AROUND THE CITY

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If Villanova had not lost to Temple, 53-52, on Dec. 4, 2004, the Wildcats would be going for a fourth consecutive 4-0 City Series season on Feb. 4 against Saint Joseph's. After beating La Salle, 71-58, Villanova (10-1, 3-0 Big 5) has extended its record Big 5 streak to 14 games.

If Villanova had not lost to Temple, 53-52, on Dec. 4, 2004, the Wildcats would be going for a fourth consecutive 4-0 City Series season on Feb. 4 against Saint Joseph's. After beating La Salle, 71-58, Villanova (10-1, 3-0 Big 5) has extended its record Big 5 streak to 14 games.

La Salle (4-7, 0-1) had 21 field goals and 22 turnovers while shooting 38.2 percent. Even with that, the 'Cats never could completely shake the Explorers. Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher had 19 and 18 for Villanova, Dante Cunningham had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Darnell Harris had 16 for La Salle.

Wrong kind of record

Penn scored 97 points in its win over Florida Gulf Coast last season. The Quakers shot 63.2 percent at the Palestra and scored 58 points in the second half. Times and players have changed.

Penn scored 97 points in its win over Florida Gulf Coast last season. The Quakers shot 63.2 percent at the Palestra and scored 58 points in the second half. Times and players have changed.

At Fort Myers on Saturday, the Quakers had six points at halftime against Gulf Coast and lost, 60-30. That is "six" points, the lowest first-half total of the shot-clock era. The good news is that Penn (4-8) scored more points than Princeton in its now-legendary, 41-21 loss to Monmouth 2 years ago; the bad news is everything else.

The Quakers did not score for the game's opening 13 minutes, 15 seconds. They shot 1-for-17 (5.9 percent) in the first half when they had six more turnovers (23) than shot attempts. They trailed at the break, 30-6.

For the game, they had 34 turnovers and four assists. They shot 8-for-42 (19 percent) and 11-for-22 from the line.

Penn was down 60-18 with 4 minutes left, then got hot.

Florida Gulf Coast (4-9) had lost to Drexel, 77-58, on Nov. 14 so it is not likely it will be going to the NCAA Tournament. Penn travels across Florida, where it will play Miami on Wednesday. The Hurricanes lost their first game of the season on Saturday. Uh, oh.

Still no defense

Florida had scored 51 and 49 points in its two losses. The very young Gators shot 60.8 percent and beat Temple, 86-69, at the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, Fla. Dionte Christmas (32 points) was terrific for the Owls (6-6). He shot 11-for-17, 4-for-9 from the arc. He had little help.

Florida had scored 51 and 49 points in its two losses. The very young Gators shot 60.8 percent and beat Temple, 86-69, at the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, Fla. Dionte Christmas (32 points) was terrific for the Owls (6-6). He shot 11-for-17, 4-for-9 from the arc. He had little help.

Florida (12-2) had shot poorly in recent games. Not this one.

Temple has just one more game before it starts Atlantic 10 play on Jan. 12 at Charlotte. Duke is at the Wachovia Center on Jan. 9. Uh, oh.

ACROSS THE COUNTRY

All in one I: Best call

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan went for the win at Texas when his team trailed by two in the final seconds. His team's leading scorer, point guard Trevon Hughes, was hurt in Friday's practice so the Badgers were undermanned.

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan went for the win at Texas when his team trailed by two in the final seconds. His team's leading scorer, point guard Trevon Hughes, was hurt in Friday's practice so the Badgers were undermanned.

The Badgers' Michael Flowers used Brian Butch's ball screen at the top of the key. When A.J. Abrams mistakenly went under the screen, Flowers got a great look at a three. He buried it with 2.7 seconds left.

All in one II: Best play

Flowers did not celebrate. Instead, he intercepted the inbounds pass and while falling out of bounds, threw the ball way up in the air. By the time it came down, the game was over.

Flowers did not celebrate. Instead, he intercepted the inbounds pass and while falling out of bounds, threw the ball way up in the air. By the time it came down, the game was over.

All in one III: Worst call

Texas did not call timeout (it had one left) after Flowers' shot and only threw the ball a few feet into the court, where it would have had no chance to score, even if Flowers did not intercept the pass.

Texas did not call timeout (it had one left) after Flowers' shot and only threw the ball a few feet into the court, where it would have had no chance to score, even if Flowers did not intercept the pass.

Best game

Oklahoma 88, West Virginia 82 (2 OT in Charleston, W.Va.)

Oklahoma 88, West Virginia 82 (2 OT in Charleston, W.Va.)

The Mountaineers looked like they were going to win most of the way. Then the Sooners took control late in the game and looked like they had worn down the smaller Mountaineers. Only West Virginia came back and tied it just before the buzzer. Then, WVU looked like it had the game won in the first overtime, but OU came back to tie in the final seconds. Finally, OU did wear out WVU in the second OT.

Oklahoma played a lot like Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins' Cincinnati teams, with bruising inside play. West Virginia is much more of a finesse team than Huggins is used to coaching, but is still very good.

The revelation

Oklahoma 6-10 freshman Blake Griffin (18 points, 16 rebounds) is a force of nature. He plays with incredible passion. No loose ball is safe when he is on the floor. In a season of great freshmen, add Blake Griffin's name to the list.

