Although they probably didn't realize it in their moment of excitement, the Connecticut fans at the Carrier Dome began a chant that was a prelude to college basketball history.

"We're No. 1," they yelled Sunday after the third-ranked Huskies beat No. 10 Syracuse.That came to pass when The Asssociated Press men's poll was released today, making UConn the first school to lead among both genders.

While its men were beating Syracuse 77-70, the already-top-ranked UConn women were building their record to 21-0 with an 84-62 decision over Seton Hall. UConn figures to retain its No. 1 spot when the women's poll is released Tuesday.

But don't get the impression Jim Calhoun's men will be content to be No. 1 in the nation. They have a smaller target for the time being.

"It feels good," guard Kevin Ollie said of the possible leap to the top of the heap. "But I'm glad we're No. 1 in the Big East. That is the thing we have to take care of first."

Winning at Syracuse is never easy, particulary with the conference lead on the line. But the UConn men (19-1, 12-0) handled it well, winning their 17th straight conference game.

The victory gave the Huskies a two-game lead over Syracuse (17-4, 10-2), which it beat 86-75 earlier in the season. That game featured a 22-point turnaround in the final 11 minutes.

Sunday's game wasn't decided until the final 2:22, when the Huskies took the lead for good at 69-68 on a free throw by Travis Knight. Connecticut, which struggled from the outside throughout, scored the next eight points - six from the free throw line - as the Orangemen missed all four shots they took.

The Huskies figured to take the top spot because of losses last week by top-ranked North Carolina and No. 2 Kansas.

Connecticut's only only loss this season was an 88-59 thrashing last month by Kansas in Kansas City, Mo.

"We lost the Kansas game but got more focused," said Ray Allen, who led the Huskies with 18 points Sunday and was a big part of the effort to stop Syracuse star Lawrence Moten. "Once we got here we knew what we had to do to be No. 1. This is a real tough place to play. When you play here and come out with a victory, it solidifies our spot on top."

Moten, who came into the game needing 20 points to surpass Derrick Coleman as the school's career scoring leader, finished with 17 on 7-for-18 shooting.

Donny Marshall and Knight, who played his high school ball at Alta High in Sandy, Utah, added 15 points apiece for Connecticut.

Calhoun, who said the No. 1 ranking didn't matter to him, removed his starters with 2.9 seconds left and hugged Marshall as the senior left the floor. When the game ended, Marshall stood alone at midcourt with one finger raised high above his head.

"I know the season isn't over, but we could wrap this up with another couple of wins," Marshall said of the Big East race. "I'm just really proud of everything this team does."

No. 2 North Carolina 85,

No. 20 Georgia Tech 81

Rasheed Wallace had seven slams among his 27 points as the Tar Heels snapped the Yellow Jackets' 15-game home winning streak. He scored 10 points in the final 5:37 as North Carolina (19-2, 9-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) held off Georgia Tech (15-8, 6-5), which twice cut the lead to a point.

Travis Best led the Yellow Jackets with 20 points.

No. 4 Kentucky 97, Notre Dame 58

Walter McCarty scored 12 of his 20 points in the first five minutes of the game and the Wildcats handed the Irish their worst home defeat in 97 years. The worst came in 1898, when the Irish fell 64-8 to First Regiment.

California 74, No. 12 Arizona 72

The only points of the game by K.C. Roberts - with 1.6 seconds remaining - gave California the upset, the Golden Bears' second takedown of a Pac-10 leader in the last 16 days.

Visiting Cal (12-8, 4-7) built a 17-point lead early in the second half, but Arizona staged a furious rally to tie the game twice.

View Comments

No. 16 Virginia 75, UNLV 65

Freshman Curtis Staples led an outside shooting assault by the Cavaliers, who hit a school-record nine 3-pointers.

Indiana 82, No. 25 Purdue 73

Alan Henderson scored 26 points and freshman Charlie Miller had 21 as Indiana (14-9, 6-5 Big Ten) snapped visiting Purdue's six-game winning streak.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.