SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Rakeem Christmas had a key steal to set up C.J. Fair’s winning layup with 6.7 seconds left, helping No. 1 Syracuse edge North Carolina State 56-55 on Saturday night to remain unbeaten.
Christmas had 14 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks as Syracuse (25-0, 12-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) earned its 10th single-digit win despite shooting 35.2 percent. Jerami Grant finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds, and Fair scored 11 points on 5-of-16 shooting.
The start of the game was pushed back four hours because of a snowstorm that wreaked havoc along the eastern seaboard. N.C. State did not land in Syracuse until Saturday afternoon. The team’s Twitter account announced the Wolfpack’s arrival at 3:07 p.m., seven minutes later than the original scheduled tip-off.
It turns out it was worth the wait, with a tight game leading to a frantic finish full of missed opportunities. T.J. Warren scored 23 points for N.C. State (16-9, 6-6).
No. 3 FLORIDA 69, No. 14 KENTUCKY 59
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Scottie Wilbekin scored 23 points, including five critical free throws down the stretch, and Florida rallied for the win in a matchup of the Southeastern Conference’s top two teams.
The Gators tied a school record with their 17th straight win.
Trailing 45-38 with 11:12 remaining, the veteran Gators (23-2, 12-0) turned to their best players down the stretch of their first victory at Rupp Arena since 2007. Wilbekin went 11 of 12 at the line, including two technical free throws with 8:14 left.
Casey Prather scored 24 points for Florida on 8-of-9 shooting. Patric Young added 10 points, including two three-point plays during a 13-3 spurt that put the Gators ahead for good.
Andrew Harrison scored 20 points for Kentucky (19-6, 9-3), which had won 22 consecutive home games.
No. 5 SAN DIEGO STATE 64, AIR FORCE 56
SAN DIEGO — Winston Shepard scored 14 of his 16 points in the final 7 minutes, 14 seconds, and San Diego State bounced back from its first loss since mid-November.
After the Falcons closed to 54-50 with 2:28 to go, Shepard converted a three-point play and hit two more free throws to help give SDSU some breathing room.
Shepard also keyed a 9-0 run earlier in the second half with a 3-pointer, a slam dunk following a steal by Xavier Thames and two free throws. Thames and Dwayne Polee II each scored 13 points for SDSU (22-2, 11-1 Mountain West), which had its 20-game winning streak snapped Tuesday night at New Mexico.
No. 7 KANSAS 95, TCU 65
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Perry Ellis scored a career-high 32 points, Andrew Wiggins added 17 and Kansas overcame a sluggish start to get the win.
Ellis also had eight rebounds and five assists, and Wayne Selden Jr. scored 15 points for the Jayhawks (19-6, 10-2 Big 12), who actually trailed by as many as six in the first half.
Playing without injured center Joel Embiid and suspended forward Brannen Greene, Kansas still managed to build a 47-40 lead by the break. The Jayhawks then used a 13-1 charge out of the locker room to put away the Horned Frogs (9-15, 0-12) for the sixth time in seven meetings.
TCU still has not won since knocking off Texas Southern on Dec. 29. Kyan Anderson did all he could, scoring 21 of his 25 points in the first half. Amric Fields added 12 points.
No. 8 DUKE 69, MARYLAND 67
DURHAM, N.C. — Jabari Parker scored 23 points and Duke held on for the victory.
Rodney Hood and Rasheed Sulaimon added 11 points each for the Blue Devils (20-5, 9-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). They started a run of four games in eight nights by giving the Terrapins a hard-to-swallow loss in their last scheduled visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The ACC’s top 3-point shooting team was just 5 of 24 from long range and shot 23 percent in the second half but found a way to reach the 20-win mark for the 18th straight year.
Jake Layman scored 18 points for Maryland (14-12, 6-7) and Dez Wells had all 17 of his points in the second half.
Charles Mitchell missed two hook shots in the final 10 seconds that would have given the Terrapins the lead.
No. 10 CINCINNATI 73, HOUSTON 62
CINCINNATI — Sean Kilpatrick scored 28 points and Justin Jackson overcame foul problems to add 13 points and Cincinnati shook off Houston.
Shaquille Thomas added 11 for the Bearcats (23-3, 12-1 American Athletic Conference), who were playing their first game since having a 15-game winning streak snapped with a 76-55 loss at SMU on Feb. 8.
Danrad Knowles scored 11 points to lead Houston (12-13, 4-8), which has lost six of its past seven and eight of its past 10 games, led Houston with 11 points. L.J. Rose, Danuel House and TaShawn Thomas each added 10 for the Cougars.
No. 11 IOWA STATE 70, TEXAS TECH 64
AMES, Iowa — DeAndre Kane had 17 points with nine assists and Iowa State won after blowing an 18-point lead in the second half.
Georges Niang also had 17 points for the Cyclones (19-5, 7-5 Big 12), who survived an impressive rally from the Red Raiders to win for the fourth time in five games.
Matt Thomas and Niang hit layups that put Iowa State ahead 67-62 with 1:27 left. Niang’s wide-open dunk with 7.2 seconds sealed the win for the Cyclones, who missed 8 of 12 free throws in the second half.
Jaye Crockett had 19 of his 23 points in the second half for the Red Raiders (13-12, 5-7), who outrebounded Iowa State 40-30.
