No. 1 Connecticut, No. 7 Syracuse Tumble

From Associated Press

The Big East is off to a rough start.

Conference powerhouses Connecticut, ranked No. 1, and defending national champion Syracuse, ranked No. 7, were topped on Wednesday night.

Georgia Tech took advantage of an ailing Emeka Okafor to score inside and defeated Connecticut, 77-61, in the semifinals of the Preseason National Invitation Tournament in New York.

In Syracuse, N.Y., Brendan Plavich set a Carrier Dome record with 10 three-point baskets and Charlotte held off a rally for a 96-92 victory.

Okafor, the leading vote-getter on the preseason All-America team, played despite back spasms. He was clearly hurting, often running gingerly from one end of the court to the other.

He finished with 13 points on two-of-10 shooting with 13 rebounds and six blocks after averaging 19 points, 12.3 rebounds and 4.3 blocks in the first three games.

With Okafor struggling, Georgia Tech attacked inside as Isma'il Muhammad and B.J. Elder took turns scoring in bunches. Each finished with 22 points.

The Huskies fell to 3-1 as Georgia Tech (4-0) advanced to Friday's championship game against Texas Tech.

Syracuse was 17-0 at home last season, but Charlotte shot 52.5% from the field and outrebounded Syracuse, 43-37.

Plavich finished with 31 points, 22 of which came in the first half as the 49ers (2-1) charged to a 50-29 victory.

After Charlotte built an 84-69 lead, Syracuse (0-1) rallied behind Gerry McNamara, who had 34 points. McNamara's three-point basket with 17 seconds left made it 93-90. But Eddie Basden made two free throws with 16 seconds left to give the 49ers a 95-90 lead.

Texas Tech 65, Utah 54 -- Andre Emmitt scored 23 points as the Red Raiders (4-0) advanced to the championship game of the Preseason NIT. Richard Chaney topped the Utes (3-1) with 17 points.

No. 12 Illinois 93, Mercer 61 -- Roger Powell had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Illini (2-0) at Champaign, Ill. Mercer is 1-3.

No. 22 Pittsburgh 75, Robert Morris 61 -- Carl Krauser scored 21 points at Pittsburgh to lead the Panthers (3-0) to their 24th consecutive home victory. Robert Morris is 0-2.

No. 24 Oklahoma State 82, Colorado State 49 -- John Lucas scored 17 points and the Cowboys (2-0) forced 31 turnovers to rout the Rams (1-1) at Tulsa, Okla.


Ramod Marshall, Sean Finn and Keith Waleskowski combined for all but 20 of the Dayton's points as the Flyers (4-0) won the Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii, with an 82-72 victory over Hawaii (2-2).... In other games at Maui, San Diego State (3-1) took third place with a 75-67 victory over host Chaminade, Ohio State (2-2) took fifth with a 67-66 victory over Villanova (3-2) and Santa Clara (1-2) took seventh with a 76-62 victory over Central Michigan (0-3).... David Harrison had 22 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots as Colorado (2-1) was a 73-62 winner at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (1-1).... Amit Tamir's basket with 5.8 seconds left lifted California (1-1) to a 47-46 victory over Brigham Young (1-1) at Berkeley.


Lindsay Bowen scored 26 points and backcourt partner Kristin Haynie had 23 at East Lansing, Mich., to lead Michigan State (3-0) to a 92-63 victory over No. 17 Notre Dame (2-2).

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