last Dec. 29 in New York.

“They are a much better defensive team then they were last year,” Fordham coach Tom Pecora said. “I think Georgia Tech is moving in the right direction. . They were much more aggressive.”

Miller, just missing a double-double, had nine rebounds. The 6-foot-11 junior also blocked two shots.

“After the game, I congratulated Daniel Miller,” Pecora said. “He’s become a really good player. . I think he has a bright future.”

“Probably just being more aggressive,” Miller said of his improvement. “Just getting the confidence to go up strong to the bucket.”

Miller even threw in a first-half skyhook.

“He’s been working on it and he unleashed it,” Gregory said of the shot.

Georgia Tech shot 55.5 percent in the second half (16 of 29) and 50 percent for the game (29 of 58) despite a slow start.

The Yellow Jackets committed just eight turnovers and had 20 assists — seven by Mfon Udofia.

Branden Frazier scored 17 points and Chris Gaston had 16 for Fordham (3-10), which shot 28.1 percent (16 of 57) and was 4 for 19 from beyond the 3-point arc. Last season, Gaston had 23 points and 17 rebounds against Georgia Tech and Frazier contributed 19 points and six assists.

Gaston scored Fordham’s first eight points of the second half Saturday, but Georgia Tech went on a 21-2 run to turn a 41-35 lead into a 62-37 advantage with 8:15 left.

The last 17 points came in a row, with seven players scoring. The Yellow Jackets used all 14 players and got points from 12.

Frazier’s three straight 3-pointers gave Fordham a 14-13 lead with 8:09 remaining in the first half. But Georgia Tech quickly got the lead back on a basket by Carter and the Yellow Jackets’ advantage was 35-25 at halftime.

Jason Morris, who had missed the previous two games because of plantar fasciitis, hit two of the Yellow Jackets’ three 3-pointers late in the half after Georgia Tech had started 0 for 6 from behind the arc.

Morris, who had nine points, was 3 for 3 from behind the arc for the game.

“In practice I just tested (my foot), trying to play more normal and not even worry about pain,” Morris said.

Carter and Miller each had eight points in the first half. Georgia Tech started the game 4 for 15 from the floor, but closed the first half making 9 of 14 shots.

Frazier, the Rams’ leading scorer at 16.8 points per game, had 10 at the break, but the Rams shot just 28.6 percent (8 of 28). Gaston, who entered averaging 14.3 points, made just 1 of 8 shots and had four points.

Georgia Tech hosts Chattanooga on Wednesday in its final nonconference game before beginning Atlantic Coast Conference play next Saturday at home against Miami.

The Yellow Jackets’ two losses came at No. 12 Illinois and against California in the DirecTV Classic in Anaheim, Calif.

Fordham, which had won two of its previous three games, plays Monmouth at home on Monday in a nonconference game.


Shannon leads FSU past Tulsa, fourth straight win

SUNRISE, Fla. — For a holiday vacation this year, Florida State junior Terrance Shannon gave himself a workout.

Feeling fitter, Shannon scored a career-high 16 points off the bench Saturday to help beat Tulsa 82-63 in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.

"When I went home over the break, I spent more time running and getting in better condition," the Georgia native said. "In the second half of the season, we have to step it up, and I want to be that driving force."

Florida State (8-4) extended its winning streak to four in a row and remained unbeaten in four games against Tulsa (7-6).

"We're trying to finish strong in our non-conference schedule and get some momentum going into ACC play," Shannon said. "These games are helping us know where we need to build."

Michael Snaer scored 19 points and was chosen the game's most valuable player, but it was Shannon who kept the Seminoles in the game early.

The 6-foot-8, 240-pound Shannon was active inside. He led both teams with 10 rebounds and shot 6 for 11 in 26 minutes.

"I feel the more energy I come out with, the better the team is as a whole," he said. "I just have to be more aggressive and energized on the court."

Tulsa's Scott Haralson scored 17 points, all in the second half. Junior teammate Pat Swilling Jr. had a career-high 19 points and five assists, but he scored only two points in the second half.

"They were giving Pat jump shots, and Pat is a good shooter," Hurricane coach Danny Manning said. "He catches the ball in rhythm. He was knocking them down in the first half. Scottie got it going in the second half."

But the Hurricane's leading scorer this season, James Woodard, went 2 for 10 and scored only eight points.

Tulsa couldn't avert a blowout despite shooting 11 for 24 from 3-point range. The Hurricane made only 11 of 32 two-pointers (34 percent), committed 17 turnovers and were outrebounded 44-32.

Florida State missed shots on its first six possessions. The Seminoles began getting to the rim consistently in the second half, when they shot 57 percent, and they finished at 47 percent.

"We were just playing aggressive defensive and getting layups and dunks," Snaer said. "We were just executing our stuff and reversed the ball a little bit more. We did a great job on that."

An 18-5 spurt put Florida State ahead 64-49 midway through the second half. Tulsa rushed several shots during the run and scored twice in 13 possessions.

