College basketball: Irish beat defending champion Wildcats
|Notre Dame guard Pat Connaughton is congratulated by a fan following Notre Dame's 64-50 victory over Kentucky Thursday in South Bend, Ind. The Irish have won five straight, while the defending champs slipped to 4-2. (AP)|
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. – No. 8 Kentucky and its heralded freshmen weren’t ready for the first true road test of the season.
The Wildcats looked comfortable at the start against Notre Dame, jumping to an early six-point lead.
But once the Fighting Irish and their sellout crowd got going, Kentucky faltered and lost 64-50 on Thursday night.
Junior guards Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant paced the Irish (7-1). Julius Mays led the Wildcats (4-2) with 16 points.
Atkins led the Fighting Irish with 16 points, Grant had 13 points and six assists and Jack Cooley added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Notre Dame outplayed Kentucky (4-2) inside during the first half and held the Wildcats to a season-low 40 percent shooting for the game.
The Irish shot 48 percent, the best anyone against Kentucky this season.
The senior captains of the top-ranked Notre Dame football team, linebacker Manti Te’o, defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore, tight end Tyler Eifert and tackle Zack Martin, got a standing ovation when they were introduced at halftime.
Students rushed the floor after the Irish wrapped up their second win over the Wildcats in the past 13 meetings.
Two Kentucky freshmen struggled. Archie Goodwin, who is averaging 19 points, was 1 of 7 shooting and finished with three points and Alex Polythress, who is averaging 18.4 points, had just one basket and was 1 of 3 from the free-throw line.
The Irish outrebounded Kentucky 33-27 and led 36-25 at halftime. The lead was 10 points when Cameron Biedscheid, who had 10 points, hit a 3-pointer to ignite a 10-0 run that included a 3-pointer by Grant and another jumper by Biedscheid and gave Notre Dame a 55-35 lead.
No. 7 Florida 82, Marquette 49: Michael Frazier II scored 17 points, was one of six Florida players in double figures, and the Gators routed the Golden Eagles in the SEC-Big East Challenge in Gainesville, Fla.
Florida took control midway through the first half, building a double-digit lead thanks to Frazier’s hot hand and solid defense, and never let up.
The Gators kept things rolling after the break, opening up a 23-point lead on Will Yeguete’s layup.
And get this: the Gators (6-0) stayed unbeaten without much help from Kenny Boynton. The team’s leading scorer missed his first six shots and was scoreless until hitting a jumper with 16:34 remaining.
Boynton finished with six points on 2-of-11 shooting. Yeguete (11 points), Casey Prather (11), Mike Rosario (11), Pat Young (10) and Erik Murphy (10) all scored in double digits.
Vander Blue led Marquette (5-2) with 20 points, the team’s only player in double figures.
Frazier and Young were even more impressive than Florida’s balanced scoring effort.
Frazier made 5 of 8 shots from 3-point range, getting on such a role in the first half that teammates started looking for the 6-foot-4 freshman guard.
Young came off the bench and played with energy and effort all night, dominating the boards and doing all the little things. He had two monster blocks, a couple of nifty passes, went after loose balls and had a leaping steal near midcourt that turned into points.
Florida held Marquette to 41 percent shooting. The Golden Eagles finished 3 of 12 from 3-point range and turned the ball over 14 times.
Florida opened a 23-13 lead midway through the first half, pushed it to 38-20 on consecutive 3s from Frazier and could have cruised in the second half.
No. 12 Gonzaga 104, Lewis-Clark State 57: Redshirt freshman Kyle Dranginis scored a season-high 30 points, and five other Bulldogs scored in double figures in Spokane, Wash.
Przemek Karnowski scored 16 points, Sam Dower and David Stockton had 13 each and Kelly Olynk added 11 points and 10 rebounds for Gonzaga (7-0).
Dranginis, a 6-foot-4 guard from Nampa, Idaho, hit 12 of 16 shots as Gonzaga shot 64 percent from the field. He shot 4-for-7 from 3-pointers as the Bulldogs made 11 of 20 from behind the arc. He also had seven assists and six rebounds.