Jeremiah Robinson-Earl scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as No. 3 Villanova rallied from a nine-point, second-half deficit for a 76-67 victory over Boston College on Wednesday in the 2K Empire Classic at Uncasville, Conn.
The game was the season opener for both teams.
Collin Gillespie scored 15 points while Justin Moore and Caleb Daniels added 14 apiece for the Wildcats, who will face No. 18 Arizona State in the championship game on Thursday. The Sun Devils topped Rhode Island 94-88 in the other Wednesday game.
Jay Heath led Boston College with 16 points while Makai Ashton-Langford added 15 and Wynston Tabbs had 11. Steffon Mitchell pulled down 11 rebounds.
No. 4 Virginia 89, Towson 54
Transfers Sam Hauser and Trey Murphy III made successful Cavaliers debuts, leading their team to an easy season-opening victory over the Tigers in Uncasville, Conn.
The arrival of Hauser, a senior transfer from Marquette who sat out last season, was widely anticipated. He tallied 17 of his 19 points in the first half and added a team-high eight rebounds. He was 3-for-3 from behind the arc. Murphy, who found out just before the game his waiver for immediate eligibility after transferring from Rice was approved by the NCAA, had 21 points while hitting 6-of-8 3-pointers.
Towson fell to 0-7 all-time against Virginia. Nicolas Timberlake led the Tigers with 19 points. The Cavaliers improved to 11-1 in season openers under Tony Bennett.
No. 5 Iowa 97, North Carolina Central 67
Luka Garza scored 26 points, and it took the Hawkeyes some time to get rolling to their win over the Eagles in Iowa City, Iowa.
Garza, a 6-foot-11 senior who is considered one of the country’s top players, overpowered the Eagles. He shot 11-for-14 from the field while also grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds. The Hawkeyes won their first game of the season for the 10th year in a row.
Patrick McCaffery, a redshirt freshman and one of coach Fran McCaffery’s two sons on the Iowa roster, provided 16 points off the bench. C.J. Keyser led North Carolina Central with 15 points while Nicolas Fennell had 12 points and a team-best seven rebounds. Jamir Moultrie supplied nine points.
No. 7 Wisconsin 77, Eastern Illinois 67
Nate Reuvers had 18 points and nine rebounds as the Badgers rolled past the Panthers in Madison, Wis., in the season opener for both teams.
Wisconsin freshman Ben Carlson scored 13 points in his collegiate debut and D’Mitrik Trice contributed 11 points. Micah Potter tallied nine points and eight rebounds to help the Badgers win their home opener for the 22nd time in the past 23 seasons. The stretch includes a 13-point victory against the Panthers to begin the 2019-20 season.
Josiah Wallace paced the Panthers with a game-high 22 points while Jordan Skipper-Brown chipped in 14 points and three steals. Eastern Illinois won the rebounding battle 40-37.
No. 8 Illinois 122, North Carolina A&T 60
Junior All-America candidate Ayo Dosunmu produced a career-high 28 points as the Illini breezed by the Aggies in the season opener for both teams in Champaign, Ill.
Adam Miller, the Big Ten’s top-ranked recruit, set the Illinois record for most points in a freshman debut with 28 points on 6 3-pointers. Kofi Cockburn added 18 points and 10 rebounds while Illinois set the single-game team record with 17 3-pointers. Dosunmu added 10 rebounds and five assists.
Blake Harris paced North Carolina A&T with 12 points. MEAC preseason player of the year Kameron Langley, the point guard who led the nation last year with 8.0 assists per game, was limited to eight points and four assists in 32 minutes.
No. 10 Kentucky 81, Morehead State 45
Brandon Boston Jr. recorded 15 points and seven rebounds to help the Wildcats cruise to the victory over the visiting Eagles at Lexington, Ky.
Two other freshmen, Devin Askew and Terrence Clarke, added 12 points apiece for the Kentucky, while Creighton transfer Davion Mintz added 10 points. Johni Broome (5-of-6 shooting) and Julius Dixon scored 11 points apiece for Morehead State, which shot just 34 percent from the field.
The Wildcats shot 55.9 percent from the field and were 6 of 16 from 3-point range in the game that is part of the Bluegrass Showcase. Kentucky committed 15 turnovers.
No. 13 Michigan State 83, Eastern Michigan 67
Junior Foster Loyer fired in a career-best 20 points and the Spartans rolled to a win over the short-handed Eagles in the season opener for both teams at East Lansing, Mich.
Joey Hauser, who sat out last season after transferring from Marquette, supplied 15 points and nine rebounds in his Spartans debut. Gabe Brown tossed in 12 points and Joshua Langford, who had not played since December 2018 due to foot injuries, added 10 for Michigan State.
Eastern Michigan had only eight players available due to injuries and contact tracing related to the virus. Yeikson Montero led the Eagles with 16 points and Ty Groce had 14.
No. 14 Texas Tech 101, Northwestern State 58
Buoyed by a solid first half in which 12 players got court time, the Red Raiders routed the Demons in Lubbock, Texas.
Newcomer Mac McClung led the Red Raiders with 20 points. Returning starter Terrence Shannon Jr. contributed 16, ballyhooed freshman Micah Peavy added 14 with some highlight-reel slam dunks and graduate transfer Marco Santos-Silva recorded 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Jamaure Gregg led the Demons with 11 points. Northwestern State shot only 34.4 percent as a team from the floor (21 of 61) and missed 18 of 23 3-point tries.