Oklahoma 6-10 freshman Blake Griffin (18 points, 16 rebounds) is a force of nature. He plays with incredible passion. No loose ball is safe when he is on the floor. In a season of great freshmen, add Blake Griffin's name to the list.

The unbeatens

We are down to six - Memphis, Kansas, North Carolina, Washington State, Mississippi and Vanderbilt.

We are down to six - Memphis, Kansas, North Carolina, Washington State, Mississippi and Vanderbilt.

There is already talk of Memphis going unbeaten during the regular season. The Tigers, of course, have dominated Conference USA. They have non-conference games against Gonzaga (Jan. 26) and Tennessee (Feb. 23). They already have wins over Arizona, Oklahoma, USC and Georgetown.

Arizona's terrific freshman, Jerryd Bayless, did not play against Memphis after spraining his right knee in Friday's practice. After shooting just 27.7 percent in the first half, Arizona shot 68 percent (17-for-25) in the second half. But it could not stop Memphis off the dribble down the stretch and lost, 76-63.

Fisher MVP in Cable Car

Roman Catholic High's Charron Fisher (27.0 points) is the country's second-leading scorer. He had 26 points and nine rebounds in Niagara's 56-53 win over Santa Clara to win the Cable Car Classic. Fisher was one rebound shy of getting his fifth consecutive double-double. Joe Mihalich's team is 8-3.

Roman Catholic High's Charron Fisher (27.0 points) is the country's second-leading scorer. He had 26 points and nine rebounds in Niagara's 56-53 win over Santa Clara to win the Cable Car Classic. Fisher was one rebound shy of getting his fifth consecutive double-double. Joe Mihalich's team is 8-3.

Getting healthy

Now that David Padgett is just about ready to play, all of Louisville's injured players are back. Rick Pitino's team routed Iona, 67-36, coached by Pitino protégé Kevin Willard. Iona shot just 19 percent.

Now that David Padgett is just about ready to play, all of Louisville's injured players are back. Rick Pitino's team routed Iona, 67-36, coached by Pitino protégé Kevin Willard. Iona shot just 19 percent.

And in Lexington

Kentucky lost at Rupp to San Diego, 81-72. UK is 5-6, San Diego is 7-8. Earth is flat.

Kentucky lost at Rupp to San Diego, 81-72. UK is 5-6, San Diego is 7-8. Earth is flat.

Mini NCAA Tournament

Watching ESPN2 on Saturday, with games from noon to midnight, it seemed like opening day of the NCAA Tournament. Road teams (Wisconsin, San Diego, Tennessee, Oklahoma) won the first four games until Dayton and Memphis won at home at night.

Watching ESPN2 on Saturday, with games from noon to midnight, it seemed like opening day of the NCAA Tournament. Road teams (Wisconsin, San Diego, Tennessee, Oklahoma) won the first four games until Dayton and Memphis won at home at night.

DICK JERARDI'S TOP 15

1. Memphis (11-0): Suffocated Arizona late in the first half, shot 56.7 percent in the second half and beat the Wildcats, 76-63.

2. Kansas (13-0): Russell Robinson had eight steals as the Jayhawks overwhelmed Yale, 86-53.

3. North Carolina (13-0): Continues to smash everyone. Last night it was Valparaiso, 90-58.

4. UCLA (12-1): Shot 56 percent and buried UC Davis, 76-48. Finished with non-conference schedule.

5. Washington State (12-0): Starts Pac-10 with games at Washington, USC, UCLA.

6. Dayton (11-1): The eye-opener of the weekend when Flyers abused Pittsburgh, 80-55, at UD Arena. Flyers shot 52 percent and held the Panthers to 29.7 percent. Brian Roberts (31 points) played like an All-American, shooting 10-for-17, 5-for-8 from the arc, 6-for-7 from the foul line.

7. Michigan State (12-1): Tom Izzo was not happy with his team's defense in 93-75 win over Wisconsin-Green Bay, but the Spartans were really sharp on offense, shooting 55.2 percent and getting 31 assists on 37 field goals.

8. Georgetown (9-1): Crushed D.C. neighbor American, 78-51, while shooting 60.4 percent.

9. Duke (10-1): Off for 17 days from Pittsburgh loss until home game with Cornell on Sunday.

10. Marquette (10-1): Very quietly playing great. Beat Savannah State, 77-37. Savannah had seven baskets and 14 turnovers at the half. Has won last four by an average of 35.5 points.

11. Tennessee (12-1): Beating up on the Jesuits. Looked great in 82-72 win over Gonzaga in Seattle, a week after winning at Xavier.

12. Texas A&M (12-1): Billy Gillispie wants to stage a coup after Aggies beat Florida A&M, 83-54.

13. Pittsburgh (11-1): Got run out of the gym at Dayton as Levance Fields limped off in the second half.

14. Indiana (11-1): D.J. White (21 points, 15 rebounds) is a monster. Beat Chicago State, 97-59.

15. Texas (11-2): Lost just before the buzzer, 67-66, to Wisconsin. Love point guard D.J. Augustin.

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