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Bridges scores 21 as No. 3 Michigan State beats Rutgers

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NEW YORK -- Mikal Bridges had his coming out performance as one of top players in the nation, scoring a career-high 28 points to lead No. 4 Villanova to an 88-72 victory over No. 12 Gonzaga in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.

Bridges, a 6-foot-7 junior guard, had shown Villanova (9-0) what he could do this season with three games of 20-plus points that already signaled he may be the best player on the Big East champs.

Against an NCAA title game finalist and in prime time on basketball's biggest stage, Bridges flashed the type of all-around talent that should make him an NBA first-round draft pick.

His defining moment came in the second half: Bridges slashed the lane and unleashed a monster right-hand dunk over 6-11 center Jacob Larsen. Gonzaga's Josh Perkins tried the same move on the next set only to have Bridges swat the ball out of bounds with a block that had the Nova fans that filled MSG roaring on each big screen replay.

Bridges hit five 3s in the first meeting between two programs that have ranked among the best for the last 15 years. Villanova won the 2016 national championship and the Zags lost the 2017 title game to North Carolina.

He even startled one Zag into a turnover just by his presence around the rim.

Zach Norvell Jr. led Gonzaga (7-2) with 22 points and Perkins had 16.

Bridges cut off the Bulldogs each time they made a small run. The Zags inched to seven early in the second half and Bridges connected on a 3. He came up with a tough bucket inside and drew a foul on one possession and followed with a 3 on the next to make it a 10-game game.

Bridges dunk-and-block destroyed whatever mojo Gonzaga had left and the Wildcats cruised in their first real test of the season.

The Wildcats played every bit like a national championship favorite in a first half where they picked apart the Zags. Bridges had 12 points, Phil Booth had 11 of his 20 points and the Wildcats hit six 3s to build a 43-30 lead.

Villanova is more than a few NBA-ready scorers carrying the offense. Eric Paschall missed both of his shots in the half but it was his kickout passes on consecutive possessions that led to 3s from Booth and Bridges. Donte DiVincenzo made it three straight 3s that brought the Nova fans to their feet.

Booth proved his twice surgically repaired left knee was fine on a high-flying dunk and even the players got loud at the Garden: Villanova's deep reserves bolted from the bench and bellowed "Charge! Charge! Charge!" late in the half and sure enough the foul was called on Gonzaga's Rui Hachimura.

The Wildcats made the short 105-mile trip compared to nearly 2,600 miles for the Zags and had the decided fan support at MSG. The Wildcats, a regular at the Garden in the Big East Tournament, could hoist that trophy in front of the faithful again in March in New York.

3-Michigan State 62, Rutgers 52

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Miles Bridges scored 21 points and No. 3 Michigan State overcame its worst offensive performance of the season with a 62-52 victory over surprising Rutgers on Tuesday night.

Jaren Jackson Jr. scored all 11 of his points in the second half and had eight of the Spartans' season-high 13 blocks in helping Michigan State (8-1, 2-0 Big Ten) post its seventh straight win. Joshua Langford added 15 points.

Rutgers (6-3, 0-2) made Michigan State work for this one, holding the Spartans to season lows in points and shooting percentage (38.6). The previous low was 63 points and 40 percent shooting against North Carolina.

What Michigan State did well was play defense. It came into the game with the nation's best field goal defense (34.2) and it held the Scarlet Knights to 25.8 percent shooting from the field (17 of 66).

Deshawn Freeman had 13 points and Geo Baker and Eugene Omoruyi added 11 apiece for Rutgers, which lost its third straight.

Trailing 45-43 with roughly 8 minutes to play, Mike Williams missed a 3-point attempt that could have given the Scarlet Knights the lead.

Jackson then scored inside and added two free throws to ignite an 8-3 run. Bridges set up one of Cassius Winston's two late 3-pointers and Jackson hit a free-throw to push the advantage to 53-45 with 3:03 to play.

