No. 3 Villanova survived a surprising challenge from unranked Boston College in the opener of the 2K Empire Classic on Wednesday. The task will become much more daunting for the Wildcats in the championship game Thursday night against No. 18 Arizona State in Uncasville, Conn. The Sun Devils defeated Rhode Island 94-88. Villanova rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit for a 76-67 victory over the Eagles thanks in large part to 18 points and 10 rebounds from Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.
Mick Cronin might not be so eager to bring UCLA back to San Diego State anytime soon after his short-handed Bruins were given a rude welcome by the deep, disruptive Aztecs coached by old friend Brian Dutcher. Matt Mitchell and Jordan Schakel scored 15 points apiece and SDSU used a suffocating defense and 3-point shots to humble 22nd-ranked UCLA 73-58 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.
Wisconsin big man Nate Reuvers posed all sorts of problems for Eastern Illinois, which had no way to replicate him in practice. Panthers coach Jay Spoonhour doesn't exactly have a roster full of 6-foot-11 players who can score inside and out, rebound and block shots. Reuvers did all three Wednesday night as the seventh-ranked Badgers began their season with a 77-67 victory over Eastern Illinois.