STORRS, Conn. — Ryan Boatright scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds as No. 17 UConn opened up defense of its national championship with a 66-53 win against Bryant on Friday night.
Amida Brimah added 12 points and five blocked shots for the Huskies, who won their 15th consecutive season opener.
Dyami Starks had 18 points for Bryant, which led by six points at halftime and nine points after Angus Riley hit a 3-pointer to open up the second half.
But the Huskies began chipping away.
A 3-pointer, steal and dunk by Boatright brought the Huskies within a point at 42-41. His layup gave them their first lead of the second half at 45-43.
They slowly stretched that out and a 3-pointer by Sam Cassell Jr. made it 57-47 with 4:11 left. That was part of a 14-6 run that UConn used to close the game.
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Andrew Harrison scored 16 points and No. 1 Kentucky dominated Grand Canyon in every phase during an 85-45, season-opening blowout on Friday night.
Beginning their second consecutive season atop the rankings thanks to a 10-deep roster that coach John Calipari utilized through a two-platoon system, the Wildcats exploited their substantial height and talent advantages through both units against a young Antelopes squad featuring seven true or redshirt freshmen among nine newcomers.
Despite missing a bunch of easy chances, Kentucky still shot 49 percent. The Wildcats held the Antelopes to 15 of 48 shooting (31 percent), outrebounded them 51-21 and blocked 10 shots.
Willie Cauley-Stein added 12 points, Dakari Johnson had 13 rebounds and 10 points and Trey Lyles had 14 points for Kentucky, which stretched its lead to 40 in the final minute.
Royce Woolridge, son of late former NBA player Orlando Woolridge, scored 15 points for Grand Canyon.
TUCSON, Ariz. — Brandon Ashley scored a career-high 21 points in his return to the lineup, and No. 2 Arizona shook off a shaky start to open the season with a 78-55 win against Mount St. Mary’s Friday night.
Arizona was out of sorts early before closing the first half with a big run to build a 15-point lead that was barely challenged.
Ashley played confidently and moved freely, finishing 9 of 10 from the floor in his return from missing the final 16 games last season with a broken foot.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson lifted the Wildcats out of their funk with harassing defense and an array of soaring dunks, finishing with 15 points.
An NCAA Tournament team a year ago, Mount St. Mary’s managed to keep Arizona within reach for most of the first half. Once the bigger, more athletic Wildcats turned up the pressure, the Mountaineers couldn’t keep up.
MADISON, Wis. — Frank Kaminsky scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help No. 3 Wisconsin beat Northern Kentucky 62-31 on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
Sam Dekker added 15 points for the Badgers, while Daniel Camps led the Norse with eight points.
Though the Badgers hit just less than half of their shots overall, they weren’t sharp from 3-point range. They hit just 4 of 17, good for only 24 percent.
Northern Kentucky, meanwhile, wasn’t sharp from anywhere. The Norse shot just 26 percent, including 2 of 16 from long range.
DURHAM, N.C. — Preseason All-American Jahlil Okafor scored 19 points in his college debut and No. 4 Duke routed Presbyterian 113-44 on Friday night in the opening round of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
All four members of a heavily hyped freshman class scored in double figures for the Blue Devils (1-0): Greyson Allen had 18, and Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones had 15 apiece.
Duke shot 61 percent, hit 16 3-pointers and had 30 assists — three shy of the school record — in the third-most lopsided victory in school history.
The freshmen effectively ended this one by halftime. Those four had 30 of Duke’s first 40 points and the Blue Devils led 57-19 at the break.
Quinn Cook — the only scholarship senior on Duke’s roster — had 14 points with four 3s and Rasheed Sulaimon scored 12 points.
LAWRENCE, Kan. — It wasn’t pretty, but No. 5 Kansas managed to win its season-opener 69-59 against UC-Santa Barbara on Friday night.
Devonte Graham finished with 14 points, Perry Ellis had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Frank Mason III finished with 12 points. But the Jayhawks also committed 16 turnovers, struggled with their shooting and didn’t put away the pesky Gauchos until a big second-half run.
Alan Williams led Santa Barbara with 22 points and 13 rebounds, frustrating the Jayhawks with some veteran guile. Williams, the Big West’s top returning scorer also had four blocked shots.
The Jayhawks won their 42nd straight season opener at Allen Fieldhouse, but it certainly wasn’t easy. A team that lost freshmen sensations Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid to the NBA draft had to rely on a bevy of freshmen, and it showed throughout the first half.
Kansas went six minutes without a field goal at one point, turning the ball over four times in a span of six possessions. The Gauchos only had one field goal in a span of nearly 10 minutes, though, and they struggled on the boards on both ends of the floor.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Brice Johnson scored 12 points to help No. 6 North Carolina beat North Carolina Central 76-60 on Friday night in the opener for both teams.
Kennedy Meeks and J.P. Tokoto each added 10 for the Tar Heels (1-0), who scored the first 11 points and led by double figures much of the night. North Carolina shot 44 percent, though preseason Associated Press All-American Marcus Paige managed just eight points on 2-for-8 shooting.
UNC won its 10th season opener in a row.
Anthony McDonald scored 16 points to lead the Eagles (0-1), who entered with a reshaped roster following a 28-win season that included a trip to the NCAA tournament.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Dorian Finney-Smith scored 15 points, Michael Frazier II added 12 and No. 7 Florida opened the season with a 68-45 victory against William & Mary on Friday night.
