Roy Williams traveled a long way to get outfoxed by an old golfing buddy.

Travis Niesen scored 26 points and Kyle Bailey made three second-half three-pointers as Santa Clara spoiled No. 4 North Carolina's season opener, 77-66, last night at the Pete Newell Challenge in Oakland, Calif.

The cold-shooting Tar Heels lost their opener for only the fifth time since 1930 and will certainly lose their highest preseason ranking in seven years. And Williams blamed himself for not having his team better prepared, but also gave credit to his longtime friend, Santa Clara Coach Dick Davey.

"I've got to do a heck of a lot better job and do the little things we've talked about all along," Williams said. "We are extremely disappointed. Ticked off is what I am, but I'm ticked off at myself -- not at the kids."

* KANSAS 68, VERMONT 61: Wayne Simien had 25 points and 14 rebounds, and the No. 1 Jayhawks pulled away in the final two minutes to avoid a stunning upset.

Kansas, which hasn't started a season ranked No. 1 since 1956-57, trailed the underdog Catamounts 58-54 after Taylor Coppenrath hit a short jumper with 4 minutes 24 seconds left.

Christian Moody, a walk-on starter, made two free throws to give Kansas a 61-59 lead with 2:49 left and start a 9-2 run that extinguished Vermont's bid for what would have been one of the great upsets in school history.

"Who scheduled that one?" said Simien with a laugh. "The first game is supposed to ease into the season, man. But we knew they were going to come out and play us tough."

* GEORGIA TECH 74, ALABAMA STATE 37: The third-ranked Yellow Jackets were up 2-0 before the tip-off, and the way they were playing defense, it appeared that might be enough. Jarrett Jack scored 20 points and No. 3 Georgia Tech held Alabama State scoreless for more than nine minutes in Atlanta.

Georgia Tech (1-0) led 2-0 before the clock started running. Tyrece Legette was given a technical for dunking during the pregame warmups, and Jack hit two free throws.

Then, it was time for the tip-off. While the Yellow Jackets struggled offensively, the defensive intensity lasted for 40 minutes. It was their fewest points allowed since an 81-37 victory over Wofford in 1977.

"We've shown we can be a great -- not good, a great -- defensive team," Coach Paul Hewitt said.

Lacking the size or quickness to withstand the onslaught, Alabama State (0-1) never stood a chance. The Hornets made just 13 of 51 shots (26 percent) and were out-rebounded 51-33.

* SYRACUSE 77, MEMPHIS 62: Hakim Warrick had 25 points, and Gerry McNamara added 21 to lead the No. 5 Orange in the championship game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in New York.

Warrick, a senior forward, and McNamara, a junior guard, were the key players as Syracuse (4-0) closed the game with a 26-11 run over the final eight minutes.

* ILLINOIS 87, DELAWARE STATE 67: Dee Brown scored 17 points and the No. 6 Fighting Illini opened the season with a victory at home.

Brown hit 5 of 6 shots from the field -- 4 of 5 from three-point range -- and was 3 for 3 from the free throw line. He scored five straight points to key an 11-0 first-half run and had a six-point outburst that ended a Delaware State rally early in the second half.

* OKLAHOMA STATE 91, NORTHWESTERN STATE 53: John Lucas III scored 24 points and Joey Graham added 18 to lead the seventh-ranked Cowboys, at home, in the season opener for both teams.

* MISSISSIPPI STATE 67, SAINT MARY'S (CALIF.) 54: Lawrence Roberts, playing in his second game of the season, scored 20 points to lead the No. 12 Bulldogs in the third-place game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in New York.

* MICHIGAN STATE 104, FLORIDA A&M 72: In East Lansing, Mich., Kelvin Torbert scored 21 points and helped the 13th-ranked Spartans in the season opener for both teams.

* TEXAS 95, TEXAS STATE 63: P.J. Tucker scored 18 points to lead the 16th-ranked Longhorns to a season-opening win at home.

* ALABAMA 97, WESTERN CAROLINA 66: In Tuscaloosa, Ala., Kennedy Winston scored 24 points for the No. 18 Crimson Tide.

Alabama (1-0) was never threatened after the first five minutes.

* NOTRE DAME 66, HARVARD 59: Chris Quinn scored 20 points and Chris Thomas added 17 as the 20th-ranked Fighting Irish won at home.

* WASHINGTON 89, SEATTLE PACIFIC 71: Brandon Roy scored 23 points and Nate Robinson added 22 for the No. 22 Huskies in the season opener for both teams.

* FLORIDA 81, JACKSONVILLE 59: Anthony Roberson scored 19 points and David Lee added 15 points and 10 rebounds as the No. 23 Gators cruised to a road victory.

* GONZAGA 98, PORTLAND STATE 80: Ronny Turiaf scored a career-high 33 points and the host Bulldogs shot 65 percent.