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Cryer scores 28, lifts No. 5 Baylor past No. 8 UCLA 80-75 Bolton’s 24 points lead No. 2 Gonzaga over No. 4 Kentucky Boston rallies No. 1 South Carolina past No. 2 Stanford Dickinson, No. 20 Michigan shuck Ohio’s late shot, win in OT Sasser, Arceneaux lead No. 3 Houston over Oregon 66-56 Jim Boeheim gets 1,000th win as Syracuse tops Northeastern

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LAS VEGAS — LJ Cryer scored a career-high 28 points in a potential preview in March to lead No. 5 Baylor to an 80-75 victory over eighth-seeded UCLA in Sunday’s Continental Main Event repechage game tire.

Top 10 teams know what it’s like to play in the NCAA Tournament. Baylor won the national championship two seasons ago, and UCLA advanced to the Final Four that same year.

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This game was tight after a season with 13 lead changes until the Bears (4-1) took a 61-53 lead for good by 11 points midway through the second half. UCLA (3-2) stayed within range but didn’t catch Baylor.

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Cryer helped make sure of this, as did Adam Flagler, who scored 22 points.

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Up by just one point, Cryer hit a 3-pointer with 2:50 left. Flagler made two jumps in the last minute, the last one with 18 seconds left, but finished it 76-71. Each player made two free throws in the last eight seconds.

Cryer, who hit 4 of 8 3-pointers, also bet on hitting the basket, registering his seventh career 20-point game and second this season.

“I tried to mix it up better, not be one-dimensional and just catch and throw threes,” Cryer said. “Our percentages were clearly better when we got to the paint, so I was just trying to make my way there.”

It was a strong showing on Friday as Baylor lost 86-79 to No. 16 Virginia, who won the championship on Sunday.

“We’re really doing something special at the start of the year,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “I’m just really proud of our guys and how hard they competed and I think we’ve adjusted and done a lot better. I thought there was a period (against Virginia) when we didn’t play as hard as we could. To win this level you have to do it for 40 (minutes) and we did it tonight.”

UCLA won 0 out of 2 in Las Vegas; The Bruins lost to No. 19 Illinois 79–70 on the first day of the tournament.

Jaylen Clark led the Bruins on Sunday with 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting and 10 rebounds. Jaime Jacques Jr scored 15 points and Tiger Campbell 12.

“If you get 75 points, you should win,” said UCLA coach Mick Cronin. “We just don’t defend ourselves. It’s a long season. Who you are now has nothing to do with who you will be in March. I know all these games are important to the seed, but we’re going to find out what we’re made of.”


Baylor, who won the tournament two years ago, improved his record to 6-2 in Las Vegas. UCLA lost three times in a row at the T-Mobile Arena, including last year’s Pac-12 Conference championship. The Bruins will return to the arena for the conference in March and possibly again when the NCAA Tournament West Regional is played here. They better hope they don’t run into Baylor again. The Bears have won 10 of their last 11 games against the Pac-12s, including six in a row.


Cronin criticized the UCLA defense, which was 79 points behind Illinois and 80 against Baylor, two teams that could do well in the NCAA Tournament. If the Bruins tighten up their defense, they won’t have much of a chance to do so against ranked teams. They play No. 4 in Kentucky on December 17 and face the Pac-12 conference rival Arizona twice, once in February and again in March.

Baylor won despite losing on the 42–20 track. The Bears likely won’t win many games by giving up such an advantage, and they made up for some when Cryer started to shoot on goal. No other opponent came close to such success against the Bears, so this was most likely an isolated case. But also don’t be surprised if other teams try to see if they can replicate UCLA’s success inside.


Both teams returned to home games on Wednesday. UCLA takes on Pepperdine 4-1 and Baylor plays State McNeese 2-3.

SPOKAN, Washington. Gonzaga coach Mark Few wasn’t sure how the #2 Bulldogs would play against #4 Kentucky after losing to #11 Texas earlier in the week.

He didn’t have to worry.

Rasir Bolton scored 24 points, Drew Timm added 22, and Gonzaga beat Kentucky 88-72 on Sunday night at the off-campus Spokane Arena.

Julian Strouter had 20 points and 14 rebounds for Gonzaga, his biggest loss since 2014 in a 93–74 loss to the Longhorns on Wednesday.

“You were hoping that this is how your team would react to a disappointing defeat,” Feu said. “He was very, very big.”

Anton Watson scored 10 points and 10 rebounds and spent the evening guarding current player of the year Oscar Chibwe, who had foul problems for much of the game.

“Anton was phenomenal today,” Feu said. “He was impressive.”

Chiebwe still finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds for Kentucky (3–2), who shot just 39% in the game compared to Gonzaga’s 56%.

