No. 14 VCU tops Oregon in Legends Classic
NEW YORK — Virginia Commonwealth remembered how to play the in-your-face pressure defense that made the program an NCAA tournament staple.
One night after the Rams lost their way, they rebounded with a vintage defensive effort in that familiar “havoc” style.
Melvin Johnson scored 19 points and Treveon Graham had 13 to lead No. 14 Virginia Commonwealth past Oregon 77-63 on Tuesday night.
The Rams (4-1) led by as many as 14 and never trailed in the Legends Classic consolation game at the Barclays Center.
They bounced back from the first loss of the season against No. 12 Villanova with a 12-0 run that opened the game against the Ducks (3-2).
“I’m sort of glad we got slapped in the mouth yesterday because you should have saw the attention in the locker room,” Johnson said. “Everyone was humbled by it and was ready to get better as a unit and I think today we showed a good example of that.”
VCU had its havoc defense humming against the Ducks. Oregon, which lost to No. 19 Michigan on Monday, had 20 turnovers and shot only 35 percent in the second half.
“I think from now on, coach is going to put even more emphasis on us getting stops,” Johnson said. “You think of us, you think of a defensive team, but we haven’t been living up to it. Today, we put an emphasis on every single stop.”
Johnson hit three of VCU’s six 3-pointers and the Rams held a 40-31 edge on the boards.
Jordan Burgess scored 12 points, Briante Weber had 11 and Mo Alie-Cox 10 to put all five starters in double figures.
Dillon Brooks scored 15 points for Oregon. Joseph Young, who had averaged 24.5 points, missed 11 of 13 shots and had only nine points.
The scrappy Ducks fought back from the early hole — even as VCU fans chanted “Just Give Up!” on several possessions — and nearly pulled off the comeback.
Jalil Abdul-Bassit helped Oregon pull to 39-36 with a 3-pointer, and Elgin Cook, who scored 11 points, hit two free throws to make it a one-point game.
“We’re going to have to change our pregame routine,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “We haven’t had very good starts. Then after that, I thought the guys fought pretty hard. We just made a lot of fundamental mistakes.”
The Ducks played without leading rebounder Dwayne Benjamin after he hurt his left ankle against Michigan.
No. 1 KENTUCKY 92, TEXAS-ARLINGTON 44: At Lexington, Ky., Devin Booker scored 19 points for his second career best in as many games, Karl-Anthony Towns added 13 with 11 rebounds, and No. 1 Kentucky had no trouble with Texas-Arlington.
The Wildcats (6-0) concluded a busy season-opening stretch of six games in 11 days with a complete effort on both ends. Besides shooting 57 percent from the field, Kentucky held the Mavericks (3-2) to 27 percent shooting.
No. 3 ARIZONA 72, KANSAS STATE 68: At Lahaina, Hawaii, Kaleb Tarczewski scored 18 points, Gabe York added 15 and Arizona held off Kansas State in the Maui Invitational semifinals to win its first close game of the season.
Arizona (5-0) shot 53 percent against Kansas State, yet couldn’t shake the scrappy Wildcats. Trailing by nine in the second half, Kansas State (3-2) whittled the lead down to a single possession in the final minute.
No. 7 TEXAS 78, ST. FRANCIS (PA) 46: At Austin, Texas, freshman forward Myles Turner had 25 points and 10 rebounds, leading Texas over Saint Francis for its first 5-0 start since 2009.
Turner, one of the top recruits in the country, had been quiet in Texas’ two previous wins, but showed a deft shooting touch and his typical tough defense against Saint Francis, stepping out for three 3-pointers while also blocking three shots. Turner was 11 of 12 from the field.
No. 8 VIRGINIA 79, TENNESSEE STATE 36: At Charlottesville, Va., Justin Anderson was 7 for 7 from the field and scored 20 points, and Virginia had a 32-point run spanning halftime to beat Tennessee State.
Anderson made five 3-pointers and Mike Tobey added 13 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for the Cavaliers (5-0), off to their best start since the 2007-08 team also won its first five.
No. 12 VILLANOVA 60, No. 19 MICHIGAN 55: At New York, JayVaughn Pinkston had the go-ahead basket and game-saving block in the final minute to lift Villanova over Michigan in the Legends Classic championship game.
Pinkston put the Wildcats (5-0) up 56-55 with a spin for separation and a one-handed bucket with 13.4 seconds left. He then had a clean stuff on Zak Irvin’s dunk attempt off an inbounds pass with 5 seconds left.
Tournament MVP Dylan Ennis led the Wildcats with 15 points. Caris LeVert had 16 points for Michigan (4-1).
MARYLAND 72, No. 13 IOWA STATE 63: At Kansas City, Mo., Jared Nickens and Jake Layman scored 15 points apiece to lead a balanced offense, and Maryland beat Iowa State in the championship game of the CBE Classic.
Dez Wells added 14 points and Melo Trimble scored 11 for the Terrapins (5-0), who built a 15-point lead with 3 minutes left before hanging on down the stretch.
No. 15 SAN DIEGO STATE 74, PITTSBURGH 57: At Lahaina, Hawaii, Trey Kell scored 15 points and San Diego State shot its way into the Maui Invitational championship game by romping over Pittsburgh.
San Diego State (5-0) built a 15-point lead by halftime and had their way inside against the Panthers, shooting 58 percent from the floor to set up a marquee matchup against No. 3 Arizona.
No. 17 MIAMI 77, CHARLOTTE 74: At Charlotte, N.C., Sheldon McClellan scored a career-high 31 points and had 11 rebounds as Miami (6-0) defeated Charlotte for the second time in three days.
McClellan, who had 19 points in the Hurricanes’ 19-point win over Charlotte in the Charleston Classic championship on Sunday, was 11 of 17 from the field and had five 3-pointers.
No. 23 CREIGHTON 75, EASTERN ILLINOIS 53: At Omaha, Neb., reserve center Geoffrey Groselle scored a career-high 15 points, and Creighton beat Eastern Illinois in the Emerald Coast Classic.
The 7-foot Groselle made his first five shots and finished 7 of 8 from the field. Toby Hegner added 13 points for Creighton (5-0).
No. 25 ARKANSAS 78, SMU 72: At Dallas, Bobby Portis scored 22 points and Arkansas won its first game as a ranked team in seven years, beating previously ranked SMU.
The Razorbacks never trailed after Portis made a 3-pointer for the game’s first basket. They are 4-0 for the first time since the 2006-07 season.