College basketball: No. 3 Villanova comes back to beat Boston College in opener

Villanova's Justin Moore works around Boston College's Rich Kelly.
Villanova’s Justin Moore works around Boston College’s Rich Kelly during the second half on Wednesday in Uncasville, Conn.
(Jessica Hill / Associated Press)

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 18 points and 10 rebounds as No. 3 Villanova overcame a nine-point second-half deficit to beat Boston College 76-67 on Wednesday night in the first round of the Empire Classic.

Collin Gillespie added 15 points and Justin Moore and Caleb Daniels each had 14 for the Wildcats, who will play No. 18 Arizona State in the tournament championship game Thursday.

Jay Heath scored 16 points and Makai Ashton-Langford added 15 for Boston College.


Ashton-Langford’s 3-pointer gave the Eagles a 57-48 advantage with 13 minutes left, but the Wildcats responded by going on an 11-1 run. Villanova took the lead for good at 63-61 on a hook shot by Moore with just over six minutes left.

No. 4 Virginia 89, Towson 54

Trey Murphy III scored 21 points a day after learning he was cleared to play, and fellow transfer Sam Hauser added 19 as Virginia opened the season by routing Towson.

Jay Huff added 14 points for the Cavaliers, who never trailed and led by 23 points at halftime.

Nicolas Timberlake scored 19 points for Towson, which was a late replacement after Maine withdrew from the game Tuesday.

The game was the first in an 11-day event dubbed “Bubbleville,” which includes several tournaments and individual games being played inside the Mohegan Sun resort casino in Connecticut.

Murphy’s first points, one of his six 3-pointers, gave Virginia its first 20-point lead at 33-13. Murphy, a transfer from Rice, learned on Tuesday he’d received a waiver from the NCAA to play this season.

No. 5 Iowa 97, North Carolina Central 67

Luka Garza had 26 points and 10 rebounds and Iowa beat North Carolina Central.

Garza, the Big Ten player of the year last season and the lone unanimous selection on the preseason AP All-America team, had his 17th consecutive game of 20 points or more.

The senior center had four points in the first 10 1/2 minutes before the Hawkeyes took control with a 20-2 run near the end of the first half. He had six of Iowa’s final nine points in the run.

Redshirt freshman forward Patrick McCaffery, the son of Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, had 16 points.

CJ Keyser led North Carolina Central with 15 points. Nicolas Fennell had 12.

No. 7 Wisconsin 77, Eastern Illinois 67

Nate Reuvers had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead Wisconsin past Eastern Illinois in the season opener for both teams.

Ben Carlson came off the bench to score 13 points for the Badgers, and D’Mitrik Trice added 11.

Josiah Wallace led Eastern Illinois with 16 points.

Eastern Illinois put itself in a 43-20 halftime hole by shooting 24% from the field, committing six turnovers and playing porous defense as the Badgers shot 52 percent in the opening period.

No. 8 Illinois 122, North Carolina AT&T 60

Ayo Dosunmu scored a career-high 28 points, freshman Adam Miller also scored 28 and Illinois beat North Carolina A&T.

Kofi Cockburn added 18 points and 10 rebounds for his 13th double-double in 32 games. Dosunmu had 10 rebounds for his second career double-double.

Miller shot 10 of 12 from the field, including 6 of 8 from 3-point range, as Illinois fell five points short of its record scoring total.

Blake Harris scored 12 points to lead the Aggies.

No. 10 Kentucky 81, Morehead State 45

Brandon Boston Jr. had 15 points and seven rebounds, Devin Askew and Terrence Clarke each added 12 points and Kentucky cruised past Morehead State.

Starting with 10 new faces, including seven highly-regarded freshmen and two transfers, the Wildcats were surprisingly solid in their first real action together. They never trailed and steadily built a double-digit lead that reached 34 points with about five minutes left.

Boston, a 6-foot-7 guard, was 7 of 14 from the field, and Askew and Clarke each made 5 of 9 attempts. Graduate transfer Davion Mintz added 10 points off the bench.

Johni Broome had 12 points and Julius Dixon scored 11 off the bench for Morehead State.

No. 13 Michigan State 83, Eastern Michigan 67

Foster Loyer made a career-high six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 20 points to lead Michigan State past Eastern Michigan.

The Spartans closed the first half with a 26-8 run after trailing the Eagles by two points midway through the first half.

Joey Hauser, a transfer from Marquette, had 15 points and nine rebounds in his debut with the Spartans.

Eastern Michigan’s Yeikson Montero scored 16 points and Ty Groce had 14.

Eastern Michigan had three players on the bench, and put just two reserves in the game. School spokesman Greg Steiner would only say some student-athletes were unavailable for the game.

