RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — There's no questioning the talent or the offensive potential for No. 2 Duke with its star freshman class. Finding the defensive play to go with all that hasn't been easy.
The Blue Devils allowed North Carolina State to shoot 55 percent after halftime in Saturday night's 96-85 road loss in Atlantic Coast Conference play, one of several upset losses for AP Top 25 teams in the past week.
It was a continuation of shaky defensive play for a young team that trailed the Wolfpack throughout the second half in part because it couldn't get any stops while giving up a series of drive-and-dish baskets. And the Blue Devils have allowed their first three league opponents combined to shoot nearly 49 percent both from the field and behind the arc.
"We know how to play defense," freshman guard Trevon Duval said. "We go over it in practice every day. We do it in practice all the time. It's just translating it to the game and talking. If we talk, then that puts us all in the position to make stops and make the right plays on defense."
Duke (13-2, 1-2 ACC) ranks 104th nationally in KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency by allowing 100 points per 100 possessions. Duval pointed to communication problems, while Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski said his team would just have to "keep working at it" after a "crappy" defensive showing and must learn how to handle the challenge of facing every opponent's best shot.
Consider the Boston College loss on Dec. 9 as an example; the Eagles made 15 of 26 3-pointers in that one.
"We're their opportunity," Krzyzewski said. "They've never experienced anything like that, where the team you see on tape isn't the team that shows up against you. And we have to be able to handle that."
Of course, Duke's 2015 team that won the national championship had its regular-season defensive struggles, too, only to figure things out. That group went from allowing 65.6 points and 43 percent shooting through the first 33 games to allowing 56.3 points and 38 percent shooting through six NCAA Tournament games.
"We've got to get better," Krzyzewski said. "To me, it's that simple. Now the process of getting there, that's what we have to figure out. For the most part, we've been able to do that. And hopefully we'll be able to do that again."
- Expect a lot of movement in Monday's new AP Top 25 poll.
- Five top-10 teams and 13 ranked teams overall had at least one loss this week as of Saturday. That included Duke, No. 4 Arizona State, No. 5 Xavier, No. 7 Oklahoma and No. 10 Kansas.
- The list also included No. 12 North Carolina, which is the midst of a difficult opening ACC stretch. The Tar Heels lost 81-80 at No. 24 Florida State on Wednesday, then lost 61-49 at No. 8 Virginia on Saturday.
THE BIG MATCHUP:
- Sixth-ranked West Virginia already has a win against a top-10 team in Virginia. The Mountaineers added another one Saturday against the seventh-ranked Sooners and freshman star Trae Young, the national leader in scoring and assists.
- Young finished with 29 points, but the Mountaineers won 89-76.
- No. 23 Tennessee had started 0-2 in the Southeastern Conference after a loss to Auburn, but the Volunteers beat No. 17 Kentucky on Saturday — beating the Wildcats in Knoxville for the third straight year.
- It's been a wild year for Arizona. The Wildcats went from No. 2 to unranked in a week after a 0-3 showing in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas in November, then climbed back in the rankings after a nine-game winning streak that included last weekend's win against then-unbeaten Arizona State.
- But on Saturday, the Wildcats lost at Colorado — which upset Arizona State on Thursday — and coach Sean Miller was candid afterward.
- "You always want your team to play for you, as the coach," Miller said. "Our guys, they really struggle playing for me, they really do. We'll see where we go from here."
- Pressed for more details, Miller put it bluntly: "I can't get them to play hard, I really can't."
- "With our team, man, it's really hard to get our guys to run as fast as they can," Miller said. "And that's not them, that's me, that's me. I have a hard time reaching our guys."
Top 25 Capsules
By The Associated Press
NORTH CAROLINA STATE 96, No. 2 DUKE 85
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Omer Yurtseven had 16 points while Torin Dorn hit two huge 3-pointers in the final 2 minutes to help North Carolina State upset No. 2 Duke 96-85 on Saturday night.
It was the second win against a No. 2-ranked team this season for N.C. State (11-5, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), which upset Arizona in November.
The Wolfpack shot 55 percent after halftime, though the two biggest shots came from Dorn.
He first hit a 3 from the corner over an oncoming Marvin Bagley III with 2:02 left and N.C. State protecting a four-point lead. Then Dorn hit one to beat the shot clock on an inbounds pass while being fouled by Javin DeLaurier, a four-point play that pushed the Wolfpack to a 91-80 lead with 1:06 left.
