This time, Scoop Jardine was ready when Syracuse was tested by a heated rival.
Jardine hit three 3-pointers and a layup in the closing minutes to break open a tense game, finishing with a season-high 21 points to lift the second-ranked Orange to an 85-67 victory over struggling Connecticut last night in Syracuse.
Jardine managed just 3 points on 1-of-7 shooting during a 64-61 overtime victory against Georgetown Wednesday. But the senior guard came up big against the Huskies, making 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to stop a Connecticut charge in the second half.
“I was in the right position to make a shot and I did,’’ Jardine said. “And then the second one, I was confident because I just made one. That kind of took them out of what they wanted to do.’’
Jardine’s long-range prowess sent the Orange (25-1, 12-1 Big East) on a 19-3 spurt as they earned their fifth consecutive win since losing at Notre Dame. The victory also whipped the crowd of 33,430 - the largest of the season and fourth largest in Carrier Dome history - into a frenzy.
Jardine was 8 for 9 from the field and had six assists against only one turnover.
Syracuse shot 59.3 percent and hit 10 of 16 from beyond the arc to offset UConn’s 8-of-19 effort from long range.
Connecticut trailed the entire second half but closed to 63-61 on a free throw by Tyler Olander with 6:26 to go before the Orange went on one of their signature runs. They had a 23-point spurt at North Carolina State and two 19-0 surges this season.
“We got it to 63-61 and we got a little careless both offensively and defensively,’’ said associate head coach George Blaney, who is running the team in Jim Calhoun’s absence. “And then it got away. You can’t have a lapse for a couple of minutes.’’
Jeremy Lamb scored 18 points for Connecticut (15-9, 5-7), which has lost six of seven. Ryan Boatright had 14, Andre Drummond 13, and Shabazz Napier finished with 11 and seven assists before fouling out late.
Dion Waiters scored 18 points for the Orange, and C.J. Fair finished with 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Kris Joseph had 15 points.
“We definitely fought this game,’’ said Lamb, who was 2 of 10 on 3-pointers. “There were plenty of times they hit us and we hit back. Then in the last two minutes they stepped it out, but the game wasn’t as bad as the score says.’’
Kentucky 69, Vanderbilt 63 - In Nashville, Doron Lamb hit a 3-pointer with 3:18 left to put the top-ranked Wildcats (25-1, 11-0 SEC) ahead to stay, beating the Commodores (17-8, 6-4) for their 17th straight win.
Vanderbilt (17-8, 6-4) led, 63-61, with 4:08 to go on a bucket by Brad Tinsley, but the Commodores didn’t score again, snapping their four-game home winning streak over No. 1 teams.
Michigan St. 58, Ohio St. 48 - Adreian Payne scored 15 points, Draymond Green added 12, and the No. 11 Spartans ended the third-ranked Buckeyes’ 39-game home winning streak.
Michigan State (20-5, 9-3) pulled into a tie with Ohio State (21-4, 9-3) for first place in the Big Ten.
Keith Appling had 14 points for Michigan State, which rode its smothering defensive pressure to a 10-point halftime lead and never relented down the stretch.
Jared Sullinger had 17 points and 16 rebounds for Ohio State, but was 5 for 15 from the field. Aaron Craft added 15 points, but Deshaun Thomas and William Buford, averaging a combined 30 points, had just 12.
Missouri 72, Baylor 57 - Phil Pressey scored 19 points, making four of No. 4 Missouri’s season-best 14 3-pointers, and the host Tigers beat the No. 6 Bears.
Pressey had no 3-pointers the previous five games, but stepped up against the slumping Bears.
Reserve Michael Dixon also had four 3-pointers and Marcus Denmon added three for Missouri (23-2, 10-2 Big 12), which shot 50 percent from long range.
Missouri is 14-0 at home with an average margin of 24 points.
Quincy Miller had 20 points but Perry Jones III had just 4 on 2-for-12 shooting for Baylor (21-4, 8-4).
North Carolina 70, Virginia 52 - Tyler Zeller had 25 points and nine rebounds to help the No. 5 Tar Heels beat the 19th-ranked Cavaliers in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Harrison Barnes added 14 points and 11 rebounds for North Carolina (21-4, 8-2 ACC), which regrouped from Wednesday night’s stunning loss to rival Duke on a last-second 3-pointer. North Carolina blew the game open with a 22-5 run that started early in the second half, and Virginia never got closer than 11 the rest of the way.
