Tar Heels, Bruins Prevail Over Rivals

Thursday, February 8th 2007, 5:56 am
By: News On 6

Both Duke and Southern California had chances to pull off upsets against their rivals. Neither could come through in the end.

Duke held a 10-point second-half lead over No. 5 North Carolina on Wednesday night, but the young Tar Heels rallied to a 79-73 win. North Carolina handed the 16th-ranked Blue Devils their first three-game losing streak in nearly eight years.

``I thought we played a terrific game tonight, but it wasn't enough to beat a terrific team,'' Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. ``They're very, very talented, and the depth that they have means they never take a break. So when they're playing like that, you have to be incredibly resilient.''

North Carolina (21-3, 7-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) didn't take its first lead until there were about 5 minutes left, but shot 59 percent after halftime and hit seven of eight free throws in the final 31 seconds to seal it.

In another big rivalry game, Darren Collison scored 17 points and No. 2 UCLA capitalized on a late-game technical foul to beat 19th-ranked USC 70-65.

The Bruins (21-2, 10-2 Pac-10) trailed until there was about 6 minutes left against the Trojans (18-7, 8-4).

With a victory, the Trojans could have tied UCLA for the conference lead, but instead they dropped to third behind idle Washington State (8-3).

The Trojans could have tied UCLA for the conference lead with a victory, but instead they dropped to third behind idle Washington State (8-3). The Bruins also beat the Trojans 65-64 last month at USC.

``We're encouraged we can play the second-ranked team in the nation for 75 minutes, but not 80,'' USC coach Tim Floyd said.

In other Top 25 games, it was: No. 1 Florida 71, Georgia 61; No. 4 Wisconsin 71, Penn State 58; No. 7 Pittsburgh 60, West Virginia 47; No. 9 Kansas 97, Kansas State 70; No. 11 Marquette 67, Rutgers 47; Oklahoma 67, No. 17 Oklahoma St. 60; No. 18 Alabama 80, Mississippi State 79; No. 20 Kentucky 95, South Carolina 89; No. 21 Southern Illinois 60, Bradley 50; and No. 22 Georgetown 73, Louisville 65.

In Durham, N.C., the Blue Devils _ with their youngest team in Krzyzewski's tenure _ are slipping into the middle of the league standings. Duke (18-6, 5-5) has lost three straight games for the first time since 1999, when it lost to Connecticut in the NCAA championship and opened the 1999-2000 season with two straight losses.

Wednesday marked the first time Duke had lost two straight home games since January 1996, and the Blue Devils' three home losses are the most since they lost four games here that year.

``We can't get down,'' Krzyzewski said. ``If we get down, we're not deserving of winning. You cannot get down about losing, especially the way we've lost.''

No. 1 Florida 71, Georgia 61

At Athens, Ga., Corey Brewer scored 18 points, Al Horford added 17 and Florida stretched its winning streak to 15 games.

Florida (22-2, 9-0 Southeastern Conference) also extended its best start ever in the league by sweeping its season series with Georgia (13-9, 5-5).

Mike Mercer led the Bulldogs with 15 points.

No. 4 Wisconsin 71, Penn State 58

At State College, Pa., Alando Tucker scored 24 points, Michael Flowers added 12 and Wisconsin pulled away after halftime to beat Penn State.

The Nittany Lions (10-12, 1-8 Big Ten) hung close for much of the game thanks to an active zone and energetic forward Jamelle Cornley, who finished with 20 points. The Badgers (23-2, 9-1) at times couldn't hit shots when they did find space.

Things quickly changed midway through the second half.

No. 7 Pittsburgh 60, West Virginia 47

At Morgantown, W.Va., Sam Young scored a career-high 21 points to help Pittsburgh hand West Virginia its first home loss of the season.

Pittsburgh (21-3, 9-1 Big East) showed no signs of rust from a nine-day layoff and had no trouble scoring inside on the Mountaineers (18-5, 7-4), who were held to a season low for points. West Virginia's previous low was 50 in a season-opening win over Mount St. Mary's.

No. 9 Kansas 97, Kansas State 70

At Lawrence, Kan., Brandon Rush scored 18 points and Kansas routed Kansas State in a rough and spirited renewal of a long rivalry that's been re-energized with the arrival of new Wildcats coach Bob Huggins.

Kansas (20-4, 7-2 Big 12) began the game with a 15-2 run and closed out the first half on a 14-5 spree for a 47-35 lead over the Wildcats (17-7, 6-3), who came in with a seven-game winning streak, their longest in 19 years.

No. 11 Marquette 67, Rutgers 47

At Milwaukee, Ousmane Barro had 11 points and 11 rebounds for Marquette.

The Golden Eagles (21-4, 8-2 Big East) opened the conference season with losses to Providence and Syracuse, but are unbeaten since, winning eight straight games.

Rutgers (9-15, 2-9) has lost three consecutive games and eight of nine.

Oklahoma 67, No. 17 Oklahoma St. 60

At Norman, Okla., Nate Carter scored six of his 18 points in the final minutes to help Oklahoma stave off Oklahoma State's late rally in the Bedlam rivalry.

Longar Longar added 13 points for Oklahoma (14-8, 5-4 Big 12), which moved past Oklahoma State in the conference standings.

Mario Boggan led the Cowboys (18-5, 4-4) with 20 points.

No. 18 Alabama 80, Mississippi State 79

At Tuscaloosa, Ala., Ronald Steele drove the length of the court for a layup with 6.7 seconds left to give Alabama the win.

The Crimson Tide (18-5, 5-4 Southeastern Conference) trailed 77-72 after Charles Rhodes' basket with 1:24 left. Then, Mykal Riley hit a 3-pointer for Alabama and Rhodes made one of two free throws with 37 seconds to play for a 78-75 lead.

After a 3-pointer tied it, Ben Hansbrough hit one free throw to give the Bulldogs (12-10, 3-6) a 79-78 advantage.

No. 20 Kentucky 95, South Carolina 89

At Lexington, Ky., Ramel Bradley scored 21 points and Bobby Perry added a season-high 18 for Kentucky.

The Wildcats (18-5, 7-2 Southeastern Conference) handed the Gamecocks a 38-point thumping last month in Columbia _ South Carolina's worst home loss since 1915. This one appeared headed that way too before the Gamecocks (12-10, 2-7) made a furious second-half run to make it close.

No. 21 Southern Illinois 60, Bradley 50

At Carbondale, Ill., Tony Young scored 25 points to help No. 21 Southern Illinois remain tied atop the Missouri Valley Conference.

Randal Falker added 13 points and 12 rebounds for Southern Illinois (20-5, 11-3), which led by as many as 19 in the first half but had its margin dwindle to five in the closing minutes.

Will Franklin had 15 points for the Braves (16-10, 7-7).

No. 22 Georgetown 73, Louisville 65

At Louisville, Ky., Roy Hibbert had 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead Georgetown to the victory.

Jeff Green scored 16 points and DaJuan Summers added 13 as the surging Hoyas (17-5, 7-2 Big East) won their sixth straight game, with each win coming by at least eight points.

Earl Clark matched a career high with 14 points for Louisville (16-8, 6-4).