No. 14 Texas Tech 101, Northwestern State 58

Mac McClung scored 20 points in his Texas Tech debut, fellow transfer Marcus Santos-Silva had 10 points and 12 rebounds, and the Red Raiders opened the season with a lopsided win over Northwestern State.

True freshman Micah Peavy had 14 points, including the opening basket of a game in which Texas Tech never trailed. Five players scored in double figures for the Red Raiders.

Jamaure Gregg was the only starter in double figures for Northwestern State with 11 points.

McClung was Georgetown’s leading scorer last season, when the 6-foot-2 guard missed 11 games because of a right foot injury. Graduate transfer Santos-Silva, the lone Tech senior after starting all 64 games for VCU the past two seasons, was tabbed the Big 12 preseason newcomer of the year.

No. 15 West Virginia 79, South Dakota State 71

Miles McBride scored a career-high 23 points and West Virginia held off South Dakota State in the Bad Boys Mowers Crossover Classic.

Sean McNeil added a career-best 16 points for the Mountaineers.

Summit League player of the year Douglas Wilson led South Dakota State with 17 points. Noah Freidel had 16.

No. 16 North Carolina 79, College of Charleston 60

Freshman Caleb Love scored 17 points and North Carolina ran off 17 straight second-half points to beat College of Charleston in a largely empty arena.

Fellow rookie Day’Ron Sharpe added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Tar Heels, who shot just 39.4% but dominated the boards after halftime to finally pull away.

The Tar Heels are coming off a 14-19 season, marking the first losing record of Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams’ career. They’re hoping for a quick turnaround with a deep frontcourt and a roster boosted by the arrival of 247sports’ No. 2-ranked recruiting class.

Brevin Galloway scored 15 points to lead College of Charleston, which got within 39-32 by halftime, then took a 43-42 lead on Dontavius King’s corner 3-pointer at the 15-minute mark before UNC made its move.

No. 17 Houston 89, Lamar 45

Marcus Sasser scored 25 points, Tramon Mark added 22 points and eight rebounds and Houston beat Lamar.

Sasser shot 9 of 11, including 7 of 9 on 3-pointers. DeJon Jarreau had nine points and eight rebounds.

The Cougars, who entered the season ranked for the first time since starting the 1983-84 season at No. 3, shot 42% from the field. Houston finished 13 of 33 on 3-pointers and outrebounded the Cardinals 49-34.

Anderson Kopp scored 15 points and Avery Sullivan added eight points and seven rebounds to lead Lamar.

No. 19 Texas 91, Texas-Rio Grande Valley 55

Courtney Ramey had 20 points and six assists, and Texas opened the season with a victory over Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

Matt Coleman scored 17 points and Kai Jones had 14 as the Longhorns shot 57.4%. Greg Brown, a highly recruited freshman, added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Jones was 6 of 6 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds.

The Vaqueros missed 16 of their first 17 shots, falling behind 17-4, and shot only 26.1% overall. Quinton Johnson led UTRGV with 13 points.

No. 23 Ohio State 94, Illinois State 67

Justice Sueing scored 19 points and Ohio State scored the first 22 points en route to a win over Illinois State.

Sueing, making his Ohio State debut after transferring from California and sitting out a year, had seven points in the team’s opening surge. He was 8 of 9 from the floor in his first game action since leaving Cal, where he averaged 14 points and six rebounds as a sophomore in 2018-19.

E.J. Liddell had 16 points while Duane Washington and Zed Key each scored 12 for the Buckeyes.

Antonio Reeves led Illinois State with 17 points and Howard Fleming Jr. added 15 points.

No. 24 Rutgers 86, Sacred Heart 63

Freshman center Cliff Omouryi had 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting and added 11 rebounds to help Rutgers beat Sacred Heart in their season opener.

Ron Harper Jr. scored 18 points and Montez Mathis added 17 for Rutgers, ranked in the AP preseason poll for the first time in 41 years.

Paul Mulcahy and Myles Johnson also were perfect from the field for the Scarlett Knights. Mulcahy had 15 points on 7-of-7 shooting and added seven assists, and Johnson was 5 of 5 for 10 points.

Aaron Clarke had 17 points for Sacred Heart.

No. 25 Michigan 96, Bowling Green 82

Chaundee Brown scored 18 of his 19 points in the second half of his Michigan debut, and the Wolverines beat Bowling Green.

Isaiah Livers added 17 points and Mike Smith contributed 16 for Michigan. The Wolverines never trailed, although it took until the latter part of the second half for them to really put the Falcons away.

Justin Turner led Bowling Green with 24 points.