Virginia faced the difficult task of playing two ranked teams while mourning the tragedy that rocked the Cavaliers and the rest of their campus.
Playing a week after three football players were shot on the bus, Virginia won the Continental Tire Las Vegas Main Event over No. 16 Illinois after defeating No. 7 Baylor. The wins propelled the Cavaliers from No. 16 to No. 5 in the Associated Press Top 25 released Monday.
“At the moment it’s great, but now we know what really matters,” said Virginia coach Tony Bennett. “When you have such an instant holiday, it allows you to enjoy it, and it seems important, but in general it is not.”
A series of big games in the second full week of the college basketball season caused a stir in the AP top 25.
North Carolina remained at the top of the poll, receiving 47 first-place votes from a media group of 63. Houston moved up to 2nd place and received nine first place votes. Kansas No. 3 got one first place, No. 4 Texas got five and Virginia one.
The Cavaliers (4-0) made their biggest jump in a week, rising to their highest ranking since finishing 4th in the 2020-21 season.
Virginia decided to cancel a game against Northern Iowa last week after Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry were fatally injured after a field trip to Washington.
The Cavaliers wore sweatshirts in honor of the victims during warm-ups before the Baylor game and pulled out in the second half with an 86–79 win. The Cavaliers used another run in the second half to beat Illinois 70–61 for the therapy title to take with them to Charlottesville.
“For the community, I felt like they needed it,” said Virginia defenseman and tournament MVP Reece Beekman.
Michigan State has been out of the AP preseason poll for consecutive seasons for the first time since 1996-97 after losing the top three scorers a year ago.
Due to a tough early schedule, it took some time for the Spartans to establish themselves. Tom Izzo makes them move at an accelerated pace. Michigan State lost to Carrier Gonzaga by one, eliminated Kentucky in double overtime, and survived a late comeback attempt to defeat Villanova.
A solid performance over a tough stretch of the road put Michigan in 12th place in this week’s poll.
“That’s all we thought about,” Michigan State Guard A. J. Hoggard said. “This is what we signed up for, this is what we wanted.”
Houston opened the season in 3rd place, their highest preseason ranking since 1983. The Cougars hit yet another high since Phi Slama Jama, climbing to #2 this week.
Houston opened the season with four straight breakouts and made a statement in its first big test of the season, winning 66-56 in Oregon on Sunday night.
The Cougars hold teams with 46 points per game and have four players averaging double figures, led by preseason All-American Markus Sasser, who scored 16.8 points per game.
Virginia had its biggest jump of the week in the poll, followed by Texas at number four, up seven points after Gonzaga’s rough treatment.
15th at Kentucky and 19th at UCLA lost 11 spots. The Wildcats lost to Michigan State and followed up with a 16-point win over South Carolina State to Gonzaga. The Bruins lost to Illinois and Baylor in Las Vegas.
No. 23 Maryland is in first place this season after three wins last week, including an 88-70 win over Miami to win a Basketball Hall of Fame tip.
Purdue will debut in the AP Top 25 this season at No. 24 after beating Marquette 75-70.
Iowa’s No. 25 also ranked for the first time in 2022-23 after a 16-point win over Seton Hall.
LAHINA, Hawaii. Creighton’s free offense was uncharacteristically intermittent and sloppy during the first 20 minutes of play against Texas Tech.
After that, the 10th-seeded Bluejays looked just as they had before, taking a quick lead in the second half to go 76–65 over the No. 21 Red Raiders in the first game of the Maui Invitational on Monday.
“For the first time on the road with this team, they may have been excited and excited,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “We were definitely not ourselves at the beginning of that game. I think we had as many losses in the first 20 possessions as we did in four games. So once we settled in, I thought we were fine.”
The Bluejays (5-0) had a season-high 13 passes, all in the first half, and then began to roll.
Arthur Caluma scored 18 points to lead all five Creighton starters by double figures. Trey Alexander scored 13 of his 17 points at half-time and Ryan Nembhard finished with 16. Baylor Scheierman had 11 points and 12 rebounds. Big man Ryan Kalkbrenner, who sprained his ankle at the end of the first half and aggravated the situation at the end of the second, scored 10 points.
“Thank God Kalkbrenner was strong enough to play with a pretty good ankle sprain,” McDermott said, “because his presence at the rim and on the glass is so important to us.”
