Sports roundup: No. 13 Creighton hands Xavier its first loss of basketball season

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 24, 2020

Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. — Antwann Jones and Denzel Mahoney scored 13 points each to lead No. 13 Creighton to a 66-61 win over 22nd-ranked Xavier on Wednesday, handing the Musketeers their first loss.

The Bluejays used an 8-0 run to start the second half to open up a 44-34 lead before the Musketeers (8-1, 1-1 Big East) cut it to 64-61 with 10 seconds. Creighton inbounded the ball to Jones, but the sophomore transfer from Memphis threw the basketball away after getting trapped along the baseline.

Jones got to the free throw line and made both shots to atone for his mental error on the previous play and the Bluejays (7-2, 3-1) prevailed.

No. 5 Villanova 85, Marquette 68

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Collin Gillespie scored 22 points and sank six 3-pointers as Villanova claimed its sixth straight victory. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Justin Moore had 13 points each and Caleb Daniels added 10 to help the Wildcats (8-1, 3-0 Big East) overpower Marquette (5-5, 1-3), which lost its third straight. Gillespie shot 6 of 11 from 3-point range.

No. 8 Tenn. 80,  USC Upstate 60

KNOXVILLE. Tenn. (AP) — Victor Bailey scored 18 points as the Volunteers (6-0) struggled before pulling away.

Josiah-Jordan James added 11 points and eight rebounds. The Spartans (0-8) were led by Tommy Brunner with 18 points.

No. 23 OSU 80, No. 11 Rutgers 68

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Duane Washington Jr. scored 22 points and No. 23 Ohio State rallied from a 16-point second-half deficit to beat No. 11 Rutgers.

E.J. Liddell had 21 points and Kyle Young added 17 points and 12 rebounds for Ohio State (7-1, 1-1 Big Ten), which trailed 48-32 with 15 minutes left. The Buckeyes went on a 20-1 run late in the second half to seize control and hand Rutgers (6-1, 2-1) its first loss. Ron Harper Jr. had 20 points, Montez Mathis scored 16 and Jacob Young added 12 for the Scarlet Knights.

No. 18 Illinois 98, Penn State 81

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Ayo Dosunmu scored 21 of his 30 points in the second half to lead No. 18 Illinois past the Nittany Lions. Kofi Cockburn added 23 points and Andre Curbelo had 15 points and eight assists for the Illini (6-3, 2-1 Big Ten). Penn State (3-3, 0-2) opened up a 19-4 lead over the first five minutes, but the Illini took over midway through the second half.

UNCW 87, Delaware State 63

WILMINGTON (AP) — Ty Gadsden had 21 points as UNC Wilmington rolled past Delaware State. Jaylen Sims had 15 points for UNCW (6-3). Joe Pridgen added 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Jake Boggs had 11 points. Zach Kent had 15 points for the Hornets (0-4). Pinky Wiley and Omari Peek-Green each had 10 points.

OKC-Houston game postponed

HOUSTON (AP) — The James Harden soap opera in Houston now comes with a canceled season opener.  Houston’s opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night was scrapped after coronavirus cases and Harden’s violation of the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols left the Rockets without the league-mandated eight players available.

The NBA said three Rockets players had returned tests that were either positive or inconclusive and that four other players were quarantined because of contract tracing. Harden was ruled unavailable for the game because of a violation of health and safety protocols after video of the disgruntled star surfaced on social media where he was without a mask at a crowded party in a private event.

Houston has 16 players on its roster; with seven dealing with tests or quarantine and one hurt, that would have left eight eligible players, which is the league minimum to start a game. Harden’s unavailability lowered Houston’s total of available players to seven.

Ga. Southern wins New Orleans Bowl

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Shai Werts had three touchdown runs and threw a 65-yard scoring pass to help Georgia Southern beat Louisiana Tech 38-3 in the New Orleans Bowl on Wednesday.

Werts, who missed the Eagles’ last two regular-season games because of a shoulder injury, scored one of his touchdowns on a designed QB run that covered 37 yards. His two other rushing TDs came from a yard out. Georgia Southern came up with four interceptions — including two near its own goal line in the first quarter. Georgia Southern (8-5), which came in averaging 262 yards rushing, finished with 322 against Louisiana Tech (5-5).

Memphis on top in Montgomery Bowl

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Brady White passed for 284 yards and three touchdowns to lead Memphis to a 25-10 victory over Florida Atlantic in the Montgomery Bowl.

The Tigers (8-3) built a big halftime lead, withstood a third-quarter rally and ended coach Ryan Silverfield’s first season with a second straight win. They also snapped a five-game bowl losing streak.

Willie Taggart’s debut season with Florida Atlantic ended at 5-4 after the offense sputtered much of the way.

The game was created to replace the canceled Fenway Bowl.

White, who was named game MVP, completed 22 of34 passes with three short touchdowns while also throwing an interception, having a big game even with a quiet night from star receiver Calvin Austin III. Tahj Washington caught eight passes for 105 yards while Javon Ivory  gained 126 yards on seven catches with a TD. Austin had 28 yards on three catches, with a TD.

Auburn transfer Asa Martin ran for 96 yards on 15 carries for Memphis.