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Duke Survives Sluggish Effort

Top 25 college basketball

Two baskets by backup point guard William Avery during a 26-second span of the second half sparked an otherwise sluggish Duke offense and the second-ranked Blue Devils finally put away North Carolina State 64-50 Wednesday night in Durham, N.C.

The Blue Devils (13-1, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) defeated the Wolfpack for the 10th consecutive time in steamy Cameron Indoor Stadium and for the 14th time in the last 17 meetings.

The win also gave Duke, led by Chris Carrawell’s 14 points, its best ACC start in six seasons.

However, the victory over N.C. State (9-4, 1-2) didn’t come with the gaudy statistics that accompanied a 44-point win over Virginia and a 32-point victory over Maryland in the Blue Devils’ previous two league games.

(4) Kansas 111, Colorado 62

At Lawrence, Kan., a weakened Jayhawks team was still way too much for the Buffaloes as Ryan Robertson and Lester Earl each scored a career-high 20 points.

With preseason All-America Raef LaFrentz out another five weeks with a broken finger on his right hand, the Jayhawks (18-2, 2-0 Big 12) got a scare when Paul Pierce, their other preseason All-America, limped off the court early in the first half holding his right knee. But Pierce was back five minutes later with a mildly sprained knee heavily taped.

Kenny Price had 17 points and Ronnie DeGray added 15 for Colorado (6-6, 0-2).

(9) Purdue 77, Penn St. 55

The Boilermakers (13-3, 2-1 Big Ten), battling problems on offense, turned to defense and defeated the Nittany Lions (7-5, 0-2) 77-55 at West Lafayette, Ind.

The Boilermakers capitalized on 21 turnovers, including 10 steals, and held the Nittany Lions to 35 percent shooting.

Maryland 81, (13) Florida St. 74

At College Park, Md., Obinna Ekezie had 18 points and 11 rebounds and the Terrapins (8-5, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) turned up the defense in the second half to rally past the Seminoles (12-3, 1-2).

(14) Mississippi 90, Florida 79

At Oxford, Miss., Jason Smith scored 20 points and had seven steals as the Rebels (11-1, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) tied a school record with their 15th consecutive home victory, defeating the Gators (7-4, 1-1).

(16) S. Carolina 71, Vanderbilt 70

Despite BJ McKie, the SEC’s leading scorer, shooting 2 for 13, the Gamecocks (9-2, 1-1) used a late 9-0 run and Ryan Stack’s clutch foul shooting to hold off the Commodores (11-4, 0-2) at Columbia, S.C.

(18) Syracuse 77, Providence 59

At Providence, R.I., Todd Burgan had 17 points and 10 rebounds and the Orangemen (13-1, 4-0) capitalized on the poorest shooting the Friars (5-7, 0-3) have ever had in the Big East, opening a 22-point halftime lead and cruising.

(19) Xavier 104, La Salle 67

At Cincinnati, Lenny Brown went 4 for 5 from 3-point range and scored 22 points to lead the Musketeers (9-3, 1-1 Atlantic 10) to victory over the Explorers.

Ala.-Birming. 65, (20) Marquette 52

At Milwaukee, Cedric Dickson had five 3-pointers and scored all of his 21 points in the second half to lead the Blazers (10-4, 2-0 Conference USA) to victory over the Golden Eagles (10-1, 1-1).

(22) Arkansas 83, Mississippi St. 70

At Fayetteville, Ark., Nick Davis scored 10 points over the first 4-1/2 minutes of the second half and Tarik Wallace added two much-needed 3-pointers as the Razorbacks (12-2, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) defeated the Bulldogs (12-3, 1-1).


(12) Florida 94, (20) Georgia 61

Murriel Page scored 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as the Gators defeated the Bulldogs at Gainesville, Fla.

Florida (11-3, 3-0 SEC) used a 19-4 run early in the second half to pull away from Georgia (9-4, 0-1) and take a 63-46 lead.

During that stretch, Florida dominated in the frontcourt as Page, Tamara Stocks and Tiffany Travis combined for 16 points in a four-minute stretch and got Georgia into foul trouble.