Connecticut already owned one of the nation's best comebacks this season. The No. 6 Huskies couldn't pull off another one at North Carolina yesterday.
Rashad McCants scored 27 points, including the clinching free throws with 3.3 seconds left, and the Tar Heels upset the Huskies, 68-65, in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The ACC scoring leader was 7 for 11 from the field and 9 of 10 at the foul line as the Tar Heels improved to 11-5, beating their second top-10 team of the season a year after a program-worst 8-20 record.
"I have a lot of respect for the way their kids played," Connecticut Coach Jim Calhoun said of the young Tar Heels (11-5). "Their kids played hard. I watched a couple tapes of them, and I don't think they stayed with it as long. They stayed with it tonight when we came back at them. That's a credit to them."
The Huskies (11-2) are 2-2 in their last four since starting 9-0 against some weak competition.
Connecticut trailed Massachusetts by 25 earlier in the season and came back to win, and the Huskies dug themselves a 19-point hole on the road less than 10 minutes into this one.
However, a strong second half and a fast-break slam by Emeka Okafor gave Connecticut its first lead at 65-64 with 1 minute 16 seconds remaining.
Jawad Williams countered with the go-ahead basket on a 15-foot jumper 17 seconds later, and after a three-point miss by Ben Gordon, the Huskies didn't foul until just seconds left as McCants and Raymond Felton dribbled through the defense.
After McCants nailed two free throws, Gordon's 28-footer at the buzzer that would have tied it hit off the rim, and the crowd at the Smith Center stormed the floor.
* ARIZONA 87, UCLA 52: Salim Stoudamire scored 19 points, and the visiting No. 2 Wildcats completed their first sweep of the Los Angeles schools in 10 years.
The Wildcats (13-1, 6-0 Pacific-10) won their eighth in a row and remained atop the conference. They rallied to beat Southern California, 81-72, Thursday and then sent the Bruins to their largest loss at Pauley Pavilion, which opened in 1965.
The previous record was a 104-82 loss to California on Jan. 24, 1993, when Coach Steve Lavin was an assistant under Jim Harrick. UCLA's 52 points equaled its worst output against Arizona since a 53-52 loss in 1985.
UCLA (4-9, 2-3) lost its fourth straight and dropped to 2-7 at Pauley, its most losses at home in a season. The 1987-88 team, coached by Walt Hazzard, lost six games at Pauley.
* TEXAS 89, TEXAS A&M 61: T.J. Ford scored a career-high 25 points with an array of pull-up jumpers, layups and one thunderous dunk to lead the No. 4 Longhorns at home.
Brad Klotz added 15 points, and James Thomas had 16 rebounds for Texas (12-2, 3-0 Big 12), which has won seven in a row since losing at then-No. 1 Arizona on Dec. 15. The Longhorns have also won 27 of the last 30 in the series with in-state rival Texas A&M.
Bernard King led the Aggies (9-5, 1-2) with 16 points.
* FLORIDA 77, SOUTH CAROLINA 75: Matt Bonner scored 19 points, including a driving dunk with 35 seconds left, and the visiting No. 6 Gators won their 11th straight game.
Matt Walsh had 17 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, and Bonell Colas had a career high 16 points as a reserve for the Gators (15-2, 4-0 Southeastern Conference).
Tony Kitchings and Kerbrell Brown each had 22 points for South Carolina (7-7, 1-3), which lost its third straight.
* KENTUCKY 88, NOTRE DAME 73: The No. 16 Wildcats executed Coach Tubby Smith's game plan of containing point guard Chris Thomas to near perfection to beat the No. 10 Fighting Irish in Lexington, Ky.
Thomas, Notre Dame's assist leader and second-leading scorer, scored 14 points but committed nine turnovers in the loss.
"We frustrated him. That was the goal," Smith said.
Kentucky improved to 13-3. Notre Dame is 14-3.
* PITTSBURGH 73, SYRACUSE 60: Julius Page scored 25 points, Chevy Troutman came off the bench to add 23, and the No. 3 Panthers relied on their inside scoring at home against the No. 25 Orangemen.
Pittsburgh, starting 14-1 for the second straight season, improved to 4-0 for the first time in 21 Big East seasons and ended Syracuse's 11-game winning streak. Pittsburgh beat the Orangemen (11-2, 2-1) for the fourth straight time.
* OKLAHOMA 70, IOWA STATE 60: Bouncing back from his worst game of the season, Hollis Price made nine three-pointers and scored 31 points to lead the No. 5 Sooners on the road.
In its first game since losing at Oklahoma State, 48-46, on a disputed shot, Oklahoma (11-3, 2-1 Big 12) made sure it wasn't put in that situation again.
The Sooners opened a 12-point lead in the first half and turned back Iowa State (10-4, 0-3) when the Cyclones made a second-half run.
* INDIANA 74, ILLINOIS 66: Jeff Newton scored a career-high 28 points and had eight rebounds to lead the No. 18 Hoosiers against the No. 8 Illini in Bloomington, Ind.
Nearly one year after the Hoosiers set a Big Ten record by making 17 three-pointers against the Illini, Indiana (13-3, 3-1) used the opposite approach -- repeatedly going inside against the Illini's foul-prone middle -- and made it work.
Brian Cook, Illinois's leading scorer, finished with 15 points, 10 fewer than his average, before fouling out with 4:59 to go.
* AUBURN 77, ALABAMA 68: Reserve Brandon Robinson had 13 points and seven rebounds to lead the surprising Tigers, at home, past the No. 9 Crimson Tide.
The Crimson Tide (12-3, 2-3 SEC) has lost three of its last five games after being ranked No. 1 earlier this season. Auburn is 15-2, 4-0.
"This was just a wonderful win. We added a new dimension to this season and kept up what we have been doing the last several games," Tigers Coach Cliff Ellis said.
* KANSAS 81, KANSAS STATE 64: Kirk Hinrich scored 26 points, and the No. 12 Jayhawks extended their winning streak over the visiting Wildcats to 25 games.
Hinrich played all but the last 2:52 for the Jayhawks (13-3, 3-0 Big 12), who have won 10 straight.
* OKLAHOMA ST. 76, MISSOURI 56: Victor Williams scored a season-high 24 points, and the No. 24 Cowboys put on another stifling defensive performance to win their 12th straight at the expense of the 11th-ranked Tigers in Stillwater, Okla.
* CREIGHTON 85, S. ILLINOIS 76: Kyle Korver had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and the No. 13 Bluejays (15-1, 6-0) overcame a 13-point deficit in Omaha.
* LOUISVILLE 87, TCU 74: In Louisville, Marvin Stone had 22 points and eight rebounds, and the No. 15 Cardinals won their 11th straight game.
* MARQUETTE 67, CHARLOTTE 64: Dwyane Wade scored 20 points, and the No. 21 Golden Eagles won their first game in Charlotte.
* MISSISSIPPI 67, LSU 57: Aaron Harper scored 10 of his 16 points in the final eight minutes to lead the visiting Rebels (10-4, 1-2 SEC) past the No. 23 Tigers.
* GEORGIA 81, ARKANSAS 64: Ezra Williams scored 19 points, and the No. 20 Bulldogs (10-4, 2-1 SEC) triumphed for the first time in six games in Fayetteville, Ark.
* OREGON 79, OREGON STATE 68: Luke Ridnour and Luke Jackson combined on a second-half surge for the No. 22 Ducks (12-4, 2-3 Pac-10) in Eugene, Ore.