No. 12 SAINT LOUIS 64, VCU 62
ST. LOUIS — Dwayne Evans had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Saint Louis broke a late tie with seven straight points for its 17th straight victory.
The Billikens (23-2, 10-0 Atlantic 10) blew a 12-point second-lead before finally putting away VCU (20-6, 8-3) in a matchup of the Atlantic 10’s top two teams. Jordair Jett and Rob Loe had 14 points apiece for Saint Louis, which beat VCU for a third straight time.
Mike McCall Jr. and Jordair Jett drove for layups and Rob Loe hit a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down for a seven-point lead with 36 seconds to go. VCU cut the deficit to three before Loe hit the second of two free throws for a four-point gap with 8 seconds left.
Treveon Graham had 16 points and eight rebounds for VCU.
No. 16 IOWA 82, PENN STATE 70
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Melsahn Basabe scored 16 points and Iowa pulled away in the second half.
Roy Devyn Marble added 15, Aaron White 14 and Mike Gesell 13 as the Hawkeyes (19-6, 8-4) won their fourth Big Ten road game of the season. Iowa’s three-game road winning streak in the Big Ten is its longest since 1998.
Penn State (13-13, 4-9) was led by D.J. Newbill, who scored 22 points, but Tim Frazier was held to 11.
The game was tied four times in the second half before Iowa stretched it out with a 14-4 run.
Marble, the team’s leading scorer at 16.5 points per game coming in, pumped in seven of those and Mike Gesell converted on a 3-pointer from the corner to help the Hawks pull away.
No. 17 VIRGINIA 63, CLEMSON 58
CLEMSON, S.C. — Joe Harris scored 16 points, including a critical 3-pointer with about three minutes left, and No. 17 Virginia won its ninth straight Atlantic Coast Conference game for the first time in 32 years.
The Cavaliers (21-5) moved to 12-1 in ACC play, also for the first time since Ralph Sampson patrolled the middle in the 1981-82 season. Not that it came easily as Virginia’s No. 1 defense was matched up against a team in Clemson that ranked second nationally in fewest points allowed.
Clemson (15-9, 6-6) closed to 59-58 on K.J. McDaniels’ 3 with 20.7 seconds left, but Malcolm Brogdon made two foul shots as the Cavaliers held on.
McDaniels had 24 points before fouling out in the final seconds for Clemson.
No. 19 TEXAS 88, WEST VIRGINIA 71
AUSTIN, Texas — Javan Felix scored 18 points and Texas used another impressive offensive performance to stay within a game of the Big 12 lead.
Texas (20-5, 9-3) put five players in double figures and shot better than 60 percent for most of the game.
Cameron Ridley scored 17 points and was a force on defense with three of Texas’ five blocks, including two in the final minute of the first half. Jonathan Holmes, the Longhorns’ leading scorer, had 11 in his return after missing a game with a knee injury.
Eron Harris scored 21 points for West Virginia (15-11, 7-6).
No. 22 OHIO STATE 48, ILLINOIS 39
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Aaron Craft scored 14 points and Ohio State held Illinois to 28.3 percent shooting.
Craft picked up two early fouls and spent two long stretches on the bench. But he was still the Buckeyes’ best option on a tough offensive night for each team.
LaQuinton Ross added nine points for Ohio State (20-6, 7-6 Big Ten), which trailed 23-20 at halftime. The Buckeyes made 38 percent of their shots.
Illinois (14-12, 3-10) scored just nine points over the first 15:35 minutes of the second half.
Tracy Abrams led Illinois with 13 points. Nnanna Egwu had a career-high 14 rebounds.
No. 24 UCONN 86, No. 20 MEMPHIS 81, OT
HARTFORD, Conn. — Shabazz Napier scored a career-high 34 points and Connecticut beat Memphis to sweep the season series from the Tigers.
Ryan Boatright added 21 points for UConn (20-5, 8-4 American Athletic Conference), including eight in overtime. He also had six assists.
Joe Jackson had 24 points for the Tigers (19-6, 8-4). Geron Johnson added 15 points and eight rebounds before fouling out.
The game was tied at 69 at the end of regulation and UConn opened the extra period on a 7-2 run. But Memphis cut it to 76-74 after a Michael Dixon hit a 3-pointer.
Napier responded with one of his five 3-pointers.
NORTH CAROLINA 75, No. 25 PITTSBURGH 71
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — James Michael McAdoo had 24 points and 12 rebounds to help North Carolina to its sixth straight victory.
Marcus Paige added 18 points for the Tar Heels (17-7, 7-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), who extended the season’s longest winning streak three days after their rivalry game against Duke was postponed due to a winter storm. They shot 48 percent after halftime and led by 12 with about 9 minutes left, but had to fight off a late push from the Panthers (20-6, 8-5).
Pitt fought back to within three with the ball in the final 10 seconds. But Lamar Patterson missed a 3-pointer for the tie, and then Talib Zanna missed a putback attempt before Patterson fouled on the rebound with 2.8 seconds left. UNC’s Brice Johnson hit his second free throw to make it a two-possession game and clinch the win.MORE IN Sports WireDENVER — Next up for Peyton Manning: the NFL passing yardage record. Full Story
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