College basketball: San Diego State retires Kawhi Leonard’s jersey, rallies to win
Moments after San Diego State retired Kawhi Leonard’s jersey at halftime, and with the No. 4 Aztecs trailing Utah State by eight points, coach Brian Dutcher joked with the NBA superstar.
“Kawhi was near the bench at the start of the second half and I said, ‘Go get a uniform on, Kawhi, we might need you,’ ” Dutcher said. “And he told me, ‘Hey, just win the game.’ And I said, ‘Yes sir. OK, we’re going to win the game.’ ”
The Aztecs did just that.
With Leonard watching from one baseline, another guy from Riverside, Matt Mitchell, scored 24 of his season-high 28 points in the second half — including three straight three-pointers — to help rally SDSU to an 80-68 victory Saturday night and remain the nation’s only undefeated team.
“What a great night for an Inland Empire kid to have a great game, Kawhi Leonard jersey hanging,” Dutcher said after the Aztecs extended the nation’s longest winning streak — and the longest in school history — to 23 games. “Matt stepped up and did it with Kawhi sitting there courtside watching him play.”
With Mitchell turning red-hot, the Aztecs turned a 41-31 deficit into a 68-58 lead in a span of 13 minutes.
“There’s definitely significance there,” said Mitchell, a junior forward. “Me having a big night and Kawhi’s big night, I feel like that’s very special and I’m happy I was able to show up tonight. At the same time, it’s a team sport and my teammates found me tonight, and on another night it would be another one of my teammates.”
Mitchell spent one season at Riverside’s King High — Leonard’s alma mater — before transferring.
The Trojans’ offensive struggles continued as they fell 78-57 to the No. 20 Buffaloes at Galen Center and missed a shot at first place in the Pac-12.
Mitchell scored 11 points in four minutes for SDSU (23-0, 12-0 Mountain West). His third straight three-pointer, with 13:16 to go, gave SDSU a 50-49 lead.
Yanni Wetzell then had a steal and layup, and Mitchell made two free throws to extend the lead to five.
Utah State (17-7, 6-5) ended a two-minute scoring drought on Sam Merrill’s three-pointer. Utah State tied it at 54 on Merrill’s jumper, but Mitchell hit two free throws to give SDSU the lead.
Wetzell later hit a three, and Mitchell hit a jumper to just beat the shot clock, and then drained a three for a 66-58 lead.
The comeback sent the sellout crowd of 12,414 into a frenzy, just like in 2010-11, Leonard’s second and final season at SDSU.
“Matt was rolling. He’s a hard guy to guard,” Dutcher said.
“He got us going, and he willed us to the win tonight,” guard KJ Feagin said.
Malachi Flynn and Feagin scored 13 each, and Wetzell had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Merrill had 16 points and Brock Miller 15 for Utah State.
at No. 1 Baylor 68, Texas Christian 52: MaCio Teague scored 19 points and made five three-pointers, and the Bears (19-1, 8-0 Big 12 Conference) set a program record with their 18th win in a row, beating the Horned Frogs (13-8, 4-4) in Waco, Texas.
Teague made consecutive three-pointers in a 36-second span to cap a 14-0 run in the first half that put Baylor ahead to stay. He hit two more threes early in the second half before TCU made a run.
Desmond Bane, the Big 12’s second-leading scorer at 16.5 points per game, scored all 14 of his points after halftime. During a 13-2 run by the Horned Frogs, Bane scored six in a row before a dunk by PJ Fuller got them within six at 51-45 with 8½ minutes left. That was the closest they would get.
Baylor guard Jared Butler, who was the league’s fourth-leading scorer at 15.4 points per game, missed his first six shots and was scoreless before the break. He finished with 10 points on three-of-12 shooting.
No. 2 Gonzaga 83, at San Francisco 79: Corey Kispert’s three-point play with 1:33 left put his team ahead for good and he added a jumper with 34 seconds remaining, helping the Bulldogs (23-1, 9-0 West Coast Conference), extend their winning streak to 15 games with a victory over the Dons (16-8, 5-4).
Khalil Shabaaz made a three-pointer with six seconds left to make it a two-point game in a furious, back-and-forth finish — and that described most of the second half. Admon Gilder made two free throws with 3.6 seconds left to seal the win.
