Top 25 men's and women's basketball roundup
North Carolina State 88, No. 6 Duke 66
Markell Johnson scored a career-high 28 points, including his third halfcourt shot this season, to help North Carolina State to beat sixth-ranked Duke on Wednesday night.
Devon Daniels added a career-high 25 points for the Wolfpack (17-9, 8-7 Atlantic Coast Conference), who led by 15 at halftime and by as many as 27 late in a surprisingly lopsided win against the ACC-leading Blue Devils (22-4, 12-3).
It was a desperately needed marquee win to boost the NCAA Tournament resume for the Wolfpack, who never trailed on the way to extending Duke’s recent frustrations in Raleigh. Duke has now lost six of eight in PNC Arena dating to 2010, with five of those coming against the Wolfpack and one being an NCAA Tournament loss to Mercer in 2014.
Vernon Carey Jr. scored 27 points to lead Duke, which shot 38% and struggled both at the line and from the arc. The Blue Devils made just 4 of 17 3-pointers and 10 of 22 free throws, part of an all-around shaky showing that included a complete inability to slow Johnson and Daniels in the first half.
The two combined for 33 first-half points to single-handedly outscore the Blue Devils (29), the last coming when Johnson banked in a runner from just beyond halfcourt for a 44-29 lead at the break.
Duke got as close as 11 with about 11 minutes left, only to see Johnson answer with a 3 then D.J. Funderburk follow with a three-point play to push the margin back to 67-52 with 8:31 left.
The lead only grew from there, with Wolfpack fans storming the court to celebrate when the horn finally sounded.
The Blue Devils hadn't lost since falling to Clemson and current No. 11 Louisville in mid-January, moving past the Cardinals and into the ACC lead as Louisville stumbled twice last week. Yet they didn’t come out with anything approaching the same edge as the Wolfpack, getting down 10-1 out of the gate and watching that margin push well past 20 after halftime. From there, there would be no repeat of the wild comeback at North Carolina, with Duke never getting the lead to single digits after halftime.
N.C. State entered Monday ranked No. 60 in the NCAA's NET rankings with a 4-3 record against Quadrant 1 opponents to top the resume. Its best win had come in December against a 10-loss Wisconsin team sitting at 30th in the NET. Now Kevin Keatts’ club has something much stronger, thanks in large part to dominating first-half performances from Johnson and Daniels on a night to put the Wolfpack in control from the jump. The team shot 45% for the game.
No. 12 Villanova 91, DePaul 71
Saddiq Bey and Collin Gillespie each made five of Villanova's 18 3-pointers and the Wildcats used their long-range shooting to beat DePaul,
Villanova went 18 for 26 from deep in its 20th straight victory against DePaul. The Wildcats (20-6, 9-4 Big East) have made at least nine 3s in their last five games, including 17 during Sunday's 76-56 victory at Temple.
Bey finished with 20 points and seven assists. Gillespie and Justin Moore had 17 points apiece.
DePaul (13-13, 1-12) dropped its eighth straight game. The Blue Demons took the Wildcats to overtime in a 79-75 loss on Jan. 14, but the rematch was a blowout. Jalen Coleman-Lands had 17 points for DePaul.
Georgia 65, No. 13 Auburn 55
Anthony Edwards scored 18 points, including a late 3-pointer to slow No. 13 Auburn's comeback attempt, and the Bulldogs beat the Tigers.
Auburn (22-4, 9-4 Southeastern Conference) suffered its second straight loss to a team with a losing record following seven straight wins. The winning streak ended Saturday with an 85-73 loss at Missouri.
Edwards' 3-pointer with 2:15 remaining stretched the advantage to eight points.
J'Von McCormick led Auburn with 22 points. Samir Doughty, who had 15 points, cut Georgia's lead to 58-53 with a three-point play with 1:02 remaining. Toumani Camara sank seven of eight free throws in the final 1:01 to help protect the Bulldogs' lead.
It was a much-needed win for Georgia (13-13, 3-10), which had lost eight of nine, including four straight under second-year coach Tom Crean.
No. 11 Louisville 90, Syracuse 66
Jordan Nwora scored 17 points, Dwayne Sutton added 16 and Louisville routed Syracuse 90-66 to end a two-game losing streak.
The Cardinals (22-5, 13-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) never trailed against the Orange after losses at Georgia Tech and Clemson dropped them six spots in the rankings and out of the conference lead. They stretched a 41-34 halftime lead to double digits early in the second half and an 18-2 run made it 69-44.
Buddy Boeheim had 15 points for Syracuse (14-12, 7-8). The Orange have lost five of six.
No. 7 Maryland 85, Wisconsin 56
Kaila Charles scored 16 points while Shakira Austin and Diamond Miller each added 12 to help Maryland rout Wisconsin.
Maryland (22-5, 14-2 Big Ten) holds a half-game lead in the conference standings ahead of Northwestern with two games to go in the regular season.
Junior Niya Beverly and freshman reserve Julie Pospisilova scored 10 points apiece for the Badgers (11-16, 3-13).
The Terps have strung together 12 consecutive wins and haven’t lost since a 66-61 setback at Iowa on Jan. 9.
No. 18 Northwestern 82, Rutgers 65
Lindsey Pulliam scored 27 points and Veronica Burton added 23 as Northwestern won its sixth straight by blitzing Rutgers.
Abbie Wolf added 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting with eight rebounds.
The Wildcats led 16-14 after one quarter but outscored the Scarlet Knights 21-8 in the second quarter and 27-15 in the third to lead 64-37.
Northwestern (23-3, 13-2 Big Ten Conference) was 7 of 10 in the second quarter with a pair of 3-pointers and 10 of 14 in the third, going 4 of 5 from distance.
Rutgers (18-8, 8-7), which is 3-6 after getting off to its best start in 19 seasons, was 7-of-22 shooting in the middle quarters.
No. 22 Houston 76, Tulsa 43
Caleb Mills scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half to help Houston rout Tulsa..
Mills shot 9 of 16, making 5 of 9 on 3-pointers. Nate Hinton added 15 points for Houston (21-6, 11-3 American).
Martins Igbanu had 15 points for Tulsa (17-9, 9-4).
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