No. 15 West Virginia 79, South Dakota State 71
Gabe Osabuohien converted a Sean McNeil assist into a layup with 50 seconds remaining, allowing the Mountaineers to outlast the upset-minded Jackrabbits in the opening round of the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Led by 17 points from Douglas Wilson and 16 from Noah Freidel, South Dakota State hung close to West Virginia for the entire 40 minutes, getting within 73-69 on a three-point play by Wilson with 1:50 to go.
Miles McBride finished with a game-high 23 points for West Virginia, which returns its top three scorers from a 21-10 team that was ranked as high as 12th last season. McNeil added 16 points and Taz Sherman 14 for the Mountaineers. Douglas Wilson scored 17 points for South Dakota State.
No. 16 North Carolina 79, College of Charleston 60
Caleb Love scored 17 points in his first college game and the Tar Heels had a big early lead disappear before recovering for a season-opening home victory against the Cougars in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Freshmen Day’Ron Sharpe (13 points) and RJ Davis (11 points) joined Love in making a big impact for North Carolina’s freshman class. Sharpe also pulled in 10 rebounds while Love was 8-for-8 on free throws. Armando Bacot added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Tar Heels, who overcame 4-for-18 shooting on 3-pointers.
Brevin Galloway had 15 points and Payton Willis added 13 to lead College of Charleston. Galloway made three of the Cougars’ eight 3-point baskets.
No. 17 Houston 89, Lamar 45
Marcus Sasser scored 19 of his game-high 25 points in the first half as the Cougars turned suffocating defense and rebounding into a season-opening, nonconference win over the visiting Cardinals at the Fertitta Center.
Sasser finished 9-for-11 from the floor including 7-of-9 on 3-point attempts to pace No. 17 Houston, who played without American Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year Caleb Mills (ankle). Anderson Kopp paced Lamar with 15 points on 8-of-9 free-throw shooting.
Houston stifled the Cardinals early and didn’t relent, limiting Lamar to two field goals by the midpoint of the first half and overcoming a scoring drought with a late closing kick.
No. 18 Arizona State 94, Rhode Island 88
Remy Martin scored 26 points to help the Sun Devils hold off the Rams at the 2K Empire Sports Classic in Uncasville, Conn.
Martin, a preseason All-American, also had six rebounds and five assists in the foul-plagued season-opener for both teams. Rhode Island’s Antwan Walker scored a career-high 19 points, as did Jeremy Sheppard, making his URI debut after stops at Eastern Carolina and junior college.
The Sun Devils advanced to Thursday’s title game of the four-team tournament, where they will meet No. 3 Villanova. The Rams will play the Eagles in the consolation game.
No. 19 Texas 91, UT Rio Grande Valley 55
Courtney Ramey scored 20 points to lead a balanced and deep attack as the Longhorns jumped out early and cruised to an easy win over the Vaqueros in the teams’ season opener in Austin, Texas.
The game was never in doubt after Texas’ early burst, and the Vaqueros did not get any closer than 14 points in the second half as the Longhorns shot 76.2 percent (16 of 21) from the floor after halftime.
Matt Coleman III poured in 17 points and Kai Jones added 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting for the Longhorns. Freshman Greg Brown III, one of the top-ranked recruits in the nation, started for Texas and scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in his collegiate debut. Quinton Johnson II had 13 points to lead UT Rio Grande Valley. Chris Freeman and LaQuan Butler added 10 points each for the Vaqueros.
San Diego State 73, No. 22 UCLA 58
Jordan Schakel and Matt Mitchell scored 15 points each to lead the Aztecs to a win against the Bruins in the season opener for both teams in San Diego.
Aguek Arop and Terrell Gomez added 10 points apiece for San Diego State, which returned two starters from last season’s team that finished 30-2 and ranked No. 6.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored 17 points, Cody Riley had 14 points and 12 rebounds and Chris Smith contributed 10 points for UCLA.
No. 23 Ohio State 94, Illinois State 67
The Buckeyes wasted no time in celebrating the start of the season, scoring the first 22 points en route to a blowout of the Redbirds in Columbus, Ohio.
Justice Sueing, in his first game for the Buckeyes after transferring from California, made his first eight shots on the way to a game-high 19 points and eight rebounds. E.J. Liddell finished with 16 points, while Duane Washington Jr. and freshman Zed Key added 12 points for the Buckeyes.
Antonio Reeves had 17 points and Josiah Strong scored 15 for Illinois State, which had no available seniors on the roster.
No. 24 Rutgers 86, Sacred Heart 63
Ron Harper Jr. led five Rutgers players in double figures with 18 points as the Scarlet Knights never trailed en route to a victory over the Pioneers in Piscataway, N.J.
Rutgers began a season as a ranked team for the first time since 1978, but the news was not all good in a game it led by as many as 25 points. Second-leading returning scorer Geo Baker injured his ankle attempting a 3-pointer with about four minutes left in the first half, did not return and watched the second half sporting crutches.
Aaron Clarke led the Pioneers with 17 points but shot 7 of 18 from the field. Mike Sixsmith added 11 points and Matas Spokas contributed 10 for the Pioneers, who shot 37.3 percent on field-goal attempts.
No. 25 Michigan 96, Bowling Green 82
Chaundee Brown debuted with 19 points and the Wolverines cruised past the Falcons in the season opener for both teams at Ann Arbor, Mich.
Brown, a Wake Forest transfer who started 74 games the past three seasons, knocked down five second-half 3-pointers and added four rebounds and three assists. Isaiah Livers supplied 17 points, nine rebounds and three assists while Columbia transfer Mike Smith racked up 16 points and eight assists in his Wolverines debut.
Justin Turner paced Bowling Green with 24 points and had moments of dominance in the first half. However, he shot just 9-for-24 from the field.
–Field Level Media