Zeller scored 7 points during a spurt that pushed the Tar Heels to a 15-point lead with about 6 1/2 minutes left.
Mike Scott scored 18 points to lead Virginia (19-5, 6-4), which shot 36 percent.
Kansas 81, Oklahoma St. 66 - Jeff Withey and Thomas Robinson each logged impressive double-doubles for the No. 7 Jayhawks (20-5, 10-2 Big 12), who wasted a big chunk of a 29-point second-half cushion before pulling away for a victory over the Cowboys (12-13, 5-7), their 19th consecutive home win.
Withey finished with 18 points and a career-best 20 rebounds, while Robinson burnished his player of the year credentials with 24 points and 14 boards for his 18th double-double of the season.
Tennessee 75, Florida 70 - Trae Golden scored 17 points, Jeronne Maymon added 15 points and 11 rebounds, and the Volunteers (13-12, 5-5 SEC) upset the eighth-ranked Gators, ending a 19-game home winning streak.
Coming off a 20-point loss at top-ranked Kentucky, Florida (19-6, 7-3) trailed by double digits early and never mustered anything resembling a comeback. The Gators played most of the game without their top two reserves, guard Mike Rosario (hip pointer) and forward Will Yeguete (head injury).
Murray St. 82, Austin Peay 63 - Isaiah Canaan needed just nine shots to net 23 points, and the No. 7 Racers (23-1, 11-1 Ohio Valley) coasted past the visiting Governers (9-17, 6-6).
Duke 73, Maryland 55 - In Durham, N.C., Miles Plumlee had 13 points and a career-high 22 rebounds, and the No. 10 Blue Devils (21-4, 8-2 ACC) pulled away to beat the Terrapins.
Seth Curry scored 19 points and Mason Plumlee added 16 points and 10 rebounds, while big brother Miles became the first Duke player to top 20 rebounds since Elton Brand in 1998.
Nick Faust scored 15 points but Terrell Stoglin, the ACC’s leading scorer, finished with 13 - 9 below his average - on 4-of-16 shooting for Maryland (14-10, 4-6).
UNLV 65, San Diego St. 63 - Mike Moser scored 19 points and made a key steal that sent the No. 14 Runnin’ Rebels (22-4, 6-2 Mountain West) past the No. 13 Aztecs (20-4, 6-2) in Las Vegas.
Florida St. 64, Miami 59 - Bernard James scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and the 15th-ranked Seminoles snapped the Hurricanes’ five-game winning streak.
Michael Snaer had 12 points and Ian Miller finished with 11 for Florida State (17-7, 8-2 ACC), which bounced back from a 64-60 loss at BC Wednesday.
Reggie Johnson was held to just 4 points for Miami (15-8, 6-4).
Wichita St. 89, Creighton 68 - In Omaha, Joe Ragland scored 24 points, Ben Smith matched his career high with 22, and the Shockers moved a step closer to the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship with a victory over the No. 17 Bluejays.Wichita State (22-4, 13-2) has won 12 of its last 13 games and 20 of 22, while the Bluejays (21-5, 11-4) have lost three straight.
Marquette 95, Cincinnati 78 - In Milwaukee, Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder scored 23 points each, helping the No. 18 Golden Eagles (21-5, 10-3 Big East) beat the Bearcats (17-8, 7-5).
Louisville 77, West Virginia 74 - Kyle Kuric scored 17 points to lead five Louisville players in double figures and the No. 24 Cardinals (20-5, 8-4 Big East) scored 13 of the final 16 points to rally past the host Mountaineers (16-10, 6-7).
Wayne Blackshear returned from an October shoulder injury and celebrated his 20th birthday with 13 points off the bench on 5-of-9 shooting for Louisville, which has won six straight.
West Virginia forward Kevin Jones had 22 points and 11 rebounds for his 17th double-double of the season. Darryl Bryant scored 13, but his 3-point try at the buzzer missed.
Georgia 70, Mississippi St. 68 - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 20 points, including a 3-pointer late in overtime, and visiting Georgia (12-12, 3-7 SEC) beat No. 20 Mississippi State.
Mississippi State (19-6, 6-4) was led by Dee Bost’s 21 points, but the senior guard missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Georgia trailed for much of the afternoon, but Gerald Robinson Jr. hit a driving layup with 27 seconds remaining that sent the game into overtime.