LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Trey Lyles scored 14 points, Karl-Anthony Towns added 13 with nine rebounds and No. 1 Kentucky pulled away from Florida 67-50 on Saturday to complete the storied program’s first unbeaten regular season.
A sellout crowd cheered loudly as the final seconds wound down on the eight-time NCAA champions’ milestone achievement. Players soon donned blue T-shirts with ”31-0” in white and the phrase ”not done yet.”
Towns was essential in getting the Wildcats going toward history with 10 first-half points. He also grabbed six rebounds that were critical in helping Kentucky (31-0, 18-0 Southeastern Conference) slowly pull away.
Kasey Hill scored 15 points and Dorian Finney-Smith had 12 for Florida (15-16, 8-10), which couldn’t keep up with the Wildcats’ depth in the final 10 minutes. The Gators were outscored 46-13 in bench points alone and shot just 43 percent.
No. 4 Villanova 105, St. John’s 68
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Daniel Ochefu had 21 points and nine rebounds, and JayVaughn Pinkston scored 18 points as Villanova rolled to its 12th straight victory.
The Wildcats (29-2, 16-2 Big East) now have the most regular-season wins in team history and head to New York as the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. The Wildcats have won 12 straight Big East games for the first time in program history.
Villanova shook off a slow start and dominated the Red Storm (21-10, 10-8) in the second half. Villanova went on a 23-4 run to put the game away.
Rysheed Jordan led St. John’s with 21 points.
Illinois St. 65, No. 8 Wichita St. 62
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Daishon Knight capped a 25-point game with two critical free throws in the closing seconds and Illinois State rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit to beat Wichita State in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.
Reggie Lynch added 11 points, seven rebounds and five blocks for the fourth-seeded Redbirds (21-11), who were 0-2 against the regular season champions in conference play and trailed by 12 in the first half. Illinois State has won six straight and will play for the Valley’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in the final on Sunday.
Fred VanVleet had 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Wichita State (28-4), which was 17-1 in the conference with the lone loss at Northern Iowa. VanVleet had a tough look and was offline on a 3-point attempt with 1 second remaining.
Freshman reserve MiKyle McIntosh, a 55 percent free throw shooter, was 4 for 4 at the line over the final 1:47 for his only points of the game. Knight hit two free throws with 7.6 seconds to go for the game’s final points.
LSU 81, No. 18 Arkansas 78
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) – Keith Hornsby hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give LSU the victory.
The Tigers (22-9, 11-7 Southeastern Conference) hit 3-pointers on their final two possessions to erase a 3-point deficit. Jalyn Patterson’s 3-pointer with 57.8 seconds remaining tied the game 78-78.
Arkansas had a chance to take the lead late in the game, but Harris had a shot blocked at the rim by Jarell Martin to give the Tigers the ball with 22.9 seconds left. After LSU coach Johnny Jones called a timeout, Josh Gray penetrated the lane and found Hornsby open in the corner for the game winning shot.
Alandise Harris made six free throws and Anthlon Bell added a 3-pointer in the closing minutes to give Arkansas the lead. The Razorbacks (24-7, 13-5) trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half.
Martin scored 27 points and Patterson had 20 for the Tigers, who were playing without second-leading scorer and leading rebounder Jordan Mickey, who injured his shoulder in a game against Tennessee on Wednesday.
Bobby Portis had 21 points and a career-high 15 rebounds for the Razorbacks. Michael Qualls added 15 points.
No. 20 West Virginia 81, Oklahoma St. 72
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) – Devin Williams tied a career-high with 22 points to lead West Virginia.
Daxter Miles Jr. added 15 points for the Mountaineers (23-8, 11-7 Big 12), who were without injured senior guards Juwan Staten and Gary Browne in their final home game. Williams had 13 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season.
Most of Williams’ work came from the free throw line, where he went 14 of 15.
Jeff Newberry scored a career-high 23 points on 8 of 11 shooting for Oklahoma State. Anthony Hickey added 17 points, Phil Forte had 13 and Le’Bryan Nash 10.
The Cowboys (18-12, 8-10) head into the conference tournament with losses in five of their last six games.
No. 21 Butler 68, No. 24 Providence 64
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Roosevelt Jones scored 16 points and Kellen Dunham had 15 as Butler held on.
Reserve Kelan Martin added 14 points for the Bulldogs (22-9, 12-6 Big East), who won for the ninth time in 12 games.
Kris Dunn led Providence (21-10, 11-7) with 23 points, six assists and four steals. Tyler Harris had 17 points on 7 of 12 shooting. LaDontae Henton, a senior and the Big East’s leading scorer, had eight points on 2 of 10 shooting.
The Bulldogs led by as many as 16 points in the second half before a furious charge by the Friars made it 50-49 with 7:32 remaining. Butler used five straight points from Martin and a 3-pointer by Dunham to go up by 58-49.