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UCONN ROLLS PAST KITTLES-LESS CATS

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Ray Allen was scoring at his usual pace, helping No. 3 Connecticut to win a mythical Big East title.

Kerry Kittles just sat and watched while No. 4 Villanova struggled and misfired as its 10-game winning streak came to an end.Allen had 26 points Sunday as the Huskies beat Villanova 70-59 in the first of three games Kittles was suspended for by the NCAA.

"That was still Villanova and it will be Villanova next year when Kerry Kittles won't be there either," Allen said of the senior guard, who along with Georgetown's Allen Iverson is considered his main competition for Big East player of the year honors. "We played and they played."

Kittles, who sat on the bench in street clothes, didn't speak to the media. He was suspended for unauthorized use of a school telephone credit card.

"They played great defense. They just outplayed us," Villanova coach Steve Lappas said. "We couldn't have beat them with Kerry Kittles, not the way we shot."

The Huskies (25-2, 15-1 Big East) sewed up the top seeding in the conference tournament with the victory. Since the league expanded by three teams this season and then split into two divisions, it was decided there would not be a regular-season champion, something Connecticut was the last two seasons with 16-2 records.

"Three straight Big East championships is very special for us," Huskies coach Jim Calhoun said. "We are going to make a trophy even if they won't give us one. Beating people in your neighborhood is a tough thing to do."

The Huskies were coming off a 77-65 loss to Georgetown that ended their 23-game winning streak.

"Georgetown wasn't a loss, it was how it happened," Calhoun said. "We always stand up but we didn't stand up that particular day."

Allen and backcourtmate Doron Sheffer came up big for the Huskies when the Wildcats closed to 36-34 with 16:54 left. Sheffer made a 3-pointer, his first points of the game, to start a 9-0 run and Allen, who was 9-for-24 from the field, had two baskets in the stretch.

"Sheffer has made a lot of big shots. That wasn't an accident as you can see by our record over the last three years," Calhoun said. "Ray Allen had a tremendous comeback game for him. Forget those shots, he'll make those shots don't worry."

Allen was held to 13 points on 5-for-18 shooting against Georgetown.

"We all learned a lot from that last game," Allen said.

Villanova was able to pull to 47-41 and 49-43, but both times Travis Knight scored on tip-ins. The Wildcats were never closer than eight points the rest of the way as Allen and Sheffer each hit big 3-pointers and Allen and Kirk King took turns on consecutive possessions on alley-oop dunk passes.

"I think the biggest plays of the game were when we got within six and Knight got those offensive rebounds," Lappas said. "They really hurt us on the glass and that's the most disturbing thing to me."

Connecticut finished with a 45-34 rebounds advantage with Knight grabbing 15 to go along with five blocked shots.

"I made my mind up to be more aggressive," Knight said. "Losing Kerry's scoring didn't hurt them because others step up. But he rebounds well for a guard at seven per game. That's terrific even for a big guy."

Rudy Johnson added 13 points for the Huskies, while Knight and Sheffer each had eight.

Jason Lawson led Villanova, which shot 32 percent, with 14 points, and Eric Eberz and Alvin Williams each had 11. Eberz scored all of his in the second half after missing his first seven shots.

"Eberz just wasn't getting good shots," Lappas said. "They did a great job on him."

Kittles had been a real thorn in Connecticut's side, having averaged 26 points in the last five meetings with the Huskies.

This was to have been Kittles' last home game. He needs just 13 points - seven less than his average - to become Villanova's career scoring leader.

"That's still an NCAA tournament we just played," Calhoun said of the Kittles-less Wildcats. "With Kerry Kittles they are good enough to win the national championship, but without him they could still make the NCAA tournament although I'm sure Steve doesn't want to try that."

The crowd of 18,524 at the Spectrum tied the state record for a basketball game, a mark set earlier this year when North Carolina and Villanova met.

A small but vocal group of Connecticut fans made their presence known often shouting "1-800" whenever there was a letup in the noise.

No. 6 Cincinnati 65, Tulane 63

Darnell Burton sank a 3-point basket from deep in the corner with two seconds left to lead visiting Cincinnati.

Damon Flint led Cincinnati (21-3, 10-2 Conference USA) with 14 points. Bearcats coach Bob Huggins left with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half after picking up his second technical foul in two minutes for criticizing the officials.

No. 7 Purdue 74, Indiana 72

Chad Austin's 3-pointer with 13.7 seconds left gave visiting Purdue the victory over arch-rival Indiana as the Boilermakers overcame more than seven minutes without a field goal in the second half.

Todd Foster contributed 15 points to the victory, all on 3-pointers, and Brad Miller scored 14 for Purdue (23-4, 13-2 Big Ten).

Temple 57, No. 12 Virginia Tech 41

Derrick Battie scored 15 points and grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds in his final home game Sunday as Temple kept its NCAA Tournament hopes alive.

Virginia Tech (20-4, 11-3 Atlantic 10) didn't have a player in double figures.

Duke 85, No. 16 UCLA 66

Chris Collins scored 27 points for the second straight game for host Duke became the 11th unranked team to defeat a ranked opponent in the past seven days.

UCLA (19-7) played the first half without forward Charles O'Bannon, the team's third-leading scorer. There was no explanation for his absence from the starting lineup. He played the final 16 minutes and scored five points.

No. 19 Memphis 57, No. 21 Louisville 54

Lorenzen Wright and Cedric Henderson scored 16 points each, and Wright grabbed 11 rebounds for Memphis (20-5, 10-2 Conference USA) which won its 32nd consecutive home win.

Louisville (19-8, 10-3) had a chance to tie the game three times in the final 30 seconds, but DeJuan Wheat missed three long-range shots, including one at the horn.

No. 23 Georgia Tech 92, N.C. State 83, OT

Stephon Marbury scored 25 points and took charge in overtime as host Georgia Tech collected it 1,000th win against 876 losses.

Tech (18-10, 11-3 ACC) took the conference lead because Wake Forest lost to Virginia.