It was the third game for the Orange (9-0) since former associate head coach Bernie Fine was fired after allegations by three men that he sexually molested them as minors.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim figured the Thundering Herd (5-2), which beat Cincinnati of the Big East in overtime on the road, would offer a tough challenge for the Orange.
He was right.
But Scoop Jardine helped down the stretch, finishing with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists as the Orange became the first Big East team to get to nine wins.
NO. 4 NO. CAROLINA 97, EVANSVILLE 48
In Chapel Hill, N.C., Harrison Barnes scored 17 points to help North Carolina.
Reggie Bullock added 15 points off the bench for the Tar Heels (7-2), who had an easy time bouncing back from their loss at top-ranked Kentucky. North Carolina ran off 10 points in a row midway through the first half to blow the game open, then pushed a 30-point halftime lead to as many as 51 points in the second half.
NO. 10 MISSOURI 81, VILLANOVA, 71
In New York, Marcus Denmon had his second strong game in a row from 3-point range, this time making six and scoring 28 points in Missouri’s victory over Villanova in the Jimmy V Classic.
The 6-foot-3 senior guard was 6 of 10 from 3-point range, making all three attempts in the first 7:41 of the second half when Missouri (8-0) opened a 16-point lead. Ricardo Ratliffe added 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Tigers, who last started a season with eight consecutive wins in 2006-07.
NO. 15 PITTSBURGH 97, VMI 70
In Pittsburgh, Ashton Gibbs scored 20 points and Pittsburgh rolled to its sixth consecutive win.
Nasir Robinson added 19 points, 14 rebounds and five assists for the Panthers (8-1), who shot 49 percent from the floor and made a season-high 13 3-pointers while easily outscoring the uptempo but overmatched Keydets (3-5).
NO. 2 CONNECTICUT 81, NO. 8 TEXAS A&M 51
In Hartford, Conn., Tiffany Hayes and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis each scored 14 points to help Connecticut rout Texas A&M in the Jimmy V Classic.
Kelly Faris added 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Huskies (8-0). Caroline Doty had 11 points as UConn put six players in double figures. She sat out the final 30 minutes of the Huskies’ win over Towson on Nov. 30 after suffering a concussion. She showed no ill effects against the Aggies (6-2).
The victory was UConn’s 91st consecutive at home, extending its NCAA record. The Huskies’ last home loss came in the 2007 Big East championship game to Rutgers.
NO. 14 GEORGIA 80, MERCER 43
In Macon, Ga., Jasmine Hassell had 16 points and Georgia took control by scoring 11 consecutive points midway through the first half.
Led by Hassell’s play around the basket, Georgia (8-1) outscored Mercer (2-7) 52-6 in the paint.
NO. 17 PENN STATE 66, VIRGINIA TECH 28
In State College, Pa., Maggie Lucas scored 20 points to help No. 17 Penn State cruise past Virginia Tech.
Nikki Greene added 14 points for the Nittany Lions (7-2) and Alex Bentley had 11 to reach 1,000 for her career.
Aerial Wilson had 10 points to lead Virginia Tech (2-6), which was held scoreless over the final 13:15.