Gonzaga (3-1) dominated the first half. The Bulldogs led 25–15 with less than eight minutes left in Game 1, holding the Wildcats to 4 of 22 shots. But Gonzaga threw eight turnovers to help Kentucky stay in the game.

Gonzaga went 14–3 ahead, extending his stock to 41–25 at half-time. Chibwe had 14 points in the first half and became the leader of all scorers.

“I didn’t activate like I should,” Chibwe said. “I have to get better.”

Kentucky coach John Calipari cited his team’s 25% shooting percentage in the first half as a key moment.

“We can’t miss every open shot,” Calipari said. “It was so awkward in the first half that we couldn’t play.”

Jacob Toppin of Kentucky said the team “fell into a hole they couldn’t get out of.” But the Wildcats found their attack in the second half, going 14–6 to cut Gonzaga’s lead to 47–39. Then Cason Wallace of Kentucky and Antonio Reeves hit back-to-back 3-pointers.

But Chibwe quickly called his fourth foul and sat down with 13 minutes left in the game. Timme scored seven points and Gonzaga led 65–55 by the time Chiebwe returned to the lineup.

Bolton converted four free throws and a three-pointer to give Gonzaga an 84–69 lead with 1:20 left in the game.

Calipari refused to play the game at Gonzaga’s home arena, McCarthy’s intimate sports centre. Spokane Arena has twice the capacity, about 12,000 seats, and it was packed. Gonzaga has a 12-6 record at the arena, last playing there in 2014.


The game attracted 12,333 fans, the largest crowd in Spokane Arena history.


Gonzaga made 19 of 21 free throws… Kentucky missed all 10 of his 3-point shots in the first half but made six of 15 in the second.


Kentucky: The Wildcats lost to Michigan State 86-77 in double overtime on Tuesday and beat South Carolina State 106-63 on Thursday, making Sunday their third game in six days.

Gonzaga: Bulldogs have avoided consecutive defeats for the first time since 2018. They have been in the top five in 52 consecutive polls.


Kentucky: Hosts North Florida on Wednesday.

Gonzaga: Playing in Portland at the PK85 Invitational in Portland, Oregon on Thursday.

STANFORD, California. Dawn Staley pulled her South Carolina women closer to the crowd and asked them to fight.

Alia Boston heard this one-word request and took charge when it mattered most, doing what she did day in and day out throughout her well-deserved career.

Boston overcame problems with early fouls and scored 14 points, including a jumper with a tie with two seconds left in regulation, Bree Hall hit a 3-pointer with 42 seconds left in overtime, and No. 1 and defending champion South Carolina passed Stanford, who took second place. 76-71 on Sunday in a dramatic showdown early in the season.

“In the crowd, the coach said, ‘You have to fight, you have to fight,'” Boston said, “and that was our mentality.”

Victoria Saxton of South Carolina missed both free throws with 24.3 seconds left, but a jump ball gave the Gamecocks (4-0) a few seconds later. Stanford got a chance with 10 seconds left after an Agnes Emma-Nnopu interception, but Hayley Jones was unable to get the ball inbounds until the 5-second foul.

Stanford (5-1) then missed another opportunity, getting a technical with 3.4 seconds left after Kiki Irifen called a timeout in the backcourt that he didn’t have.

Stanford’s VanDerveer team led most of the day but failed to give the top women’s basketball coach and Hall of Famer her 1,163rd career win.

“Maybe this is a team that just isn’t ready to be No. 1,” VanDerveer said, “so we have to be hungry like No. 2.”

Cameron Brink scored Stanford’s first four points in overtime and finished with 25 points, five rebounds and four blocks. But she fouled, trying to hit the shot with three minutes left.

Stanford only managed seven points in the fourth quarter.

Brea Beal of South Carolina hit a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left in the fourth. Jones then missed the first of two shots with 12.5 seconds left. After that, South Carolina had another chance, which Boston took to force overtime.

VanDerveer and Staley wore long-sleeved white t-shirts bearing Britney Griner’s name and likeness in support of the WNBA star imprisoned in Russia.

Ashten Prechtel came off the bench to block five shots and grab seven rebounds as Stanford saw his 17-game winning streak at home end at the Maples Pavilion, where a nationally televised matinee drew only a stand-up crowd of 7,233 .

“This is what women’s basketball is all about, and now is the time to make sure the product we put on the floor gets seen by as many eyes as possible,” Staley said.

A layup by Zia Cooke with 7:54 to go in fourth place put the Gamecocks in the 54–50 range, after which neither team scored for nearly the next four minutes. Both squandered high percentage opportunities, facing tight defenses.

Cook’s next basket at 2:54 ended the game drought. With an average of 16.5 points among the team leaders,…


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