NCAA

Smith scores 24, Butler downs Northwestern 74-65

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Smith scores 24, Butler downs Northwestern 74-65

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) Andrew Smith scored a season-high 24 points and Butler pulled away in the second half for a 74-65 win over Northwestern on Saturday night.

Smith had 19 points in the second half - including nine straight - and added 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs (7-2), who shot 48 percent en route to their fourth straight win overall and fourth straight against the Wildcats (7-3).

Rotnei Clarke was 4 for 6 on 3-point attempts and finished with 13 points for Butler. Kellen Dunham added 11 points and Roosevelt Jones had 10.

Dave Sobolowski scored 21 points for Northwestern, which shot just 32.7 percent from the field but stayed close by converting 22 of 31 free throws. Tre Demps added 15 points and Reggie Hearn had 13.

Butler, which led 34-31 at the half, pulled away with a 10-4 run to open the second half.

VCU loses fourth consecutive game to St. Louis

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VCU loses fourth consecutive game to St. Louis

ST. LOUIS -- Javonte Perkins had 25 points as Saint Louis topped VCU 80-62 on Friday night.

Hasahn French had 18 points for Saint Louis (19-8, 8-6 Atlantic 10 Conference). Terrence Hargrove Jr. added 11 points. Jordan Goodwin had 10 points.

Marcus Santos-Silva had 11 points for the Rams (17-10, 7-7), who have now lost four consecutive games. De'Riante Jenkins added 10 points.

Saint Louis plays Saint Joseph's at home on Wednesday. VCU faces UMass on the road on Wednesday.

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Tristan Thompson calls Bradley Beal one of the best shooting guards in the league

Tristan Thompson calls Bradley Beal one of the best shooting guards in the league

Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson spoke with reporters after the team's victory over the Wizards Friday night, praising Bradley Beal, who was snubbed from All-Star consideration this season despite averaging nearly 30 points-per-game.

The Cavaliers held the Wizards to just 21 points in the fourth quarter, and Thompson said their main focus was neutralizing Beal.

"The Wizards are really good offensively when they are making their runs," Thompson said postgame. "Bradley Beal is an All-Star in our league. One of the top-three two-guards in our league right now, so we were just trying to make it tough for him."

Beal finished the night with 26 points, but struggled from the floor. Beal shot 9-for-28 from the floor and the Cavaliers' stingy defense was clearly a factor.

Beal and the Wizards will have a chance to get back on track on Sunday night at Capital One Arena when they host the Chicago Bulls for the final time this season.

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