LEXINGTON, Ky. — Julius Randle scored 15 of his 23 in the second half to lead five Kentucky players in double figures and help the top-ranked Wildcats' touted freshman class debut with an 89-57 season-opening rout of UNC-Asheville on Friday night.
Randle, a 6-foot-9 forward considered the best of Kentucky's six high school All-America recruits in an eight-man group some are calling the best ever, also grabbed 15 rebounds. "We're getting better every game, but we still have a long way to go," Randle said.
Reserve sophomore forward Alex Poythress added 10 points and 13 rebounds. Reserve Marcus Lee added 17 points, James Young had 11 and Aaron Harrison 10 as freshmen helped the Wildcats overcome a ragged start.
No. 2 Mich. State 98, McNeese St. 56: Gary Harris scored 15 of his 20 in the first half and finished with a career-high 10 rebounds for the host Spartans in their opener. Branden Dawson had 12 points, 12 rebounds — one shy of his career high — and a career-high five assists, and Travis Trice scored 11 and had a career-high eight assists.
No. 4 Duke 111, Davidson 77: Jabari Parker and Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood scored 22 apiece in their debut for the host Blue Devils in their opener. Duke shot better than 70 percent (70.4) for the sixth time.
No. 5 Kansas 80, La.-Monroe 63: Freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins scored 16 for the host Jayhawks, who survived a scare as Louisiana-Monroe's Marvin Williams scored 19 before fouling out with 8:12 left.
No. 6 Arizona 73, Cal Poly 62: Aaron Gordon had 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in his debut for the host Wildcats.
No. 7 Mich. 69, UMass-Lowell 42: Glenn Robinson scored 15 for the host Wolverines, who pulled away from a Division I newcomer and raised their Final Four banner from last season.
No. 8 Syracuse 82, Cornell 60: Trevor Cooney had seven 3-pointers and 27 points, both career highs, for the host Orange, which won its 34th straight over the Big Red in the opener for both.
No. 8 Oklahoma St. 117, MVSU 62: Le'Bryan Nash had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead five scorers in double figures for the host Cowboys.
No. 12 UNC 84, Oakland (Mich.) 61: J.P. Tokoto scored a career-high 13 in his first start for the host Tar Heels, who missed leading scorer P.J. Hairston and senior guard Leslie McDonald (eligibility issues).
No. 14 VCU 96, Illinois St. 58: Juvonte Reddic had 13 points and eight rebounds as host Virginia Commonwealth, ranked to start the season for the first time, used a 33-7 first-half run and cruised in its opener.
No. 17 Marquette 63, Southern 56: Davante Gardner scored 25 to help the host Golden Eagles win in the opener for both.
No. 18 UConn 78, Maryland 77: Shabazz Napier scored 18 and Niels Giffey had 13 for the Huskies, who survived a surge at the Barclays Center in New York. Connecticut led by 17 in the second half in the opener for both before the Terrapins got within two with 2:28 left.
No. 19 Oregon 82, Georgetown 75: Joseph Young had 24 points and five rebounds for the Ducks in an opener played at a U.S. army base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.
No. 20 Wisconsin 86, St. John's 75: Josh Gasser, who missed last season with a knee injury, scored 19 for the Badgers, who had five players score in double figures in Sioux Falls, S.D.
No. 21 Notre Dame 74, Miami (Ohio) 62: Jerian Grant scored a career-high 26 for the host Fighting Irish in the opener for both. Notre Dame led 21-6 midway through the first half. Also, Notre Dame announced that sophomore Cam Biedschied will sit out the season to preserve a year of eligibility.
No. 24 Virginia 61, James Madison 41: Anthony Gill, a transfer from South Carolina, scored 13 in his debut for the host Cavaliers, who held JMU scoreless for nearly seven minutes in the first half in their opener.
No. 25 Baylor 72, Colorado 60: Kenny Chery scored 14 and Cory Jefferson had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Bears in the opener for both in Dallas.
Rutgers 92, Florida A&M 84: Kadeem Jack had a career-high 30 points and 12 rebounds for the host Scarlet Knights, who won the coaching debut of Eddie Jordan. Also, the NCAA suspended Rutgers freshman forward Junior Etou six games for accepting impermissible benefits.
Minnesota: Center Maurice Walker has been suspended for six games for a violation of university policy.
Preseason picks: SEC coaches chose Florida center Patric Young to the all-conference first team, with Gators guard Scottie Wilbekin, who has been suspended indefinitely, selected to the second team.