Mike Saunders Jr. scored 20 points, Jeremiah Davenport added 19 and Cincinnati overcame an early 15-point deficit to blow out No. 14 Illinois 71-51 on Monday night in the semifinals of the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City.
The Bearcats (5-0) trailed 23-8 in the opening minutes before charging back to take a 34-31 lead at the break. They piled on from there, pushing the advantage past 20 by the midway point of the second half as they coasted into the championship game against the winner of No. 13 Arkansas and Kansas State on Tuesday night.
Kofi Cockburn, who was suspended the first three games of the season for violating NCAA rules, had 18 points and seven rebounds for the Fighting Illini (2-2). Andre Curbelo added 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting with five turnovers.
Ohio State 79, (21) Seton Hall 76: Meechie Johnson Jr. made a game-winning 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left and Ohio State beat Seton Hall in the Fort Myers Tip-Off in Fort Myers, Florida.
Seton Hall guard Jamir Harris stole it and raced for a fast-break layup to tie it at 76 with 15.9 seconds left. Ohio State elected not to call a timeout and Johnson made his team’s 11th 3-pointer — from NBA range.
Seton Hall got it to Tyrese Samuel for a decent look at the buzzer but it bounced hard off the backboard.
E.J. Liddell led Ohio State (4-1) with 28 points, making all 10 of his free throws and shooting 8 of 17 from the floor. Justin Ahrens scored 11 of his 17 points in the first half and Kyle Young had 12 points and eight rebounds. Johnson was 2 of 5 from the field for eight points.
(12) Houston 70, Butler 52: Fabian White Jr. scored 21 points and Houston rode a dominating first half to a win over Butler in the opening round of the Maui Invitational in Las Vegas.
The Cougars (4-0) overwhelmed Butler early, scoring the game’s first 17 points while building a 21-point halftime lead. They weren’t quite as locked in at either end of the floor to start the second half, allowing the Bulldogs (3-2) to creep back in it before pulling away down the stretch.
Bryce Bolden had 16 points for Butler, which had 20 turnovers that led to 27 Houston points.
Next up for Houston is a spot in Tuesday’s semifinals against Wisconsin.
(2) UCLA 75, Bellarmine 62: Peyton Watson had 19 points, Johnny Juzang added 13 and UCLA beat Bellarmine in the Empire Classic in Las Vegas.
Watson shot 9 of 12 and had four rebounds, easily outpacing his 3.3 points average through four games this season.
David Singleton added 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting for the Bruins (5-0), who will face No. 1 Gonzaga in a rematch of last season’s Final Four on Tuesday night. The Bulldogs won 93-90 in overtime on a buzzer-beater from Jalen Suggs.
Bellarmine (0-5) lost in double digits for the fourth time in five games and is coming off consecutive losses against the nation’s top two teams. The Knights lost 92-50 at Gonzaga on Friday.
Wisconsin 69, Texas A&M 58: Johnny Davis scored 21 points, Brad Davison added 19 and Wisconsin opened the Maui Invitational with a victory over Texas A&M in Las Vegas.
Wisconsin (3-1) started slow and limped to the finish, but used two big runs in between to earn a spot in Tuesday’s semifinals against Houston.
Texas A&M (4-1) got off to a strong start and shut the Badgers down late, but fell into too big of a hole to mount a comeback. Quenton Jackson led the Aggies with 15 points.
(10) Kentucky 86, Albany 61: TyTy Washington Jr. scored 20 points for the second straight game, Keion Brooks Jr. added 17 points and Kentucky beat Albany in Lexington, Kentucky, for its fourth consecutive victory.
The Wildcats (4-1) led throughout but played at a slower pace than usual in building a 46-35 advantage early in the second half. A few spurts, including an 8-0 run to make it 61-39 with 8:28 remaining, put the game out of reach.
Washington went 7 of 14 from the field and 2 of 3 on 3-pointers. Sahvir Wheeler scored 15 points, Kellan Grady made three 3s for 14 points and Oscar Tshiebwe had 14 rebounds and 12 points.
Kentucky shot 32 of 59 (54%), controlled the boards 48-24 and outscored Albany 36-28 in the paint to offset a season-high 17 turnovers.
De’Vondre Perry scored 18 points and Trey Hutcheson had 12 for the Great Danes (0-5), who shot 34% and made 6 of 13 from the foul line.