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College basketball round-up: No. 1 goes down

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A major upset rocked college basketball on Saturday as top-ranked North Carolina went down to defeat. Florida, Florida State and Central Florida posted victories, while USF is still searching for their first win.

Florida Atlantic, Florida International and Florida Gulf Coast all posted victories.

Northern Iowa 71, No. 1 North Carolina 67

College basketball will have a new No. 1 team next week following the shocking defeat of top-ranked North Carolina. The Tar Heels were ambushed by the Northern Iowa Panthers, 71-67 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

With 17:13 remaining in the game, North Carolina led, 50-34. From there, the Panthers outscored the Tar Heels, 37-17 to pull off the upset.

Justin Jackson’s 25 points was not enough to save North Carolina. Northern Iowa boasted balanced scoring with four players scoring in double figures, led by Wes Washpun’s 21.

Florida 74, St. Joseph’s 63

The Florida Gators earned their spot in the finals of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament with a 74-63 win over St. Josephs on Saturday. Florida overcame a 6-point deficit in the final 7 minutes to claim the victory.

Dorian Finney-Smith and Kasey Hill paced the Gators with 13 points while Devin Robinson added 12 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. James Demerey paced St. Joseph’s with 17 points in a reserve role.

Demerey’s jumper put the Hawks ahead, 59-53 with 6:39 remaining.  Hill responded with a three-pointer 16 seconds later that ignited a 21-4 Florida run to close the game.

The Gators moved to 3-0 on the season. On Sunday, Coach Mike White’s squad will take on the No. 21 Purdue for the Tip-Off championship. The Boilermakers routed Old Dominion, 61-39 on Saturday.

Florida State 83, DePaul 67

Florida State bounced back from a disappointing defeat to Hofstra by rolling over the DePaul Blue Demons, 83-67 in the Paradise Jam tournament in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

FSU’s freshman duo of Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley again led the team in scoring with 19 and 11 points, respectively. They were the only two Seminoles in double figures. Xavier Rathan-Mayes had 8 assists. Aaron Simpson had 20 points off the bench for DePaul.

The Seminoles used a 27-8 run midway through the first half to turn a 10-10 tie into a 37-18 lead that set the tone for the rest of the game. FSU led 43-26 at halftime. DePaul could get no closer than 11 points the rest of the way.

Florida State plays the Ohio Bobcats for fourth place on Sunday afternoon.

Boston University 78, South Florida 66

The South Florida Bulls are off to a nightmare beginning following Saturday’s 78-66 loss to the Boston University Terriers. The defeat dropped USF to 0-4 with all four losses coming at the Sun Dome.

BU led at halftime, 36-32 and used a decisive run early in the second half to take control. With the score 38-36, the Terriers went on a decisive 17-6 run to take command. The Bulls briefly got within 61-56 on two free throws by Jaleel Cousins with 6:21 left, but got no closer than that.

Cheddi Mosely led BU with 21 points while Roddy Peters and Cousins had 16 and 14 points, respectively, for the Bulls.

USF tries for their first win on Tuesday against Albany at the Sun Dome.

Central Florida 65, UNC Greensboro 54

The Central Florida Knights won their first game of the season, beating North Carolina Greensboro, 65-54 in Orlando. Shaheed Davis led the Knights with 23 points, including 5 three-pointers. Marvin Smith led the Spartans with 15.

After taking a 29-28 lead at halftime, the Knights opened the second half with a 9-0 run to take a 10-point lead. UNCG roared back to take a 48-43 lead with 6:45 remaining. UCF was up to the challenge, closing the game on a  22-6 run to claim the victory.

After narrow losses to Davidson and UC Irvine to open the season, the Knights overcame adversity to move to 1-2. They head to Oxford, Ohio to face the Miami Red Hawks next Saturday.

Other Scores

Florida Atlantic 74, Miami (Ohio) 69

Florida International 69, Tennessee-Martin 62

Florida Gulf Coast 104, Youngstown State 101 (3OT)

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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