Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim thought he lost his first game of the season. And so did everybody else at Carolina Coliseum last night.
"That's when senior leadership helps out. We knew we had to make big shots and we made them," said Ryan Blackwell, who scored six of his 15 points in overtime as the No. 7 Orangemen remained the nation's only undefeated Division I team with a 77-74 victory over South Carolina.
"It was the only time in my life I didn't know what the score was," said Boeheim, who walked toward South Carolina's bench to shake hands with Gamecocks Coach Eddie Fogler when the horn sounded.
His team got him straight about the overtime, then straightened up from their poor shooting--the Orangemen (13-0) were 23 of 55--to win their third straight road game and move just two games away from their best start ever, 15-0 in 1986-87.
Jason Hart, who was just 3 of 9 from the field, followed Blackwell's three-pointer with his own to make it 59-57. Thomas, who was 8 of 9 for 19 points and had five blocks, was the reason Syracuse wasn't headed over with their coach to congratulate the Gamecocks (9-6).
While the rest of teammates were struggling, Thomas caught fire. His three straight baskets brought Syracuse back from a 40-34 deficit. Another with 2:47 left made it 53-all.
"You always think about whether you can come back," Thomas said. "But with the players we have, we know we always have a chance."
* ARIZONA 80, WASHINGTON ST. 75: Loren Woods scored a career-high 25 points and blocked a school-record 10 shots in Tucson.
The No. 2 Wildcats (14-2, 3-0 Pac-10) beat the Cougars for the 29th consecutive time, the longest current streak of any opponents in the same conference in major college basketball. But it was anything but easy for an Arizona team favored by 24 points.
Washington State (5-7, 0-3) led 35-34 at halftime, fell behind by 13 in the second half, then cut Arizona's lead to three on four occasions over the final 2:06.
The Wildcats, down to seven scholarship players after Richard Jefferson broke his right foot in the road victory at then-No. 1 Stanford last Saturday, pulled it out by going 12 for 12 at the foul line over the final 5:16.
* STANFORD 73, OREGON ST. 45: In Corvallis, Ore., Casey Jacobsen scored 16 points and David Moseley added 15 as the No. 3 Cardinal rolled. Stanford (13-1, 2-1 Pac-10) started slowly, but began to pull away with a 17-2 run over the final seven minutes of the first half. The Cardinal stepped up the intensity in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the second half with a 12-0 burst to take a 41-18 lead. Clifton Jones scored 10 points to lead the Beavers (8-5, 0-2), who shot 28 percent.
* OHIO ST. 53, WISCONSIN 51: Ken Johnson had 13 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots as the No. 17 Buckeyes won their first road game of the season.