Trae Young scores 44 as OU holds off Baylor, 98-96

Freshman sensation Trae Young produced 44 points and nine assists Tuesday night as Oklahoma edged Baylor, 98-96.

Ryan Aber of has the story here.

Young has now produced a Big 12 record of four games of 40 points in a season. Here’s a breakdown:

Nov. 26, 2017
Final score: Oklahoma 90, Oregon 80
Where: Portland, Oregon
Points: 43
Assists: 7
Minutes played: 37
Field goals: 11-22
Three pointers: 4-11
Free throws: 17-18
Notable: Young scored the most points for a Sooner since Buddy Hield had 46 in then No. 1 Oklahoma’s 109-106 loss to No. 2 Kansas in triple overtime on Jan. 4, 2016, according to the Associated Press.
Quotable: “I found my teammates and found some for myself,” Young said. “My teammates did a great job of knocking down shots and that opened up the floor for me.”

Dec. 30, 2017
Final score: Oklahoma 102, TCU 97 in overtime
Where: Norman, Oklahoma
Points: 43
Assists: 7
Minutes played: 40
Field goals: 15-27
Three pointers: 10-18
Free throws: 3-7
Notable: Young scored 29 after halftime. It was Young’s second dominating performance against TCU this season. He had 39 in Fort Worth on Dec. 30.
Quotable: “Sometimes you wonder, is he even human?” asked Oklahoma guard Christian James.

Jan. 20, 2018
Final score: Oklahoma State 83, Oklahoma 81 in overtime
Where: Stillwater, Oklahoma
Points: 48
Assists: 8
Minutes played: 43
Field goals: 14-39
Three pointers: 8-20
Free throws: 12-12
Notable: Young missed a long three at the overtime buzzer. None of Young’s teammates scored more than eight points.
Quotable: “We’ve got to work harder on getting more motion away from the ball and get the ball moving a little bit,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said.

Jan 30, 2018
Final score: Oklahoma 98, Baylor 96
Where: Norman, Oklahoma
Points: 44
Assists: 9
Minutes played: 38
Field goals: 11-20
Three pointers: 6-11
Free throws: 16-19
Notable: The next stop for Young and the Sooners is Austin. OU plays at Texas on Saturday.
Quotable: “Trae Young is a special player,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “His 3-point shot is obviously elite. What we tried to do was not get him on the free-throw line. As you can see, we weren’t effective there.”

Starks leads Texas A&M past Arkansas, 80-66

Freshman point guard T.J. Starks hit four 3-point baskets and scored 16 points Tuesday night as Texas A&M beat Arkansas 80-66 in Southeastern Conference basketball.

Playing at home in College Station, the Aggies broke open a close game and snapped a two-game losing streak by outscoring the Razorbacks 47-34 in the second half.

Starks, from Lancaster, hit 4 of 5 from long distance in making his second straight start.

Center Tyler Davis produced 15 points and 13 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive glass.

Daryl Macon scored 20 off the bench to lead the Hogs, who had won three in a row.


Texas A&M: 14-8, 3-6
Arkansas: 15-7, 4-5

Kansas registers 70-56 road victory at K-State

The seventh-ranked Kansas Jayhawks limited Kansas State to 32.3 percent shooting Monday night and held on to sole possession of the lead in the Big 12 men’s basketball race with a 70-56 road victory.

Guard Svi Mykhailiuk hit five 3-pointers and scored 22 to lead the Jayhawks, who improved to 18-4 and 7-2 in conference.

Coming into their home arena with a chance to tie for the conference lead, the Wildcats lost to the rival Jayhawks for the second time this season and fell to 16-6 and 5-4.

Kansas coach Bill Self pointed out a few statistical oddities in his team’s 40-27 burst to the first-half lead.

“If you’re going to be up 13 on the road, have 12 turnovers and go 6 for 13 from the foul line, you wouldn’t think that would be the case,” Self told the Associated Press. “Somehow we were able to keep the lead and win both halves.”

Wildcats forward Dean Wade had 20 points and eight rebounds but guard Barry Brown, the team’s leading scorer, struggled with 4 for 16 shooting.

Averaging 17.3 points coming in, Brown finished with nine as K-State’s four-game winning streak came to an end.

Kansas beat Kansas State 73-72 in Lawrence on Jan. 3.

“I told the guys we had to play better than we did in Lawrence, because they’re a great road team,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “They have good poise. They understand each other, their roles. I expected them to come at us and they did.”

Kansas guards Devonte’ Graham and Malik Newman both posted double doubles to aid the Jayhawks.

