CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - In a week when three top-10 teams in the AP Top 25 lost, No. 7 Creighton might have taken the biggest hit.
The Bluejays lost Saturday to Marquette in their first game without point guard Maurice Watson Jr., who suffered a season-ending knee injury . Creighton (18-2) is now in transition, figuring out how to play without the nation’s assist leader (8.5 per game).
It’s going to take some time for Creighton to adjust, as evidenced by the 102-94 home loss to Marquette.
“When they made a little bit of a run we didn’t react very well,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said afterward. “That’s probably where we missed Maurice the most. We just didn’t have a voice there, nobody to turn to on the floor that we were accustomed to. Offensively, we were fine.”
Creighton still has games against No. 13 Butler (Jan. 31), No. 22 Xavier (Feb. 4) and No. 1 Villanova (Feb. 25) on its Big East schedule.
TOP-10 LOSSES: Third-ranked UCLA and West Virginia, which was tied with Creighton at No. 7, were this week’s other top-10 losers.
The Bruins (19-2) lost at home Saturday to No. 14 Arizona 96-85 , the latest high-scoring show for an attack that came into the weekend ranked No. 1 in KenPom’s offensive efficiency. But coach Steve Alford wasn’t happy with his team’s defense against the dribble.
“It’s definitely better for something like this to happen now than later in the season,” guard Bryce Alford said.
It was a worse week for the Mountaineers (15-4), who first blew a 15-point lead in the final 9 minutes of regulation before losing 89-87 at home to Oklahoma in overtime. They followed that with a 79-75 loss at Kansas State on Saturday.
FSU THRIVES: No. 10 Florida State finally wrapped up its six-game stretch against ranked opponents with Saturday’s 73-68 win against No. 12 Louisville. That followed Wednesday’s 83-80 home win against No. 15 Notre Dame, which marked the Fighting Irish’s first loss in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
FSU (18-2) finished 5-1 in its six-game stretch, the only loss coming at North Carolina last weekend.
“This team communicates with each other very well, they hold each other accountable, they like each other, there is really no drama with them,” Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said, “and we believe in each other.”
For the record, the ninth-ranked Tar Heels (18-3) followed the win against FSU with a home win against Syracuse to give coach Roy Williams his 800th career win and a win at Boston College . Notre Dame (17-3) won at home against Syracuse on Saturday to create a three-way tie atop the ACC at 6-1.
STILL ROLLING: Villanova, No. 2 Kansas and No. 4 Gonzaga are rolling right along.
The Wildcats (19-1) have won five straight by double-digit margins since losing at Butler, including a 76-46 win against Seton Hall to start the week followed by a 78-68 win against Providence.
The Jayhawks (18-1) haven’t lost since the season opener against Indiana, beating Iowa State 76-72 on the road and then beating Texas 79-67 at home.
Then there’s Gonzaga (19-0), the nation’s last unbeaten in Division I after wins against Santa Clara and Portland by double-digit margins this week.
SEC DEVELOPMENTS: No. 24 South Carolina split two games against ranked Southeastern Conference opponents, beating No. 19 Florida 57-53 before losing 85-69 to No. 5 Kentucky.
That left the Wildcats (17-2) alone atop the SEC (7-0) in a week that started with all three teams still unbeaten in league play.
Florida also lost at home Saturday to Vanderbilt for a second straight loss.
HIGHLIGHT REEL: Let’s stay with Kentucky for a moment to take a look at Derek Willis’ throwdown dunk against South Carolina.
KEENE’S 50: Lastly, it’s worth giving a nod to national scoring leader Marcus Keene of Central Michigan.
The 5-foot-9 guard already was one of the AP’s top performers in college basketball as the season crossed its midway point, then he scored 50 points - 50! - with 10 3-pointers in Saturday’s win against Miami (Ohio).
That surpassed Malik Monk’s 47 points against North Carolina in December as the highest-scoring game in Division I this year. It also pushed Keene’s season average to 29.8 points, nearly six points more than No. 2 scorer Alec Peters of Valparaiso (23.9).
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