SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Jim Boeheim stared up in frustration at the Carrier Dome scoreboard, his No. 2 Orange in big trouble against eighth-ranked Villanova.
The Wildcats had started Saturday’s game by hitting four consecutive 3-pointers – three swishes by James Bell and another by Darrun Hilliard – and led 25-7 midway through the first half after a dunk by Josh Hart.
Syracuse struggled to create open looks and went nearly 4 minutes without a basket as the Wildcats looked exactly like the team that had already beaten two ranked teams.
“There was no indication we were going to get going,” Boeheim said.
If the Orange were frazzled by their largest deficit of the season, it never showed.
They responded with a 20-0 run over the next 5 minutes to take their first lead.
The Orange never trailed again, winning 78-62 in a game between two of nine unbeaten teams left in Division I.
Trevor Cooney scored 21 points, Tyler Ennis had 20 and C.J. Fair added 17 to lead the Orange to the victory.
SOUTH CAROLINA 78, AKRON 42
In Columbia, Brenton Williams scored a season-high 24 points on Saturday to lead South Carolina to a rout of Akron in their second consecutive game since Christmas Day, when they beat them 69-59 at the 2013 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.
The senior guard connected on 6 of 8 3-point attempts for his third-straight game in double figures.
NO. 9 DUKE 82,
EASTERN MICHIGAN 59
In Durham, N.C., Jabari Parker scored 23 points and Duke beat Eastern Michigan.
Andre Dawkins added 20 points with a season-high six 3-pointers as a late replacement for an ill Rodney Hood in the starting lineup.
NO. 25 MISSOURI 68,
N.C. STATE 64
In Raleigh, N.C., Jabari Brown hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 55.1 seconds left to help Missouri beat North Carolina State.
WAKE FOREST 53
In Cincinnati, Matt Stainbrook scored a season-high 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Xavier rolled to a victory over Wake Forest.
James Farr added 13 points.
Semaj Christon finished with 12 points for the Musketeers.
VCU 69, BOSTON COLLEGE 59
In New York, Juvonte Reddic had 14 points and eight rebounds and Virginia Commonwealth beat Boston College in the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival at the Barclays Center.
LOUISIANA STATE 79,
MCNEESE STATE 52
In Baton Rouge, La., Jarell Martin got his first double-double of the season while carrying Louisiana State to a victory against McNeese State.
Martin finished with 14 points and a season-high 10 rebounds.
HIGH POINT 48
In Fayeteville, Ark., Bobby Portis scored 16 points and added nine rebounds as Arkansas beat High Point.
The Razorbacks (10-2) opened the game on a 13-2 run and never trailed.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN 66,
NORTH CAROLINA A&T 63
In Greensboro, N.C., Jelanie Hewitt scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half, including Georgia Southern’s last six points, and the Eagles (7-7) edged North Carolina A&T (3-10) .