PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — First-year guard Gradey Dick scored a season-high 25 points to help No. 3 Kansas beat North Carolina State 80-74 in Wednesday’s Battle 4 Atlantis opener, giving coach Bill Self a successful return to the bench after a four-game suspension.
Dick had 18 on six 3-pointers in the first half before going 1 for 8 from the field after halftime. Jalen Wilson added 19 points and 11 rebounds for the reigning national champion Jayhawks (5-0), who blew an eight-point halftime lead and a nine-point second-half lead before grinding it out in the final minutes.
Casey Morsell scored 21 points to lead the Wolfpack (4-1), while Terquavion Smith added 19 points.
N.C. State played a fast pace, picked up full court and stayed within arm’s reach of Kansas the entire way but couldn’t take a second-half lead even after tying it five times, the last coming at 63-all on Jack Clark’s jumper with 7:14 left.
No. 7 BAYLOR 89, MCNEESE STATE 60
WACO, Texas (AP) — True freshman Keyonte George scored 17 points, Adam Flagler added 13 with nine assists and Baylor pulled away from McNeese State.
LJ Cryer had 16 points for the Bears (5-1) to follow up three consecutive 20-point games that garnered him Big 12 player of the week honors. Three days after a career-high 28 points in a win over then-No. 8 UCLA, Cryer had two 3-pointers and a jumper to push the Bears to a quick 10-2 lead.
Jonathan Massie and Zach Scott each had 12 points for McNeese State (2-4). All of Scott’s scoring came on four 3-pointers.
No. 14 ARIZONA 81, No. 10 CREIGHTON 79
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Oumar Ballo dominated inside with 30 points and 13 rebounds for Arizona, which held off Creighton to win the Maui Invitational for the third time.
The combination of the unstoppable 7-foot, 260-pound Ballo and his speedy, talented supporting cast was just enough for the Wildcats (6-0) to remain undefeated. Kerr Kriisa added 13 points and nine assists, Azuolas Tubelis had 12 points and Courtney Ramey scored 10. Arizona scored its final points with 2:21 to play but managed to hold on.
Ryan Nembhard scored 20 points for Creighton (6-1), which was trying to beat a ranked opponent for the third straight day. Ryan Kalkbrenner added 16 points, Trey Alexander scored 15 and Baylor Scheierman had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
No. 11 INDIANA 87, LITTLE ROCK 68
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Race Thompson scored season-high 20 points and had eight rebounds despite being bloodied in the first half, leading Indiana past Little Rock.
Freshman Malik Reneau had 10 points and six rebounds in his starting debut and Xavier Johnson finished with nine points and 10 assists for the short-handed Hoosiers, who are 5-0 start for the second straight season. Preseason All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis sat out with a sore back.
Myron Gardner, the reigning Ohio Valley Conference player of the week, had 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Trojans. D.J. Smith scored 20 points to lead Little Rock (2-4), which has lost all three in the series and is 3-13 against Big Ten foes.
No. 13 AUBURN 43, NORTHWESTERN 42
CANCUN, Mexico (AP) — K.D. Johnson scored 12 points, Allen Flanigan made a contested go-ahead layup with 31 seconds left and Auburn held on to beat Northwestern in the championship game of the Cancun Challenge.
Jaylin Williams made 3 of 6 from 3-point range and finished with 11 points for the Tigers (6-0).
Chase Audige hit Northwestern’s second 3-pointer to take a 40-39 lead with 3 minutes to play. Wendell Green Jr. — Auburn’s leading scorer at 14.0 per game — scored his only points when he hit a pull-up jumper with 1:43 to go and Audige answered with a layup to give the Wildcats a one-point lead 24 seconds later. After Robbie Beran stole a pass from Auburn’s Johni Broome, Green created a Northwestern turnover that led to Flanigan’s layup.
Johnson contested a potential winning jumper by Audige in the closing seconds that bounced off the backboard, deflected off Beran and was finally secured by Green.
Audige led Northwestern with 10 points,
No. 15 KENTUCKY 96, NORTH FLORIDA 56
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Jacob Toppin scored a career-high 20 points and had 10 rebounds to help Kentucky rout North Florida..
The Wildcats (4-2) easily recovered from an 88-72 loss at No. 6 Gonzaga Sunday and won their 23rd consecutive home game against an unranked opponent.
Jarius Hicklen led the Ospreys (1-4) with 17 points.
No. 19 UCLA 100, PEPPERDINE 53
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Freshman Amari Bailey scored a career-best 19 points, Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 17 points and eight rebounds and UCLA rebounded from a rough weekend in Las Vegas to beat Pepperdine.
David Singleton scored 13 points and Jalen Clark had 12 for the Bruins (4-2). They returned to play after losing ranked teams in Illinois and Baylor at the Continental Tire Main Event.
Houston Mallette and Jan Zidek each scored 13 points for the Waves (4-2). Zidek’s father, George, played on UCLA’s 1995 national championship team.
OHIO STATE 80, No. 21 TEXAS TECH 73
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) —Justice Sueing scored 23 of his career-high 33 points in the second half to help Ohio State hold off Texas Tech for a win in the fifth-place game in the Maui Invitational.
Sueing scored 15 points in a row for the Buckeyes in the last 10 minutes to turn back the Red Raiders each time they threatened to make a run.
Ohio State (5-1) shot 52% from the field, made all 18 of its free throws and never trailed after the first two minutes.
Texas Tech (4-2) got a career-high 21 points from Daniel Batcho and 19 from Kevin Obanor.
No. 22 TENNESSEE 71, BUTLER 45
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — Santiago Vescovi scored all 13 of his points after halftime and sparked the clinching run that helped Tennessee beat Butler in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Vescovi hit three 3-pointers during a 17-1 run that blew the game open for the Volunteers (3-1), who shot 53% after halftime. Tennessee led 28-23 at the break, then responded when Butler got within a basket with the big run that pushed the Vols to an 18-point lead midway through the second half.
Julian Phillips added 11 points for Tennessee, which had to go without leading scorer Josiah-Jordan James (13.7) due to soreness in his left knee. He had an offseason procedure on that same joint.
Jayden Taylor scored 18 points with four 3s to lead the Bulldogs (3-2), who shot just 31.9%.
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