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The Associated Press | February 20, 2014

Top 25: Unranked Auburn nearly knocks off No. 2 Gators in Gainesville 71-66

Young free throws help Florida beat Auburn 71-66

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Patric Young made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left and Auburn threw the ball away on the ensuing inbounds play, helping the second-ranked Gators to a 71-66 victory on Wednesday night.

With No. 1 Syracuse losing to Boston College 62-59 in OT, Florida could move in the top spot in The Associated Press college basketball poll for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

The victory was Florida's school-record 18th in a row and it kept the Gators (24-2, 13-0) perfect in Southeastern Conference play. It was also Florida's 31st consecutive home victory.

Young led the Gators with 17 points and had seven rebounds. Tahj Shamsid-Deen led Auburn (12-12, 4-9) with 17 points.

After Young's free throws put the Gators ahead 68-66, Harrell glanced up-court and never saw Allen Payne's inbounds pass. The ball bounced out of bounds and the Gators sealed the victory from the free throw line.

Boston College stuns No. 1 Syracuse 62-59 in OT

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Olivier Hanlan and Patrick Heckmann hit 3-pointers in overtime, Lonnie Jackson made four consecutive free throws in the final 26.2 seconds, and lowly Boston College stunned top-ranked Syracuse 62-59 on Wednesday night, ending the Orange's unbeaten season.

Boston College (7-19, 3-10 Atlantic Coast Conference), which had lost five consecutive, rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit to pull off the improbable upset.

Syracuse (25-1, 12-1) travels to No. 5 Duke on Saturday night.

The loss leaves No. 3 Wichita State, which was playing at Loyola (Ill.) on Wednesday, as the lone unbeaten in Division I.

No. 3 Wichita State stays unbeaten, tops Loyola 88-74

CHICAGO -- Fred VanVleet scored 22 points on perfect shooting and No. 3 Wichita State beat Loyola (Ill.) 88-74 on Wednesday night to remain the last unbeaten team in major college basketball.

Wichita State and Syracuse began the day as the only Division I schools with perfect records. But the Orange lost 62-59 to Boston College in overtime, and the Shockers used an 11-2 run early in the second half to help close out the Ramblers.

Cleanthony Early scored 18 points as Wichita State became the 19th school to begin a season with 28 consecutive victories. VanVleet was 6 for 6 from the field and made each of his 10 free throws.

No. 4 Arizona escapes with 67-63 win at Utah in OT

SALT LAKE CITY -- Strong defense has saved Arizona in several games this season. It was no different against a determined underdog in a tough environment on the road.

Gabe York and Nick Johnson each scored 15 points, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 13 and the fourth-ranked Wildcats escaped with a 67-63 overtime victory against Utah on Wednesday night.

Arizona held the Utes to one field goal during the final 5 minutes and forced a critical turnover in the closing seconds.

''We just had to buckle down,'' Johnson said. ''We had to buckle down on defense. We had to rebound. They were really getting us on the offensive rebounds.''

The score was tied at 58 before Hollis-Jefferson made two baskets to give the Wildcats a four-point lead with 1:52 left in overtime. His first bucket came after he snagged an offensive rebound. The second one came after Brandon Taylor, an 86 percent free-throw shooter, missed three straight from the line to prevent Utah from taking the lead.

''Rondae had some offensive rebounds and some plays that he made that were great,'' Johnson said. ''If we didn't have him, we wouldn't have won.''

Delon Wright made a pair of free throws to cut it to 62-60, but threw the ball away with 33.9 seconds left. Johnson and T.J. McConnell each made free throws to help secure the victory.

Big first half lifts No. 7 Cincinnati past Central Florida 77-49

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Sean Kilpatrick hit six 3-pointers and scored 23 points as No. 7 Cincinnati dominated Central Florida in a 77-49 victory Wednesday night.

The Bearcats (24-3, 13-1 American Athletic) have won 17 of 18 going into their conference showdown with No. 11 Louisville on Saturday. Justin Jackson added 10 points and seven rebounds for Cincinnati, which beat UCF for the second time this season.

Central Florida's offense struggled mightily in the first half, allowing Cincinnati to build an early 20-point lead. The struggling Knights never got it back to single digits in the second half and finished with 16 turnovers.

Isaiah Sykes led the Knights with 13 points and 10 rebounds. UCF (10-14, 2-11) has lost 10 of 11.

No. 10 Saint Louis escapes in OT

FAIRFAX, Va. -- Jordair Jett scored 24 of his 25 points after halftime and Rob Loe hit two key 3-pointers in overtime as No. 10 St. Louis escaped with its 18th consecutive win, 89-85 against George Mason on Wednesday night.

The Billikens (24-2, 11-0 Atlantic-10), playing as a top 10 team for the first time since Dec. 29, 1964, extended their school-record winning streak and remained with No. 1 Syracuse and No. 3 Wichita State as the only teams in the country without a loss on the road.

Sherrod Wright had a career-high 34 points for the Patriots (9-17, 2-10), which lost for the 11th time in 13 games and are still without a home win in conference play.

No. 11 Creighton beats Marquette 85-70

MILWAUKEE -- Doug McDermott scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half and Ethan Wragge added 22 as No. 11 Creighton beat Marquette 85-70 on Wednesday night in a foul-plagued Big East game.

McDermott, who entered as the nation's leading scorer at 25.9 points per game, scored seven points to trigger a deciding 10-2 run after Marquette had pulled within 64-59. McDermott's jumper from the free throw line put the Bluejays (22-4, 12-2 Big East) up 74-61 with 4:39 left.

Creighton did not trail over the final 20 minutes after leading 42-35 at halftime.

No. 23 UCLA keeps pace in Pac-12, beats Cal

BERKELEY, Calif.-- UCLA is on a late-season roll and right in the mix for a Pac-12 championship, hoping to chase down an Arizona team that has shown its imperfections.

Jordan Adams scored 28 points and the No. 23 Bruins returned to the national rankings with an impressive 86-66 victory against California on Wednesday night to keep pace in the conference title chase.

''That's where our eyes are and that's where our goal is, to get this league championship,'' forward Travis Wear said. ''We're going to try to win every game from here on out and see what happens in the end.''

Due to the schedule, UCLA won't get a second shot at the first-place Wildcats during the regular season. So the Bruins are doing their best to win out and keep things interesting.

Kyle Anderson had 11 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Bruins (21-5, 10-3), who won their fourth straight game and seventh in eight. UCLA remained a game behind Arizona, which won in overtime at Utah.

Ross leads No. 24 Ohio State in scuffle-marred game

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- LaQuinton Ross scored 16 points before being ejected after a scuffle, leading No. 24 Ohio State to a 76-60 victory against Northwestern on Wednesday night.

The fracas late in the game delayed play for several minutes while the officials deliberated penalties for the players. Northwestern's Nikola Cerina also was ejected. The teams shot 10 free throws as a result of the shoving match.

The victory was Ohio State's 33rd consecutive win against Northwestern in Columbus, dating to an 83-72 loss on Feb. 24, 1977, at old St. John Arena.

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