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College basketball scores: Duke takes down Wisconsin, but Big Ten still takes Challenge title

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In perhaps the most packed weeknight of the college hoops season thus far, Duke notched the young season's defining victory by going on the road and taking down No. 2 Wisconsin.

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

TOP 25 SCORES

No. 4 Duke 80, No. 2 Wisconsin 70

No. 7 Virginia 76, No. 25 Maryland 61

No. 25 Utah 69, No. 8 Wichita State 68 (OT)

No. 10 Villanova 84, La Salle 70

Iowa 60, No. 12 North Carolina 55

Notre Dame 79, No. 18 Michigan State 78 (OT)

No. 23 Butler 77, Indiana State 54

GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 4 Duke 80, No. 2 Wisconsin 70

We billed this as the No. 1 non-conference game of the 2014-15 season back in early October, and in terms of both teams appearing to be worthy of their top-five rankings, I'd say it lived up to the billing. Only it looked like the wrong team had the little number two next to its name all night.

Make no mistake about it, this game was more about Duke than Wisconsin, which still looks the part of a top five squad and legitimate national title contender. It's just that the Blue Devils, despite starting three freshmen, are much, much better than most people thought they'd be by the first week of December.

Everyone knows about Jahlil Okafor, and Justise Winslow had been receiving his fair share of "the top Duke freshman so far is actually ..." attention as well, but on Wednesday night Tyus Jones looked like the best player on the floor. The rookie floor general was dynamic with the ball in his hands, scoring 22 points, dishing out four  assists and turning it over just once in 37 minutes of court time. Despite owning an accomplished backcourt and versatile forwards capable of locking down just about anybody in 1-on-1 situations, Bo Ryan didn't have anyone who could keep Jones from doing what he wanted with the ball in his hands.

Okafor was great in his own right, scoring 13 points despite spending most of the night in foul trouble, and limiting preseason All-American Frank Kaminsky to a 5-for-12 evening from the field. As for the veterans, Quinn Cook looks like a totally different player (in a good way) playing off the ball, and Rasheed Sulaimon was a tremendous spark off the bench.

I'm not sure things are as simple as "Kentucky, Duke, then everybody else," but the Blue Devils certainly eliminated (or at least they should have) all the one-horse race talk on Wednesday.

UPSET OF THE NIGHT: Iowa 60, No. 12 North Carolina 55

It seemed safe to chalk up UNC's loss to Butler in the opening game of the Battle 4 Atlantis as a fluke after watching the Heels roll over UCLA and Florida in the succeeding two days. On Wednesday night, however, we saw several of the same things that plagued Roy Williams' team in its first loss lead to its downfall against the visiting Hawkeyes.

The Heels looked lost on offense, where they consistently settled for outside shots despite finishing 4-for-23 from beyond the arc. They got just 9 points from their bench, they finished with more turnovers (10) than assists (8), and they lost a home game to a good, not great Iowa team that shot just 32.7 percent (18-for-55) from the field.

Roy Williams won't be going green again anytime soon.

THREE GREAT WINS

No. 25 Utah 69, No. 8 Wichita State 68 (OT)

One of college basketball's great streaks -- Wichita State's 35-game regular season winning streak -- is dead, and perhaps dying with it are some of the demons that wound up keeping Utah out of the NCAA Tournament a season ago. The Utes were 1-8 in games decided by 4 points in 2013-14, history which seemed destined to repeat itself when the Shockers erased a seven-point deficit with 1:22 to play to send the game into overtime. Instead, Delon Wright and company bit down and did what no team in college basketball had done since Creighton on March 10, 2013.

No. 7 Virginia 76, No. 21 Maryland 65

Yes, Maryland was without the services of starters Dez Wells (broken wrist) and Evan Smotrycz (sprained ankle), but it still took a vintage Tony Bennett team effort to take down the Terps in College Park. Malcolm Brogdon led the way with 18 points for UVA, which limited its old ACC brethren to 16 made field goals and led for every second of Wednesday night's tilt.