The Spartans had taken the lead for good when Matt McQuaid hit a jumper for a 36-35 edge. Jackson followed with a layup and rebound dunk and Langford added a jumper for a 42-35 lead.

Playing a Michigan State team that had won its last six games by no fewer than 18 points, Rutgers stunned even its own home crowd by scoring the first eight points. A 19-4 spurt capped by eight straight points by Bridges allowed the Spartans to take a 21-14 lead with just over 7 minutes left in the half, but Rutgers responded with a 12-5 and went to the locker room tied at 26.

The 26 points were the fewest by the Spartans in an opening half this season, and half of them came from Bridges.

Ball St. 80, 9-Notre Dame 77

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Tayler Persons hit 3-pointer from the left wing with 1.7 seconds remaining and Ball State shocked No. 9 Notre Dame 80-77 on Tuesday night at Purcell Pavilion.

Persons scored 24 points, Tahjai Teague added 13 and Sean Sellers had 11 as Ball State knocked off a nationally ranked opponent for the first time since downing No. 4 UCLA 91-73 more than 16 years ago.

Notre Dame (7-2) lost a nonconference home game for the first time since falling to North Dakota State four years ago.

The Cardinals (5-4) led by a high of 67-58 with 6:45 to go, but the Irish charged all the way back to a 77-77 tie on Matt Farrell's 3-pointer with 20 seconds to go.

Persons then drained his 3-pointer off the dribble for the victory.

Ball State had lost each of nine previous meetings to its in-state rival, the most recent being almost 32 years ago by a 119-78 count. The closest the Cardinals had come against the Irish was 14 points, and ND's average margin of victory was 29.

Bonzie Colson had 26 points for the Irish. Farrell added 14 points and eight assists, while Martinas Geben finished with 12 points.

10-Miami 69, Boston University 54

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Freshman Lonnie Walker IV scored a season-high 26 points and No. 10 Miami surged in the second half to beat Boston University 69-54 on Tuesday night.

Walker, making his first career start, shot 9 for 15, went 5 for 7 from 3-point range and added seven rebounds in a season-high 28 minutes.

Dejan Vasiljevic had 15 points for Miami (8-0), which remained unbeaten in non-conference home games since November 2015. Boston U (3-4) still hasn't beaten a ranked team since 1959.

Hurricanes guard Bruce Brown Jr. sat out with a left hand injury, which moved Walker into the starting lineup. Brown is expected to miss one more game before returning.

Boston U never led but was tied at 30 at halftime thanks to a tip-in by Max Mahoney at the buzzer. Walker scored 10 points during a 15-6 run to start the second half that helped the Hurricanes take charge.

Walker is coach Jim Larranaga's most highly touted recruit at Miami. His point total was the highest by a Miami player this season.

The Hurricanes shot 52 percent and went 11 for 21 from 3-point range. They rank fourth in nation in scoring defense and held an opponent under 60 points for the sixth time.

Mahoney had 12 points off the bench for Boston U.

18-West Virginia 68, 15-Virginia 61

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Jevon Carter had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Lamont West scored 22 points and No. 18 West Virginia beat No. 15 Virginia 68-61 on Tuesday night, sending the Cavaliers to their first loss.

Daxter Miles Jr. added 12 points for the Mountaineers (8-1).

Devon Hall led Virginia (8-1) with 19 points and Kyle Guy added 18, all in the second half.

For the second straight year, West Virginia made it difficult for the Cavaliers to get into a consistent offensive rhythm. Guy missed his first six shots, then hit six 3-pointers in the second half as Virginia overcame an eight-point deficit.

West hit a baseline jumper and a 3-pointer 1:18 apart to break a 56-all tie and put the Mountaineers ahead to stay. After Ty Jerome sank a 3-pointer to trim Virginia's deficit to 61-59 with 2:33 left, West and Carter sealed the win with free throws.

The 68 points were the most allowed by Virginia this season.

Sports on 12/06/2017

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