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Orange overcome slow start, stay unbeaten

Scratch one more team off the unbeaten list.

Trevor Cooney, Tyler Ennis and CJ. Fair combined for 58 points as Associated Press No. 2 Syracuse ended No. 8 Villanova’s unbeaten start with a 78-62 victory at the Carrier Dome.

Cooney hit five 3-pointers as the Orange went 7-of-13 from behind the arc in moving to 12-0.

Villanova, which at 11-1 is still off to its best start since the 2010-2011 team began 16-1, led 25-7 early on before Syracuse got going. The Orange responded with a 20-0 spurt that Ennis capped with a lay up, going up 27-25 at the 5:03 mark of the first half. The hosts never trailed again.

James Bell knocked down a 3-pointer with 3:39 remaining in the game that pulled Villanova to within 64-59, but Syracuse finished the game on a 14-3 run.

Bell matched a career high with 25 points to lead the Wildcats.

Other games with local interest from Saturday…

No. 18 Kentucky 73, No. 6 Louisville 66

Andrew Harrison and James Young each had 18 points to lead four in double figures as the Wildcats defeated their rivals for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

Julius Randle added 17 points for Kentucky (10-3), which took the lead for good on Young’s lay up with 8:21 to play in the game.

Defending national champion Louisville (11-2) got a game-high 19 points from Russ Smith and 18 out of Chris Jones, but saw its six-game winning streak come to an end.

No. 9 Duke 82, Eastern Michigan 59

Jabari Parker scored 23 points and Andre Dawkins added 20 as the Blue Devils won their 101st consecutive non-conference game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Facing an Eastern Michigan (7-4) team that was tied for fourth nationally in field goal percentage defense, Duke (10-2) made 10 3-pointers - six of which came from Dawkins - in winning its fourth consecutive game.

Mike Talley had 20 points for the visiting Eagles, who had a two-game winning streak snapped.

NC-Greensboro 55, Virginia Tech 52

The visiting Spartans erased a 10-point second half deficit to defeat an ACC team for just the second time ever.

Greensboro (7-7) trailed 40-30 at the 12:27 mark, but chipped away and eventually took the lead for good on Kayel Locke’s bucket that made it 50-49 with 1:23 to play.

Kyle Cain had a game-high 18 points and Locke added 15 for Greensboro, which snapped a 23-game losing streak against teams from the ACC, winning for the first time against the conference since knocking off Georgia Tech in the 2007 season opener.

Marshall Wood led Virginia Tech (7-5) with 14 points.

Georgia Southern 66, North Carolina A&T 63

Jelani Hewitt came off the bench to score 23 points as the Eagles handed A&T its fifth consecutive defeat.

Hewitt, who coming into the game was 23rd nationally in scoring, picked up his points in just 24 minutes and added nine rebounds for Georgia Southern (6-7). Meanwhile, the Eagles’ defense held A&T to just 29 percent shooting.

A&T (3-10), which was led by Lamont Middleton’s game-high 25 points, had won four straight games against the Southern Conference, including last season’s victory over Georgia Southern.

South Carolina 78, Akron 45

Brenton Williams had a season-high 24 points, including making 6-of-8 3-pointers, as the Gamecocks defeated Akron for the second time in four days.

South Carolina (5-6) also knocked off the Zips at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii on Christmas Day.

Quincy Diggs led Akron (6-5) with 13 points.

Marquette 71, Samford 48

Jajuan Johnson had 14 points to lead four in double figures as the Golden Eagles rolled.

Deonte Burton and Todd Mayo added 13 points each for Marquette (8-5), which gave up its fewest points since a 67-46 win over Seton Hall in February.

Tim Williams had a game-high 16 points for Samford (5-9).