SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Demetris Nichols had 20 points, including five straight in the waning moments, and Syracuse beat Connecticut 73-63 on Saturday for its third straight win.
Both teams were desperate for a victory with the season winding down, and this time Syracuse (19-8, 8-5 Big East) held on to beat the Huskies (16-10, 5-7) for only the fourth time in the last 12 meetings between the teams.The win put the Orange into a tie for fourth in the conference with either Louisville or Marquette, who played each other later Saturday. The loss for UConn kept the Huskies 12th in the league, the last slot to make the Big East tournament.Freshman Paul Harris had 16 points and 10 rebounds, his fifth double double of the season, Eric Devendorf had 15 and Andy Rautins 13 off the bench. Darryl Watkins, who fouled out in just 10 minutes in a loss to the Huskies 12 days earlier, had a season-high 13 rebounds and Nichols added nine boards for the Orange, who outrebounded UConn 55-45.Freshman guard Jerome Dyson led the Huskies with a season-high 27 points, going 6-for-13 on 3-pointers, and Hasheem Thabeet had 11. Jeff Adrien, the Huskies' leading scorer at 13.2 points per game, was held off the board in the first half, missing two shots from the floor and four free throws, and finished with season-low six points but added 10 rebounds.Syracuse, which led just 35-32 at halftime, went on an 8-0 run early in the second half to forge the biggest lead of the game by either team and put UConn behind for good.Rautins' second 3 in a 48-second span put the Orange up 47-36 at 14:12, and two free throws by Devendorf made it 58-45 with 8:19 to go.Connecticut refused to fold and a 3 from left wing by Dyson had the Huskies back within 59-55 with 5:32 remaining.A three-point play and a jumper in the lane by Nichols boosted the Syracuse lead back up to 64-55 with 4:42 to go and the cold-shooting Huskies, who shot 32.3 percent for the game, couldn't recover.Dyson, who had a season-high four 3-pointers in Wednesday's win over Seton Hall, went 4-for-6 from beyond the arc in the first eight minutes against Syracuse's 2-3 zone. His fourth 3 and a jumper by A.J. Price gave the Huskies a 16-9 lead with 11:32 left in the first half.Syracuse switched to man-to-man and Dyson's open looks disappeared as Harris and Watkins helped lead the Orange back. Harris, who played just 23 minutes combined in the previous two games, scored seven of his 11 points in the period from the free-throw line while Watkins had 11 rebounds.Rautins had a steal and layup, then drained a 3 from the top of the key off a screen by Harris before Devendorf tied it at 18-all with a jumper from just inside the arc at the top of the key.A pair of free throws by Watkins with 2:11 left completed a 22-8 Syracuse spurt and gave the Orange a 31-24 lead. A 3 at the buzzer by Stanley Robinson pulled the Huskies within 35-32 at the break despite shooting 8-for-31 (25.8 percent) from the field.The game drew a crowd of 32,376, the 63rd time the Orange have attracted 30,000 or more for a basketball game since the Carrier Dome opened in 1980. It was the largest on-campus crowd of the year in the NCAA. The record of 33,633 was set here last March against Villanova in the final home game of former Orange star Gerry McNamara's career.