No. 6 Marquette beats Butler to clinch Big East outright Rice sparks Boise State past No. 18 San Diego State, 66-60 No. 3 Kansas tops Texas Tech to clinch Big 12 title share No. 1 South Carolina women run AP Top 25 streak to 36 weeks Houston, Alabama top AP Top 25; Marquette climbing, Pitt in No. 4 UCLA tops Colorado, claims Pac-12 regular-season title
INDIANAPOLIS. Now that No. 6 Marquette has won the Big East regular season championship, more accolades may follow.
It would be hard to compete with Tyler Kolek for Big East Player of the Year or Shaka Smart for Conference Coach of the Year.
Kolek had 21 points and 10 assists as Marquette claimed his first conference title in 20 years by beating Butler 72-56 on Tuesday night.
Before the game started, Kolek, a 6-foot-3 sophomore quarterback from Cumberland, Rhode Island, was second in the NCAA in assists (7.8 per game). He averaged 18.2 points in his last nine games. He shot 9 of 13 from the field and 2 of 3 on threes against the Bulldogs.
“For me, he is the MVP of the Big East. He makes this team move,” Butler coach Thad Matta said. “He is such a smart basketball player. He has a great pulse in this team. It looks like they are really feeding off of him and he is taking the lead.”
The win was the fifth in a row and 10th in 11 games for the amazing Golden Eagles (24-6, 16-3), voted ninth in a pre-season poll by the league’s coaches.
This week, Marquette climbed to his highest position on the AP Top 25 since he was No. 1 in 1978.
Marquette, who has already earned at least part of his first Big East title since 2013, has not won a regular season crown since he did so in the 2003 Conference USA.
Olivier-Maxence Prosper added 14 points and Oso Igodaro added 12 for the Golden Eagles, who will be the top seed in the Big East at Madison Square Garden, a tournament Marquette has never won.
The Golden Eagles will face off in the quarter-finals on March 9 against the winner of the first round matchup between Butler and St. John’s.
“The calendar is about to move to March,” Smart said. “We are very excited to win the Big East regular season. But we’re not done yet.
Smart, 45, in his second season with Marquette after six with VCU and Texas, won his first regular season league championship in 14 years as a Division I head coach.
He said that he was not one of those who “politicize” individual awards, but he gave such an assessment to Kolek:
“I would say he had the same impact on the win as anyone else in our league. And there are a lot of really good players in our league.”
In the second half, the Golden Eagles made 65% (15 of 23) of their shots from the floor and were in the lead by as much as 24 points.
Jayden Taylor scored 13 and Jalen Thomas scored 10 for Butler (14-16, 6-13), who finished 4-6 in the Big East home games.
Butler scored 0 for 10, missing almost nine minutes without points, trailing 16-6. After the Bulldogs closed to 18–13, Marquette made a 14–3 run to take a 32–16 lead.
After that, Butler has never been closer than 11 points.
Marquette shot 72% (13 of 18) from two-pointers, claiming a 36–22 halftime lead. By the break Kolek had 11 points.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles made the biggest jump in the history of the Big East preseason polls. In 1989-90, Connecticut came in eighth and Syracuse came in first.
“We never talked about winning the Big East championship,” Smart said. “It has never been the focus of much attention. We talked about being chosen ninth. We thought we were better than that.”
Marquette’s 16 league wins is the most in school history. For the first time, the Golden Eagles have beaten every opponent in the league at least once.
Butler: In the first season of Ted Matta’s second coaching job at Butler, the Bulldogs had to beat #19 Xavier on Saturday and then twice in the Big East to avoid a third losing season in a row.
Butler was 14-19 (7-13 Big East) last season and 10-15 (8-12) in 2020-21. The school has not won an NCAA tournament game since 2013.
Butler center Manny Bates returned to the roster after missing two games with a shoulder injury. Butler’s other regular, winger Ali Ali, was sidelined for the second time this season with a concussion.
Marquette: Closes the regular season on Saturday at home against the St. Johns.
Butler: Xavier wears number 19 on Saturday.
BOICE, Idaho. Max Rice scored 26 points and scored 12 straight in a 14-0 series to end the game, and Boise State beat No. 18 San Diego State 66-60 Tuesday night.
The Broncos (23-7, 13-4, Mountain West Conference) avenged a 20-point loss to San Diego State on February 3 and were perfect at home in conference play. It was the Broncos’ first victory over a ranked team that season.
San Diego State (23-6, 14-3), already in contention for a share of the conference crown with their crushing win over New Mexico on Saturday, couldn’t hold onto a final nine-point lead.
With the Aztecs betting on a comfortable 60–52 lead with 4:48 remaining, Rice took over.
