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The Associated Press | January 1, 2014

Top 25: No. 5 Michigan State rallies to defeat Penn State 79-63

 No. 5 Michigan State rallies past Penn State 79-63

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Branden Dawson scored 20 points and Keith Appling had 14 to help No. 5 Michigan State beat Penn State 79-63 on Tuesday night.

Gary Harris added 13 points and Travis Tice had 12 for the Spartans (12-1, 1-0) in the Big Ten opener for both teams. Dawson led a second-half charge to help the Spartans rally from a halftime deficit and win their fifth consecutive game.

The Spartans were in total control in the second half, and hit 10 of 20 3-pointers overall to turn this one into a rout.

Brandon Taylor had 18 points for the Nittany Lions (9-5, 0-1) and D.J. Newbill scored 17. Newbill had three 3s and 14 points in the first half to keep the upset bid alive. But a second-half shooting funk for the Nittany Lions cost them against the preseason conference favorite.

No. 2 Syracuse beats Eastern Michigan 70-48

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Jerami Grant scored 15 points in his first start of the season, Rakeem Christmas matched his career high with 15 points, and No. 2 Syracuse beat Eastern Michigan 70-48 on Tuesday in the final nonconference game for both teams.

Syracuse (13-0) raced to a 20-point lead in the first half, allowed the Eagles to slice it in half before the break, then regained control early in the second and won its 51st consecutive nonconference game in the Carrier Dome. The Orange are one of seven unbeaten teams in Division I and begin play in the Atlantic Coast Conference against Miami on Saturday.

Three of Eastern Michigan's losses coming into the game were against ranked teams - Duke, Kentucky, and UMass. The Eagles (7-5), coached by former Syracuse assistant Rob Murphy, also lost 69-64 at Purdue, managing to average only 60.7 points in the four games.

No. 3 Ohio State pulls away from Purdue 78-69

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- LaQuinton Ross had 25 points and 12 rebounds, both career bests, and Shannon Scott added a career-high 18 points to lead No. 3 Ohio State to a 78-69 victory on Tuesday at Purdue.

The Buckeyes (14-0, 1-0 Big Ten) started the day as one of eight perfect teams. They finished it by matching the fourth-best start in school history.

A.J. Hammons led Purdue (10-4, 0-1) with 18 points, 16 rebounds, five blocks and four assists in the Boilermakers' first home loss. Ronnie Jonson added 16 points for Purdue.

Ohio State took a 34-33 halftime lead on a buzzer-beating layup by Lenzelle Smith Jr., then struggled to pull away until the final 12 minutes.

The Buckeyes broke a 46-46 tie with six consecutive points. Scott and Ross accounted for all of the points in a decisive 10-2 run.

Dawkins leads No. 7 Duke past Elon 86-48

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Andre Dawkins scored 15 points and No. 7 Duke routed Elon 86-48 on Tuesday.

Rodney Hood had 13 points and freshman Jabari Parker had 12 points and a season-high-tying 10 rebounds for the Blue Devils (11-5).

They never trailed and had little trouble winning their fifth consecutive, shooting 48.5 percent, forcing 22 turnovers and turning them into 25 points.

Elon's 48 points were a season-low allowed by Duke, and at no point in the game did the Phoenix (7-7) have more field goals than turnovers.

Ryley Beaumont and Lucas Troutman scored 11 points each for the Phoenix, who shot 35 percent and fell to 1-26 against ACC opponents since their 1999 move to Division I.

Dawkins set season highs with 20 points and six 3-pointers three days earlier against Eastern Michigan. He finished this one with five 3s - including four during the first-half run that gave Duke an insurmountable lead.

No. 11 Villanova defeats Butler in Big East opener

INDIANAPOLIS -- JayVaughn Pinkston had 22 points and No. 11 Villanova rebounded from its first loss of the season with a 76-73 overtime victory against Butler on Tuesday night in the Big East opener for both teams.

Darrun Hilliard scored 15 points and Josh Hart added 10 for the Wildcats (12-1, 1-0), who lost at No. 2 Syracuse on Saturday.

Butler (10-3, 0-1) was making its debut in its third conference in as many seasons. The Bulldogs left the Horizon League after 2011-12 and played in the Atlantic 10 last season.

Kellen Dunham scored 22 points and freshman Elijah Brown had a season-high 19 for Butler, which dropped to 2-3 at home against top-25 teams since 2009-10. It was Butler's first loss in seven games at home this season.

Dunham's off-balance fadeaway with 21 seconds left in regulation tied the game at 66, and Pinkston's missed a short jumper at the buzzer to force overtime.

The Wildcats opened overtime with a 3-pointer by Ryan Arcidiacono and two free throws by Hilliard, and held off Butler despite Dunham's heroics, including a layup with 15 seconds left that cut Villanova's lead to 74-73. Pinkston hit two free throws with 3 seconds to play for the winning margin.

