These days, just surviving conference play is enough.
For the second time in a week, the No. 3-ranked Wolverines squandered a big lead, but Saturday they held on to defeat No. 16 Minnesota, 87-83, at Ann Arbor, Mich.
Sean Higgins scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half for the Wolverines (11-2, 1-1 in conference), who wasted a 20-point lead in losing their conference opener at Indiana Monday night.
Saturday, Michigan led by 10 points with 2:14 remaining, but Minnesota (10-3, 1-2) cut it to 84-83 with 35 seconds left as Walter Bond made two three-point baskets.
Michigan's Terry Mills, who had 23 points, made two free throws with 27 seconds left, and Rumeal Robinson, who had 26 points, made a free throw with six seconds left.
Melvin Newbern led Minnesota with 20 points and Bond had 19.
In a span of 6:36 down the stretch, Minnesota scored 15 points, all from three-point range, but never overcame the Wolverines.
There were 24 lead changes in the game played before 13,609 in Crisler Arena, where the Gophers are 1-20 since the building opened in 1967.
Minnesota led, 66-63, with 7:11 left when Michigan, getting four points from Mills and three from Higgins, started an 11-0 run. Higgins' three-point basket with 6:06 remaining gave Michigan a 68-66 lead and the Wolverines led the rest of the way as the Gophers went scoreless over a 3:37 stretch.
OTHER TOP 25 TEAMS
Oklahoma State rallied after trailing by 10 early in the second half. The Cowboys trailed, 57-56, with 14:24 remaining.
But Kansas (18-0, 2-0) responded by holding the Cowboys (8-5, 0-2) scoreless for the next 6:37. Markkanen did the most damage in a 14-0 run, making a free throw and two follow shots that helped the Jayhawks take a 71-56 lead with 8:29 left.
Trailing early in the second half, the Hoyas (13-0) took a 53-52 lead on Tillmon's two free throws with 9:20 left. Georgetown led the rest of the way. DePaul (8-8) had won five in a row. No. 4 Oklahoma 103, Texas 84--Sooner reserve Jackie Jones had 22 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocked shots in the nonconference game at Norman, Okla.
Reserves Smokey McCovery and Terrence Mullins scored 17 points each as Oklahoma (12-0) got its 38th consecutive home victory. William Davis scored 19, all in the second half.
Travis Mays led Texas (10-3) with 21 points.
The Tigers (15-1, 2-0) had a 15-point lead with 7:25 left in the first half, but Nebraska (6-7, 0-2) rallied behind Carl Hayes' 15 first-half points to cut the lead to 49-45 at halftime.
Nebraska trailed by one in the opening minutes of the second half, but Smith, Peeler and Lee Coward, who scored 21, combined for a 9-0 run that gave Missouri a 67-56 lead with 12:39 left.
The teams were tied, 40-40, at halftime, and Syracuse could not shake the Eagles until about midway through the second half.
No. 8 Illinois 85, Northwestern 78--Marcus Liberty scored nine of his 26 points during a 14-2 second-half run by the Illini in a Big Ten game at Evanston, Ill.
Liberty's three-point play put Illinois (12-1, 2-1) ahead, 50-48, to start the streak.
No. 9 Georgia Tech 92, No. 17 North Carolina State 85--Brian Oliver scored 27 points and the Yellow Jackets made 10 of 13 free throws in the final two minutes of the Atlantic Coast Conference game at Atlanta.
Georgia Tech (11-1, 1-1) led by 15 in the first half before the Wolfpack (12-3, 1-1) tied the game, 53-53, early in the second half. The Yellow Jackets regained their 15-point lead, but Rodney Monroe's nine points helped North Carolina State close to within 90-85.
No. 10 Duke 91, Maryland 80--The Blue Devils' Christian Laettner scored 20 of his 27 points in the first half of an ACC game at Durham, N.C.
The victory gave Coach Mike Krzyzewski 214 victories in 10 years at Duke, which got its ninth consecutive victory.
Laettner made all 10 of his free throws in the first half and helped Duke (12-2, 3-0) take a 14-point halftime lead. But the 6-foot-11 sophomore spent most of the second half in foul trouble, enabling the Terrapins (10-5, 2-2) to battle back.
No. 12 Arkansas 93, Texas Christian 79--Todd Day, who sat out the first half as a disciplinary measure for missing curfew, had 17 points, six assists and four steals in the Razorbacks' Southwest Conference victory at Fayetteville, Ark.
Arkansas (12-2, 4-0) trailed 40-32 at halftime, but rallied behind a swarming defense and Day's shooting. The Razorbacks overtook the Horned Frogs (7-7, 1-3) with 10:09 left on Day's free throws.
