Ivory Latta had 21 points, and No. 7 North Carolina dealt Connecticut its worst home loss in the Geno Auriemma era, beating the eighth-ranked Huskies, 77-54, last night in Hartford, Conn.

When Latta left the game with 2 minutes 22 seconds remaining, the speedy guard received a round of applause from U-Conn. fans.

The loss was the earliest home setback for the Huskies (6-1) in 15 years. Before last night, the worst home loss in Auriemma's 21 years at U-Conn. was a 20-point defeat to Villanova in 1986.

Nearly 14,000 turned out to watch the women's edition of the Jimmy V Classic, an event to honor Jim Valvano, the late North Carolina State coach. The game was a rematch of last year's Jimmy V classic in Raleigh, which was won by the Heels, 71-65.

North Carolina (8-0) gave the U-Conn. fans little to cheer as its relentless defense held the Huskies to 35 percent shooting. The Tar Heels also scored 23 points off U-Conn. turnovers.

La'Tangela Atkinson finished with 18 points for North Carolina, and Camille Little added 17. Atkinson and Little combined for 17 rebounds and the Tar Heels outrebounded UConn 42-33.

Ann Strother finished with 13 points and was the only UConn player to reach double digits.

North Carolina silenced the crowd with an early 21-1 run. U-Conn. went nearly 11 minutes without a field goal and nine minutes without a point. By the time Christina DeWitt's layup ended the run, the Tar Heels' lead was 28-9 with less than 8 minutes left in the half.

* OKLAHOMA 83, UCLA 78: Courtney Paris scored 24 points and set an Oklahoma freshman record with 22 rebounds, leading the No. 16 Sooners to a win over No. 22 UCLA in Norman, Okla.

Louisville Men Rally to Win

Taquan Dean scored 20 of his season-high 30 points in the second half and host No. 5 Louisville rallied from a 10-point deficit to beat Richmond, 53-45, at the Colonial Classic in Louisville, Ky.

Louisville (4-0) avoided the upset behind Dean and a defense that held the Spiders (4-3) to 19 points and seven field goals over the final 20 minutes.

After the Spiders took a 32-22 lead with just over 15 minutes remaining, Dean got rolling. He scored 11 of Louisville's next 12 points to pull the Cardinals within 36-34. Minutes later he banked in a three-pointer to give them their first lead with 7:20 to go.

Kevin Steenberge led Richmond with 15 points and five blocks but scored just one basket in the second half. Richmond's methodical attack frustrated the Cardinals. The Spiders led by nine points in the first half, running their Princeton offense to perfection.

Louisville shot 33 percent in the first half and went long stretches without a field goal. Harassed and harried by the Spiders, Dean had his shot blocked three times and missed 10 of 14 shots.

* TEXAS 85, RICE 58: The second-ranked Longhorns chalked up another easy win and now can focus on their weekend showdown with No. 1 Duke.

Brad Buckman had 17 points and 11 rebounds and LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 10 boards as the Longhorns won at the Toyota Center in Houston.

Daniel Gibson, Houston's all-time prep scorer at Jones High School, had 15 points, four rebounds and three assists for the Longhorns (8-0), who meet the Blue Devils at East Rutherford, N.J. on Saturday.

Texas, off to its best start since the 1981-82 team won its first 14 games, has averaged a 32-point victory margin in its last four victories.

The bigger, faster Longhorns got little more than a light workout from the Owls (3-4), who were coming off a 96-94 triple-overtime win against Utah.

* ILLINOIS 75, ARKANSAS-LITTLE ROCK 49: Freshman reserve Jamar Smith hit six three-pointers and had 23 points to lift No. 11 Illinois at home.

Smith was 8 of 10 from the field and had three assists and two steals. He scored seven points and had an assist during a 20-0 second-half run that broke the game open.

Illinois (8-0) had just seen Arkansas-Little Rock (3-3) run off seven straight points to cut its deficit to 41-39. After Dee Brown hit a free throw and Brian Randle a layup, Smith got a pass from Brown and hit a three that brought the crowd to its feet.

The next time down the floor, Smith sent an alley-oop pass that Randle dunked to put the Illini up 49-39. He scored five more points before leaving to a standing ovation with 1:48 left and Illinois on its way to its 25th straight win at the Assembly Hall.

Connecticut's Willnett Crockett, left, battles North Carolina's Erlana Larkins, right, and Rashanda McCants, center, for a rebound. UNC beat U-Conn., 77-54.