While the rest of the students at Rutgers were taking final exams this week, the basketball team was taking three-pointers. The players didn't have to wait long to see the results of their work.
Geoff Billet and Rob Hodgson combined for eight of the 13 three-pointers Rutgers made Saturday as the Scarlet Knights handed No. 16 Temple its second straight loss, 72-63.
Coach Kevin Bannon knew the Knights would have to hit from the outside to upset the Owls, so he changed some of the practice drills during the week Rutgers had between games.
"We did all of our shooting drills from three feet further back than normal," he said. "We did an enormous amount of shooting this week, (working) mostly on our range."
Billet had 21 points and Hodgson a career-high 20 as Rutgers (4-4) won its first game against a ranked opponent on the road since the fifth-ranked Scarlet Knights beat No. 17 Princeton, 75-62, on Feb. 2, 1976.
"We were 1-4 at one point, and we had five straight non-conference games," Billet said of Rutgers, which has won three straight. "Our goal was to get five in a row, and this was obviously the most difficult of them."
The Scarlet Knights were 13 for 27 (48 percent) from three-point range, a season high.
The Owls, who shot poorly in a 68-57 loss to city rival Villanova on Tuesday, had their shooting woes continue against Rutgers. Temple (6-3) was 23 for 59 from the field after going 19 for 63 against the Wildcats.
"In the first three games, we shot well, but not the last two," said Temple coach John Chaney, who noted his guard-oriented team was outrebounded, 38-30.
"We have great guards, but if you put them all in, we suffer at the other end," he said. "We'll have that problem all year long."
Rasheed Brokenborough led Temple with 15 points.
"I just think we're not living up to our billing," he said. "We're not as good as people think we are."
Ahead by two at halftime, the Scarlet Knights' outside shooting broke the game open in the second half.
Billet, Earl Johnson and Jeff Greer opened the half with three straight three-pointers, boosting Rutgers' lead to 39-30 and the Knights stayed ahead the rest of the way.
Kentucky 74, Tulsa 53
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Nazr Mohammed scored four of his 17 points during a 17-0 run that enabled No. 4 Kentucky (9-1) to overcome a sluggish start and post a victory over Tulsa (7-3).
Kentucky's Tubby Smith coached at Tulsa from 1991-95, his first head position, and his former team played on even terms until the Wildcats' depth and defense prevailed in the second half.
Smith said it wasn't easy going against the Golden Hurricane.
"It was tough," he said. "I would look down the bench and realize I like everyone on the other team. You have to be careful and not slip and lose your focus and concentration. They were very good to me at Tulsa.
"We picked up the intensity there in the second half," Smith said. "We made some adjustments in our press. It was important at that time to get them fatigued and that took its toll."
Kentucky scored 24 points off Tulsa's 21 turnovers in winning its seventh straight game.
"We didn't score against their press," Tulsa coach Bill Self said. "They got much more offense out of their press than we did against it. We got on our heels and then the dam broke. The press had a big impact and we couldn't score."
Jeff Sheppard finished with 11 points and Wayne Turner added 10 as Kentucky shot 52 percent (26 of 50) from the field.
Johnie Gendron, a junior guard, matched his career high with 17 points to lead Tulsa.
Kansas 94, Texas Christian 78
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Paul Pierce found his shooting touch after missing seven of his first eight shots and scored 28 points to lead No. 2 Kansas (13-1) to a win over No. 24 Texas Christian (9-1).
Raef LaFrentz also struggled in the first half, getting just six points and seven rebounds for the Jayhawks before finishing with 23 points and 17 rebounds.
Pierce made only one jumper in the first 14 minutes as both Kansas and TCU shot less than 40 percent for most of the first half.
But Pierce made a three-pointer with 1:57 to play and made three free throws before a tip-in at the buzzer by Lester Earl, a transfer from LSU playing his first game since becoming eligible, gave Kansas a 39-34 lead at halftime.
Earl finished with five points and six rebounds.
Pierce, who made 9 of 20 field goal attempts, made two free throws to start the second half, and Kansas' superior size began to take over.
Lee Nailon led TCU with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
Purdue 86, Xavier 84
INDIANAPOLIS -- Brian Cardinal scored Purdue's final three points and came up with a big rebound in the final seconds as the eighth-ranked Boilermakers (9-2) held off No. 10 Xavier (6-2).
Xavier rallied from a 20-point deficit in the second half to lead, 84-83, with 1:43 to play when Pat Kelsey hit the first of two free throws. He missed the second and Purdue got the rebound.
Cardinal, who scored 10 points, then got open underneath for a layup with 1:24 left to put Purdue ahead. After a Xavier turnover, Cardinal made a free throw with 27 seconds left to cap the scoring, but missed his second attempt.
The Musketeers had one more chance to tie the game, but Lenny Brown's 8-foot jumper with about seven seconds left fell off the rim and Cardinal scrambled to the court to gain possession and passed it downcourt as time ran out.
Purdue led, 51-34, at halftime and was ahead, 54-34, when Chad Austin completed a three-point play 50 seconds into the second half. Xavier rallied to cut the deficit to 60-52 as it capitalized on three consecutive Purdue turnovers.
Darnell Williams, James Posey and Brown slowly brought Xavier back and the Musketeers took their first lead since the early moments of the game at 67-66 when Torraye Braggs grabbed a rebound and drove the length of the court.
