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MEN'S TOP 25 UConn's Villanueva at best as Huskies halt Syracuse



Published: Tue, February 8, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



UConn sophomore scored 21 as Orangmen's home winning streak ended.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Charlie Villanueva experienced the ups and downs of college basketball in three days.

The sophomore forward had one of his worst games in Connecticut's win over St. John's on Saturday. On Monday night, he had 21 points, 10 rebounds and several big plays to lead the 19th-ranked Huskies to a 74-66 victory over No. 8 Syracuse, ending the Orange's 16-game home winning streak.

"This was a huge win for us," he said.

"For me personally, it was as huge as it gets. This was a big game in a tough place to play."

Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said Villanueva was in tears after scoring three points on 1-for-5 shooting in the home win over the Red Storm.

"I told him if he plays hard good things will happen for him and then for us," Calhoun said.

Connecticut closed the game with a 9-1 run and Villanueva outscored Syracuse 7-5 over the final 8 minutes as the Huskies (15-5, 7-3 Big East) won for the fourth time in five games.

"Our young kids took over the game," Calhoun said of his starting lineup that features a junior, three sophomores and a freshman. "We're fighting for our NCAA life. Obviously, this is the best win we've had this season. We're getting a little better. I believe in this team."

Hakim Warrick had 16 points for the foul-plagued Orange (21-3, 8-2), who had won all 14 home games this season.

The last time Syracuse lost in the Carrier Dome was last Feb. 16 to Notre Dame.

Played hard

"We have been very good down the stretch, but every game down the stretch you're not always going to make the right plays or miss a shot or two, and that's what happened," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "I thought we played as hard as we played all year."

Darryl Watkins dunked with 8:10 left to give Syracuse a 61-56 lead, and Villanueva scored the first three points of the quick run that tied it.

Marcus Williams scored in the lane to give the Huskies the lead with 5:24 left, and Villanueva capped the 9-0 run with a flip off the backboard with 4:29 to play.

Billy Edelin hit a jumper for Syracuse 28 seconds later and Josh Pace was credited with a basket on a goaltending call to tie it at 65 with 3:15 left.

But Syracuse came up empty on its next five possessions -- including steals of entry passes by Villanueva and Josh Boone -- and Villanueva's layup with 2:47 remaining gave the Huskies the lead for good, 67-65.

Freshman Rudy Gay added 18 points for Connecticut, and Williams had nine points and six assists.

Pace had 14 points for the Orange, while Gerry McNamara, the team's second-leading scorer at 16.3 per game, had nine on 4-for-18 shooting, including 1-for-9 from 3-point range.

No. 22 Villanova 67, Saint Joseph's 52

PHILADELPHIA -- Jason Fraser had 14 points and 14 rebounds, and Villanova withstood a second-half rally by Saint Joseph's.

With the sweltering Palestra rocking in the latest meeting between these local rivals, the crowd at the famed home of the Big 5 saw another wild one in the series' 84-year history.

Villanova (14-5) used a full-court press, hustling guard play and the best game of the season from the oft-injured Fraser to take a 21-point lead midway through the second half. The Wildcats then hung on for their fifth win in six games.

Curtis Sumpter scored 15 points for Villanova.

Pat Carroll and Chet Stachitas each scored 16 for the Hawks (11-9).

No. 10 Oklahoma St. 79, No. 16 Oklahoma 67

STILLWATER, Okla. -- JamesOn Curry and Joey Graham scored 22 points each for Oklahoma State.

Ivan McFarlin added 13 points and 10 rebounds and John Lucas III scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half for the Cowboys (18-4, 7-2 Big 12), who pulled away behind Curry's sharpshooting and enthusiastic play.

Kevin Bookout had 15 points and 10 rebounds after two sub-par performances, and Taj Gray added 14 points for Oklahoma, which has lost three of four after a 10-game winning streak.

Lawrence McKenzie -- who didn't score in the first Bedlam game -- had 13 points, and Terrell Everett scored 12.




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