Michigan transfer Jon Horford chipped in 11 points for the Gators, who won their 24th consecutive season opener and improved to 19-0 on opening night under coach Billy Donovan.
Florida dominated every aspect of the game and even played solid defense. Donovan said this week his team wasn’t “remotely close” to deserving its lofty ranking because of defensive inconsistency. He added that the Gators had a “long, long, long way” to go to match last year’s Final Four team on that end of the floor.
Florida lost starters Casey Prather, Scottie Wilbekin, Will Yeguete and Patric Young.
Omar Prewitt led the Tribe with 15 points.
AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico — Montrezl Harrell had 30 points and Terry Rozier added 18 to help No. 8 Louisville beat Minnesota 81-68 in the season opener for both teams Friday night.
The game at a U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Puerto Rico featured Louisville coach Rick Pitino going against his son, Richard, for the second time. The Golden Gophers led 14-10 early after a pair of free throws from Nate Mason, but the Cardinals were too much for Minnesota after that.
Quentin Snider sparked a 19-2 run with a three-point play and the Cardinals held Minnesota to 40 percent shooting while forcing 18 turnovers. Harrell could have turned pro last season, but he showed off an improved jump shot with 17 points in the first half on 5-for-6 shooting, including a three-pointer to make it 29-16 with 6:38 left.
The Gophers cut it to a nine-point deficit, but Harrell’s alley-oop dunk helped Louisville take a 43-30 halftime lead.
Andre Hollins kept Minnesota in the game with 10 of his team-high 22 points in the first half.
HARRISONBURG, Va. — Sporting its highest ranking to start the season since 1982-83, No. 9 Virginia took care of James Madison 79-51 on Friday night.
The Cavaliers bolted to a 14-3 lead in the first 4:25, let the Dukes within single digits just one more time and led by as many as 29 after halftime.
Justin Anderson led Virginia with 18 points, Anthony Gill had 15 and Malcolm Brogdon 14 for the Cavaliers, who also got an impressive debut from freshman Isaiah Wilkins. Wilkins, the stepson of NBA great Dominique, had 8 points, 5 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals in 19 minutes.
James Madison, coming off an 11-20 season, got 15 points from freshman Hari Hall, all in the first half, and 14 from Jackson Kent. The Dukes were playing without scoring leader Andre Nation (15.4 ppg) and reserve forward Tom Vodanovich, who were suspended for violating team rules in the summer, and were short on options.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Melvin Johnson scored 20 of his 23 points in the decisive first half, Treveon Graham had 15 points and 14 rebounds and No. 15 VCU defeated Tennessee 85-69 Friday night in the Veterans Classic.
Johnson went 9 for 17 from the floor, hit five 3-pointers and had three assists to help the Rams win their 10th consecutive season opener.
After falling behind 48-30 at halftime and 55-35 with 16:44 remaining, Tennessee closed to 67-59 but could not complete the comeback.
VCU played most of the game without starting point guard JeQuan Lewis, who left with 8:19 remaining in the first half after slamming his head on the court. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Lewis took a spill dueling for a rebound with 6-foot-10, 280-pound forward Dominic Woodson.
Josh Richardson and Detrick Mostella each scored 17 for Tennessee, playing its first game under coach Donnie Tyndall. The Volunteers have nine newcomers and only four scholarship players back from last season.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sam Thompson scored 14 points and No. 20 Ohio State’s newcomers had a big game in leading the Buckeyes to a 92-55 victory against overmatched UMass Lowell on Friday night.
Freshman D’Angelo Russell had 16 points, four rebounds and six assists, Marc Loving scored 14, graduate transfer Anthony Lee had 13 and redshirt freshman Kam Williams added 12 for the Buckeyes (1-0), who shot 62 percent from the field.
Jahad Thomas, redshirted as a freshman due to an injury, had 18 points in his debut for the River Hawks (0-1), who are integrating nine newcomers into the lineup.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Rakeem Christmas had a career-high 21 points along with nine rebounds and freshman forward Chris McCullough added 16 points and 11 rebounds as No. 23 Syracuse beat Kennesaw State 89-42 in the Orange’s season opener Friday night in the 2K Classic.
The 6-foot-9 Christmas did most of his work inside as the Orange dominated the paint 50-14, but he also hit the occasional jumper.
Nigel Pruitt paced the Owls with 11 points, while Delbert Love, Damien Wilson and Orlando Coleman each scored eight. But the first meeting between the teams was a mismatch as the Orange dominated despite some sloppy early play. Syracuse took control with a 22-2 run in the first half and cruised.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Wesley Saunders had 15 points, 9 rebounds and six assists on Friday night as No. 25 Harvard opened the season with a 73-52 victory against down-river rival MIT.
Siyani Chambers also scored 15, making all four attempts from 3-point range and added four assists for Harvard — the four-time defending Ivy League champion.
Justin Pedley scored 19 points, Tim Butala had 16 and Andrew Acker scored eight with nine rebounds for Division III MIT.
The Engineers led 22-21 midway through the first half before Harvard scored the next eight points on its way to a 39-25 lead. It was 42-27 at the half.
The Crimson opened the season in The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in school history. They’re also the first Ivy team to make the AP preseason poll in four decades.