Graham had 16 points and 11 assists. Newman came alive offensively in the second half and finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Big 12 race

Kansas leads at 7-2. Texas Tech, Oklahoma and West Virginia trail at 5-3. Kansas State is 5-4 and Texas 4-4.

Texas Tech moves up to No. 10 in AP Top 25

After two come-from-behind victories last week, the Texas Tech Red Raiders moved up four spots to No. 10 in the Associated Press Top 25, according to the wire service poll announced Monday.

Texas Tech hosts Texas on Wednesday night in Big 12 play.

Last week, the Red Raiders ended a two-game losing streak when they rallied from 15 points down at home to knock off Oklahoma State, 75-70.

Over the weekend, they trailed by five with six minutes remaining at South Carolina in a Big 12/SEC challenge match before turning the momentum in their favor and winning 70-63.

Tech’s 17-4 record has matched the second-best start in program history through 21 games.

This year’s team joins the 1953-54 team under Polk Robison, the 1975-76 squad under Gerald Myers and the 2003-04 team under Bob Knight.

The 1995-96 team under James Dickey amassed a 30-1 start sparked by a program-record 23-game winning streak.

AP To 25

1. Villanova 20-1 Big East
2. Virginia 20-1 ACC
3. Purdue 21-2 Big Ten
4. Duke 18-3 ACC
5. Michigan State 20-3 Big Ten
6. Xavier 19-3 Big East
7. Kansas 17-4 Big 12
8. Cincinnati 19-2 American
9. Arizona 18-4 Pac-12
10. Texas Tech 17-4 Big 12
11. Auburn 19-2 SEC
12. Oklahoma 15-5 Big 12
13. Saint Mary’s 21-2 West Coast
14. Gonzaga 19-4 West Coast
15. West Virginia 16-5 Big 12
16. Wichita State 17-4 American
17. Ohio State 18-5 Big Ten
18. Tennessee 15-5 SEC
19. North Carolina 16-6 ACC
20. Clemson 17-4 ACC
21. Kentucky 16-5 SEC
22. Rhode Island 17-3 Atlantic 10
23. Florida 15-6 SEC
24. Michigan 17-6 Big Ten
25. Arizona State 16-5 Pac-12

Big Monday

Seventh-ranked Kansas plays at Kansas State in a rivalry game tonight at 8 on ESPN.

The Jayhawks have won two straight off the Wildcats at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan.

Brunson, Bridges spark No. 1 Villanova past Marquette, 85-82

Jalen Brunson scored 31 and Mikal Bridges did the dirty work down the stretch Sunday in No. 1 Villanova’s 85-82 victory over Marquette.

Despite tweaking his ankle and sitting down for treatment in the second half, Brunson finished the game with 10 of 19 shooting.

“I’m fine,” Brunson told a Fox television reporter later. “A little thing. I’m moving forward.”

Villanova was already hurting coming into the Big East game, playing without guard Phil Booth for the first time since he fractured his right hand last week.

The Wildcats met the challenge with balanced scoring from Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo (23 points) and Bridges (16).

Bridges made a critical play in the final minute.

After Brunson missed a three, he grabbed the offensive rebound, and fed DiVincenzo.

DiVincenzo hit a layup for an 85-80 lead with 19 seconds remaining.

Marquette guard Andrew Rowsey hit five three-pointers and scored 29, but back-court mate Markus Howard was held scoreless after intermission.

Howard, who scored 52 in overtime on Jan. 4 at Providence, finished with 13 points on 5 of 18 shooting.


Villanova 20-1, 7-1

Marquette 13-8, 4-5

Jackson, Wallace lead UTSA past Alabama-Birmingham, 82-70

Jhivvan Jackson scored 24 points and Keaton Wallace passed for a season-high 11 assists Saturday night as UTSA posted a surprisingly easy 82-70 road victory at Alabama-Birmingham.

The Blazers entered the game 11-1 at home this season in Bartow Arena, having lost only to the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders.

But the Roadrunners didn’t seem to flinch at history or anything else on a night when they tied a season-high with 15 three-pointers and registered 24 assists on 32 baskets.

UTSA (11-11, 4-5) also out-rebounded the bigger home team, 36-34. UAB (14-8, 5-4) didn’t play up to par in either half.

Left on their heels early by the Roadrunners’ ball movement, shooting and rebounding, the Blazers trailed 42-26 at intermission.

They closed to within eight once early in the second half but couldn’t sustain the momentum against a UTSA offense that continued to click.

“Proud of our guys,” UTSA coach Steve Henson told the team’s radio broadcast. “We needed a win. We needed to play like that, though. That’s the way you got to play.

