No. 5 Kentucky waltzed past one of last year's tournament darlings in defeating Cleveland State 73-49. The game was played in a ballroom in Cancun, Mexico, and the Cats certainly weren't taxed on their vacation. Only John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins made it into double figures for UK, with 15 and 14 respectively, but ten different Wildcats scored. Patrick Patterson sustained a slight ankle sprain and missed much of the second half. A Sea of Blue has full coverage.
In a different slice of paradise, No. 24 Vanderbilt picked up an easy win in the Maui Invitational, beating Chaminade 68-41. As with UK, only two Vanderbilt players made it into double figures: John Jenkins with 14 and Jermaine Beal with 10. The Commodores one upped the Wildcats though by having eleven players score. It was close for a while, but Vandy put the game away with a 24-0 second half run.
The SEC picked up a win over the ACC with Florida's 68-52 win over FSU. A trio of Gators—Kenny Boynton, Alex Tyus, and Erving Walker—scored 13 apiece, and four more had at least six points to comprise the scoring effort. Tyus and Chandler Parsons tied for the team lead in rebounds with eight. Florida's defense was the story of the night, shutting down FSU for about 30 of the 40 minutes in the game. The Seminoles made a run to begin the second half, but Florida pulled away late to seal it.
Over in the West, Mississippi State cruised to a 75-50 win over Texas Pan-Am. Jarvis Varnado continued his reign of terror with 12 points, 15 rebounds, and eight blocks, while three other Bulldogs made it into double digits. MSU's defense held the—let's see here, the Broncs, not the Broncos—to under 30% shooting on the night. Big runs to start each half largely carried the day in Starkville.
Another team getting a comfortable win was Georgia, who routed UNC-Asheville 79-58. Ricky McPhee led the way with 20 points for the red and black Bulldogs, who had four scorers in double figures while holding the blue and white Bulldogs to just 37% shooting. Four different UGA men also had at least five rebounds, and both McPhee and Dustin Ware led the team with four assists apiece. A hot start propelled the Athens folk, as they busted out of the gates to a 16-2 lead.
It was not so kind a night for Arkansas as the Razorbacks fell to Morgan State 97-94. Rotnei Clarke's 26 and Michael Washington's 21 led the way for the Hogs, but they allowed Bear guard Reggie Holmes to go for 34. Jemal Farmer contributed eight rebounds for Arkansas, while Julysses Nobles chipped in six assists. Clarke missed a three at the buzzer that would have tied it. The Razorbacks led 53-47 at the half, but they couldn't make it stick. Arkansas Expats has a few thoughts here.
Then-No. 9 Tennessee lost a heartbreaker 73-72 to No. 6 Purdue in the final game of the Paradise Jam. Wayne Chism paced the Vols with 24 points, but he missed a shot with two seconds to go that sealed the team's fate on that night. Chism also led UT with six boards and two blocks. Bobby Maze put in 13, and Tyler Smith score 10 for the orange. Rocky Top Talk is gracious in the loss but notes that officiating was overbearing on both ends.
Vanderbilt also had a bad evening, dropping one to the Big East's Cincinnati 67-58. Four Commodores made it into double figures, led by Jermain Beal's 16, but the rest of the squad managed just seven points among them. Neither team shot well, with Cincinnati making just 39.7% of field goals and Vandy managing just 27.5% shooting. The Bearcats went on a stunning 18-2 first half run, and VU wasn't able to make up all of the difference the rest of the way.