Bluegrass Battle: No. 3 Kentucky Tops Louisville In Sloppy, Chippy Game

In other late afternoon games, Marquette lost another close Big East contest, this time to No. 8 Villanova, In the Big Ten, Minnesota is routing Iowa. No. 1 Kansas is currently crushing No. 18 Temple.

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A Sea Of Blue: A Game Of Raw Emotion

SB Nation's Kentucky blog, A Sea Of Blue, has a reaction up to the Wildcats' win over Louisville Saturday afternoon. Given the atmosphere and electricity at Rupp Arena this afternoon, it's no surprise that the overwhelming emotion of the day is a major focus of the postmortem.

This was a game of raw emotion, and overcoming raw emotion. To my surprise, either Calipari had this team in a ridiculously high place coming into this game, or the players simply let the hype and the smack talk get the best of them. Either way, this was by far the most intensity and physicality I have seen out of this young Kentucky team on both ends of the floor. I can't say for sure whether it was good or bad, because excess intensity is never good. In the end, though, the Kentucky Wildcats prevailed, and bottom line, that's all that matters.

The entire post is worth a read as A Sea Of Blue addresses the Demarcus Cousins episode earlier in the game and breaks down the Cats' performance in this site's typically comprehensive style.


No. 1 Kansas 84, No. 18 Temple 52: All Jayhawks In Philly

Read more at our Jayhawks blog, Rock Chalk Talk.

January 2, 2010 - Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Xavier Henry led a balanced attack with 15 points, as the top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks remained perfect on the season with a 84-52 rout of the 18th-ranked Temple Owls at Liacouras Center.

Sherron Collins added 14 points and four assists for the Jayhawks (13-0), who extended the nation's longest home-court winning streak to 50 games with an 81-51 win against Belmont on December 29. Marcus Morris chipped in 13 points while Cole Aldrich ended with 10 points and 10 rebounds for Kansas, which shot 54.5 percent from the field.

Ryan Brooks had 11 points and five boards for the Owls (11-3), who had a seven-game winning streak snapped. Juan Fernandez tallied 11 points while Lavoy Allen finished with 10 points and five rebounds for Temple, which shot a miserable 25 percent from the floor.

The Jayhawks jumped out to a 15-7 lead just seven minutes into the game. But the Owls answered with a small 10-4 burst to get within two. Craig Williams made a pair of three-pointers during the stretch, which Fernandez capped off with a trey to cut the gap to 19-17 with less than 8 1/2 minutes to go until half.

Kansas pulled away with an ensuing 19-4 run. Morris tallied nine points during the flurry, including a layup to make it 38-21 with 2:18 left. The score was 40-23 at the break.

The Jayhawks scored six consecutive points early in the second half to build a 49-27 lead with about 16 minutes remaining.

Kansas turned the tilt into a full-on rout with 12 straight points moments later. Henry's three-point play made it a 63-35 game with 7:50 to play and the Jayhawks cruised from there.

Kansas leads the all-time series with Temple, 7-3. The Jayhawks beat the Owls, 71-59, last year in Lawrence...This was the first time since its opening in 1997, that the Liacouras Center hosted the number one ranked team in the land...This was the 15th time Temple faced the No. 1 team in the Associated Press poll. The Owls are 2-13 in those 15 encounters.


Minnesota 86, Iowa 74: Golden Gophers Have Little Trouble With Hawkeyes

Read more at our Minnesota blog, The Daily Gopher, and our Iowa blog, Black Heart Gold Pants.

January 2, 2010 - Iowa City, IA (Sports Network) - Blake Hoffarber's 24 points and six rebounds led the way as the Minnesota Golden Gophers bested the Iowa Hawkeyes, 86-74, in a Big Ten matchup at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Damian Johnson scored 13 points and grabbed five boards for Minnesota, (11-3, 2-0 Big Ten) which won its seventh straight. Devoe Joseph added 12 points and five assists. Devron Bostic grabbed eight rebounds to go with seven points.

Matt Gatens scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Iowa (5-9, 0-2) which lost its second straight. Eric May added 13 points and eight boards, while Aaron Fuller posted 10 points and eight rebounds.

Minnesota took command in the first half, running out to a 49-32 lead at the break. The Golden Gophers were 20-of-37 from the floor in the first half. Iowa was 9-of-22 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.

Iowa cut into the deficit in the second half, but Minnesota stayed in front by shooting 45.5 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes. The Gophers also made four of their five foul shots. The hosts sank seven of 15 three- point attempts in the second half.

Iowa hurt its cause by turning the ball over 25 times. Minnesota was guilty of 16 turnovers.


No. 8 Villanova 74, Marquette 72: Golden Eagles Fall Short Again

January 2, 2010 - Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - Scottie Reynolds led all scorers with 23 points and made a key jumper in the closing seconds, as eighth-ranked Villanova held on to edge Marquette, 74-72, in a Big East matchup at the Bradley Center.

Maalik Wayns netted 16 points and Reggie Redding donated 11 points and eight rebounds for Villanova (12-1, 1-0 Big East), which has won three straight after suffering its only loss of the season, a 75-65 setback at rival Temple on December 13.

Corey Fisher and Taylor King each ended with six points for the Wildcats, who shot 47.5 percent from the field, but only 3-of-10 from three-point range.

Jimmy Butler ended with a team-best 19 points and Lazar Hayward registered 17 points and 14 rebounds for Marquette (9-5, 0-2), which was coming off a one- point loss at No. 6 West Virginia in its league opener on Tuesday. Dwight Buycks and David Cubillan chipped in with 15 and 10 points, respectively, for the Golden Eagles.

Villanova held a 35-34 lead after a hard-fought opening 20 minutes and neither squad was able to get a handle on the game in the second, as the entire half was back-and-forth.

Butler put the Golden Eagles ahead 71-69 after knocking down a pair from the stripe with 1:49 on the clock, but Redding answered by draining two foul shots to tie it with 56.5 seconds remaining.

Hayward was fouled under the basket by King with 27 seconds to play, but made only 1-of-2 at the line.

On the Wildcats' next trip, Reynolds made a short jumper from just inside the free-throw line and was fouled. The senior missed the free throw, but 'Nova was still ahead 73-72 with 18.1 ticks left.

After the Villanova defense forced Butler to miss a layup from close range, Marquette was forced to foul with 2.6 seconds. Redding made the first free throw, but missed the second, putting the Wildcats up by two. The Golden Eagles called a timeout after the miss and were forced to go the length of the floor, and they were unable to get a final shot off before the clock expired.

The teams took turns exchanging the lead throughout the opening 20 minutes, but Wayns' three-point play in the final minute helped Villanova take a one- point advantage into the break.

The Wildcats improved to 9-6 in the all-time series with the Golden Eagles.

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