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Arizona Holds Off Utah to Stay Perfect, Pitt Takes on Duke

The No. 1 Arizona Wildcats (20-0, 7-0) extended their perfect season on Sunday with a 65-56 win over the Utah Utes (14-6, 3-5). Arizona has now won 20 straight games, setting a school record.

The Utes provided a tougher challenge for the Wildcats than anticipated. Arizona immediately fell into a 10-point deficit in the first half as they struggled against Utah’s defense. But they figured things out and entered a halftime lead at 31-26. The game got tight in the second half with a brief 49-47 lead by Utah but the Wildcats persevered and grabbed the win.

For the night, Arizona went 3 of 14 for 3-pointers and overall 40 percent shooting. They had 20 offensive rebounds that enabled them to get 19 second-chance points. In rebounding, they had a 40-29 advantage and in the paint, outscored the Utes 38-24.

Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson led Arizona in scoring with his 22 points while the freshman duo of Aaron Gordon added 10 points (3-of-13 shooting) with 12 rebounds and two blocked shots. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson also contributed 10 points with seven rebounds.

Arizona coach Sean Miller said of Gordon and Hollis-Jefferson via the Associated Press, “Those two guys bring a lot to the table. Their athleticism and physicality and just big-moment plays. The bigger the game, the more competitive the game, those guys are first-year players but they’re really at home when it’s like that.”

As for Utah, who remains without a road win, it had Delon Wright as its lead scorer with 19 points while Jordan Loveridge added 13 points (3-of-14 shooting).

Arizona will remain at No. 1 this week in the polls, followed by Syracuse (19-0, 6-0) at No. 2; both teams sit with perfect records. The Wildcats will look to extend their win streak with a Wednesday game against Stanford (13-6, 4-3).

The Wildcats sits in the top spot to win the 2014 Men’s NCCA Basketball Championship at 11/2.

#20 Pitt vs. #18 Duke

On Monday, No. 18 Pitt (18-2, 6-1) will host No. 20 Duke (16-4, 5-2) in its first matchup as fellow ACC teams.

The Panthers have had an easy transition to their new conference. They sit in the second spot behind Syracuse and already have defeated Maryland twice and beat Georgia Tech and North Carolina State on the road. Their only ACC loss has been to the Orange.

It’s been a different story for Duke this season. They’ve had two road conference losses including Notre Dame and Clemson and in addition to Monday’s road game, will play Syracuse on Saturday at the Carrier Dome. Should the Blue Devils get swept this week, their chances of an ACC title race could be over by the weekend.

On Saturday, Duke routed Florida State (13-6, 4-3) 78-56, giving coach Mike Krzyzewski his 900th victory at the school. This came on offensive rebounds (27) and turnovers (scoring 29 points from this) while the team’s shooting was a dismal 30.5 percent.

Duke’s freshman phenom Jabari Parker scored 14 points and 14 rebounds on Saturday, grabbing a second consecutive double-double. Marshall Plumlee added seven points with seven rebounds.

Good luck doing the same against Pitt, who has given up 26 rebounds in its last four games. The Panthers sit as the ACC’s leader for rebounding margin at plus-9.2 per game; Duke is No. 10 at plus-2.8 per game.

Lamar Patterson

Lamar Patterson

Pitt does sit behind behind Duke (81.6) in points per game (76.4) for the conference but leads it for field goal percentage (48.8) and assists (17.0). On Saturday, Pitt’s Lamar Patterson scored 28 points in his team’s 83-79 win over Maryland. He sits as the team’s leading scorer (17.9) and in assists (4.7); he is No. 2 for rebounding (4.8).

The Panthers are 12-0 on their home court this season while the Blue Devils will arrive with a four-game winning streak. Both teams need the win badly and the Panthers will get it (-5).

They sit at 50/1 to win the 2014 NCAA Men’s championship.

Monday night Top 25 games… No. 4 Villanova (-5.5) at Georgetown  and No. 11 Oklahoma State (-3.5) at No. 25 Oklahoma






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