Playing in what could be his last senior home game, Rice hit a free throw before hitting three three-pointers to give Boise State a 62-60 lead for the first time since the 17:01 mark in the second half.
Then, on the Aztecs’ next possession, Rice stole a midcourt pass and went for a layup, driving the Boise State crowd into a frenzy.
Markus Shaver Jr., who missed the first meeting between the two teams with a right ankle injury, scored two free throws to extend his lead to six in the last minute.
San Diego State failed to hit due to the last two possessions and the Broncos ran out of time, causing the Boise State fans to storm the court.
Tyson Degenhart scored 14 points for Boise State while Naje Smith added 10.
Matt Bradley led San Diego State by 16 points and Micah Parrish scored 11 points.
San Diego State can still win the regular season conference title by beating Wyoming’s Mountain West basementers on Saturday.
San Diego State: hosts Wyoming on Saturday.
Boise State: Playing in Utah on Saturday.
LAWRENCE, Kansas. In the last game at Allen Fieldhouse, Jalen Wilson and fellow Kansas senior Kevin McCallar Jr. not only held the Jayhawks hardscrabble in front of Texas Institute of Technology for most of the night, but also played the game that secured the win.
Along with another Big 12 title.
Wilson had 21 points to lead all scorers, McCallar added 14 points with a last-minute critical basket, and the third-placed Jayhawks held off the Red Raiders 67-63 on Tuesday and won at least part of their a leading 64th in the NCAA. regular season conference championship.
“It was so nice to win,” Wilson said. “I just wanted to save this moment.”
Dajuan Harris scored 16 points to the Jayhawks (25-5, 13-4), who would clinch the title if No. 9 Texas lost to No. 22 TCU on Wednesday night. Otherwise, the Jayhawks would have needed to beat the Longhorns on Saturday.
Kansas was left to cling to a 61-60 lead after the Red Raiders’ De’Vion Harmon could only hit the second of two free throws with 56.4 seconds left. But after the Jayhawks raced up the court and Wilson failed to get an open eye, the loose ball ended up in McCallar’s hands, who just needed to pot it to take a three-point lead.
“It was a free ball. I saw Harmon reach for it and I thought, “I need to take this ball and take this bucket,” said McCullar, who transferred from Texas Institute of Technology. “There was no one around, so I just put it in. The game was great.”
“If anyone was going to play this role, it’s Kevin,” added Wilson. “He’s just that kind of guy.
The Texas Institute of Technology still had time, and they called a timeout to organize the game. But Pop Isaacs threw the ball out from under the backboard, and Harris scored a goal in the transition for the Jayhawks, putting the game out of reach.
“We had to pick 3 or try to score and get something fast and we went with that,” Red Raiders coach Mark Adams said of the decisive possession of the game. “Didn’t get a call.”
The Jayhawks improved to 22-1 against the Texas Tech (16-14, 5-12) in Fog for their seventh straight overall win, and they haven’t lost a senior game since the 1983-84 season.
“They made some big plays in the stretch, especially in the last couple of minutes. This is what Kansas does,” Adams said. “Because of their home court advantage, they know how to win at the end of the game.”
Harmon had 15 points to lead Texas Tech, which was just 3 of 16 from the 3-point line. Kevin Obanor added 14 points, Fardaus Aimak added 13 points and 18 rebounds, and Isaacs finished with 11 points.
Dressed in retro red high school send-off uniforms, the Jayhawks got off to a cold start against the defensive-minded Red Raiders. McCallar eventually cut the interval to a couple of three minutes to give Kansas a breather, and Wilson began to fight for contested layups, helping the Jayhawks build a 30–21 lead by halftime.
Texas Tech was 1 of 11 from beyond the arc and committed seven turnovers in the first 20 minutes of the spread.
On this cold streak of the Red Raiders ended. They scored five quick points early in the second half, nearly wiping out their deficit in their first few trips down, and Obanor started getting paint buckets easily.
While the Jayhawks continued to respond every time Texas Tech got close to possession, they were never able to delay a game. And when it looked like they might, as Grady Dick scored his first two free throws to make it 60-55 with about three minutes left, the Red Raiders responded with back-to-back shots on the other end.
Only McCallar’s bucket and Harris’ last-minute breakaway layup allowed Kansas to finally celebrate.
Texas Tech came late to the NCAA Tournament with four straight wins, including back-to-back victories over Kansas and Texas states. But close losses to TCU and Kansas could lead to a Big 12 Tournament win, which is the only way to get back to dancing.
Kansas has more Quad 1 wins than any other team in the country, and the advanced numbers also appeal to the Jayhawks, who once again lead the nation’s toughest conference. This is probably enough to…