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Saturday’s action: UNC tops Louisville in classic and more

Saturday saw plenty of quality games in Men’s college basketball, with 16 contests featuring at least one top 25 team. With January approaching the midway point, the conference play is heating up as we get a better idea of who is a legitimate contender and who is a complete pretender.

In the ACC, we had the unquestioned game of the week between the No. 18 North Carolina Tar Heels and No. 5 Louisville Cardinals. At the Dean E. Smith Center, North Carolina toppled Rick Pitino and Louisville, 72-71, behind Marcus Paige’s game-winning layup with 8.5 seconds remaining. Brice Johnson contributed a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds while Kennedy Meeks chipped in with 13 points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

Louisville played a terrific game early, but simply came up short late. The Cardinals shot 47.5 percent from the field, led by Terry Rozier’s 25 points. Louisville was ahead 63-50 with 8:23 to go in the second half before North Carolina made its run. The Tar Heels went on a 20-6 run over the next eight minutes, finally overtaking the Cardinals with 39 seconds on the clock. After falling behind once more, Paige put the game on ice and the crowd into delirium.

Kentucky survives

Elsewhere, we almost saw a major upset in College Station. The Texas A&M Aggies took on the No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats, and almost handed the juggernaut its first defeat of the season. The Aggies were leading 57-55 with seven seconds remaining in the first overtime before Trey Lyles knocked down a pair of free throws, sending the contest into another overtime.

The Wildcats went on to a 70-64 victory despite shooting a dismal 28.4 percent from the field. Devin Booker lead Kentucky with 18 points, while Texas A&M was paced by guard Danuel House with 25 points and nine rebounds. The Wildcats (15-0, 2-0) move on to play the dismal Missouri Tigers, hoping to finally win an SEC game without overtime.

Seton Hall sizzling

In the Big East, we are seeing the rise of the Seton Hall Pirates. Seton Hall, who entered the week at No. 19 in the AP Poll after beating the Villanova Wildcats and St. John’s Red Storm, is still playing well. The Pirates lost on the road to the Xavier Musketeers on Wednesday but rebounded for an important 68-67 win over the Creighton Jays. Sterling Gibbs knocked down a massive 3-point shot with 2.1 seconds left in regulation, propelling Seton Hall to a 13-3 mark and a 3-1 record in conference.

Quick Hits

  • The Indiana Hoosiers made a play to be ranked on Monday, beating the No. 22 Ohio State Buckeyes 69-66 at home.
  • The No. 10 Texas Longhorns suffered a tough defeat, losing to the Oklahoma State Cowboys, 69-58.
  • The No. 3 Virginia Cavaliers continue to roll, beating the No. 13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish on the road, 62-56.
  • It was the No. 17 Iowa State Cyclones toppling the No. 14 West Virginia Mountaineers, 74-72, in Big 12 play.
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