The simplest way for N.C. State to move from outside the NCAA tournament bubble and into the field was with a win on Saturday on the road against the No. 1 team in the country.
The Wolfpack almost did just that, but Syracuse pulled out an ACC win in the final seconds for the second straight game.
C.J. Fair's layup gave the top-ranked Orange a 56-55 win over the upstart Wolfpack after a wild finish.
Syracuse (25-0, 12-0 ACC) looked like it was going to lose after a Tyler Ennis offensive foul with 14.9 seconds left.
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N.C. State (16-9, 6-6) got the ball to T.J. Warren on a breakaway, and he was fouled by Trevor Cooney on a layup attempt. Referee Mike Stuart ruled the foul came before the shot, so instead of having a 57-54 lead and a free throw, N.C. State got the ball under the basket. Rakeem Christmas stole the ball on the inbounds play and sprung Fair for the game-winning layup with 6.7 seconds left.
No 10 Cincinnati 73, Houston 62: Sean Kilpatrick scored 28 points, 19 in the second half, and Justin Jackson overcame foul problems to add 13 points, all in the second half, as the Bearcats shook off Houston on Saturday at home.
Jackson and Kilpatrick teamed up to score 32 of Cincinnati's 44 points in the second half to keep the Bearcats in the game until they could pull away.
"We're seniors," said Jackson, who was limited to 20 minutes by his foul problems. "This is our team. We know what we need to do to help the team win. In the last five or six minutes, we know we need to step it up."
Arkansas 81, LSU 70: Alandise Harris' thundering one-handed dunk ignited a furious late rally that made the Razorbacks of old feel right at home in a win over LSU.
Sparked by Harris' late flush over Tigers star Johnny O'Bryant, as well as 16 second-half points from Coty Clarke, Arkansas (16-9, 5-7 Southeastern Conference) kept its faint NCAA tournament hopes alive with the much-needed win over the Tigers.
It did so in front of star-studded audience, one that included former President Bill Clinton and coaching greats Eddie Sutton and Nolan Richardson.
Defiance 76, Transylvania 58: The Pioneers were unable to keep up with a tough Defiance College squad Satuday at the Beck Center.
Freshman Garret Dorfman came off the bench to lead all scorers with 18 points. Dorfman went 6-for-9 from the field and 3-for-4 from behind the arc.
EKU 86, Jacksonville States 65: Eastern Kentucky shot 65 percent and limited Jacksonville State to 42 percent shooting in a road victory on Saturday.
The Colonels (18-9, 8-5 OVC) snapped a two-game losing streak. With its 18th win, Eastern has recorded the winningest two-year stretch in program history. The previous mark of 42 was set in 1945-46 and 1946-47.
Tarius Johnson had a career-high 19 points to lead Eastern.
Darion Rackley scored 19 points for the Gamecocks (10-18, 4-9 OVC).
EKU committed only two fewer turnovers but outscored JSU 22-11 off turnovers.
EKU has won eight straight games against Jacksonville State.
No. 2 Pikeville 105, No. 19 Georgetown 95: Georgetown Bruce Reed set up camp at the free-throw line, hitting 19-of-26 attempts, to finish with a career-high 37 points and help Pikeville beat Georgetown Saturday at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
The matchup was deemed the NAIA Men's Basketball National Game of the Week. Although UPIKE held a double-digit lead the majority of the game, the last three minutes lived up to the hype.
Leading 84-68 after a Chris Cantino free throw, the Bears were outscored 22-6 over the next five minutes to see the game tied at 90 with 2:20 left. UPIKE led 95-92 after a layup from Keala King, then went on to outscore the Tigers 10-3 in the final minute to avenge an earlier loss in Georgetown.
Dominique Hagans led Georgetown (18-7, 9-5 MSC) with 29 points and 11 rebounds.
Transylvania 80, Defiance 63: The Pioneers struggled early but controlled the rest of the game as they cruised to an 80-63 win over Defiance College on Senior Day Saturday at the Beck Center.
In their first game in the top 25 of the USA Today Sports Division III Coaches' Poll, the Pioneers had to do without their lone senior, Madison Webb, who was forced to leave with 6:44 left in the first half due to injury. Though she did return shortly after, she missed the rest of the contest. Webb finished with two points and one block.
However, the two scoring leaders in the Heartland Conference turned in big days for the Pioneers.
Coming off her Player of the Week honors, sophomore Katelyn Smith stepped up to led all scorers with 29 points, while junior Nicole Coffman put up 22 points. Smith was 4-for-6 from behind the arc and grabbed seven rebounds in the win, while Coffman recorded two steals and was 8-for-9 from the charity stripe. Freshman Jordin Fender also had a solid performance for the Pioneers, finishing with 10 points, four assists and three steals.
Jacksonville State 79, EKU 62: Sophomore Shelly Harper scored a career-high 23 points, but it was not enough as the Eastern Kentucky University women's basketball team fell at Ohio Valley Conference East rival Jacksonville State, 79-62, on Saturday afternoon at Pete Mathews Coliseum.
With the loss, EKU dropped to 13-9 (7-4 OVC) on the year. JSU improved to 11-15 (7-6 OVC).
Harper scored 19 of her 23 points in the second half. She also finished with a team-high eight rebounds. Senior Marie Carpenter scored 15 points, while freshman Michaela Hunter came off the bench to contribute 12 points and four rebounds.
The Lady Colonels connected on only one three-pointer in the game (1-of-14) and were outrebounded (41-38) for only the second time in their last eight contests.
Pikeville 77, Georgetown 73: Behind 23 points from Cheyenne Madden and 22 from Callisha Johnson, the Pikeville women's basketball team knocked off visiting Georgetown Saturday.
It's the second win over a ranked opponent this season for the Bears, and the highest-ranked team it's beaten since winning at Georgetown last season when it was No. 13 in the NAIA Coaches' Poll.
Khalilah Quigley joined Madden and Johnson in double figures with 11 points and eight rebounds. Georgetown was led by Lizza Jonas with 22 points and Jessica Foster posted 10 points and 12 rebounds.