RALEIGH, N.C. — C.J. Leslie scored 25 points — including six straight during a key second-half run — to help No. 20 North Carolina State beat No. 1 Duke 84-76 on Saturday.
Richard Howell added 16 points and 18 rebounds in a relentless performance for the Wolfpack (14-2, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) in a matchup of the teams predicted to finish 1-2 in the league.
N.C. State was picked for the first time in nearly four decades to win the league, though two early losses drained some buzz.
No longer. Now N.C. State is back on everyone's radar, while the Blue Devils (15-1, 2-1) are no longer unbeaten.
Seth Curry scored 22 for Duke, which shot 45 percent and hung around early by crashing the boards for second-chance baskets. But the Blue Devils had no answer after halftime for Leslie and Howell, a duo that helped the Wolfpack lead all second half.
Fittingly, Howell hauled in the rebound on Duke's final shot to end this one, then passed the ball to Lorenzo Brown as Leslie began jumping around near midcourt to celebrate. As the horn sounded, Brown flung the ball high into the air while red-clad students and Wolfpack fans stormed to the court to celebrate.
This was the kind of moment N.C. State fans — long hungry to challenge perennial heavyweights Duke and North Carolina atop the league — have been hoping for all season. Their team certainly rose to the occasion, whether it was Leslie performing to his status as the preseason ACC player of the year or Howell attacking the boards and scoring on second-half putbacks that fully seized momentum for N.C. State.
With his team protecting a 58-57 lead, Leslie went to work, knocking down a jumper then getting past Josh Hairston in the lane for another bucket. On the next possession, he muscled the ball up between two defenders, and soon the Wolfpack pushed its biggest lead to 67-57 with 7:44 left.
The Blue Devils got no closer than four again, with Leslie scoring over Mason Plumlee inside to answer the Blue Devils' last push with 1:41 left.
The Wolfpack closed this one out confidently, hitting eight straight and 9 of 10 free throws in the final minute to stay in front.
N.C. State shot 51 percent to earn its 10th straight win and its first 3-0 start in ACC play since the 1988-89 season.
The Blue Devils played the final 3-plus minutes without Curry, who crumpled to the court with an apparent foot injury. They were already without starting forward Ryan Kelly, who is out indefinitely with a foot injury and was on crutches on the Duke bench for this one.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Peyton Siva scored 17 points and No. 3 Louisville held South Florida to a season-low 27 percent shooting for an easy 64-38 victory on Saturday.
Center Gorgui Dieng added 12 points and 16 rebounds while forward Chane Behanan had 12 rebounds and seven points for the Cardinals (15-1, 3-0 Big East), who won their 10th in a row. Behanan played just five days after injuring his left ankle in practice and missing Wednesday's victory against Seton Hall.
Siva meanwhile bounced back from a 2-of-6 shooting effort against the Pirates to hit seven shots, including three 3-pointers. The Big East Conference preseason player of the year also surpassed 1,000 career points.
The Cardinals dominated the boards 49-24 including a 19-6 edge in offensive rebounds.
Victor Rudd came off the bench to score 10 points for South Florida (9-6, 0-3).
INDIANAPOLIS — Victor Oladipo had 20 points and six rebounds and Jordan Hulls knocked down four 3-pointers, helping No. 5 Indiana hold off No. 8 Minnesota's late charge for a victory Saturday.
The Hoosiers (15-1, 3-0 Big Ten) have won six straight overall and 18 in a row at Assembly Hall.
Minnesota (15-2, 3-1) was led by Andre Hollins with 25 points but had its 11-game winning streak snapped despite rallying from 23 points down at halftime to within 3 with 19.5 seconds left.
The game flipped midway through the first half when Hulls got the 3-pointer flurry started. He and Oladipo combined for 16 points in an 18-2 run that gave Indiana a 34-17 first-half lead. The Hoosiers extended the halftime lead to 52-29.
