Freshmen lift No. 2 Kentucky
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Attention, Southeastern Conference. Kentucky has a freshman point guard capable of beating teams in a variety of ways.
And it's not John Wall.
Eric Bledsoe scored a career-high 25 points, getting to the rim, hitting 3-pointers and making just about everything in between to help the second-ranked Wildcats stay unbeaten with an 89-77 victory over Florida last night.
"He's as good as any point guard in the country," Gators coach Billy Donovan said. "He's faster than John Wall and probably shoots it a little bit better."
Wall was no slouch, either. He finished with 19 points despite missing six of seven from 3-point range. Patrick Patterson added 15 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats (17-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference), who ended the game with a 17-5 run and snapped a five-game losing streak in Gainesville.
Erving Walker led Florida with 20 points, and Alex Tyus added 17. But the Gators (11-5, 0-2) are off to their worst start in conference play since 1996 — the year before Donovan took over.
Kentucky built a 55-40 lead, but couldn't close it out.
Walker did most of the damage, hitting four 3-pointers as the Gators rallied and tied the game at 72 on Vernon Macklin's putback with 5:13 left.
Patterson put the Cats back ahead with a turnaround jumper in the lane. He failed to convert the three-point play, but DeMarcus Cousins gathered the rebound. Darnell Dodson then hit a 3. Bledsoe added another 3 on the next possession that put Kentucky ahead 80-73 with 3:58 to play.
"It was real big," Patterson said. "It shows our maturity level, it shows how far we've come. We're a tough team, we have a will to win and we want to battle."
OHIO STATE 70, NO. 6 PURDUE 66
Evan Turner scored 23 of his career-high 32 points in the second half, and the visiting Buckeyes (12-5, 2-3 Big Ten) rallied from a 13-point deficit to hand the Boilermakers (14-2, 2-2) their second straight loss.
NO. 13 KANSAS STATE 88, TEXAS A&M 65
Denis Clemente scored 20 of his 24 points in a dominating first half when the Wildcats (14-2, 1-1 Big 12) opened a 45-33 lead in cruising past the Aggies (12-4, 1-1) for their 13th straight victory.
COLORADO 78, NO. 22 BAYLOR 71
Cory Higgins scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, and the host Buffaloes (10-6, 1-1 Big 12) upset the Bears (13-2, 1-1), ending a nine-game, three-year winless streak against ranked opponents.
NORTH CAROLINA STATE 88, NO. 25 FLORIDA STATE 81
Scott Wood scored a career-high 31 points and the visiting Wolfpack (12-5, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) hit 11 of 23 3-pointers to upset the Seminoles (13-4, 1-2).
WOMEN'S TOP 25
NO. 3 NOTRE DAME 81, SOUTH FLORIDA 64
Lindsay Schrader had 18 points and 13 rebounds and the host Irish (15-0, 2-0 Big East) finished the game with a 19-3 run to put away the Bulls (9-7, 0-3).
NO. 11 NEBRASKA 91, NO. 19 TEXAS 79
Kelsey Griffin scored 26 points, including six in a row after the visiting Longhorns (11-5, 0-2) pulled to with three points with 6:47 left, helping the Cornhuskers (15-0, 2-0 Big 12) hold on.
NO. 15 OKLAHOMA STATE 70, KANSAS 68
Andrea Riley had 30 points and Toni Young scored her only basket with 3.5 seconds left to lift the visiting Cowgirls (14-2, 2-0 Big 12) over the Jayhawks (10-5, 0-2).
NO. 18 WEST VIRGINIA 45, VILLANOVA 41
Korinne Campbell scored 10 points, including two free throws with 25.1 seconds left, as the host Mountaineers (16-1, 4-0 Big East) beat the Wildcats (10-5, 0-3).
NO. 24 GEORGETOWN 74, PROVIDENCE 62
Sugar Rodgers scored 26 points to lead the host Hoyas (14-2, 3-0 Big East) over the Friars (10-6, 1-2) in their second game in school history as a ranked team.