Buckle up and settle in, folks. The first Saturday of 2019 has gifted us with a beautiful slate of college hoops — and there’s already been some surprising results.
in its first SEC game of the season, to Alabama, Butler coach LaVall Jordan ripped his pants (!), Virginia dominated top-10 Florida State, and a whole lot more. As always, we’ll be monitoring all the notable action throughout the day to keep you abreast of everything you need to know.
So as you settle in to your couch or the bar, or maybe even the couch at a bar, keep refreshing to make sure you’re up to speed.
We’ll be following those and many more games so check back often for updates.
Saturday’s noteworthy scores
- No. 8 Michigan State 86, No. 14 Ohio State 77 — Recap
- Alabama 77, No. 13 Kentucky 75 — Recap
- No. 4 Virginia 65, No. 9 Florida State 52 — Recap
- No. 3 Tennessee 96, Georgia 50 | Recap
- No. 5 Kansas at Iowa State, 5 p.m. — ESPN2 | GameTracker
- Clemson at No. 1 Duke, 8 p.m. — ESPN | Preview
Iowa State on top of No. 5 Kansas at half
Behind a 13-point first-half explosion from senior Marial Shayok, Iowa State is one half away from improving to 2-0 in Big 12 play and securing its biggest win of the season. The Cyclones lead No. 5 Kansas 36-32 at the break, hitting 4 of 12 3-pointers and getting quality production from freshman Tyrese Haliburton, who has 9 points, two steals and an assist, to get the early advantage. KU is without big man Udoka Azubuike in this one, and the Cyclones have defended star Dedric Lawson well, allowing him to score only three points in the opening half.
No. 4 Virginia throttles No. 9 Florida State
We knew Virginia (13-0 and ranked fourth in the latest AP poll) was good. But we didn’t know — or at least many expected — the Cavaliers to run No. 9 Florida State off the floor Saturday. They were that good. The 65-52 final result does not tell the entire story, either.
After the two teams kept it within arms distance for much of the first half, Virginia went on a 17-4 run to close the half and take a 42-23 advantage. The Cavaliers would lead by as many as 29 in the second half before Florida State made things somewhat interesting, but it was too little too late for the Seminoles. The win improves UVa to an impressive 13-0 start on the season — its best since a 19-0 start in the 2014 campaign. It drops FSU to 12-2 on the season.
Ponds goes off again as St. John’s beats Hoyas in OT
If there was any doubt about Shamorie Ponds’s abilities — and believe me, there wasn’t — Saturday’s showcase silenced any critics. The St. John’s star went for 37 points to lead the Red Storm to a 97-94 overtime win over Georgetown on Saturday, marking the tenth time in his college career he’s surpassed the 30-point mark — and the fourth this season. It was a massive road win for the Johnnies.
Their soft nonconference schedule created some skepticism about their hot start, as did a 76-74 road loss to Seton Hall to open league play, but they are now 14-1 overall and 2-1 in the Big East. The Red Storm have now notched consecutive wins over Marquette and Georgetown with a game at Villanova on Tuesday up next.
Alabama upsets No. 13 Kentucky despite late Cats’ push
After winning three-straight — including wins over rival Louisville and a very good North Carolina team — the 13th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats stumbled in their SEC-opener on the road against Alabama, falling 77-75.
Alabama led for most of the second half and, in total, close to 26 minutes of game action. But the Tide let Kentucky wade into uncomfortable territory, with UK getting to within one point in the last five seconds. Bama eked it out in the end after a 3-point shot to win it from Tyler Herro fell straight, giving Bama a big conference-opening victory. It’s the third consecutive season under Avery Johnson Alabama has won its league-opener.
Short-handed Spartans storm back to knock off Ohio State
No. 8 Michigan State had just enough juice to pull off an 86-77 win over 14th-ranked Ohio State. The Spartans trailed 43-36 at the break and trailed by as many as nine points in the second half, but a late surge — led by steady-handed point guard Cassius Winston, who came alive down the stretch and finished with a team-high 25 points — allowed Michigan State to nab a nice road win without Joshua Langford, who missed his second consecutive game with an ankle injury. The Spartans are now 4-0 in Big Ten play.
Butler’s LaVall Jordan coaches his butt off (literally)
In the midst of coaching Butler to a big-time win over Creighton 84-69, Bulldogs coach LaVall Jordan ripped his pants. Literally. Then Jordan stole a page out of Providence coach Ed Cooley’s playbook.
“Thank God for Ed Cooley for giving me a quick blueprint on what to do when you rip your drawers,” Jordan said, referencing an incident last season when Cooley did the same. “I coached my butt off. Literally.”