College basketball: Zion Williamson helps No. 2 Duke top unbeaten No. 12 Texas Tech

Duke forward Zion Williamson (1) drives to the basket past Texas Tech forward Tariq Owens (11) during the first half.
(Adam Hunger / Associated Press)

Zion Williamson had 17 points, 13 rebounds and Duke fans roaring each time he touched the ball before he fouled out, and the second-ranked Blue Devils ended No. 12 Texas Tech’s unbeaten start with a 69-58 victory Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

RJ Barrett scored 16 points for the Blue Devils (11-1) and the program earned its 35th win at MSG. With the Garden rocking from the tip, the Blue Devils must have felt like they had a home game.

Cam Reddish hit a late 3-pointer for a 63-57 lead that sealed the win in the first meeting between the programs. Both reached the Elite Eight last season and the atmosphere had a late-March feel.


Jarrett Culver scored 25 points for the Red Raiders (10-1) in their first loss since the NCAA Tournament.

Culver hit a 3 in a back-and-forth game for a 45-40 lead and Williamson came back down and missed Duke’s 13th straight 3-pointer. Jack White finally connected on Duke’s 15th attempt that tied the game at 45-all and brought “Let’s go Duke!” chants to a crescendo. The cheers were quickly muted by Williamson’s fourth foul (at 10:32) that forced coach Mike Krzyzewski to sit the likely one-and-done freshman.

Culver pounced and a dunk made it 53-49 and gave him 22 points, bettering his 19.1 season average.

Williamson checked in with 6:31 left and the game tied at 53 and White hit a go-ahead 3 a possession later. Williamson, 6-foot-7 and 285 pounds, was the must-see player in New York. He couldn’t stay out of foul trouble and picked up his fifth on a drive to the basket with 3:51 left and Duke up 60-55.

But the Blue Devils hung on without their star.

The Garden was lit once doors opened and ushers had to shoo away fans who lined the court during warmups to snap a picture of Williamson. Williamson missed a dunk in the layup line that earned him some heckles from the Red Raiders fans behind the basket.

Texas Tech fans were drowned out by a roaring crowd at packed MSG for Williamson’s lineup introduction. He scored the first basket of the game and capped an 8-0 run with a rim-rattling dunk off an alley-oop that made the Garden sound more like Cameron.


This was no ordinary neutral-site game with a couple thousand fans from each side mixed in with casual hoops lovers. Led by Culver, Texas Tech quickly steadied itself and “Raider! Power!” chants soon enveloped the arena.

Culver buried a 3 for a 24-17 lead and Texas Tech fans were delirious; one big, sweaty Texas Tech fan bear-hugged another during a timeout and exclaimed “Damn, this is fun!”

The half was pretty unpleasant for the Blue Devils. They missed all 10 3-point attempts and Williamson, who had 11 points and six boards in the half, was whistled for his third foul with 3:21 left.

at No. 21 Houston 60, Utah State 50: Armoni Brooks scored all of his 15 points in the second half and No. 21 Houston overcame a sluggish first half to rally past Utah State 60-50 on Thursday night.

Brooks shot 5 for 10 in the second half and led the way as the Cougars (11-0) came back from a 10-point halftime deficit for their 24th consecutive home win. DeJon Jarreau had 10 points off the bench for Houston, which shot 32 percent from the field, including 39 percent in the second half.

Dwayne Brown Jr. had 19 points and seven rebounds off the bench, and Quinn Taylor added 14 points and nine rebounds for Utah State (9-3), which shot 37 percent from the field but was 5 for 19 in the second half. Utah State lost its 15th straight against an AP Top 25 opponent.


Houston opened the second half by outscoring the Aggies 29-10 over the first 12 { minutes to open up a 50-41 lead on Brooks’ 3-pointer. Brooks had all of his points in the run.

The Aggies cut it to 52-47 on a free throw by John Knight III with 4:49 remaining, but got no closer as Houston finished the game with an 8-3 spurt.

Utah State used an 11-0 run in the first half to take a 29-16 on Taylor’s dunk with 4 minutes remaining. Utah State led 31-21 at the half as the Cougars shot a dismal 7 of 30 from the field.



at Long Beach State 67, Pepperdine 66: KJ Byers’ dunk in the closing seconds lifted Long Beach State to a win over Pepperdine on Thursday night.


Long Beach State had been idle since suffering a 74-68 loss to Pacific December 10, and after playing nine of its first 12 games on the road, opened a two-game home stand against the Waves.

Colbey Ross hit a jumper with :54 left to put the Waves up by three, 64-61, but Jordan Roberts scored at the basket and Byers hit a jumper with :32 left to put Long Beach State up by one, 65-64. Ross hit two free throws to put Pepperdine back in front, but Byers took a feed from Temidayo Yussuf and dunked with :05 left for the game-winning basket. Jade’ Smith missed a 3-point attempt with a second left for Pepperdine.

Yussuf turned in his fourth double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Byers finished with 10 points and six boards for the 49ers (4-9). Ross finished with 23 points for Pepperdine (6-7), which remains winless on the road. Smith finished with 11 rebounds.