Saturday’s Top 25: North Carolina beats Florida State
Chapel Hill, N.C. — North Carolina kept shifting in and out of small lineups, driving to the rim and heading to the boards on every shot.
Being down a big man and facing a highly ranked opponent with more size didn’t deter the 11th-ranked Tar Heels, either.
“That’s our knack really,” junior swingman Theo Pinson said, “just go out there and compete.”
Joel Berry II scored 26 points and UNC ended No. 9 Florida State’s school-record win streak with a 96-83 victory Saturday, playing with an aggressive edge it needed to hold off the Seminoles before finally pulling away late.
Justin Jackson and Isaiah Hicks each added 22 points for the Tar Heels (16-3, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who led just 82-78 with 5:25 left before putting together a 14-2 run.
“We wanted to win a game like this,” Berry said.
The Tar Heels had to do it a bit differently, too. Sophomore reserve Luke Maye played a major role with a career-high 15 rebounds as fouls mounted on Hicks and Kennedy Meeks inside.
At one point during the first half, UNC had a five-wing lineup that left the 6-foot-6, 211-pound Pinson to wrestle with 7-1, 304-pound center Michael Ojo — Pinson ended up on the floor at least once — in a combination that coach Roy Williams said was probably the first time he has ever gone without a true 5-man.
But the Tar Heels finished with a 56-34 rebounding advantage with 21 offensive boards, helping them to 25 second-chance points in a rebounding effort FSU coach Leonard Hamilton described as “relentless.” That fit right into an attacking mindset that got the Tar Heels to the line 37 times.
Jonathan Isaac had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Seminoles (16-2, 4-1), who had won 12 in a row and stood at 4-0 in the ACC for the first time in their history.
“They did a much better job of sticking to who they are and playing through themselves and executing their game plan better than we did,” Hamilton said. “They really, really showed up big on the boards. And we had very little resistance.”
No. 1 Baylor 77, No. 25 Kansas State 68: Manu Lecomte scored 26 points after battling early foul trouble, and Ish Wainright and Al Freeman had key baskets down the stretch. Wainright and Freeman had 15 points apiece for the Bears (15-1, 3-1 Big 12), who bounced back from a lopsided loss at No. 10 West Virginia in their first game as the nation’s No. 1 team.
Johnathan Motley was held to seven points and nine rebounds before fouling out with 4:34 left and the Bears leading 62-55. But they managed to hang on down the stretch without their most dependable player.
D.J. Johnson scored 20 points for Kansas State (13-4, 2-3), and Barry Brown finished with 13.
(At) No. 2 Kansas 87, Oklahoma State 80: Frank Mason III had 22 points, five rebounds and four assists, leading Kansas to the Big 12 victory.
The Jayhawks (16-1, 5-0) rallied for their 16th straight win and could move into the top spot when the AP poll comes out on Monday. No. 1 Baylor lost 89-68 to West Virginia on Tuesday.
Devonte’ Graham scored 21 points for Kansas, and freshman Josh Jackson added 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Jeffrey Carroll scored 23 for Oklahoma State (10-7, 0-5), and Mitchell Solomon had 16 points.
No. 3 Villanova 70, (at) St. John’s 57: Redshirt freshman Dante DiVincenzo had a season-high 19 points, helping Villanova pull away. Mikal Bridges had 12 points and Josh Hart added 11 points for the Wildcats (17-1, 5-1 Big East), who started the season with a 14-game winning streak. The defending national champions have won 23 of their last 24 games.
Freshman Shamorie Ponds had 13 points for the Red Storm (8-11, 2-4), who have lost four straight overall and 10 in a row to Villanova.
The Wildcats didn’t start pulling away until the final 7 minutes. A 7-0 run capped by a 3-pointer by Kris Jenkins gave Villanova a 60-48 lead with 4:56 to play.
No. 4 UCLA 83, (at) Utah 82: Lonzo Ball had 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds, and the Bruins (18-1, 5-1 Pac-12) overcame a nine-point deficit in the second half despite a poor defensive…