No. 2 Syracuse edges Duke


By JOHN KEKIS

AP Sports Writer

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Coach K said he hoped this game would live up to its billing. It did, and then some.

Jerami Grant scored eight points in overtime to finish with a career-high 24 and Jim Boeheim’s No. 2 Syracuse stayed unbeaten, topping Mike Krzyzewski’s No. 17 Duke 91-89 on Saturday in a matchup of the two winningest coaches in Division I history.

The Orange withstood a tying 3-pointer in regulation and won before a Carrier Dome record crowd of 35,446.

“It was just a great game,” Boeheim said after career victory No. 941. “I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a better game in here where both teams played at such a high level. Both teams just went after it. We’ve had a lot of games that have been here that are great. There’s never been one as good as this one.”

C.J. Fair scored a career-best 28 points as Syracuse (21-0, 8-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) set a school record for consecutive wins to start a season. The Orange remained one of three undefeated teams in the nation, along with No. 1 Arizona and No. 4 Wichita State.

“I knew for us to win I would have to contribute offensively,” said Fair, who shot 12 of 20. “I was able to not force things once I got going. I felt I was the hot hand and my teammates kept giving me the ball.”

Grant took over in the extra period, slamming home three dunks as Duke was forced to downsize after Jabari Parker and Amile Jefferson fouled out in the final two minutes of regulation.

“They were playing small. We knew we had a lot of mismatches around the court,” Grant said. “After I got the first dunk, they just kept feeding me.”

Duke’s Rasheed Sulaimon beat the buzzer in regulation with an off-balance 3-pointer that tied it at 78. The Blue Devils led 87-84 with 80 seconds left in overtime before Syracuse rallied.

“Both teams played with so much heart,” Krzyzewski said. “We were scrambling a lot because of our foul trouble and our kids scrambled well. They scrambled well enough to put us in a position to win … Just a tough loss.”

Syracuse students camped out in the bitter cold for nearly two weeks and were part of a crowd that was charged up from the start for the first ACC meeting between these longtime powers. It was Duke’s first game against the Orange in the Carrier Dome.

Parker had 15 points and nine rebounds for Duke (17-5, 6-3). The Blue Devils, who had won five in a row, get their chance to avenge the loss in three weeks when the teams meet again at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“We just needed one more play, whether it was a rebound or a shot going in,” said Andre Dawkins, who scored five points in overtime before fouling out in the final minute. “We just needed one play.”

From the moment Boeheim and Krzyzewski walked onto Jim Boeheim Court to a deafening roar and hugged at midcourt surrounded by a sea of orange, the atmosphere was electric. Singing and acting star Vanessa Williams, a Syracuse alum and former Miss America, performed the national anthem.

The game was chock full of story lines, well before the tipoff.

Two Hall of Fame coaches and good friends with a combined 1,914 wins who had only met twice before on opposing benches, each winning once. Boeheim’s signature 2-3 zone defense vs. Krzyzewski’s intense man-to-man.

Fair, Syracuse’s leading scorer, vs. Dawkins, a fifth-year senior who leads the ACC in 3-point shooting. Parker vs. Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis, two of the most accomplished freshmen in the country.

The game was tied at 78 after regulation, and there were two more ties in the extra session. Grant had three straight slams for the Orange, while Dawkins hit a follow and a 3 from the top of the key as Duke took a three-point lead with 1:20 left.

Two free throws by Ennis got Syracuse within one and two more by Grant put the Orange up 88-87 with 39 seconds left.

Duke’s Rodney Hood missed a dunk attempt against Rakeem Christmas with 12.2 seconds remaining — Hood wanted a foul but nothing was called. Two more free throws by Ennis as Jefferson fouled out made it 90-87.

Sulaimon sank a pair of free throws for Duke to make it a one-point game with 9.4 seconds left. Fair made one of two from the foul line with 5.5 seconds to go.

Duke scrambled to get off a last shot and Quinn Cook missed a rushed fling from the right wing at the buzzer as Syracuse escaped.

Grant had 12 rebounds. Trevor Cooney and Ennis each scored 14 points for the Orange.

Ennis had nine assists with two turnovers in a game in which both teams committed just eight and Christmas had seven points, 10 rebounds and six of Syracuse’s nine blocks.