“I hope people don’t look and say, ‘Well, we won because we made 15 three-pointers. I mean, certainly, that helped our cause. But they were better shots.”

Only two nights ago, UTSA’s offense had stagnated badly in a 75-51 loss at Middle Tennessee.

Even in a 65-61 home victory over UTEP last Saturday night, the ball didn’t always move as Henson wanted.

But UTSA had a good day of practice in Birmingham on Friday and came to the arena on game night with a positive outlook.

The Roadrunners got a steal off the opening tip and a layup by Jackson to set the tone.

“We were just active all game,”” Jackson said. “That really helped us. We played really good ‘D.’ We were patient on offense and we got the shot we wanted.”

It certainly aided the cause that most of the shots were going in.

The Roadrunners hit 48.5 percent from the field and 53.6 percent from long distance (15 of 28).

Fading away, Jackson hits a long three out of the corner against UAB.

UTSA had made 15 threes on three other occasions this year — at Tulsa, at home against NAIA Bethany, Kansas, and on the road at Nebraska.

Against UAB, Jackson, Giovanni De Nicolao and Deon Lyle all buried four. George Willborn III, Austin Karrer and Toby Van Ry all hit one apiece.

With the victory, UTSA moved into a four-way tie for seventh in the conference race.

Middle Tennessee is first at 8-1, followed by Old Dominion and Western Kentucky, both 7-1. Marshall is 5-3. Then, UAB and North Texas at 5-4. Followed by Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss, UTSA and Florida Atlantic, all 4-5.

UTSA plays at home next week, hosting Marshall on Thursday and Western Kentucky on Saturday.

New Orleans’ late surge knocks out Incarnate Word, 68-58

UIW center Konstantin Kulikov, with hands up, gets position under the basket to block a shot in the first half against the New Orleans Privateers.

Fans at the University of the Incarnate Word saw flashes of promising play from the home team Saturday afternoon.

The slumping Cardinals erased an eight-point deficit in the first half and made it a two-point game at intermission.

In the second half, a rally sparked by the presence of 7-foot center Konstantin Kulikov allowed UIW to come from six down to take a one-point lead on the New Orleans Privateers.

But in the end, the defending Southland Conference champions had too much athleticism and showed too much poise, winning 68-58 to hand the Cardinals their 11th straight loss.

“We just don’t have enough firepower, offensively,” UIW coach Ken Burmeister said.
“We go into lulls. I think in the first half we went eight straight times (scoreless).

“In the second half, we go seven straight times, (and) we didn’t get any baskets,” he said. “You got to get baskets. You know, the kids fought on defense. Rebounding was OK. New Orleans is a good team.

“You know, they got good shooters. Good athleticism. So, we just got to get that first one and get going.”

While UIW had Kulikov to defend and rebound in the paint, New Orleans (11-10, 8-2 in the SLC) unleashed significant talent across the front line and even in some of their big men off the bench.

In fact, reserve forward Macur Puou provided the difference for the Privateers against the Cardinals (5-14, 0-9) as he hit 8 of 9 shots from the field for 18 points.

Starting forward Travin Thibodeaux scored 14 and guard Troy Green nine.

Guard Cody Graham scored 11 and Sam Burmeister 10 for the Cardinals, who have been winless since Dec. 16.

But in Kulikov, from Oryol, Russia, UIW can see a glimmer of hope for the future.

He enjoyed one of his better games with six points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots in 29 minutes.

When Kulikov was on the floor, it changed the dynamic of the action. New Orleans had trouble getting to the basket.

Regardless, the junior transfer from San Jacinto College expressed some frustration at the lack of consistency.

“Most of the games we’ve had this type of thing, where we just play for 30 or 35 minutes and the last five minutes, we just let a team take the lead,” he said. “We just need to work on that in practices. I think it will be fine.”

Kulikov’s first few months at UIW have been chaotic.

The junior transfer from San Jacinto started practice, only to be told just before the start of the season that his eligibility was under review at the NCAA office.

He wasn’t cleared to play until a Dec. 22 game at Florida.

“I feel much better now,” he said. “Because when I came back after my eligibility status, I felt out of shape. Now I feel like I’m back in shape and I can play with these guys.”

A second-half, three-pointer by Shawn Johnson sparked cheers from the crowd and a demonstration from Speedo-clad members of the UIW swim team.

Middle Tennessee defense dominates UTSA, 75-51

Championship teams share a few common characteristics.

They play with consistent aggression and never allow an opponent to think they can win.

The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders used that formula to dominate the UTSA Roadrunners 75-51 Thursday night in Conference USA men’s basketball.

