Houston backs up after knocking out Virginia while Arizona gets another big win

Purdue’s reign at the top of the college basketball world continues, but there has been a lot of movement just below the Boilermakers over the past week.

Here’s everything you missed from week 6 of the season, and the latest Associated Press men’s basketball poll.

Houston recovers after losing in Alabama and beats Virginia

Houston is back on track.

Just a week after the Cougars blew a 15-point lead and dropped their first game of the season to Alabama, Houston came back to earn another top-five win on Saturday. The Cougars held on to No. 2 Virginia 69-61 on Saturday in Charlottesville, putting them at 11-1 on the season and officially handing the Cavaliers their first loss of the year.

Kelvin Sampson’s veteran group looked very solid during the game as well. After a tight first half that saw them neck and neck at halftime, the Cougars broke open a double-digit lead almost immediately out of the break. They shot 50% from the field in the last 20 minutes and completely shut down Virginia – something all the others have failed to do so far. Virginia was unable to score more than four points in a row in the second half.

“I’m not sure we can do that without the Alabama experience,” Sampson said. “You know guys, they all think they’re Superman. It’s not about being a Superman, it’s about being on a super team.”

The Cougars, who fell to No. 5 in the nation after their loss to Alabama, rose to No. 3 in this week’s poll. Only Purdue, which took the top spot for the first time this season last week, and UConn are ahead of them. Virginia dropped four spots from the loss to No. 6.

While their loss to Alabama was a major blunder, the Cougars have once again proven themselves as a legitimate national title contender this season.

Arizona takes another huge win before Pac-12 kicks off

The Pac-12 may have to drive through Tucson after all.

After their title win in Hawaii and another big win over Indiana earlier this month, the Wildcats secured another huge resume builder on Saturday night. Arizona fended off a strong Tennessee team at the McKale Center to take a 75-70 win and improve to 10-1 on the season.

Azuolas Tubelis dropped 19 points and had nine rebounds in the win, and 2-foot-tall Oumar Ballo was a force inside with 18 points and eight rebounds of his own. The Wildcats, going into the break after a tie, used some big defensive stands in the second half—including a nearly five-minute stretch where they held Tennessee to just one field goal—to snatch the five-point victory.

“In the second half I thought we were a little more methodical and not as panicky,” said Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd. “And listen, we have to get better. We need to get better offensively. I think this will be a great learning tool for us, but teaching after a win against Tennessee is a pretty good problem.

Arizona jumped to No. 5 in this week’s poll, up four spots. Tennessee dropped two places to No. 8.

Arizona Wildcats center Oumar Ballo

Oumar Ballo and Arizona defeated Tennessee on Saturday to earn another huge win ahead of conference play. The Wildcats are now 10-1. (Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

Complete AP Top 25

The full AP Top 25 poll from Monday, December 19:

1. Purdue (11-0)

2.UConn (11-0)

3.Houston (11-1)

4.Kansas (10-1)

5.Arizona (10-1)

6Virginia (8-1)

7. Texas (9-1)

8.Tennessee (9-2)

9.Alabama (9-2)

10. Arkansas (10-1)

11. Gonzaga (9-3)

12. Baylor (7-2)

13.UCLA (10-2)

14. Duke (10-2)

15. State of Mississippi (11-0)

16.Illinois (8-3)

17.Wisconsin (9-2)

18. Indiana (8-3)

19.Kentucky (7-3)

20.TCU (9-1)

21.Virginia Tech (11-1)

22.Miami (11-1)

23. Maroon (9-2)

24.Marquette (9-3)

25. State of Arizona (11-1)

Others receiving votes: Maryland 78, West Virginia 74, Xavier 71, Charleston 68, New Mexico 64, Memphis 59, North Carolina 36, ​​Ohio State 33, Iowa State 26, Iowa 21, San Diego State 16, Utah State 10 , Texas Tech 10, Michigan State 7, USC 7, Kansas State 5, Saint Mary’s 1

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