Sulaimon finished with 16 points. Jefferson, Dawkins, and Hood finished with 14 points for Duke, which made 15 of 36 on 3s.

NO. 3 FLORIDA 69

TEXAS A&M 36

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Michael Frazier II scored 21 points, Dorian Finney-Smith added 11 and No. 3 Florida overwhelmed Texas A&M 69-36.

The Gators (19-2, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) pushed their winning streak to 13 games and extended a school record for consecutive home wins to 27.

The latest one was another defensive gem. It tied the fewest points Florida has allowed in SEC play since 1950, matching last year’s defensive effort against South Carolina.

Florida held the Aggies (12-9, 3-5) to 26 percent shooting and 20 percent from 3-point range. The Gators also outrebounded Texas A&M 57-27.

NO. 4 WICHITA ST. 81

EVANSVILLE 67

WICHITA, Kan. — Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker had 14 points apiece, and Wichita State withstood an early barrage by Evansville.

Cleanthony Early scored 13 and Tekele Cotton added 12 points for the Shockers (23-0, 10-0 Missouri Valley), who haven’t lost since last year’s surprising run to the Final Four.

Wichita State spotted Evansville a 15-point lead before using a massive run to carry the advantage into halftime. The Shockers merely had to coast the final 10 minutes as the lead approached 20 points, wrapping up their latest convincing conference victory.

D.J. Balentine scored 26 points for the Purple Aces (10-13, 3-7).

NO. 5 SAN DIEGO ST. 65

COLORADO ST. 56

SAN DIEGO — Coach Steve Fisher earned his 300th win at San Diego State behind 24 points from Xavier Thames and 17 for Winston Shepard.

The Aztecs (19-1, 8-0 Mountain West) won their 18th straight game and are 8-0 in conference play for the first time in the program’s 93-year history.

Jon Octeus scored 24 for the Rams (12-10, 3-6), who lost their third in a row.

Fisher’s first victory at SDSU came on Nov 24, 1999, 73-57 against UC Riverside. SDSU is the 18th school to have a coach win 300 or more games.

NO. 25 TEXAS 81

NO. 6 KANSAS 69

AUSTIN, Texas — Isaiah Taylor scored 23 points, Jonathan Holmes had 22 and Texas to its sixth consecutive victory.

Texas, which lost its top four scorers from last year’s 16-18 squad, has been the surprise of the Big 12. The Longhorns have four consecutive wins over Top 25 opponents and now sit in second place after dominating a team that had been playing as well as anyone in the country in recent weeks.

The Longhorns (17-4, 6-2) thumped the Jayhawks (16-5, 7-1) with suffocating defense that held the Big 12’s best shooting team to 39 percent from the floor. Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins, who averaged 24 points over the previous three games, scored seven before fouling out late.

Wayne Selden Jr., scored 21 for the Jayhawks.

GEORGETOWN 64

NO. 7 MICHIGAN ST. 60

NEW YORK — Markel Starks scored 16 points and Georgetown ended a five-game losing streak.

Jabril Trawick came up with two big plays down the stretch as the Hoyas (12-9) won the late-season nonconference game that was part of the New York area’s celebration of Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Michigan State (19-3) played without injured frontcourt players Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson, and the Spartans had a tough time shooting the ball.

Gary Harris led the Spartans with 20 points, including going 4 of 10 from 3-point range.

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 12 points for the Hoyas.

BAYLOR 76

NO. 8 OKLA. ST. 70

STILLWATER, Okla. — Brady Heslip scored a season-high 20 points to help Baylor end a five-game losing streak.

Rico Gathers had 14 points, Gary Franklin scored all 11 of his points in the second half and Cory Jefferson had 11 points and 13 rebounds for Baylor (14-7, 2-6 Big 12), which greatly improved its fading NCAA tournament hopes. The Bears had scored fewer than 70 points in four straight games, but shot 52 percent from the field and outrebounded the Cowboys 32-26.

Markel Brown scored 24 points and Le’Bryan Nash had 19 points for Oklahoma State (16-5, 4-4), which lost to rival Oklahoma 88-76 on Monday night. Marcus Smart added 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

NO. 9 VILLANOVA 90

TEMPLE 74

PHILADELPHIA — James Bell scored 19 points to lead Villanova to the win.