"I thought we were extremely impatient in the first part of the game," Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We took our shots too quick. We didn't give ourselves a chance to get the best shot. In the second we were a bit more patient. We got some stops and easy baskets."

The Seminoles trailed by as much as five points in the first half, but Shannon helped them overcome the slow start and had nine points by halftime.

The Hurricane committed turnovers on five of their first six possessions. Swilling sank a 3-pointer to get them on the scoreboard, and he made a pair of 3s during an 11-2 run that gave Tulsa a 21-16 lead.

Devon Bookert's buzzer-beater put the Seminoles ahead at halftime, 36-33. Haralson hit consecutive 3-pointers early in the second half to give the Hurricanes their final lead, 41-40, before the Seminoles' defense clamped down.

"They did a better job of jumping to the ball," Swilling said. "In the first half we were getting to the lane, penetrating and kicking. That gave us a lot of open shots. But they tightened up."

The Hurricane rallied from 17 points down to beat Oral Roberts in their last game, but there was no comeback this time.


Turnovers do in Auburn in 81-79 loss to Illinois

CHICAGO — It wasn't hard to pinpoint why Auburn lost to No. 12 Illinois on Saturday. Twenty turnovers will do the trick.

While the Tigers kept coughing it up, Tracy Abrams scored 27 points to lead the Illini to an 81-79 victory.

Auburn coach Tony Barbee was not happy.

"We just have to take care of the basketball, it's plain and simple," he said. "Illinois didn't press us one possession and we ended up with 20 (turnovers). If you watch them play, they're active with their hands, they get their hands on a lot of balls, but you can't be as careless as we were with the ball tonight. We have to address that before we get into (Southeastern Conference play)."

The Illini (13-1) saw an 11-point lead shrink to one in the closing minutes but they prevailed after falling to Missouri in the Braggin' Rights game a week earlier — their first loss under coach John Groce. Their next game is the Big 10 opener at Purdue on Wednesday.

Things got tense when Frankie Sullivan buried a 3 for Auburn (5-7) to make it 68-67 with 4:29 remaining. Illinois then hit 13 of 18 free throws the rest of the way for a rare win at the United Center, where they had dropped three straight and five of six after winning 18 in a row.

They can thank Abrams.

The sophomore guard came up big on a day when their star player Brandon Paul was off target, going 6 of 11 from the field and 13 of 15 from the free throw line while eclipsing his previous high by five points.

Paul, meanwhile, finished with 13 points but hit just 3 of 12 shots. He missed all five 3-point attempts and the Illini again struggled from the outside, going 4 of 15 after hitting 8 of 32 against Missouri.

Even so, they head into conference play on a winning note.

"We going to stay level," Abrams said. "We're going to try to execute our game plan."

Sullivan led Auburn with 21 points. Rob Chubb scored 13, and Allen Payne chipped in with 10 points and 10 rebounds. But there was the 20 turnovers — six by Chris Denson and five by Sullivan.

Barbee called that "just inexcusable," and Sullivan wasn't about to argue.

"We were just being lazy with the ball, not executing," Sullivan said. "It was more us (making mental mistakes), because they weren't really pressuring us."

Josh Wallace hit a 3-pointer at the final buzzer for Auburn to make it a two-point game, but by then, the Illini had sealed the win.

Both teams hit 16 of 30 shots in the first half, but Illinois took a 47-42 lead with Abrams scoring 16 points. He hit two free throws with 4 minutes left in the half to break a 39-39 tie and start a 14-5 run that stretched into the second half.

The only points for Auburn during that stretch came on a three-point play by Wallace with 2:22 remaining before halftime and two free throws by Chubb with 17:15 left in the game before D.J. Richardson hit two of his own for Illinois, making it 53-44.

The Tigers went more than 7 minutes without a field goal before Sullivan's layup with 15 minutes remaining. But Paul answered with a wild one of his own, flipping the ball over his shoulder and into the basket as he slipped near the baseline.

That was one of the highlight reel plays in a game that Groce said was the "grindiest 80-point game I've been involved in."

Now, the real grind is beginning.

Groce, an assistant at Ohio State before taking the head coaching job at Ohio University, knows what to expect.

"Home, road, all of them are fistfights," he said. "It's a great league. Toughness is really, really important. Execution is really important and then players making plays is important."


No. 1 Stanford women embarrassed at home by No. 2 UConn, sees NCAA win streak snapped

STANFORD, Calif. — Geno Auriemma insists long winning streaks do little to get him amped up, even after he traveled his Connecticut team across the country to face top-ranked Stanford and its daunting 82-game unbeaten run at Maples Pavilion.

The Huskies sure got a thrill from leaving with an unexpected rout and silencing a typically raucous crowd — and likely stealing away the No. 1 spot in the polls along with it.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and second-ranked UConn played spoiler and streak-buster this time, snapping Stanford’s nation-leading home winning streak with a surprisingly easy 61-35 victory Saturday.

It was the Huskies who saw the end of their NCAA record 90-game winning streak at Maples Pavilion with a 71-59 loss two years ago, almost to the day on Dec. 30.

