SYRACUSE, N.Y. – De’Andre Hunter scored 15 points, Kyle Guy added 14 and second-ranked Virginia smothered struggling Syracuse 59-44 on Saturday.
Virginia (22-1, 11-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), which beat the Orange 68-61 in January, has won 14 straight and is off to its best start in conference play since the days of Ralph Sampson, who led the 1980-81 team to a 12-0 start.
Syracuse (15-8, 4-6), in desperate need of a signature victory, was coming off a four-point loss at Georgia Tech in which it shot 30 percent (15 of 50), and the offensive futility continued against the nation’s best scoring defense.
The Orange shot under 40 percent in the January loss to the Cavaliers and fared worse the second time around. Syracuse finished 17 of 50 (34 percent) and its 44 points were its fewest ever in the Carrier Dome.
The Orange needed big games from its top three scorers — Tyus Battle, Frank Howard, and Oshae Brissett — and they didn’t deliver. Battle finished with 15 points on 6-of-17 shooting, Howard was 4 of 17 for 11 points and Brissett had nine points.
NO. 3 PURDUE 78, RUTGERS 76PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Vincent Edward had 18 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, and Purdue held on for a school-record 19th straight win.
Mathis Dakota scored 16 points, Carsen Edwards had 13 and P.J. Thompson added 12 points for the Boilermakers (23-2, 12-0 Big Ten).
Corey Sanders had 31 points and seven rebounds, and Deshawn Freeman added 14 points and nine rebounds for Rutgers (12-13, 2-10), which overcame a 15-point first-half deficit looked poised to pull off an upset at home.
Rutgers pulled within one on two occasions. Shaquile Doorson had a put-back dunk off of Geo Baker’s missed layup to get to 48-47 with 12:28 left, and Freeman had a tip-in on a miss by Sanders to make it 55-54 with 8:06 remaining, However, that was as close as the Scarlet Knights got the rest of the way.
ST. JOHN’S 81, NO. 4 DUKE 77NEW YORK – Shamorie Ponds scored 33 points, and St. John’s snapped an 11-game losing streak and handed the suddenly suspect Blue Devils their second loss in eight days.
Bashir Ahmed added 19 points and Tariq Owens had 17 for the Red Storm (11-13), who overcame an early 10-point deficit and fought off Duke’s heralded freshmen down the stretch in their biggest win under third-year coach Chris Mullin.
St. John’s was playing the second of three straight games against top-6 opponents in a span of nine days. Next up, a visit to No. 1 Villanova on Wednesday night.
Gary Trent Jr. had 22 points for the Blue Devils (19-4), who perhaps got caught looking ahead to their first matchup of the season with bitter rival North Carolina on Thursday night. Freshman sensation Marvin Bagley III scored 19 but sat out a significant chunk of the second half with four fouls.
OKLAHOMA STATE 84, NO. 7 KANSAS 79LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kendall Smith scored 24 points, including the clinching free throws in the final seconds, and Oklahoma State held on for the upset.
Cameron McGriff added 20 points and Jeffrey Carroll had 15 for the Cowboys (14-9, 4-6 Big 12), who built an 18-point first-half lead and dominated the boards in ending their three-game losing streak.
It was the third loss for the Jayhawks (18-5, 7-3) in Allen Fieldhouse, their most since the 1998-99 season, and their second in conference play. They also lost to Texas Tech in the Phog.
Udoka Azubuike had 20 points and Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk scored 17 apiece for Kansas, which was celebrating 120 years of basketball by welcoming back dozens of former players and coaches.
NO. 8 CINCINNATI 65, UCONN 57STORRS, Conn. – Jacob Evans III scored 19 points to lead Cincinnati past the struggling Huskies.
Kyle Washington added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Bearcats (21-2, 10-0 American), who never trailed.
Jalen Adams scored 20 points and Christian Vital added 18 for the Huskies, who have lost five of their last six to fall below the .500 mark at 11-12 (4-6).
The Bearcats shot just 36 percent from the floor, 10 percentage points below their season average. But they held UConn to 29 percent.
