- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 12, 2009

From combined dispatches

No. 1 UCONN 63, No. 23 SYRACUSE 49: Hasheem Thabeet had eight points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks to lead the Huskies (23-1, 11-1 Big East) to their 12th straight victory, over the Orange (18-7, 6-6) on Wednesday night in Storrs, Conn., Syracuse’s fifth loss in six games.

A.J. Price had 17 points for Connecticut, which has won three games since assuming the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press’ poll last week.

The Huskies overcame a sloppy first half by cutting down the turnovers and hitting 3-pointers, pulling away with a 12-0 run that gave Connecticut a 56-40 lead midway through the second half.

The Huskies had to play almost the entire game without second-leading scorer Jerome Dyson, who injured his knee just over four minutes in and didn’t return.

Jonny Flynn had 16 points for Syracuse (18-7, 6-6), which was ranked as high as No. 8 before the skid that may now lead to the Orange dropping out of the national rankings.

The 7-foot-3 Thabeet, who had a triple-double against Providence two weeks ago, was a force inside, altering as many Syracuse shots as the blocks he was given credit for.

Connecticut managed to take a 30-27 halftime lead despite committing 14 turnovers - two more than its season average for a game - and going 2-for-8 from 3-point range.

The Huskies had six turnovers in the second half, and they hit three of their first attempts from 3-point range - the last of those by Craig Austrie during the big run.

Syracuse got within 57-50 on a 3 by Andy Rautins with 5:34 left, but Price answered with a 3-pointer 25 seconds later and the lead was never below 10 the rest of the way.

N.C. STATE 82, No. 7 WAKE FOREST 76: Brandon Costner scored 23 points to help the Wolfpack (13-9, 3-6 ACC) defeat the Demon Deacons (18-4, 5-4) in Raleigh, N.C.

Farnold Degand and Courtney Fells added 14 points apiece for N.C. State, which watched a 20-point second half lead shrink to two before the Wolfpack picked up their first win in five games against ranked opponents this season.

James Johnson scored 18 points to lead Wake Forest, which cut the deficit to 78-76 with a minute remaining before dropping its third consecutive road game.

Jeff Teague added 11 points for Wake Forest. The Deacons have lost four of six games since starting the season 16-0.

Tracy Smith scored 12 points, and C.J. Williams had a career-high 10 points for N.C. State. Wake Forest cut the margin to six points early in the second half, but the Wolfpack scored the next seven points and later added an 11-0 run to go up 62-42 with 13 minutes remaining.

Costner started N.C. State’s second-half surge, scoring 11 consecutive points to give the Wolfpack their 20-point lead. He made a pair of 3-pointers, converted a three-point play and made a pair of free throws.

Wake Forest climbed back into the game with a 12-2 spurt, then cut into the lead again with three minutes to go. Johnson capped an 8-1 run with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with one minute remaining to bring Wake Forest within two, but he missed a 3-pointer from the same spot that would have tied the game with 40 seconds to play.

DAYTON 71, No. 14 XAVIER 58: Chris Wright led a balanced offense with 19 points, and the Flyers (22-3, 8-2 A-10) ended their six-game losing streak against the Musketeers (20-4, 8-2) with a victory in Dayton, Ohio, in one of the Atlantic 10’s marquee matchups of the season.

Using its depth and balance to full advantage, Dayton led the entire game against the defending two-time regular-season conference champions, who now have to work to make it three in a row.

Xavier has lost back-to-back games for the second time this season, denting the Musketeers’ chances of a high seed in the NCAA tournament. The regular-season Atlantic 10 title is now up in the air, too. The southwest Ohio rivals play again on March 5 in Cincinnati, where Dayton has lost its last 23 games since 1981.

No. 20 PURDUE 61, PENN STATE 47: JaJuan Johnson had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and the Boilermakers (18-6, 7-4 Big Ten) beat the Nittany Lions (17-8, 6-6) in West Lafayette, Ind.

Bobby Riddell scored a career-high 13 points, Nemanja Calasan scored 12 and E’Twaun Moore added 10 for Purdue, which moved into a tie for second place in the league.

Jamelle Cornley scored 16 points for Penn State, which lost its third straight. Talor Battle, the conference leader with 18 points a game, went scoreless and shot 0-for-7 from the field.

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