RJ Barrett Stars in Zion's Absence, LSU Upsets UT, Top Highlights from Feb. 23

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2019

SYRACUSE, NY - FEBRUARY 23:  RJ Barrett #5 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts to a play against the Syracuse Orange during the second half at the Carrier Dome on February 23, 2019 in Syracuse, New York. Duke defeated Syracuse 75-65. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
Rich Barnes/Getty Images

With Zion Williamson out injured, Duke freshman RJ Barrett reminded everyone Saturday why he has the potential to be a high lottery pick in the 2019 NBA draft.

With the spotlight focused on him, Barrett dropped 30 points in the Blue Devils' 75-65 victory over Syracuse.

While Duke is set to remain atop of the AP Top 25 when its released Monday, Tennessee is expected to drop further down the rankings after falling in a chaotic game to LSU.

But Tennessee's loss wasn't the most deflating defeat suffered by a ranked team Saturday, as No. 12 Kansas fell flat on the road against Texas Tech.

In the mid-major ranks, South Dakota State's Mike Daum became the second senior to hit the 3,000-point mark this season, one week after Campbell's Chris Clemons reached the milestone.


Saturday's AP Top 25 Scores

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No. 1 Duke 75, Syracuse 65

No. 2 Gonzaga 102, BYU 68

No. 3 Virginia 64, No. 18 Louisville 52

No. 4 Kentucky 80, Auburn 53

No. 13 LSU 82, No. 5 Tennessee 80 (Final/OT)

No. 6 Nevada 74, Fresno State 68

No. 8 North Carolina 77, No. 16 Florida State 59

No. 9 Houston 71, South Florida 59

No. 11 Marquette 76, Providence 58

No. 14 Texas Tech 91, No. 12 Kansas 62

No. 15 Purdue 75, Nebraska 72

TCU 75, No. 19 Iowa State 72

No. 20 Virginia Tech 67, Notre Dame 59

No. 22 Wisconsin 69, Northwestern 64

No. 23 Kansas State 85, Oklahoma State 46

No. 24 Maryland 72, Ohio State 62


Barrett Finishes Off Alley-Oop


Wild Ending to Tennessee-LSU


Harvard Beats Yale at Buzzer


Nevada Puts Exclamation Point on Win 


South Dakota State's Daum Reaches 3,000 Points


Anim's Thunderous Slam for Marquette


Bieniemy's Game-Winning Block for Sooners


Okeke's Big Slam at Rupp



Little's Strong Follow 


Gonzaga's Ankle-Breaking Crossover


Barrett Stars in Zion's Absence

Although Barrett is averaging 23.1 points per game, he hasn't featured in as many headlines as Williamson, who has marveled us with his out-of-this-world athleticism.

Without Williamson for most of the game against North Carolina—and for the entirety of the win over Syracuse—Barrett reached the 30-point mark in both contests.

With his 30-point performance Saturday, Barrett became the sixth player during Mike Krzyzewski's tenure to record consecutive 30-point games, per ESPN Stats & Info:

As The Athletic's Sam Vecenie noted, Barrett's performance shed light on his talents, which should land him in the top three of the 2019 NBA draft:

Barrett has an opportunity to extend his 30-point streak to three games Tuesday, when the Blue Devils visit No. 20 Virginia Tech.

As for Williamson, Krzyzewski provided some details on the star freshman's recovery, per Stephen Wiseman of the News and Observer:


LSU Knocks Off Tennessee in Overtime

If you're looking for a dark-horse program to get behind during March Madness, you might want to keep an eye on LSU.

The 13th-ranked Tigers knocked off No. 5 Tennessee in overtime without Tremont Waters and with Naz Reid scoring a single point.

Saturday's win was the fourth overtime victory for the Tigers this season, which is tied for the most in Division 1, per SEC Network:

LSU head coach Will Wade, who enthusiastically thanked LSU fans the after the game (h/t WAFB's Jacques Doucet), was proud of his squad for performing so well with its leading scorer sidelined by illness, per Amie Just of NOLA.com.

"I was just very, very proud of our team overall," Wade said. "We overcame a lot of adversity. We had to pretty much flip our game plan in a night on things."

LSU is tied with Kentucky and Tennessee at 12-2 atop the SEC standings, and if it wins out, it will possess a head-to-head tiebreaker over both the Wildcats and Volunteers.


Texas Tech Stuns Kansas

Texas Tech put a major dent in Kansas' quest to win its 15th consecutive Big 12 regular-season title, as the Red Raiders thumped the Jayhawks by 29 points.

The margin of victory was the Red Raiders' largest in program history in a matchup of two ranked teams, while it was also Kansas' second-worst loss under head coach Bill Self, per ESPN Stats & Info:

Self was asked after the loss if his team didn't show up Saturday, but he refused to agree with that sentiment, per Matt Galloway of the Topeka Capital-Journal.

"I just think we played bad, I mean, and I think they played great," Self said. "They were terrific. They'd beat anybody in the country tonight. But certainly we contributed to them playing well, but it wasn't because we didn't show up."

The Jayhawks have an opportunity to claw their way back into the Big 12 race if they beat Kansas State at Allen Fieldhouse on Monday, but they would still need the Wildcats to lose once more, as well as Texas Tech.


Sunday's AP Top 25 Schedule

No. 17 Villanova at Xavier (1:30 p.m. ET, CBS) 

No. 10 Michigan State at No. 7 Michigan (3:45 p.m. ET, CBS) 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.