NO. 10 TEXAS TECH 83, TCU 71FORT WORTH, Texas – Jarrett Culver scored 20 points with four 3-pointers, and Texas Tech got its fourth straight victory and a share of the Big 12 Conference lead.
Culver, Tech’s hometown freshman guard, made all of his 3s in the first half. That included consecutive baskets from beyond the arc in an 18-0 run that put the Red Raiders (19-4, 7-3 Big 12) firmly in control — even without top scorer Keenan Evans taking a shot in that stretch.
Evans still finished with 17 points and six assists, while Zhaire Smith had 12 points.
Vladimir Brodziansky led TCU (16-7, 4-6) with 18 points, while Bane had 13. Kenrich Williams had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
NO. 15 WEST VIRGINIA 89, KANSAS STATE 51MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Sagaba Konate scored 19 points and West Virginia ended a three-game losing streak.
James “Beetle” Bolden added 13 points in his first career start, Teddy Allen had 12 points off the bench and Wes Harris had 10 for West Virginia (17-6, 6-5 Big 12).
Dean Wade scored 17 points and Xavier Sneed had 16 for Kansas State (16-7, 5-5).
The Wildcats never led, were held to their lowest scoring output of the season and had more turnovers (15) than field goals (14).
NO. 20 CLEMSON 75, WAKE FOREST 67WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Gabe DeVoe scored 24 points to lead Clemson.
Marcquise Reed added 10 of his 22 in the final six minutes to help the Tigers (19-4, 8-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) win their third straight and claim sole possession of second place in the league standings, a half-game ahead of No. 4 Duke.
Bryant Crawford scored 16 points and Keyshawn Woods added 13 for the Demon Deacons (9-14, 2-9). Wake Forest went 5 minutes without a field goal down the stretch while Clemson finally took control of a tight game that had 20 lead changes and 12 ties.
Doral Moore added 13 rebounds for the Demon Deacons. Shelton Mitchell finished with 10 points for the Tigers.
MISSOURI 69, NO. 21 KENTUCKY 60COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missouri had never beaten Kentucky in 10 previous tries, but behind 16 points each from Jordan Barnett and Kassius Robertson, the Tigers finally cleared that Big Blue hurdle.
The 21st-ranked Wildcats (17-6, 6-4 Southeastern Conference) had erased double-digit deficits the last two games in victories over West Virginia and Vanderbilt, but their poor shooting against Missouri’s stingy defense ensured there would be no rally this time.
Kentucky shot 31.3 percent from the field. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Wildcats with 15 points and six assists.
Jontay Porter added 13 points and eight rebounds for Missouri (15-8, 5-5 SEC).
Missouri led 28-18 at halftime, as Kentucky made just 20 percent of its first-half shots and went 0 for 10 from 3-point range.
ALABAMA 68, NO. 23 FLORIDA 50GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Collin Sexton scored 17 points, Donta Hall notched his fourth double-double of the season, and Alabama rallied from a 10-point deficit for the upset.
Sexton added eight rebounds and six assists for the Tide (15-8, 6-4 Southeastern Conference), which improved to 2-4 on the road.
The Gators (15-8, 6-4) lost their third consecutive SEC game, the first time that’s happened since the end of coach Mike White’s first season in 2016.
Alabama dominated Florida in the paint, on the glass and up and down the floor. Sexton took over in the second half, dribbling through the defense and creating open layups and dunks.
Hall was one of the beneficiaries. He made all seven shots and finished with 14 points and 11 boards.
KeVaughn Allen led the Gators with 16 points.
NO. 24 MICHIGAN 76, MINNESOTA 73, OTANN ARBOR, Mich. – Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman made a tiebreaking three-point play with 3.8 seconds left and finished with 17 points as Michigan held on in overtime.
The Wolverines (19-6, 8-4 Big Ten) needed the extra time to win because they struggled to shoot from the field and the line.
The Golden Gophers (14-11, 3-9) were in a position to end their longest losing streak of the year because freshman Isaiah Washington had a season-high 26 points and Nate Mason scored 22 points, including a 3-pointer with 5.3 seconds left that tied the game.
Mason was just short on a shot from about 30 feet that would have forced a second overtime.