Archive for Monday, March 3, 2008

Top 25 Roundup: Tennessee holds off Kentucky

Michigan State thumps 12th-ranked Indiana

March 3, 2008

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Tennessee's Chris Lofton, left, shoots over Kentucky's Derrick Jasper during the first half. UT won, 63-60, on Sunday in Knoxville, Tenn.

Tennessee's Chris Lofton, left, shoots over Kentucky's Derrick Jasper during the first half. UT won, 63-60, on Sunday in Knoxville, Tenn.

— Chris Lofton scored 14 points, including a jump shot with 1:15 left, and top-ranked Tennessee beat Kentucky, 63-60, on Sunday to stay atop the Southeastern Conference.

Tennessee lost to No. 18 Vanderbilt on Tuesday, three days after beating then-No. 1 Memphis to take over the top spot in the poll for the first time in school history.

The Vols squandered a big early lead in this one, then hung on to avoid consecutive losses for the first time this season.

Derrick Jasper hit a three-pointer to cut the Vols' lead to 63-60, but Jasper and Joe Crawford both missed three-point shots in the final 20 seconds that would have sent the game to overtime.

Tennessee (26-3, 12-2) held a 34-27 halftime advantage after leading the entire first half, but Kentucky (16-11, 10-4) tied it at 41 when Ramon Harris hit a jumper while being fouled by Duke Crews.

No. 4 UCLA 68, Arizona 66

Tucson, Ariz. - Kevin Love had 24 points and 15 rebounds, and UCLA hung on to beat Arizona, the Bruins' seventh straight win over the Wildcats.

The Bruins led by six points with 90 seconds to go, but had to withstand a last-second shot by Jerryd Bayless, which came up short.

UCLA (26-3, 14-2 Pac-10), remained one game ahead of No. 8 Stanford in the Pac-10 race. The two play Thursday.

Chase Budinger had 24 points for Arizona (17-12, 7-9), which has lost six of seven and is in danger of snapping its 23-year streak of NCAA Tournament appearances.

No. 19 Michigan State 103, No. 12 Indiana 74

East Lansing, Mich. - Raymar Morgan scored 12 of his 20 points early to help Michigan State build a big lead and beat Indiana, allowing the Spartans to finish undefeated at home and hand Dan Dakich his first loss as interim coach.

Michigan State (23-6, 11-5 Big Ten) led 59-31 at halftime after making 78 percent of its shots, including nine three-pointers.

Eric Gordon scored 22, and D.J. White had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Hoosiers (24-5, 13-3) who had a chance to pull into a three-way tie with Big Ten leaders Wisconsin and Purdue.

Indiana won its first two games with Dakich in charge following Kelvin Sampson's resignation amid NCAA allegations of major rule infractions.

No. 13 Louisville 68, Villanova 54

Louisville, Ky. - Juan Palacios scored 13 points in his final game at Freedom Hall to lead Louisville to a win over Villanova, setting up a showdown with No. 11 Georgetown next weekend for the Big East title.

Jerry Smith added 10 points and 10 rebounds to lead a balanced offense by the Cardinals (24-6, 14-3 Big East), who won their ninth straight and remained tied with the Hoyas for first place in the Big East.

The two teams meet Saturday in Washington, D.C. Louisville beat the Hoyas, 59-51, on Feb. 9.

Malcolm Grant led the Wildcats (17-11, 7-9 Big East) with 11 points, but Villanova shot just 40 percent from the field and turned the ball over 14 times in losing their second straight, damaging their hopes for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

No. 17 Notre Dame 98, DePaul 91

Rosemont, Ill. - Luke Harangody scored 24 points, Rob Kurz added 21, and Notre Dame hung on to beat DePaul to clinch a first-round bye in the upcoming Big East tournament.

The Fighting Irish (22-6, 12-4) shook off a 90-85 loss at Louisville on Thursday that all but dashed their Big East title hopes, building a 47-31 halftime lead and starting the second with a 13-2 run that made it 60-32.

Then, things got interesting.

DePaul (10-18, 5-11) pulled within seven late in the game, and leading the way was freshman Dar Tucker, who scored a career-high 28 points.

The game was the first of three this week against teams near the bottom of the conference, with a home matchup against St. John's and a trip to South Florida closing out the regular season.

With a favorable schedule, Notre Dame has a chance to build some momentum and boost its NCAA seeding.

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