The score was tied four times after that, the last at 83 on a 10-foot jumper by Posey with 1:48 remaining.
Jaraan Cornell led the Boilermakers with a career-high 28 points and Austin scored 23, including two three-pointers in the final minutes.
Williams topped Xavier with 24 points, while Brown added 16 and Posey 15.
South Carolina 77, St. Joseph's 65
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- BJ McKie, playing on a bad ankle, scored 19 points and No. 6 South Carolina (6-1) beat St. Joseph's (2-3).
McKie was questionable before the game after spraining his left ankle in the waning moments of Wednesday night's loss to Clemson. But he played his regular minutes against the Hawks, scoring 13 second-half points as South Carolina held off a late charge.
South Carolina scored 14 of the game's final 16 points, making seven of 10 free throws in the final minute.
Melvin Watson added 15 points and five assists for the Gamecocks. Rashid Bey scored 22 points to lead St. Joseph's, which was playing its first game after an 11-day break for exams. Duval Simmonds added 14 points and Robert Haskins had 13 points and eight rebounds.
UCLA 73, Saint Louis 67
LOS ANGELES -- J.R. Henderson scored 19 points and No. 11 UCLA (6-1) made 12 of 16 free throws over the final 6:12 to hold off Saint Louis (8-1), snapping the Billikens' eight-game winning streak.
The Bruins won their sixth straight game after trailing by seven points early in the second half and watching the Billikens get within two with 2:41 remaining on a dunk by Larry Hughes.
Virgil Cobbin fouled Toby Bailey, who hit both free throws, and Kris Johnson scored the next time down the floor to increase UCLA's lead to 66-60 with 2:05 to play.
Hughes, the nation's second-highest scoring freshman with a 22-point average, finished with 14.
Cobbin had 17 points for the Billikens.
UConn 93, N.C.-Wilmington 55
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Kevin Freeman was perfect from the field and free throw line, scoring 16 points in a balanced attack as No. 12 Connecticut (9-1) started slowly, then crushed North Carolina-Wilmington (4-5).
Freeman hit all five of his shots from the field and was 6 of 6 from the free throw line to lead four teammates in double figures for the Huskies, who won their fifth straight.
UConn finished 28 for 33 from the foul line, hitting 18 of 20 in the first half, when the Seahawks had more fouls than field goals and the Huskies had trouble getting their fast break untracked.
Tadearl Pratt scored 20 points to lead UNC-Wilmington, which stayed poised early under UConn's pressure but never got closer than 10 points after the first half.
UConn starting point guard Khalid El-Amin scored 12 points before hurting his right thigh trying to fight through a screen with about 10 minutes left in the game. He did not return but said after the game he was fine.
New Mexico 81, Texas Tech 62
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Kenny Thomas scored 26 points and No. 14 New Mexico (7-1) used a 27-6 run to beat Texas Tech (4-4), extending the nation's second-longest home-court winning streak to 32 games.
New Mexico trailed, 40-31, with 2:40 left in the first half, but scored the final seven points of the half, then outscored the Red Raiders, 20-6, over the first 11 minutes of the second half.
Texas Tech rallied back within 62-58 as Rayford Young and Cory Carr combined for 10 points, but the Lobos buried the Red Raiders for good with a trio of three-pointers by Thomas, Royce Olney and Lamont Long.
Thomas had 10 rebounds, Long scored 19 points and had a career-high 13 rebounds, while Clayton Shields had 13 points and 15 rebounds.
Ole Miss 106, Prairie View 59
OXFORD, Miss. -- Joezon Darby scored seven straight points for No. 18 Mississippi (7-1) after Prairie View (3-5) took its only lead and the Rebels went on to a victory.
Darby, the sixth man, finished with a team-high 18 points as the Rebels scored at least 100 points for the third time in five games. The last time Ole Miss had three 100-point games in a season was 1971-72.
Prairie View led, 22-21, when King Whetstone, a high school teammate of Mississippi's leading scorer, Ansu Sesay, hit two free throws midway through the first half. Darby's streak then started a 15-0 run.
Sesay added 17 points for Ole Miss, his 32nd straight game in double figures, while Anthony Boone had 13 points in just 17 minutes.
West Virginia 86, Georgia 81
ATLANTA -- Damian Owens scored 13 of his 24 points over the final 8:23, after West Virginia (9-1) had blown a 17-point lead in a win over No. 20 Georgia (7-3).
The Mountaineers posted their fourth straight victory despite a rally that saw Georgia overcome a 50-33 deficit with 16:20 remaining to gain a tie at 56-56 with 9:20 to play.
Owens put West Virginia in front to stay, converting a three-point play for a 59-56 lead with 8:23 remaining.
Greg Jones added 17 points for the Mountaineers, including seven after Georgia had forged the tie.
Ray Harrison led the Bulldogs with 23 points, including four three-pointers.
Michigan 87, Chattanooga 53
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Robbie Reid scored 20 points as No. 21 Michigan (7-3) defeated Chattanooga (4-5).
Brandon Smith had 14 points, while Jerod Ward and Robert Traylor each added 12 points and Louis Bullock 10 for Michigan.
The Wolverines, coming off an overtime home loss to Eastern Michigan, used their overwhelming size advantage to outrebound the Mocs, 42-18.
Forward Juraj Grabaric led Chattanooga with 17 points and forward Isaac Conner added 10.