NCAA

UVa survives Penn State scare

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UVa survives Penn State scare

By HANK KURZ Jr.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Virginia's Michael Rocco hit Jake McGee on a 6-yard touchdown pass with 1:28 to play Saturday, and Sam Ficken's fourth missed field goal of the game -- from 42 yards at the gun -- preserved the Cavaliers' 17-16 victory over Penn State. The loss in new coach Bill O'Brien's first road game hurt the Nittany Lions just as much, if not moreso, than their defeat last weekend at home against Ohio. Penn State (0-2) forced four turnovers in Virginia territory, continually taking it away to give its offense another opportunity, but then couldn't close the deal. Virginia's winning drive covered 86 yards in 12 plays, the biggest blow a 44-yard pass from Rocco to Jake McGee on third-and-16 from the Cavaliers' 22 yard-line. Seven plays later, on third-and-goal from the 6, Rocco found McGee open again in the end zone, and Drew Jarrett's extra point was the difference.

Much needed win for Virginia Tech, upsetting No. 10 North Carolina

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Much needed win for Virginia Tech, upsetting No. 10 North Carolina

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Justin Robinson scored 19 points and Virginia Tech pulled away in the second half to beat No. 10 North Carolina 80-69 on Monday night.

Ahmed Hill added 18 points for Virginia Tech (14-6, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference). Hill scored seven in a row to start the decisive 13-3 burst, which turned a 51-48 lead into a 64-51 advantage with just under eight minutes remaining. Kerry Blackshear Jr. added 16 points.

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Joel Berry and Luke Maye scored 23 points each for the Tar Heels (16-5, 5-3). North Carolina never got closer than eight points in the final eight minutes.

The Hokies ended the first half on a 15-2 run to lead 39-32 at the break. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Berry sparked the Tar Heels early in the second half, but then Hill's 3-pointer started his personal 7-0 run.

As the final horn sounded, fans that had been chanting "just like football" streamed onto the court

BIG PICTURE

North Carolina: The Tar Heels like to play at a fast pace, but were not as adept at getting back on defense against the Hokies, who scored numerous baskets before 10 seconds had come off the shot clock.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies are second nationally in field goal percentage at .521, and while they came up short of that against the Tar Heels, they outscored North Carolina 32-26 in the paint and outrebounded them 36-35.

RELATED: LATEST AP POLL IS MISSING A BLUE-BLOOD

Virginia remains No. 2 in latest AP Poll, Kentucky falls out for first time since 2014

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Virginia remains No. 2 in latest AP Poll, Kentucky falls out for first time since 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Kentucky is out of the AP Top 25 for the first time in nearly four years while another bunch of Wildcats -- Villanova -- maintained their hold on No. 1.

Kentucky slid out of Monday's latest poll from No. 18 after losses to South Carolina and Florida, snapping a 30-game home winning streak for the Wildcats in Southeastern Conference play. That dropped coach John Calipari's Wildcats out for the first time since March 2014 and snapped a 68-week stretch in the poll.

The top three of Villanova, Virginia, and Purdue remained the same, with the Wildcats (18-1) remaining firmly in place by collecting 63 of 65 first-place votes. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers (18-1) and the Boilermakers (19-2) have combined to win 25 straight games, 19 by double-digit margins, and split the remaining first-place votes.

Duke inched up a spot to No. 4, while Kansas jumped five spots to No. 5 after winning at West Virginia. Michigan State, West Virginia, Xavier, Cincinnati and reigning national champion North Carolina rounded out the top 10, which saw three teams -- Oklahoma, Wichita State and Texas Tech -- each lose twice last week to take big tumbles.

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Kentucky (14-5, 4-3 SEC) started the year at No. 5 and remained in the top 10 until Christmas Day, but the Wildcats have lost three of five overall and are 0-2 against ranked teams this year.

They also rank outside the top 25 in KenPom's adjusted offensive and defensive national rankings through Sunday's games. Coach John Calipari's teams in Lexington have finished outside the top 25 in both categories only once before: the 2012-13 season that ended with 12 losses and a first-round NIT loss to Robert Morris.

Then again, the last Kentucky team to fall out of the AP poll in 2014 went from being a 10-loss disappointment to playing for the NCAA championship in the span of weeks.

"We're going to be fine," Calipari said after Saturday's 66-64 loss to Florida. "I was worried after South Carolina, now. I'm not worried after this. We'll be fine. I was worried after Vanderbilt to be honest with you, and we won that game. They do this and they stay this course and this is who we are, we'll be fine."

1. Villanova (63 1st place votes), 18-1
2. Virginia (1), 18-1
3. Purdue (1), 19-2
4. Duke, 17-2
5. Kansas, 16-3
6. Michigan State, 17-3
7. West Virginia, 16-3
8. Xavier, 18-3
9. Cincinnati, 17-2
10. North Carolina, 16-4
11. Arizona, 16-4
12. Oklahoma, 14-4
13. Ohio State, 17-4
14. Texas Tech, 15-4
15. Gonzaga, 17-4
16. Saint Mary's, 19-2
17. Wichita State, 15-4
18. Clemson, 16-3
19. Auburn, 17-2
20. Florida, 14-5
21. Arizona State, 15-4
22. Tennessee, 13-5
23. Nevada, 18-3
24. Rhode Island, 15-3
25. Michigan, 17-5

PURDUE'S SURGE

The Boilermakers (8-0 Big Ten) have won 15 straight to remain at No. 3, their highest since being ranked No. 2 in March 1988. They have won three straight Big Ten games by at least 23 points for the first time in school history.

THE LONG CLIMB BACK

Arizona (16-4, 6-1 Pac-12) went from ranked No. 2 to unranked in the span of a week in November after a disastrous 0-3 showing at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, including a 25-point loss to Purdue -- which started the Boilermakers' run -- in the eight-team tournament's seventh-place game.

But the Wildcats have won 13 of 14 since and check in this week at No. 11, their highest ranking since falling out.

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No. 13 Ohio State (17-4, 7-0 Big Ten) is up nine spots for the week's biggest leap. The Buckeyes checked in at No. 22 last week for their first AP Top 25 ranking since March 2015.

UNC matched Kansas' five-spot jump to No. 10 after beating Clemson last week at home.

LONGEST SLIDES

Wichita State's first two losses in its new American Athletic Conference home had the Shockers drop 10 spots to No. 17 for the week's biggest fall.

Two Big 12 teams also took big tumbles after two-loss weeks. Oklahoma and freshman star Trae Young fell eight spots to No. 12 after losses to Kansas State and Oklahoma State, while No. 14 Texas Tech slid six spots after losses to Texas and Iowa State.

Arizona State also fell five spots to No. 21 and has lost four of seven since a 12-0 start.

NEWCOMERS

Saint Mary's led the newcomers at No. 16 after winning at Gonzaga in West Coast Conference play last week. The Gaels, led by Jock Landale, were ranked for three November polls before falling out but have won 14 straight.

No. 20 Florida -- which reached No. 5 in December before falling out -- and No. 23 Nevada both returned to the poll after being ranked earlier this season, while No. 24 Rhode Island checked in for the first time this season.

SLIDING OUT

In addition to Kentucky, Seton Hall (No. 19), TCU (No. 24) and Miami (No. 25) fell out of this week's rankings.

NBC Sports Washington contributed to this report.