College basketball notebook: Rivalry weekend brings out best in national powers
No. 1 Syracuse def. NC State
The Syracuse magic continues as yet again they hit another game-winning shot to top NC State 56-55. With NC State up by one and having possession of the ball, they turned the ball over, and senior guard C.J. Fair hit the game-winning layup with seconds left. Syracuse’s last two games have been won by a total of three points. The Orange stays undefeated and improves its record to 25-0.
“We were able to make some good plays finally at the end, and one big play,” said head coach Jim Boeheim after the victory.
Syracuse’s late-game heroics continue to shock the college basketball nation. The Orange still has an opportunity to become the first undefeated national champion since Indiana completed the feat in 1976.
No. 2 Florida def. No. 18 Kentucky
Head coach John Caliapari was 83-2 at the famous Rupp arena in his tenure at Kentucky before Florida arrived on Saturday. The Gators came in and had different plans, earning a 69-59 road win.
“It was just one of those games where you have to kind of stay the course,” said Gators coach Billy Donovan.
Florida’s roster featured some polished seniors who know what it takes to win the game. Kentucky’s top recruiting class could not handle the Gators down the stretch. Florida improved its record to 23-2 and is at the top of the SEC. Experience beat talent down the stretch in this contest.
Arizona State def. No. 4 Arizona
Arizona State knocked off in-state rival Arizona 69-66 and shocked the basketball world. It took two overtimes for Arizona State to get the win.
“No words can explain the joy that we feel right now,” said Arizona State senior center Jordan Bachynski, who had 13 points, eight blocked shots and seven rebounds. “Tonight was huge for us.”
With 14 seconds left, the Wildcats had possession and drove to the paint for the game-winning basket, but Bachynski came up with a game-saving block, which led to a fastbreak bucket that sealed the deal.
No. 21 Connecticut def. 22 Memphis
The Huskies got stellar guard play from senior Shabazz Nappier and junior Ryan Boatright, which lifted them to a 86-81 win in overtime against American Athletic Conference rival Memphis. Nappier and Boatright could be the top guard tandem in the NCAA. Napier poured in a career-high 34 points in the win. The Huskies improved to 20-5 and 8-4 in the conference.