Bagley finished with 31 points and 10 rebounds for the Blue Devils (13-2, 1-2).
No. 3 VILLANOVA 100, MARQUETTE 90
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jalen Brunson had 27 points and eight assists and Villanova bounced back from its first loss of the season.
Eric Paschall added 19 points and Mikal Bridges had 18 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats (14-1, 2-1 Big East), who never trailed and shot 56 percent from the field to give coach Jay Wright his 400th win at Villanova.
With a week to stew over a 101-93 loss at Butler, the Wildcats were efficient, hitting 27 of 32 free throws and getting assists on 20 of 32 baskets.
Markus Howard had 37 points and eight assists for Marquette (11-5, 2-2), three nights after scoring a Big East record-tying 52 points in an overtime win at Providence.
PROVIDENCE 81, No. 5 XAVIER 72
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Kyron Cartwright had 19 points, nine assists and four steals to help Providence snapping Xavier's 10-game winning streak and ending the best start in school history.
Rodney Bullock scored 17 points, with six rebounds and two blocked shots, as Providence (11-6, 2-2 Big East) beat a ranked team for the first time this season. It was the Friars' 11th win over a top-5 team, and their first since beating No. 4 Villanova two years ago.
Kerem Kanter had 24 points and 12 rebounds — eight on the offensive boards — in 20 minutes for Xavier (15-2, 3-1).
No. 6 WEST VIRGINIA 89, No. 7 OKLAHOMA 76
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Teddy Allen scored 20 points off the bench and Sagaba Konate had 14 of his 16 points in the second half for West Virginia.
Lamont West and Jevon Carter added 17 points apiece for the Mountaineers (14-1, 3-0 Big 12). Konate also had 13 rebounds.
Oklahoma freshman Trae Young, the nation's scoring and assists leader, finished with 29 points on 8-of-22 shooting. Carter and his teammates spent much of the game double-teaming Young, whose streak of double-doubles ended at five games.
West Virginia held the nation's top-scoring team to its lowest total of the season while the Mountaineers extended their winning streak to 14 games, their longest since winning 22 straight during the 1988-89 season. Oklahoma (12-2, 2-1) saw its 10-game winning streak snapped.
No. 8 VIRGINIA 61, No. 12 NORTH CAROLINA 49
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Devon Hall scored 16 points and Virginia held North Carolina to its second-lowest point total of the season.
Hall had seven assists for Virginia (14-1, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), and De'Andre Hunter had 10 points and seven rebounds. The Cavaliers won their sixth in a row and sent the Tar Heels to consecutive losses for the first time since February 2016. North Carolina lost 81-80 at Florida State on Wednesday night.
Joel Berry II led North Carolina (12-4, 1-2) with 17 points and Kenny Williams had 11.
No. 10 KANSAS 88, No. 16 TCU
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Devonte Graham scored 28 points with eight straight free throws in the final 2:02 as Kansas held on.
Vladimir Brodziansky had eight straight points for TCU to tie the game at 77-all before Marcus Garrett's two tiebreaking free throws put the Jayhawks ahead to stay with 3 minutes left. Graham then made all of his free throws down the stretch for the Jayhawks (12-3, 2-1 Big 12).
Svi Mykhailiuk added 20 points for Kansas, which was coming off a home loss to Texas Tech and avoided its first 1-2 conference mark since 1990-91.
Brodziansky led TCU (13-2, 1-2) with 20 points.
LSU 69, No. 11 TEXAS A&M 68
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Tremont Waters scored 21 points, including an off-balance 3-pointer with 1 second remaining, to lift LSU.
The game was tied before the Aggies used an 8-3 run, capped by four points from Tyler Davis, to take a 68-63 lead. But Waters, who finished with five 3s, made a 3-pointer for LSU to get the Tigers (10-4, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) within three with 12 seconds left.
Davis missed two free throws on the other end before Waters launched his winner under heavy defensive pressure to give the Tigers the win.
Leading scorer D.J. Hogg returned for the Aggies (11-4, 0-3) after a suspension, but it wasn't enough to stop them from dropping their third straight after lopsided losses to Alabama and Florida.
Davis led the Aggies with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
No. 13 PURDUE 74, NEBRASKA 62
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Vincent Edwards scored 21 points and Isaac Haas added 14 to lead Purdue to its 11th consecutive win.
