Bad night to be in the Top 10

Auburn, Illinois both falter late in road losses, while Iowa State needed some Hilton Magic against K-State. Plus, Samford's 17-game win streak snapped, Providence gets a big win, and Four Questions with Boise State coach Leon Rice.

Ah, Wednesday nights. The nights when you never have enough screens.

Let's get to it.

1. Not a great night for Top 10 teams

It wasn’t quite the carnage of two weeks ago, but Wednesday night saw two Top 10 teams crumble late in losses.

For a while, it looked like No. 8 Auburn was gonna run past in-state rival Alabama. First, big man Johni Broome made a three in the dark. (Seriously. The lights weren’t working.) Then the Tigers found running room in the Tide defense, opening up an early lead thanks to gorgeous plays like this.

Then one shot clock stopped working, the game paused … and Alabama regrouped in a big way. It led by 14 at halftime, much of it due to Rylan Griffen’s four 3-pointers in a 4:19 span late in the half. Auburn crept back in the second half — and even had a chance to force overtime, but Chad Baker-Mazara missed a free throw with 13 seconds left and Alabama had with a 79-75 home victory.

“We missed some shots that you need to make to win against a really good team on the road,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “I don’t know that many teams are going to come in here and win in our league. We were a team that had the ability and had a chance.”

The Tigers (16-3, 5-1 in SEC) hadn’t lost since Dec. 3 (11 straight wins), but it also hadn’t played a ranked team in that stretch. Their schedule is still manageable when it comes to making a push for the SEC title; the lone projected loss is a Feb. 28 game at Tennessee.

As for Bama (13-6, 5-1) this marked its first win against a ranked team. Coach Nate Oats thinks their brutal non-conference schedule prepared them for nights like this.

The other Top 10 loss was Illinois’ 96-91 overtime defeat at Northwestern.

The Wildcats (14-5, 5-3 in Big Ten) found plenty of room for shots (55.1% from the field and 11-of-18, 61% from deep), held onto the ball (just five turnovers) and used a healthy dose of Boo Buie (29 points, 7 assists) to frustrate Illinois all night. (Same formula for wins vs. Purdue and Wisconsin.)

Illinois (14-5, 5-3) lacked the same energy it had in a 30-point win over Northwestern earlier this month. That win came without Terrence Shannon Jr. Wednesday marked his second game since a federal judge ordered Illinois to lift a suspension stemming from a rape charge.

Shannon had 12 points. He also heard chants from the Northwestern crowd all night, including “Lock him up,” “guilty” and others.

Coach Brad Underwood said he didn’t hear the chants, and chalked it up to “life on the road.” He’s probably more concerned with Illinois’ worst defensive performance of the season. Even Purdue didn’t match the 1.28 points per possession that Northwestern scored. A home game against Indiana should solve that.

2. Iowa State wins testy showdown with K-State

It seemed like No. 23 Iowa State might have a boring, uneventful home victory on Wednesday against Kansas State. It was hitting 3s and had a couple big runs that gave them a 12-point cushion at half.

Then things got interesting.

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