Even coming off a tough upset loss, the third-ranked Villanova Wildcats kept the number of the fourth-ranked Xavier Musketeers in what was a top-5 showdown on Saturday. The Wildcats got off to a hot start and put up 51 points in the first half in what was a 95-79 win over Xavier on the road. The Musketeers had won nine in a row since falling to the Wildcats on January 10th, but they turned the ball over 11 times in their first home loss of the season. Villanova shot 61 percent from the floor, led by Mikal Bridges' 25 points, as they made a season-high 16 three-pointers, which is the most ever by a Xavier opponent. The Wildcats made 11 of those three-pointers in the opening 20 minutes, as they led by as many as 19 on the afternoon. Trevon Bluiett led the Musketeers with 26 points in the loss, although, they do remain a half game ahead of the Wildcats in the Big East standings. Nova has won all four regular season championships since the conference was reconfigured. They will return home on Wednesday night to host DePaul, while Xavier hits the road against Georgetown that same night.
Michigan State Rallies Past Northwestern on the Road
It was literally a tale of two halves on Saturday afternoon in the Big Ten, as the Northwestern Wildcats had everything clicking to jump ahead of second-ranked Michigan State on their home floor. Although, there is a reason Tom Izzo's club is a favorite to go deep in the NCAA Tournament, and they proved that in the second half of Saturdays game. The Spartans rallied from a 27-point deficit, including 22 at the break, to get past the Wildcats, 65-60, and avoid the major upset. Northwestern hasn't defeated a top-5 team since taking down then-No. 4 Michigan State in 1979, and they looked as if they'd do it again on Saturday. That chance went away when the Wildcats made just three of 26 shot attempts in the second half. Vic Law led Northwestern with 21 points, a majority of which came in the first half. The Spartans' comeback was led by Cassius Winston, who had 17 points, while Nick Ward added 15 points and 10 rebounds in MSU's 10th straight win. Miles Bridges made four free throws down the stretch to seal the win. After a tough first half, Michigan State outscored Northwestern, 29-4, over the first 14 1/2 minutes of the second half, putting them up for good. They will return home on Tuesday to host Illinois, while Northwestern moves on to host Maryland on Monday night.
Texas Tech Falls to Baylor to Snap Win Streak
The Texas Tech Red Raiders' recent success has been enough to keep them in the top 10 of the AP Polls. The Baylor Bears figured enough was enough on Saturday, as they put an end to the seventh-ranked Red Raiders' seven-game win streak with a 59-57 upset win. Terry Maston had 24 points to lead the Bears, as he fell two points shy of his career-high, which he set in their last game against the Texas Longhorns. The win puts the Bears back at .500 in conference play with their fifth straight win following a 2-7 start. They were able to capitalize on the Red Raiders losing leading scorer, Keenan Evans, to a foot injury and Chris Beard to a toe injury. The loss drops Texas Tech in to a tie for first atop the Big 12 with Kansas, who got past West Virginia on Saturday night. The Red Raiders are looking to snap the Jayhawks' 13-year Big 12 regular season title streak. With two key players going down on Saturday, it was Zhaire Smith leading the way with 15 points, while Justin Gray added 13 points and eight rebounds in the loss. They will stay on the road to take on Oklahoma State on Wednesday night. The Bears will look to push closer to an NCAA Tournament appearance, as they will play host to West Virginia on Tuesday.