Daniel Batcho scored a Red Raiders-record 17 points (3–1), who were seven points early in the lead, while Creighton struggled to adjust to his trademark “right to the face” defense.
“You can cook whatever you want,” McDermott said, “but it’s so hard to mimic the physical defenses and quickness of their movements.”
Creighton beat Texas Tech 23–12 coming out of the half to open the game with a score of 31.
“The biggest difference was in the first four minutes,” said Texas Tech coach Mark Adams. “They came out and just punched us in the mouth and I thought that was the difference. They came out with a very aggressive mindset at both ends of the court. It set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Oleksandr took a cross from the post from Sheyerman and hit a three-pointer from the flank to start the second half. After Kaluma blocked the shot, Alexander made a pass to Nembhard. A minute later, Nembhard hit with a left hand from the right side of the basket, and Alexander followed up with a three-pointer.
Nembhard’s three-pointer from the dribble gave the Bluejays their first double-digit lead, and Caluma scored seven straight points for Creighton to make it 64–50 with seven minutes left in the game.
Pop Isaacs scored 13 points, De’Vion Harmon scored 12, and Kevin Obanor added 10 points for Texas Tech.
The Bluejays passed the ball five times in their first six possessions to help the Texas Tech go up. They found some rhythm during a 13-2 series that put them ahead, but another string of losses kept them from developing it.
“In the second half, we didn’t really get into the game,” Adams said. “But it’s all about their great shooting and shot selection.”
THE BIG PICTURE
Texas Institute of Technology: The Red Raiders averaged 52.7 points in their first three games, but were only 45 points behind Creighton in the second half. The game showed that Tech lacks the offensive firepower to take on elite opponents if the defense isn’t up to par.
Creighton: The Bluejays showed how good they can be in the second half. Of concern is Kalkbrenner’s left ankle. He is one of the best big men in the country and needs to be healthy for the Bluejays to have a chance to reach their lofty goals.
Texas Tech University plays Tuesday against Louisville, who lost 80-54 to No. 9 Arkansas.
Creighton plays Tuesday against No. 9 of Arkansas, Louisville’s 80-54 winner.
ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands – Jayden Zachary scored 16 points as Boston College finished third at Paradise Jam, defeating Wyoming 59-48 on Monday night.
Devin McGlockton and Mackay Ashton-Langford each added 12 points to the Eagles (4-2).
Boston College held Wyoming by two points in a key six-minute stretch of the second half, turning a one-point lead into a 46–37 lead. McGlockton converted a 3-pointer and made a 7-0 layoff in the series to give the Eagles a 55–39 lead with 3:35 left.
Wyoming (3-3), which had an 11-point lead over Ethan Anderson, finished in fifth place.
Wyoming only led once in the first half – 10-9 – and endured four-minute and three-minute zero droughts. Boston College led 26-21 at halftime.
Wyoming scored the first six points in the second half to take a 27-26 lead. The last time the Cowboys had a 35–34 lead was when Hunter Thompson hit a jumper with 13:28 left.
Although both teams shot better than 40% overall, Wyoming only shot 5 of 18 3-pointers (27.8%) and Boston College only 3 of 13 (23.1%).
Durham, North Carolina. Again and again, Duke No. 8 went outside at the Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Kyle Filipowski scored 18 points to lead Duke in scoring for the fourth time this season in a hard-earned 74-57 win over Bellarmine on Monday night.
More than half of Duke’s points came from three-pointers.
“We do a lot of those shots here in Cameron,” security guard Jeremy Roach said. “I think this is normal. We knew that their protection would hide the paint, so we wanted to be ready to fire.”
The Blue Devils (4-1) had five players with at least two 3-pointers in a 14-of-35 team game from 3-point.
Jacob Grandison scored 16 points off the bench on 4-of-6 shooting and Roach scored 10 points for the Blue Devils. Filipovski hit 3 of 5 3s.
“When you hit the right shots, they hit the target,” Duke coach John Scheier said. “We had great quality in choosing the shots.”
Duke’s three-point shot didn’t surprise Bellarmine coach Scott Davenport, who said the Blue Devils’ 15-2 lead in second chance was no less worrisome.
“You choose your poison,” he said. “Give them credit, they fired.”
Kurt Hopf and Juston Betz both scored 11 points for Bellarmine (2-3), which was within 12 points with eight minutes left in the game.
“We have moved forward in the last two hours,” Davenport said. “My perspective (is) the moment we started shooting before the game until the horn blew…