In the game played at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the Blue Raiders buried the Roadrunners with a 40-24 second half.

“They just took it right to us,” UTSA coach Steve Henson told the team’s radio broadcast. “They wore on us and wore on us and dominated the glass, and … we just couldn’t make…we just didn’t compete offensively.

“We just don’t compete enough. We just settle for shots. When it’s hard, we don’t know how to respond, and it was hard.”

After representing the C-USA at the NCAA tournament two years in a row, the Blue Raiders showed why they are projected to make it three straight.

Forwards Nick King and Brandon Walters had their way, with King scoring a game-high 22 points and Walters grabbing 14 rebounds.

Middle Tennessee (15-5, 7-1) also enjoyed a strong showing from guard Antwain Johnson, who scored 15.

Jhivvan Jackson scored 17, but nobody else hit double figures as UTSA (10-11, 3-5) recorded its fewest points in a game this season.

Henson said he liked how his players protected the ball in the first half, when they led briefly 14-11 and went into the dressing room down only 35-27.

“Other than that, offensively, you got to drive it down in there and expect to finish,” Henson said. “We’re taking jump shots. I think guys shooting ’em are expecting ’em to go in. It’s just easier to let it fly.

“We got to find a better balance between having some offensive freedom and taking bad shots. We got to drive it. We don’t get to the free throw line. We got to get on the attack. We got to … get in the paint and finish around the rim.”

UTSA hit 4 of its first 8 from 3-point range and then went cold, hitting only 3 of 16 the rest of the way.

The Blue Raiders held the Roadrunners to 21 of 61 from the field overall for 34 percent.

“I thought our guys started the game with a terrific mindset,” Henson said. “I thought we were fighting defensively. We did some really good things from the scouting report.

“We took away some of their strengths. We did a good job on (guard Giddy) Potts all night. We paid extra attention to him. But (with) their style, their toughness, just wore on us, just kept chipping away at us.

“Kind of shows us how far we’ve got to go to become a good ball club.”

UTSA will move on to play at Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday night. UAB broke a two-game losing streak by defeating UTEP 85-78 Thursday.

Lewis Sullivan scored 19 as the Blazers (14-7, 5-3) shot 55.2 percent from the field.

C-USA road test: UTSA takes on Middle Tennessee

UTSA forward Kendell Ramlal rises up to dunk off a pass from Byron Frohnen in last Saturday’s 65-61 victory over UTEP in San Antonio.

The UTSA Roadrunners have emerged with a few of their better performances this season on big stages.

They stayed with the Oklahoma Sooners well into the second half in Norman.

They battled the Nebraska Cornhuskers with explosive offense into the last few minutes.

The Roadrunners will need another strong effort Thursday night in a Conference USA test against the defending champion Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders.

Middle Tennessee (14-5, 6-1) and UTSA (10-10, 3-4) are set to play at the Murphy Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Following back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, the Kermit Davis-coached Blue Raiders are averaging 6,118 fans, second in the C-USA only to UTEP.

They’re stacked with talent again, as evidenced by victories against Vanderbilt and Ole Miss in non-conference, not to mention a 66-62 victory last Saturday at Western Kentucky in conference play.

The Roadrunners will have their hands full with the C-USA co-leaders, who feature the likes of Nick King, Giddy Potts and Brandon Walters.

UTSA’s Keaton Wallace shakes a defender to hit a first-half three against UTEP.

UIW’s losing streak hits 10 as Houston Baptist wins, 102-86

The Houston Baptist Huskies broke a nine-game losing streak Wednesday night in a 102-86 victory over the slumping Incarnate Word Cardinals.

Playing at home, the Huskies got off to a hot offensive start behind guard Jalon Gates to build a 44-36 halftime lead.

Afterward, HBU was never seriously challenged in extending UIW’s losing streak to 10 games.

Forward Charles Brown III led the Cardinals with 22 points on 9 of 15 shooting. Shawn Johnson added 16 points and Cody Graham 14.

Not to be deterred, the Huskies got 23 points from Gates, a sophomore from Clemens, and 22 each from Braxton Bonds and David Caraher.

Will Gates Jr., Jalon’s older brother, scored 11.

HBU capitalized off of UIW’s mistakes, producing a 20-8 edge in points off turnovers.

The Huskies also dominated with a 27-10 advantage on second-chance points.

Records: UIW (5-13, 0-8), Houston Baptist (5-16, 1-7)

Coming up: UIW hosts New Orleans Saturday at 2 p.m.

Photo caption: Guards Will Gates Jr. (left) and Jalon Gates of Houston Baptist.