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Originally published February 15, 2014 at 8:28 PM | Page modified February 15, 2014 at 11:11 PM

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Top-ranked Syracuse men survive a scare

With its key players struggling, the top-ranked Syracuse Orange used its defense to remain unbeaten, edging North Carolina State 56-55 on C.J. Fair’s layup with 6.7 seconds left.

The Associated Press

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Syracuse’s streak lives on — barely.

With most of its key players struggling, the top-ranked Orange used its defense to remain unbeaten, edging North Carolina State 56-55 on C.J. Fair’s layup with 6.7 seconds left Saturday.

Rakeem Christmas started the winning sequence with a steal in the lane off a trap in the left corner, and Fair finished it with the layup.

“We got out of it by making a good play at the end,” Orange coach Jim Boeheim said. “We were able to make some good plays finally at the end, and one big play.”

The start of the game was pushed back about four hours because of a snowstorm that wreaked havoc along the Eastern Seaboard.

North Carolina 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 tipoff.

It turned out to be worth the wait, tight all the way through a frantic finish full of missed opportunities.

“They’re terrific,” North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried said of the Orange. “Obviously, when you have a year like they’re having, when you’re undefeated you’re going to have some close ones, some not-so-close ones.”

Freshman guard Tyler Ennis of Syracuse (25-0 overall, 12-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) fouled Ralston Turner while the North Carolina State player was shooting a three-pointer with 1:02 left.

Turner made all three free throws to give the Wolfpack (16-9, 6-6) a 55-53 lead.

Fair made one of two free throws with 41.4 seconds left to make it a one-point game and help set up the dramatic finish.

“We didn’t come up here just to play good and feel nice,” Gottfried said. “We came to win and didn’t get it done.”

Other Top 10 men

No. 3 Florida 69, at No. 14 Kentucky 59

Scottie Wilbekin scored 23 points, including five critical free throws down the stretch, and the Gators (23-2, 12-0 Southeastern) beat the Wildcats (19-6, 9-3) to extend their winning streak to 17.

Florida’s Casey Prather scored 24 points.

Florida, a 3½ -point underdog, rallied after trailing 45-38 with 11:12 remaining.

Andrew Harrison scored 20 points for Kentucky.

At No. 5 San Diego St. 64, Air Force 56

Winston Shepard scored 14 of his 16 points in the final 7:14 and the Aztecs (22-2, 11-1 Mountain West) beat the Falcons (10-14, 4-9).

At No. 7 Kansas 95, Texas Christian 65

Perry Ellis scored a career-high 32 points, Andrew Wiggins added 17 and the Jayhawks (19-6, 10-2 Big 12) overcame a sluggish start to defeat the Horned Frogs (9-15, 0-12). TCU led by six points in the first half.

At No. 8 Duke 69, Maryland 67

Jabari Parker scored 23 points and the Blue Devils (20-5, 9-3 ACC) held on for the victory over Maryland (14-12, 6-7) in the Terrapins’ last scheduled visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium. Maryland will compete in the Big Ten starting next season.

At No. 10 Cincinnati 73, Houston 62

Sean Kilpatrick scored 28 points to lead the Bearcats (23-3, 12-1 American Athletic) past the Cougars (12-13, 4-8).

Other men’s game

At Eastern Washington 84, Northern Arizona 65

Tyler Harvey had 37 points — his fifth game with at least 30 this season — to lead the Eagles (12-13, 7-7 Big Sky) past the Lumberjacks (11-14, 8-6).

Harvey made nine three-pointers, one shy of the school record he shares, on 16 attempts from long range.


Joe Harris, who is from Chelan, scored 16 points to help No. 17 Virginia beat host Clemson 63-58.

The Cavaliers have won their last nine ACC games.

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