"Nothing flashy, but it's our way," Bennett said afterward. "Our chance to be good is for us to be as close to great defensively as we can, and solid and sound offensively."

The Big Ten

Despite clinching the event very early on Wednesday night, the Big Ten wound up taking its annual "Challenge" with the ACC by a slim final margin of 8-6. Still, the B1G won or tied in the event for a sixth consecutive season, continuing a dramatic turnaround for a league which was defeated in each of the first 10 years of the Challenge.

You did it, Rutgers.

THREE BAD LOSSES

Tulsa 77, Creighton 64

The Bluejays told the college hoops world that post-Doug McDermott life would by okay after they upset No. 18 Oklahoma back on Nov. 19, but that was a game where they trailed by 17 in the second half and appeared to be the inferior team for about two-thirds of the game. Since then, the Jays have looked more like the team we thought they'd be, falling at home to Ole Miss and now being handled on the road by a Tulsa squad that had lost its three games by a total of 44 points.

Notre Dame 79, No. 18 Michigan State 78 (OT)

I know, I know, Tom Izzo and early season, and massive improvements and all that, but can we at least go ahead and drop them from the rankings for the time being?

Texas Tech 46, Auburn 44

Auburn's not making the list because they lost to a 5-1 Texas Tech team, they're making the list because they scored 44 points against a 5-1 Texas Tech team.

MID-MAJOR SPOTLIGHT: Valparaiso

All the talk in the Horizon League heading into the season was centered around Green Bay and its elite backcourt, but through three weeks of play, the Crusaders look like a team that's going to have plenty to say about who claims the league's auto-bid. Valpo, whose lone loss remains at Missouri, went on the road and took care of a solid Eastern Kentucky team 72-66 to improve to 8-1 on the season. Sophomore forward Alec Peters is shooting just a hair below 60 percent from the field on the year and has scored 20 or more points five times already.

DUNK OF THE NIGHT

Dallin Bachynski contested cram on Wichita State was nice, but we'll go with UTSA's Ryan Bowie because he's 6'1.

TWEET OF THE NIGHT

Gluten-free, bro.

That's not a great joke, I just couldn't think of anything else to follow the tweet up with. I'm really sorry. Things are going to get better around here.

COACH OF THE NIGHT: Herb Sendek

Arizona State blew out UNLV 77-55, and earned Sendek his 400th career win in the process. The former Miami University and NC State coach becomes the third-youngest (Billy Donovan and Steve Alford) active coach to hit the milestone.

Honorable mention for Mike Brey and his post-regulation chat with an official.

MOST DISTURBING FORMER COACH OF THE NIGHT: Digger Phelps

I just ... this is .... I don't know, I've already resigned myself to a life where sleep comes never.

I guess this is ...retirement?

PLAYER OF THE NIGHT: Tyus Jones, Duke

As mentioned earlier, the freshman point guard was the biggest star in the most impressive victory of the young season. If for some reason you didn't know who he was heading into Wednesday night, you do now. If you still don't, you were watching Home Alone for the third time in five days, and I have no idea how you stumbled onto this post and why you're still reading 4/5 of the way down.

ALL-WEDNESDAY TEAM

Quincy Taylor, Longwood - Taylor scored a career-high 34 points, including the game-winning free-throws with 6.8 seconds left, to lift the Lancers to a 74-73 win over Dartmouth.

Marcus Thornton, William & Mary - Scored a Wednesday-high 37 points, but Bill and Mary fell to Richmond by one, 68-67.

Jerian Grant, Notre Dame - The oft-overlooked Fighting Irish star went for 27 points, six assists and three steals in Notre Dame's huge win over Michigan State.

Gary Payton II, Oregon State - Notched a career-high 24 points to go with 16 rebounds in a blowout win over Mississippi Valley State.

Dusan Perovic, Binghamton - Set a Division-I era school record for points with 34, but couldn't keep the Bearcats from losing to Boston U., 77-65.