Filip Petrusev had 23 points and 11 rebounds playing in foul trouble and Drew Timme scored 19 for the Zags, who ran their WCC regular-season winning streak to 36 games for the longest such unbeaten run in the nation for a conference. USF (16-8, 5-4) had won its last two games.
at No. 3 Kansas 78, Texas Tech 75: Devon Dotson scored 21 points and Marcus Garrett added 15 to lead the Jayhawks (18-3, 7-1 Big 12) past the Red Raiders (13-8, 4-4) in Lawrence, Kan.
Kansas led 76-75 with 14 seconds to play before Ochai Agbaji knocked down two free throws. Texas Tech was unable to come away with a basket to complete the upset.
TJ Holyfield led the Red Raiders with 19 points.
No. 5 Florida State 74, at Virginia Tech 63: Devin Vassell tied an Atlantic Coast Conference record by shooting seven for seven from three-point range and scored 27 points to lift the Seminoles (18-3, 8-2) over the Hokies (14-8, 5-6) in Blacksburg, Va.
Vassell helped Florida State rebound from Tuesday night’s loss at Virginia that snapped a 10-game winning streak. The Seminoles remained a game out of first place in the ACC standings.
Tyrece Radford paced Virginia Tech with 18 points. The Hokies lost their third consecutive game.
No. 6 Louisville 77, at North Carolina State 57: Ryan McMahon made seven three-pointers and scored a season-high 23 points for the Cardinals (19-3, 10-1 ACC), who rolled to a victory over the Wolfpack (14-8, 5-6) in Raleigh, N.C.
Jordan Nwora added 14 points for Louisville, which maintained its hold on the ACC lead with its eighth straight win. The Cardinals led by 17 points late in the first half and responded to a Wolfpack run midway through the second half by pushing the margin right back out to 15 points.
C.J. Bryce scored 15 points for N.C. State.
at No. 7 Dayton 70, Fordham 56: In Dayton, Ohio, Trey Landers matched his season high with 18 points, Obi Toppin also had 18, and the Flyers (20-2, 9-0 Atlantic 10) got their 16th straight win over the Rams (7-14, 1-8).
Dayton hasn’t lost to Fordham since Jan. 4, 2005, a 66-56 Rams win at the Rose Hill Gym.
Jalen Cobb had 22 points for Fordham.
The UCLA men’s basketball team has solidified its rotation and its defense and has won three of its last four games. The Bruins host Utah on Sunday.
Creighton 76, at No. 8 Villanova 61: Denzel Mahoney had 21 points and Mitch Ballock had nine of his 15 points in the second half to help the Bluejays (17-5, 6-3 Big East) defeat the Wildcats (17-4, 7-2) in Philadelphia.
Ty-Shon Alexander added 16 points and Marcus Zegarowski scored 13 for Creighton, which was won four in a row while avenging a 64-59 home loss to Villanova on Jan. 7.
Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore each had 18 points for the Wildcats, who had won seven in a row.
No. 9 Duke 97, at Syracuse 88: Vernon Carey Jr. had 26 points and a season-high 17 rebounds for the 10th double-double of his freshman season, and the Blue Devils (18-3, 8-2 ACC) beat the Orange (13-9, 6-5) in Syracuse, N.Y.
Cassius Stanley keyed an early second-half surge, and Duke won its third straight after a two-game skid.
It was a crucial game for Syracuse, which saw its five-game winning streak end on the road at Clemson on Tuesday night and needed a signature victory to bolster its resume for consideration for the NCAA tournament.
Xavier 74, at No. 10 Seton Hall 62: In Newark, N.J., Tyrique Jones had 19 points and 18 rebounds, and the Musketeers (14-8, 3-6 Big East) opened a big lead early and ended a 10-game winning streak for the Pirates (16-5, 8-1).
Naji Marshall added 19 points and KyKy Tandy had 14 as Xavier beat Seton Hall in every phase of the game.
Quincy McKnight led the Pirates with 15 points before having to leave with an injury to his left knee with 6:02 to play.
at No. 12 West Virginia 66, Kansas State 57: Derek Culver had 19 points and 14 rebounds to give coach Bob Huggins another milestone victory as the Mountaineers (17-4, 5-3 Big 12) defeated the Wildcats (9-12, 2-6) in Morgantown, W.Va.
Huggins earned his 877th career win to move past Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp into seventh place in Division I.
West Virginia bounced back from a loss at Texas Tech on Wednesday, improved to 11-0 at home and ended a three-game losing streak to Kansas State.
David Sloan scored 13 points and Xavier Sneed added 11 for the Wildcats.
at No. 17 Auburn 75, No. 13 Kentucky 66: Samir Doughty scored 23 points and made 14 of 15 free throws in Auburn, Ala., and the Tigers (19-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) finished strong in defeating the Wildcats (16-5, 6-2) in an NCAA tournament rematch.