Villanova (19-2) improved to a perfect 4-0 record in Big 5 play and earned its 22nd Big 5 championship in program history.

Temple (6-14), meanwhile, missed out on a share of the city title and an opportunity to upset a top-10 team for the sixth consecutive season.

The Wildcats took a five-point lead at the half and stretched it to as much as 24, at 64-40, with 10:17 to play.

Will Cummings had 24 points for the Owls.

NO. 11 KENTUCKY 84

MISSOURI 79

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Aaron Harrison scored 21 points and James Young added 20 to power Kentucky to the victory.

The Wildcats (16-5, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) kept their poise one game after calling a players-only meeting to discuss the team’s issues away from home.

Jabari Brown finished with a career-high 33 points and Jordan Clarkson scored 28 to keep Missouri (16-5, 4-4) in the game. Clarkson’s layup with 51.9 seconds remaining narrowed the Tigers’ deficit to 80-77, but Aaron Harrison answered with a layup 30 seconds later to end the threat.

NO. 24 OHIO ST. 59

NO. 14 WISCONSIN 58

MADISON, Wis. — Aaron Craft scored all seven of his points in the final 4 minutes, LaQuinton Ross finished with 13 points, and Ohio State got a confidence-boosting road win.

Amadeo Della Valle added 11 points for the Buckeyes (17-5, 4-5 Big Ten) in a bruising back-and-forth affair with the Badgers (17-5, 4-5).

Sam Dekker missed a 3 at the buzzer for Wisconsin, which has lost three in a row at home.

Freshman Nigel Hayes led the Badgers with 17 points.

NO. 16 IOWA STATE 81

NO. 23 OKLAHOMA 75

AMES, Iowa — Sophomore Georges Niang scored a career-high 27 points and Iowa State held on for its second win in six games.

Melvin Ejim had 22 points and 16 rebounds for his 28th double-double as the Cyclones (16-4, 4-4) moved back to .500 in the Big 12.

Niang buried a 3 to put Iowa Stata ahead 76-70 with 55.5 second left.

Buddy Hield scored a career-high 30 points for Oklahoma (17-5, 6-3), which outrebounded Iowa State 46-33.

NO. 19 SAINT LOUIS 87

GEORGE MASON 81, OT

ST. LOUIS — Rob Loe scored 10 of his career-high 23 points in overtime, leading Saint Louis to the victory.

Loe hit a tying 3-pointer with 44 seconds left in regulation and then hit another 3-pointer to start overtime, giving the Billikens the lead for good.

Saint Louis (20-2, 7-0 Atlantic 10) has reeled off 14 victories in a row, the sixth-longest active winning streak in the country. The winning streak ties the school record.

It’s the first time the Billikens have been 20-2 in school history.

Bryon Allen scored 30 points and Patrick Holloway added 15 for George Mason (7-14, 0-7).

SAINT JOSEPH’S 73

NO. 21 UMASS 68

PHILADELPHIA — Halil Kanacevic scored 18 points and Saint Joseph’s broke away from a late tie to get the win.

UMass rallied from a 16-point deficit in the second half and made it 68-all in the final minute. Saint Joseph’s hit five foul shots to win.

Kanacevic added six rebounds and five assists. Ronald Roberts scored 17 for the Hawks (15-6, 5-2 Atlantic 10).

Derrick Gordon scored 21 and Chaz Williams finished with 16 points and 10 assists for the Minutemen (17-4, 4-3).

SMU 87

NO. 22 MEMPHIS 72

DALLAS — Nic Moore had 14 points and 10 assists, and SMU stayed undefeated at home.

The Tigers (16-5, 6-3 American Athletic) lost a conference road game for the first time in two years.

Moore had an assist on Markus Kennedy’s tiebreaking layup right after halftime. Moore then added 3-pointers in the 10-2 spurt in just over 2 minutes that put SMU (17-5, 6-3) ahead to stay and in control.

Kennedy had 21 points on 10-of-10 shooting and 15 rebounds for his sixth career double-double.

Joe Jackson led Memphis with 22 points, while Geron Johnson had 18 and Michael Dixon Jr. 13.

 

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