College basketball scores, winners & losers: Dayton and Obi Toppin continue showing maturity

Dayton has been living on the edge of dropping a game in its winning streak for a while. It was no different on Saturday when the Flyers were down two points to Duquesne at halftime. Perhaps after rising into the top five of the AP Top 25 poll for the first time in 64 years, Dayton is starting to feel a little too good about itself?

After all, VCU gave this team a scare on Tuesday. But as has become custom, Anthony Grant’s squad squashed any doubts, surging ahead by 17 points in the second half and holding on for an 80-70 victory.

The Flyers (25-2, 14-0 Atlantic 10) have now won 16 straight and continue to lurk on the No. 2 seed line, just in case someone from the group of Kansas, Baylor, Gonzaga or San Diego State falters.

But over the last several weeks, most of the faltering has been done by teams in the bottom half of the top 25. That was certainly the case during Saturday’s early slate of games as No. 17 West Virginia, No. 18 Colorado, 19 Marquette and No. 22 Houston all lost. Of course, No. 1 Baylor lost, too. But there was no shame in going down against the No. 3 Jayhawks.

Here’s a taste of the action from around the country as we recap the day with winners and losers.

Winner: Obi Toppin’s highlight reel

Another day, another windmill dunk for Toppin. The National Player of the Year candidate finished with 28 points and seven rebounds for Dayton as the No. 5 Flyers beat Duquesne 80-70 for their 16th straight victory. Toppin highlighted the day with a baseline windmill that lands somewhere on the list of his top-100 dunks this season.

Winner: Arkansas getting Isaiah Joe back 

So what is the protocol again for the NCAA Tournament selection committee when it comes to weighing injuries? Asking for a friend named Arkansas. The Razorbacks lost five straight without second-leading scorer Isiah Joe, who underwent a minor knee surgery. But Joe returned on Saturday and scored 21 points in a 78-68 win over Missouri. Arkansas is now 17-10 (5-9 SEC) after entering the day as one of the first four out of the NCAA Tournament field, according to CBS Sports Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm. With Joe, the Hogs look like a tournament team. Without him? Forget about it.

Winner: Providence overcoming 38 from Markus Howard

Nothing more comforting than facing the Big East’s all-time leading scorer when you’re in desperate need of a victory, right? That’s the task Providence faced Saturday with No. 19 Marquette and dynamic guard Markus Howard in town. Howard scored 38 of his team’s 72 points, but Providence countered with six players in double figures to snag an 84-72 victory. It’s the third straight win for coach Ed Cooley’s squad. Now 16-12 (9-6 Big East), Providence’s tournament hopes live on.

Loser: Braelee Albert

The good news for Albert is that a ton of NBA scouts are about to see just how willing he is to slide over and try to take a charge. The bad news is that when the Vanderbilt freshman slid over in front of Georgia’s Anthony Edwards on Saturday, he still had a foot in the restricted area. So as Edwards tomahawked a dunk and sent him to the floor, Albert’s pain was magnified by the fact that he was called for a blocking foul. But hey, any publicity is good publicity, right?

Winner: Buzz Williams in the SEC

Media members predicted Texas A&M to finish 12th in the SEC under first-year coach Buzz Williams. After all, the Aggies hadn’t finished better than .500 in conference play since 2016. And who gets better in the first season after a coaching change, right? Well, it turns out Texas A&M is much better than it was a year ago. The Aggies won their third straight and improved to 14-12 (8-6 SEC) on Saturday with an 87-75 victory over Mississippi State.

Winner: Virginia’s tournament hopes

Pointing out Virginia’s struggles seemed like a popular thing to do earlier this season as the Cavaliers tried to replace three NBA draft picks from last season’s national championship squad. While they may not be a Final Four threat, Tony Bennett’s squad is quietly positioning itself to be one of the top four seeds in the ACC Tournament. The Cavaliers dispatched Pittsburgh 59-56 on the road Saturday to improve to 19-7 (11-5 ACC). It was their fourth straight victory.

Loser: West Virginia’s credentials

What happened to the challenger class in the Big 12? Baylor and Kansas have been dominant all season, but West Virginia was at least hanging around for a while. The Mountaineers (19-8, 7-7 Big 12) have now lost four of five after Saturday’s 67-60 overtime loss at TCU and are averaging just 58.4 points per game during that span. It’s true they had to play Kansas and Baylor during that stretch, but something looks a little off here, especially when you consider WVU was ranked as high as No. 12 just three weeks ago.

Winner: Army/Navy on the hardwood

It may not have the luster of the annual football game. But the Army-Navy basketball game was pretty good Saturday. Army’s Tommy Funk scored 32 and reached double figures for the 23rd straight game as the Black Knights notched an 86-75 overtime victory over the visiting Midshipmen to finish their first regular-season sweep of Navy since the 2011-12 season.

Loser: Tennessee blowing a huge lead

The Volunteers looked poised to surge back onto the NCAA Tournament bubble as they took a 17-point lead in the second half against an Auburn team still without star freshman forward Isaac Okoro. But the Tigers outscored coach Bruce Pearl’s old squad 36-12 to finish the game and stop a two-game losing streak coinciding with Okoro’s absence due to a hamstring injury. The Vols also allowed little-used freshman reserve Jaylin Williams to throw an alley-oop off the backboard to himself. Yikes.

Winner: Memphis finally getting it done

After three straight losses and a narrow victory over East Carolina in a Quadrant 4 game, the sky was falling on Penny Hardaway. At least that’s what it felt like in Memphis, where life has been rocky since the suspension and subsequent departure of James Wiseman. But the Tigers (19-8, 8-6 AAC) finally found a reason to be happy on Saturday when they knocked off No. 22 Houston 60-59 for a Quadrant 1 victory that should keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive.

Loser: Kansas State’s jerseys

While in-state neighbors Kansas notched a road win against No. 1 Baylor, Kansas State lost its seventh straight game and looked pretty gross doing so as Texas spoiled throwback day with a 70-59 win. The Wildcats wore throwback uniforms commemorating the 1973-1982 era. They went 186-81 wearing the two-tone lavender during that span. But even Saturday’s period clothing could not channel the success of what was undoubtedly a simpler time. 

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