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Saturday / January 28.
  • By DAN GELSTON

    VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) — Josh Hart had 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his first career triple-double, leading No. 2 Villanova to an 88-57 victory over Saint Joseph’s on Saturday.

    Hart, the preseason Big East player of the year, continued to show why he is among the best players in the nation. Hart hit three 3s and made 6 of 10 shots from the field overall.

    He may soon be the best player on the No. 1 team in the country.

    Top-ranked Kentucky’s loss to UCLA on Saturday means the defending national champion Wildcats should slide into the top spot in the next AP Top 25 poll.

    For the second straight season, UCLA has stunned No. 1 Kentucky and handed the Wildcats their first loss of the season.

    One year after knocking off Kentucky in Los Angeles, the No. 11 Bruins came into Rupp Arena and beat the Wildcats, 97-92.

    UCLA, which took down No. 1 Kentucky 87-77 a year ago, remained undefeated (9-0), while Kentucky fell to 7-1. Defending national champion Villanova figures to become the new No. 1 team in the land on Monday after they beat St. Joe’s, 88-57 on Saturday.

    “You know going into Rupp, it’s gonna be a crazy atmosphere and great team and we knew that,” UCLA forward T.J. Leaf, who had a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds to go with 5 assists, said on CBS. “And we just came in, gave it our all, played as hard as we can and we did a good job on the backboards and got the win.”

    It was the highest point total ever allowed by a Kentucky team at Rupp under head coach John Calipari. who is now 69-7 as the coach of the No. 1-ranked team there.

    Kentucky is getting a true point guard in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

    So says his coach, Zach Ferrell of Hamilton Heights (TN).

    “My opinion is he’s a point guard. Period,” Ferrell told Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader Friday night after Alexander went for 21 points in a 72-62 loss to Duke-bound Gary Trent Jr. and Prolific Prep (CA). “He’s great with the ball in his hands. His composure is unbelievable. He’s a great decision maker. He loves to share the ball. He limits turnovers, and he’s great at making plays and finding other people.”

    The 6-foot-5 1/2 Alexander also went for 20 points and 10 assists on Thursday night in a nationally-televised win over Memphis (TN) East. He and his teammates are expected to visit Kentucky Wednesday for the Valparaiso game, a source said.

    On the same day that Duke officially announced the signing of its three-man recruiting Class of 2017, Gary Trent Jr. went off for 36 points in a win at the Marshall County Hoop Fest in Paducah, Kentucky.

    Playing against Kentucky-bound guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hamilton Heights (TN), Trent Jr. had 36 on 14-of-28 shooting in a 72-62 win for Prolific Prep. He was named the game’s MVP.

    “He works at his game,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He wants to be an outstanding player. He wants to do the process that gets there.”

    Duke officially announced the signing of its three-man class of Gary Trent Jr., Wendell Carter Jr. and Alex O’Connell.

    The Class of 2017 group is ranked No. 4 by Scout.com behind Kentucky, UCLA and Arizona.

    The 6-foot-5 Trent Jr. is a five-star recruit ranked as the No. 8 overall prospect and the No. 1 shooting guard in the class of 2017 by ESPN.

    “He works at his game,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He wants to be an outstanding player. He wants to do the process.”

    Kentucky and UCLA aren’t just two of the most storied programs in college basketball history, they are also at the frontier of recruiting the next wave of stars.

    The Wildcats and the Bruins — who will meet on Saturday afternoon at Rupp Arena (12:30, CBS) — have the Nos. 1 and 2-ranked recruiting classes in the Class of 2017, according to both Scout.com and ESPN.com.

    Kentucky’s four-man class includes guards Quade Green and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and bigs P.J. Washington and Nick Richards. (Alexander went for 21 points in Hamilton Heights’ (TN) win Thursday night on ESPN2).

    UCLA, meantime, has a five-man class that features guards Jaylen Hands and LiAngelo Ball, small forward Kris Wilkes and bigs Cody Riley and Jalen Hill.