The NCAA Top 10 provided hoops fans with some thrilling contests this week as there were two upsets, two near upsets and two huge blocked shots that prevented one and saved one. No. 7 Missouri and No. 8 Cincinnati were the latest Top 10 teams to be upset and the Bearcats’ loss leaves only Duke, Michigan, Arizona and Wyoming as unbeaten teams in Division I.
Duke (1) – Santa Clara, 90:77
No. 1 Duke hosted unranked Santa Clara on Saturday in their first contest in nine days. The Broncos gave the Blue Devils a run for their money sticking tight with the top-ranked club in the US into the second half, even holding on to a 41:45 advantage with 16:30 left in the contest. Unfortunately, that’s when the lid was put on the hoop and they could only manage one field goal over the next 8:30. Duke took advantage of the cold spell and put up a 26:5 run to sit with a 67:50 lead with 8 minutes to play, a margin that Santa Clara had no chance of making up. The hosts got 31 points from Seth Curry and 22 from Mason Plumlee. Santa Clara was led by Kevin Foster’s 29. The win improves Duke to 12-0 and drops SC to 11-2.
Arizona (3) – San Diego State University (17), 68:67
No. 3 Arizona needed a blocked layup with three seconds to play to earn their 13th win on the season and capture the Diamond Head Classic on Christmas Day with a 68:67 win over No. 17 San Diego State. Arizona built a 29:27 margin at the half and held a one point margin as the Aztecs set up for a last shot. As the play unfolded with Chase Tapley curling off two picks and ending up with a wide-open path down the left side of the lane for a potential game-winner, Arizona’s Nick Johnson timed his jump perfectly and knocked Tapley’s lay-up away as the horn sounded to end the contest. “He made one hell of a play,” Tapley said. “I just have to tip my hat off to him. I didn’t even know he was around. He just came out of nowhere. I’m thinking the game is over. The next thing you know, the ball is going off the backboard.” The loss gives SDSU an 11-2 record on the season.
Louisville (4) – Kentucky, 80:77
Louisville improved to 12-1 on the season with a hard fought 80:77 win over in-state rival Kentucky, who drops to 8-4. Louisville had put together a 51:34 advantage, but let the Wildcats outscore them 14:28 to let Kentucky back into the game with a 65:62 score. The teams exchanged baskets, but the difference was Kentucky’s awful day at the free throw line, shooting a dismal 11 of 23, with many of the misses coming late in the contest. Louisville got 21 from Russ Smith and 20 from Chane Behanan, while Archie Goodwin led Kentucky with 22.
UCLA – Missouri (7), 97:94
The Bruins of UCLA hosted Missouri in front of 11,854 friendlies at Pauley Pavillion and took the No. 7 ranked squad in the country to overtime, coming out with an upset win, 97:94. The two clubs fought to a 47-all tie at the half and both scored 41 in the second half to end regulation knotted at 88, sending the contest into the extra frame. Freshman Shabazz Muhammad dropped in a three-ball with a minute left to give the hosts the lead for good and a five-game win streak. The victory bumps UCLA’s record to 10-3 and drops Missouri to 10-2 on the year.
Cincinnati (8) – New Mexico, 54:55
The New Mexico Lobos headed to the Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati to take on the No. 8 Bearcats and came out with the week’s second upset of a Top 10 squad. Cincinnati built a 26:22 margin at the half and had a shot at a game winner with the last possession of the game with 4.5 seconds to play and the ball out of bounds under their basket. Cincinnati’s Sean Kilpatrick got the ball in off the inbounds play, got it kicked back right away and took the shot. New Mexico’s 7-foot center, Alex Kirk got one of his big paws in the way and swatted Kilpatrick’s jumper away to preserve the Lobos’ sixth win in their last seven games against ranked opponents. Kendall Williams dropped in 16 and Kirk added 15 for New Mexico. Kilpatrick scored 15 for Cincinnati.
Other Top 10 Scores:
Michigan (2) – Central Michigan, 88:73
Indiana (5) – Jacksonville, 93:59
Kansas (6) – American, 89:57
Syracuse (9) – Alcorn, 57:36
Ohio State (10) – Chicago St., 87:44