“The last time we were here it was a big event for them and they treated it like it was a big event, and God bless them,” Auriemma said. “But for us to win a game here in late December, it’s no more than just a big game against a really good team. The other stuff, I didn’t get all that excited about us winning 90, I’m not going to get that excited about us beating somebody who’s won 82 in a row at home.”

Mosqueda-Lewis scored 19 points as UConn (11-0) thoroughly outplayed Stanford (11-1) on both ends of the floor in this highly touted game featuring the country’s top programs and Final Four regulars from opposite coasts.

Stanford got harassed right off the home floor that it ruled with perfection and dominant play for nearly six years — and the Huskies surely took the Cardinal’s No. 1 spot along with it.

The game was the 51st meeting between the top two teams in the poll. The No. 1 seed had won the previous nine matchups and holds a 31-20 lead.

Chiney Ogwumike had 18 points and 13 rebounds but struggled in the post as Stanford lost at home for the first time since March 2007.

“It was a bad day. Whatever we were trying to do, we really struggled with it,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “Connecticut came in here on a mission. Mission accomplished.”

Stefanie Dolson had 10 points and 14 rebounds and flustered Ogwumike all afternoon, and Bria Hartley and Kelly Faris also scored 10 apiece for UConn.

Breanna Stewart scored seven straight points during a decisive 17-2 run in the first half as UConn built a 22-7 lead against the cold-shooting Cardinal and kept the pressure on the rest of the way.

Stanford trailed 31-13 at halftime in one of its worst 20 minutes in recent memory — though the school had no record of when the Cardinal were last held to that few points in a half.

They had gone five full seasons with an unbeaten record on their home floor.

Mosqueda-Lewis, last season’s Big East top freshman averaging 16.4 points and 5.0 rebounds, shot 7 for 13 as Connecticut shot 37.5 percent from the floor — and that was plenty good enough against a Stanford team that wound up at a dismal 19.3 percent (11 for 57) in its lowest single-game shooting performance and fewest field goals made.

“I love the game, I think it’s a great game for both teams, but for our game two years ago it was a national event — I don’t think tonight was a national event,” Auriemma said. “We beat a really good Stanford team on their home court and they happened to have won a lot of games at home.”

Stanford had four early possessions over the opening 4 1/2 minutes in which it faced a dwindling shot clock.

This wasn’t the Cardinal’s worst home loss ever — that was a 96-51 defeat to Long Beach State on March 10, 1983 — though UConn sure made it feel like it for an afternoon to silence a typically animated crowd.

Auriemma was booed by the crowd during pregame introductions, then again when the coach was whistled for a technical foul with his team ahead 19 points with 13:22 remaining.

UConn, which had trailed for only 48 seconds all season coming into the game and now just 2:21 in all, won for the first time at Stanford in four tries.

Ogwumike, Stanford’s leading scorer and rebounder averaging 21.8 points and 12.8 boards, was held to 6-for-22 shooting.

“I don’t think I’ve experienced anything like this,” Ogwumike said. “That Connecticut team we played for 40 minutes is the standard. And the great thing is now we’ve experienced the standard.”

UConn’s 6-foot-5 Dolson made things tough all day for Ogwumike — who stands 6-4 — and gave her problems with a size advantage to deny Stanford’s top player and keep her away from the basket. That led to some forced shots in the first half, when Ogwumike missed 8 of her first 9 attempts. She scored at the 7:25 mark of the first half to end a nearly 6-minute scoring drought since her previous basket on a putback at 13:19.

Stanford then went 4:58 without scoring before Ogwumike’s three-point play 2:27 before halftime.

“Stefanie was going to guard Chiney until she proved that she couldn’t,” Auriemma said.

Dolson was whistled for her third foul with 17:42 left in the game, but Mikaela Ruef missed both free throws.

Walking off the court after this one “was complete opposite,” Dolson said.

“Two years ago we lost and it ended our streak. It was just a horrible loss,” she recalled.

Bonnie Samuelson’s back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the second half, the Cardinal’s first from behind the arc, gave them some life. But it was short-lived as the Huskies pulled away.

Stanford’s 82-game home winning streak dated to a 68-61 loss to Florida State in the second round of the NCAA tournament on March 19, 2007.

This season’s Cardinal stunned defending NCAA champion and then-top-ranked Baylor and Brittney Griner on Nov. 16 to become the nation’s No. 1 team and avenge a loss in last spring’s NCAA semifinals.

The Cardinal hardly looked like the best team Saturday against the dominant Huskies. They were held below 40 points for the first time since a 72-32 loss to Missouri on Jan. 2, 1984.

Stanford missed its initial 10 3-point tries and began the game 3 for 22 to fall behind 22-7, with UConn getting three quick 3s.

Ogwumike’s big sister, Nnemkadi — the 2012 No. 1 overall WNBA draft pick of the Los Angeles Sparks — attended the game, along with other former Stanford players Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and Lindy La Rocque.

Stanford senior Joslyn Tinkle, the team’s second-leading scorer, managed only two points while playing on her 22nd birthday.