The Boilermakers (15-2, 4-0 Big Ten) extended their home-court winning streak to 18 and won their 10th straight home game against a conference foe.
James Palmer Jr. finished with 22 points and Isaac Copeland had 16 to lead the Cornhuskers (11-6, 2-2), whose four-game winning streak ended.
COLORADO 80, No. 14 ARIZONA 77
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — McKinley Wright IV scored 16 points to lead five Colorado players in double figures as the Buffaloes ended Arizona's nine-game winning streak.
It's the second straight game in which the Buffaloes (10-6, 2-2 Pac-12) have knocked off a ranked team. They defeated No. 4 Arizona State 90-81 in overtime Thursday.
Colorado went up by 20 in the first half only to see the Wildcats (12-4, 2-1) pull within three.
Dallas Walton finished with a career-high 15 points on 7-for-7 shooting as the Buffaloes overcame 13 turnovers in the second half.
Deandre Ayton scored 21 of his 26 points in the second half for Arizona.
No. 23 TENNESSEE 76, No. 17 KENTUCKY 65
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Admiral Schofield had 20 points and nine rebounds and Tennessee rallied in the second half to end a two-game skid.
This marks the third consecutive season that Tennessee (10-4, 1-2 SEC) has beaten Kentucky (12-3, 2-1) in Knoxville. Kentucky entered the night leading the overall series 153-69, but no team has beaten the Wildcats as often as Tennessee.
Grant Williams scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half as Tennessee erased an eight-point halftime deficit.
Quade Green scored 14 points to lead Kentucky.
No. 18 TEXAS TECH 74, KANSAS STATE 58
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Keenan Evans scored 27 points and Texas Tech backed up its big win at Kansas earlier in the week.
The Red Raiders (14-1, 3-0 Big 12) led throughout against K-State, like they have in all of their conference games. That includes that 85-73 win at Allen Fieldhouse four days earlier, the only time they have ever won there.
By shooting 70 percent in the first half, the Red Raiders jumped out to a 20-4 lead and settled for a 40-22 advantage at the break.
Dean Wade had eight points for K-State (11-4, 1-2) in a 16-8 spurt to get within 48-40 with just under 12 minutes left.
Barry Brown led Kansas State with 24 points.
No. 19 GONZAGA 85, LOYOLA MARYMOUNT 66
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Johnathan Williams scored 30 points and Gonzaga opened the second half with a 17-0 run.
The Bulldogs (14-3, 4-0 WCC) received 12 points from Zach Norvell Jr. and Josh Perkins, and another 11 from Rui Hachimura.
Williams connected on 13 of 18 shots, and added 10 rebounds.
Steve Haney led Loyola (5-10, 0-4) with 22 points.
No. 21 SETONHALL 90, BUTLER 87
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Khadeen Carrington scored 29 points and Angel Delgado had 28 points and 15 rebounds as Seton Hall rallied from an 11-point deficit to win its fifth straight game.
With 1:08 left in the game, Carrington pushed the ball up the floor and drove the lane for the go-ahead basket to make it 84-82. Seton Hall (14-2, 3-0 Big East) sealed the win at the foul line during the final 10 seconds of the game.
Kelan Martin finished with 27 points for Butler (12-5, 2-2).
AUBURN 88, No. 22 ARKANSAS 77
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Mustapha Heron scored 17 points and Auburn fended off a late comeback attempt to secure its 12th consecutive win.
Saturday's decision, coupled with Tuesday's win at No. 23 Tennessee, marks the first time in 11 years that Auburn has won consecutive games against ranked opponents. The last time it happened was 2007, when the Tigers beat No. 22 Tennessee and No. 12 Alabama in a span of six days.
Auburn (14-1, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) hit 12 of its first 18 shots as it opened the game on a 29-18 run.
Jaylen Bradford scored 21 to lead the Razorbacks (11-4, 1-2).
No. 25 CLEMSON 74, LOUISVILLE 69 OT
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Marcquise Reed scored 24 points and Elijah Thomas had 12 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks to lead Clemson.
The Tigers (14-1, 3-0 ACC) found their 3-point shot when it mattered, making five of their final seven shots behind the arc after starting the game 2 of 17 on 3s.
Clemson stayed in the game by forcing a season-worst 21 turnovers by the Cardinals — 15 on steals — and won it by hitting nine of 12 free throws at the end of overtime.
Ray Spaulding led Louisville (11-4, 1-1) with 16 points and 14 rebounds.
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