Wildcats rout Gamecocks
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Joe Crawford tied his career high with 23 points and No. 25 Kentucky won its 11th straight game, an 87-49 victory over South Carolina on Tuesday night.
Crawford had 17 points in the first half to help the Wildcats (15-3, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) open a double-digit lead. Randolph Morris added 17 points and 11 rebounds for Kentucky, which has not lost since falling at North Carolina on Dec. 2.
Crawford hit his first three 3-pointers over the first six minutes — eerily similar to the 5-for-5 long-range performance Florida's Lee Humphrey hung on South Carolina to start that game — and the Wildcats picked it up from there.
It was the Gamecocks' fourth consecutive blowout loss — by a combined 112 points. The stretch began with a loss to No. 5 Kansas (70-54), and continued with flops against Georgia (80-56) and top-ranked Florida (84-50).
It was the worst home loss for South Carolina (10-6, 0-3) since a 64-11 defeat by Wake Forest in 1915.
No. 6 PITTSBURGH 63, UCONN 54 :
No. 6 Pittsburgh pulled away midway through the second half behind Aaron Gray's strong inside play and Ronald Ramon's perimeter shooting, wearing down Connecticut in a typically rugged Big East rivalry game for a 63-54 victory Tuesday night.
Gray, helped by an injury that kept UConn's 7-foot-3 Hasheem Thabeet out for most of the first half, had 22 points and 19 rebounds. Ramon went 4-for-4 from 3-point range while adding 17 points as the Panthers (17-2, 5-0) won their seventh straight. They are the only team still unbeaten in conference play.
Gray missed by a rebound of becoming the first Pitt player with as many as 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game since Chris McNeal against Boston College in 1992.
UConn (13-4, 2-3) lost for the fourth time in six games mostly because of poor shooting — the Huskies shot 35.6 percent — yet led 33-32 with 12 minutes remaining.
But the Huskies went scoreless for 4 minutes shortly after that during a 7-0 Pitt run started by Levance Fields' 3-pointer. Levon Kendall followed with a jumper from the wing, one of only two baskets before he fouled out, and Gray also scored inside.
The Panthers made it 53-40 on Mike Cook's driving layup with 2:41 remaining, then spent most of the remaining time on the free throw line as UConn fouled early in every Pitt possession to try to get the ball back.
The Big East's two most successful programs since 2001 — no team is close to them in regular season victories — are known for their intense, physical styles. This one was no different, as was evident when Thabeet caught an elbow from Gray above his eye less than 2 minutes into the game.
Thabeet was assisted to the locker room in obvious pain and didn't return late in the half. With Thabeet out, Gray took advantage by getting 11 rebounds by halftime.
Thabeet, who had 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks Saturday in a 68-59 win at St. John's, finished with one point and six rebounds in 21 minutes but never took a shot from the field — evidence of how Gray was in control underneath. Jeff Adrien scored 13 points and Jerome Dyson had 11 for the Huskies.
Still, Pitt had trouble shooting early against UConn's inexperienced but quick defenders until Ramon got going. The Panthers, shooting only 33 percent in the first half, led 24-22 at halftime only because Ramon hit a 3-pointer with a second left. Pitt was much better in the second half, making 10 of 15 shots to finish 20-of-45 (44.4 percent).
The Panthers shouldn't have been surprised UConn played them so tough despite a Connecticut roster that is almost entirely freshmen and sophomores. UConn had won six of 10 from Pitt since 2001, when the Panthers returned to being a conference power, and won in Pittsburgh the last time it played there in 2005.
No. 17 MEMPHIS 79, UAB 54
Robert Dozier had 15 points and eight rebounds to lead No. 17 Memphis to its sixth straight victory, 79-54 over visiting UAB.
The Tigers (14-3, 4-0 Conference USA) used a 12-0 run midway through the first half to erase an early deficit and were never threatened in the second half.
Jeremy Hunt added 14 points for Memphis, while Willie Kemp added 12. Joey Dorsey had 12 rebounds for Memphis, while Antonio Anderson had a career-high nine assists.
Wen Mukubu led UAB (10-8, 2-2) with 18 points, including a four-point play midway through the second half. Lawrence Kinnard scored 13 points, while leading scorer Paul Delaney finished with 12, 5.6 under his season average.
Memphis played most of the game without leading scorer Chris Douglas-Roberts, who tried to play but went to the locker room early. He is still bothered from a sprained ankle suffered against Houston two games ago.
The Blazers have lost eight straight on the road against the Tigers, including a 57-46 decision in last season's C-USA tournament championship game.
UAB switched from a zone defense to man-to-man through much of the first half, and Memphis adapted slowly. The Blazers led 17-14, but Memphis went on a 15-0 run as UAB didn't score for 6 minutes.
BOSTON COLLEGE 82, MIAMI 63
Sean Marshall scored Boston College's first nine points as the Eagles opened a 20-point halftime lead and coasted over visiting Miami.
Marshall finished with 20 points and Jared Dudley scored 18 for BC (13-4, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), which won its fourth straight game since he returned from a foot injury and sixth in a row overall. Tyrese Rice had 16 points and a career-high 12 assists, and Shamari Spears scored nine with 10 rebounds.
Dwayne Collins scored a season-high 24 points and added 13 rebounds as Miami (9-10, 2-3) lost for the sixth time in eight games, including an 85-63 loss to No. 14 Duke on Sunday. He was the only Hurricanes player to make more than half his shots as they shot 28 percent in the first half and fell behind 42-22 at the break.
New BC football coach Jeff Jagodzinski was introduced during a first-half timeout and received a tremendous standing ovation. After the school fight song, "For Boston," the former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator took the microphone and said, "This is a great place, and I'm proud to be your football coach. We're going to go get it done."
Also at the game were New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison and Boston Mayor Tom Menino.
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