No. 13 Iowa State beats Northern Illinois 99-63

AMES, Iowa -- DeAndre Kane had 16 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists and No. 13 Iowa State blew past Northern Illinois 99-63 on Tuesday night for its 12th consecutive win.

Melvin Ejim and Naz Long had 17 points each for the Cyclones (12-0), who rolled past the Huskies just hours after learning of the death of longtime former coach Johnny Orr.

Orr, who was 86, spent 29 years as a Division I coach, with current Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg among his many star players. Orr won a school-record 218 games at Iowa State from 1980-94.

Dontel Highsmith had 19 points for Northern Illinois, (5-6), which had its two-game winning streak snapped.

 No. 14 Louisville runs past UCF 90-65

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Russ Smith hit six 3-pointers and finished with 24 points and nine assists as No. 14 Louisville ran past UCF 90-65 on Tuesday in the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

Luke Hancock had 16 points for the Cardinals (12-2) and Montrezl Harrell added 15 points and eight rebounds.

After seeing a big first-half lead cut to single digits, the Cardinals led by as many as 27 points in the second half, connecting on 14 3-pointers.

The Cardinals were coming in off a loss to in-state rival Kentucky that dropped them out of the top 10.

Isaiah Sykes led UCF with 19 points and nine rebounds.

The Knights (8-4) were playing their first game in nine days and hosting their fourth top-25 team ever. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak.

Houston beats No. 17 Connecticut 75-71

HOUSTON -- TaShawn Thomas scored 23 points, including two free throws with 9 seconds left, and blocked a late layup by Shabazz Napier as Houston rallied for a 75-71 victory against No. 17 Connecticut on Tuesday night in the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

Thomas was 8 of 15 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free throw line and grabbed eight rebounds for Houston (9-5, 1-0), which defeated a ranked team for the first time since beating Central Florida on Jan. 8, 2011.

Jherrod Stiggers added 17 points and Danrad Knowles had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Cougars, who shot 49 percent from the field.

Napier scored 25 of his 27 points in the second half as he led the Huskies (11-2, 0-1) back from a 21-point first-half deficit to hold a lead with just over a minute remaining.

Ryan Boatright finished with 19 points and nine assists, and DeAndre Daniels added 12 points for Connecticut.

No. 18 Memphis beats South Florida 88-73

TAMPA, Fla. -- Geron Johnson scored 19 points and No. 18 Memphis beat South Florida 88-73 in the American Athletic Conference season opener for both teams Tuesday night.

Joe Jackson and Michael Dixon Jr. added 18 points apiece for Memphis (10-2, 1-0), which had eight 3-pointers. The Tigers entered averaging 4.6 3s per game.

John Egbunu had 20 points for South Florida (9-5, 0-1), which was without point guard Anthony Collins, who missed his fourth straight game due to left knee soreness.

Johnson and Chris Crawford made consecutive long-range jumpers that extended Memphis' lead to 60-39 with 14:22 to play. Crawford, who entered averaging 9.4 points, missed his first eight shots in the game.

The Tigers' lead reached 70-43 when Crawford hit another 3.

No. 19 Tar Heels beat Seahawks 84-51

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- James Michael McAdoo had 23 points and 10 rebounds and No. 19 North Carolina beat North Carolina-Wilmington 84-51 on Tuesday to become the third program to reach 2,100 victories.

Marcus Paige scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half to help the Tar Heels (10-3) shake free from a slow start and blow open the game. North Carolina shot 63 percent in the second half to turn its final nonconference game into a rout.

The Tar Heels joined Kentucky and Kansas as the only programs with 2,100 victories heading into Sunday's Atlantic Coast Conference opener at Wake Forest.

Cedrick Williams had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Seahawks (6-9), coached by former UNC player Buzz Peterson. UNCW lost its fourth consecutive game and fell to 1-24 against ranked opponents heading into its Colonial Athletic Association opener against James Madison.

No. 22 Iowa beats Nebraska 67-57

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Devyn Marble had 15 points and eight rebounds and No. 22 Iowa opened its Big Ten season with a 67-57 victory against Nebraska on Tuesday night.

Aaron White scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half for the Hawkeyes (12-2, 1-0), who led by as many as 20 points in the second half.

Terran Petteway had 20 points for Nebraska (8-5, 0-1), which shot a season-low 29.9 percent from the field as it lost its 14th consecutive game to a ranked opponent.

The Cornhuskers got back in the game with a late 20-5 run.

Petteway's 3-pointer with 1:45 left cut the deficit to 60-55. But the Hawkeyes - who missed 17 free throws in the game - made 7 of 10 from the line in the final 2 minutes.

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