Purdue 81, No. 13 Indiana 79--The Hoosiers failed to hold onto a 13-point halftime lead at Bloomington, Ind., as the Boilermakers remained undefeated in Big Ten play.
"I think we relaxed at the half and they came out ready to play," Indiana Coach Bob Knight said. "They immediately cut into the lead at the start of the second half, and that made it a new ballgame."
Purdue, led by Tony Jones' 21 points, tied the score on Ryan Berning's basket with 35 seconds left in regulation and never trailed in overtime. The victory put Purdue (11-2, 3-0) into a first-place tie in the conference.
St. John's (14-3, 3-1) gained a 69-64 lead with 45 seconds left behind Jason Buchanan's two free throws. Pitt reserve Pat Cavanaugh made a three-point basket eight seconds later to pull the Panthers (5-9, 0-4) within two, but the Redmen held on.
The Golden Eagles (7-5, 1-2) trailed, 55-53, after Clarence Weatherspoon's free throw with 14:26 left. But Memphis State (10-4, 2-1) took an 11-point lead when Cheyenne Gibson made a short jump shot with 5:40 left.
No. 24 Alabama 62, Mississippi State 57--Melvin Cheatum's 10-foot jump shot put the Crimson Tide ahead for good in a Southeastern Conference game at Starkville, Miss.
Cheatum's basket gave Alabama (12-3, 3-1) a 51-50 lead with 4:33 left. Then, after two consecutive rebounds, Keith Askins made a three-point basket at 1:26 for a 56-52 lead.
No. 25 Xavier 82, Alabama Birmingham 61--Michael Davenport scored 14 in the second half as the Musketeers (11-1) won their 11th in a row.
Alabama Birmingham (11-4) could not handle Xavier's running game in the second half and lost for the first time in eight games. Davenport scored 21 in the game at Cincinnati.
OTHER GAMES MIDWEST
The victory, the Spartans' seventh in a row, gives them a 3-0 conference record, their best start since 1985. Their 14-2 record is their best since the 1977-78 team opened 15-1.
The Hawkeyes (8-5, 0-3) have a four-game losing streak.
Ohio State, 6-0 at home, is 8-5, 3-1. Wisconsin is 10-6, 1-3.
North Carolina 92, Virginia 70--Scott Williams scored a career-high 31 points, making all 12 of his shots for the Tar Heels in the ACC game at Chapel Hill, N.C.
North Carolina (11-6, 1-1) capitalized on cold shooting by Virginia (8-4, 0-3) to take a 46-33 halftime lead. Williams, a 6-11 center, scored North Carolina's first six baskets in the second half against Virginia's smaller lineup, and the Cavaliers never got closer than 12.
Clemson (10-3, 3-1) used an aggressive defense to take control early in the second half after taking a 34-30 halftime lead. The Tigers had 16 steals.
Florida 84, Auburn 62--Dwayne Schintzius scored 26 points and had 13 rebounds in an SEC game at Gainesville, Fla.
The Gators pulled away in the final eight minutes with an 18-6 run paced by Brian Hogan's two three-point baskets.
Georgia (9-4, 2-2) made it a rout with a 22-1 run for a 46-16 lead five minutes before halftime. Vanderbilt (10-3, 3-1) had an eight-game winning streak streak.
Villanova made all 18 of its free throws and outrebounded the Friars, 29-7, to take a 51-34 halftime lead.
The victory ended Connecticut's two-year, five-game losing streak against Seton Hall (8-5, 1-2). The Huskies are 13-3, 3-2.
Duncan's shot--his only basket in the second half--ended the Pioneers' four-game losing streak in the Atlantic 10 game at Pittsburgh.
Rice 65, Baylor 62--Owl guard D'Wayne Tanner grabbed a loose ball and made a three-point basket at the buzzer in the Southwest Conference game at Waco, Tex.
Tanner's winning basket came after a three-point basket by Baylor guard Melvin Hunt tied the game, 62-62, with 18 seconds remaining.
Colorado 79, Kansas State 62--Steve Wise scored 22 points, including a five-point run that put the Big Eight game out of reach for the Buffaloes at Boulder, Colo.
Colorado relied on the outside shooting of Wise and Reggie Morton (18 points), to compensate for center Shaun Vandiver, the conference's leading scorer who was held to 10 points.
Brigham Young 79, New Mexico 78--Marty Haws scored 16 of the Cougars' final 20 points in a Western Athletic Conference game at Provo, Utah.
Haws scored 23, Andy Toolson 21, and Steve Schreiner 17 for BYU (12-3, 3-1).
Texas El Paso 71, Utah 60--Mark McCall scored 17 points to lead the Miners in a WAC game at Salt Lake City.
UTEP (9-6, 2-2) overcame a 15-9 deficit with a 25-6 run over a 10:30 span in the first half.