LUBBOCK, Texas— Kevin Young scored 14 points and No. 6 Kansas beat Texas Tech for the Jayhawks' 13th straight win.
Jeff Withey and Travis Releford added 12 points each and Withey pulled down seven rebounds in the first Big 12 road game for Kansas.
The Jayhawks (14-1, 2-0 Big 12) trailed briefly early on. They started the second half with a 12-0 run and stretched their lead as the game wore on.
Jamal Williams scored 11 points to lead Texas Tech (8-6, 1-2) and Dejan Kravic added nine points and got eight rebounds.
Kansas got the ball inside often and successfully, getting 28 points in the paint.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — C.J. Fair had 22 points, Trevor Cooney hit a pair of 3-pointers to punctuate a late surge and No. 7 Syracuse beat Villanova.
Syracuse (16-1, 4-0 Big East) has won 34 straight home games, the longest active streak in the nation in Division I. Villanova (11-5, 2-1) had its seven-game winning streak snapped.
Fresh from two straight wins on the road, the Orange played without James Southerland. The senior, the Orange's second-leading scorer at 13.6 points per game in his key role off the bench, is out until further notice because of an eligibility matter, the university said in a statement released just before the game. He sat on the bench in street clothes.
BATON ROUGE, La. — Kenny Boynton scored 20 points and Florida used a 31-6 run across the halves to rout LSU.
Patric Young had 14 points for the Gators (12-2, 2-0 SEC). Boynton's perimeter shooting and Young's interior play were instrumental in Florida controlling the offensive end.
The Tigers (9-4, 0-2) stuck around well into the first half before Florida broke a 19-all tie with a 10-1 run to end the half, punctuated by Scottie Wilbekin's jumper at the buzzer.
Anthony Hickey scored 15 points for LSU, who have lost 4 of 7 after starting the season with six-straight wins.
MADISON, Wis. — Jared Berggren scored 15 points and grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds, and Traevon Jackson added a career-best 14 points to lead Wisconsin over No. 12 Illinois.
The Badgers (12-4, 3-0 Big Ten) scored the game's first 14 points and led by 20 at halftime on the way to their sixth straight win.
It was a stunning performance from a team that scored just 47 in the previous game against Nebraska, but a supposedly slow and methodical team locked into a higher gear and ended the suspense almost as soon as the game began.
Whether they were making 3-pointers, driving for layups, putting back misses or throwing down dunks, the Badgers had their way in this one.
DAYTON, Ohio — Roosevelt Jones scored 16 points on Saturday, and Butler extended its best start in four years with its 11th straight victory despite losing its top scorer to injury.
The Bulldogs (14-2, 2-0 Atlantic 10) lost guard Rotnei Clarke, who hit the padded backboard support hard after an intentional foul at 8:13 at the first half and was taken off the court on a stretcher. He was moving his legs and gave a thumbs-up sign as he left the court.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Shabazz Napier scored 19 points, Tyler Olander scored 12 of his career-high 16 points in the second half and Connecticut ended the game with a 7-0 run, ending a 12-game winning streak by the No. 17 Fighting Irish.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Shane Southwell made two free throws with 21 seconds left, then blocked Gary Browne's layup attempt with a second left to preserve No. 18 Kansas State's 65-64 win over West Virginia on Saturday.
NEW YORK — Otto Porter had 19 points and a season-high 14 rebounds and No. 19 Georgetown broke out of its scoring funk with a victory at Madison Square Garden.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Alex Kirk had 19 points and a career-high 14 rebounds and No. 25 New Mexico played without leading scorer Kendall Williams in a rout.
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — Treveon Graham scored 17 points and pulled down nine rebounds and Troy Daniels added 10 points to lift Virginia Commonwealth to its 11th straight win in Atlantic 10 Conference play.
CINCINNATI — Semaj Christon and Brad Redford scored 21 points apiece as Xavier dominated.
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — C.J. Harris scored a career-high 29 points and Wake Forest held off a late Boston College rally.