Isaac Okoro made a key three-pointer and scored 14 points for Auburn, which dominated the final four minutes.
It wasn’t nearly as big as the Tigers’ 77-71 overtime victory over Kentucky that vaulted Auburn to its first Final Four last season, but it moved the Tigers into a tie for second place in the SEC.
at Wisconsin 64, No. 14 Michigan State 63: Nate Reuvers scored 15 points, D’Mitrik Trice had 14 and Aleem Ford added 13 to help the Badgers (13-9, 6-5 Big Ten) edge the Spartans (16-6, 8-3) in Madison, Wis.
Wisconsin earned the victory despite missing guard Brad Davison because of a suspension. The Badgers also lost Kobe King, the team’s second-leading scorer, when he announced this past week that he intended to transfer.
Cassius Winston scored 23 points and Rocket Watts had 16 for Michigan State, which has lost three of its last four Big Ten road games.
Providence 65, at No. 16 Butler 61: Luwane Pipkins scored 22 points and made six consecutive free throws in the final minute for the Friars (12-10, 5-4 Big East), who beat the Bulldogs (17-5, 5-4) in Indianapolis.
Providence snapped a three-game losing streak by beating a ranked team for the first time since March 19, 2018. It was also its first road win over a team in the Associated Press top 25 since Feb. 22, 2017.
Kamar Baldwin finished with 14 points and Justin Tucker had 12 points and eight rebounds to lead Butler. The Bulldogs have lost two of their last three home games.
at Cincinnati 64, No. 21 Houston 62: Keith Williams scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half, and the Bearcats (14-7, 7-2 American Athletic Conference) rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half to beat the Cougars.
Williams scored on a floater with 2:02 left, giving Cincinnati its first lead, 61-59, since the Bearcats led 8-5. Williams followed with two free throws, generating roars from the sellout crowd of 12,189.
Houston already was struggling from the field in the last part of the second half when point guard Dejon Jarreau drew a technical foul and was ejected when the referees ruled that he bit Cincinnati’s Mamoudou Diarra with 6:16 left in the game.
at No. 22 Louisiana State 73, Mississippi 63: Javonte Smart scored 13 of his season-high 21 points in the last 16 minutes, and the Tigers (17-4, 8-0 SEC) extended their winning streak to 10 games with a win over the Rebels (10-11, 1-7) in Baton Rouge, La.
Marlon Tayor had 13 points and 11 rebounds and freshman Trnedon Watford scored 13 points for LSU, which is off to its best start in conference play in 39 years.
Devontae Shuler scored a career-high 28 for Ole Miss, which lost two straight and eight of its last nine.
at Tulsa 54, No. 23 Wichita State 51: Elijah Joiner caught an inbound pass with 3.3 seconds left and raced from one key to the next, connecting on a three-pointer as time expired to give the Golden Hurricane (15-6, 7-1 American Athletic Conference) a victory over the Shockers (17-4, 5-3) in Tulsa, Okla.
Hundreds of fans in the near-sellout crowd of 8,089 stormed the court in a wild celebration after Tulsa toppled another ranked visitor. In its previous home game, the Hurricane routed then-No. 20 Memphis 80-40.
Joiner shot five for six on threes and scored 22 points for Tulsa, which won its sixth in a row. Jaime Enchinique scored 15 for Wichita State.
No. 24 Penn State 76, at Nebraska 64: Myles Dread scored 14 points, Lamar Stevens and Myreon Jones had 13 apiece, and the Nittany Lions (16-5, 6-4 Big Ten) pulled away early in the second half to beat the Cornhuskers (7-15, 2-9) in Lincoln, Neb.
Stevens became the third 2,000-point scorer in Penn State program history, and Mike Watkins had 11 points and a season-high 17 rebounds to pass John Amaechi as the Nittany Lions’ career rebounds leader in Big Ten play.
Nebraska lost its seventh in a row as season scoring leader Cam Mack was held without a point for the first time this season.
Michigan 69, No. 25 Rutgers 63: Brandon Johns Jr. scored a career-high 20 points, and the Wolverines (13-8, 4-6 Big Ten) beat the Scarlet Knights (16-6, 7-4) to win at Madison Square Garden in New York for the 10th straight time.
Jon Teske added 14 points as Michigan improved to 12-0 against Rutgers, including a victory in the 1976 Final Four.
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