For one night, free throw shooting in the Big East turned upside down.
No. 17 Syracuse, last in the 16-team league in that stat at 65.5 percent, made the free throws that counted Monday night in a 69-64 victory over No. 15 Villanova, the conference’s best team at 76.8 percent.
Scoop Jardine and Rick Jackson — a couple of Philly kids — combined for 38 points and freshman Dion Waiters, another Philadelphia product, and Jackson made the final free throws that sealed the win.
“We’ve been pretty good at the end of games,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “We’ve been pretty good when we need them and tonight we needed them.”
Jardine had 20 points and six assists for the Orange (23-6 overall, 10-6 Big East), while Jackson had 18 points, five rebounds and four blocks.
The win was the sixth this season over a ranked team for Syracuse, tying it with No. 5 Texas for the most in the nation. The teams swapped road wins, with Villanova winning at Syracuse, 83-72, on Jan. 22.
“After they beat us like that with all those 3s (11), we got them off their spots and our guards did a great job of staying in front of them,” Jackson said.
Corey Stokes returned from missing three games because of a turf toe injury to lead the Wildcats (21-7, 9-6) with 24 points, including matching his season high with five 3-pointers.
“I felt great,” Stokes said. “It’s always good to be back on the floor with your teammates. We just have to work on our defense and get better.”
It was at the free-throw line where the teams traded places.
Villanova was 17-for-27 at the line. Stokes, third in the nation at 93.5 percent, went 5-for-8.
Syracuse went 13-for-17 from the line, a performance topped off by Waiters making two with 14.1 seconds remaining for a 67-64 lead, and Jackson making two — the second a bank shot — with 4.6 seconds to go for the final margin.
“I had to make up for the one I missed,” Waiters said of the missed front end of a 1-and-1 with 37 seconds to go and the Orange up by three. “I got myself together and said ‘Come on, kid, these are the shots you want to take. Get to the line and knock them down.’ ”
Corey Fisher, coming off a career-high 34 points in Villanova’s overtime win at DePaul on Saturday, finished with eight points on 3-for-16 shooting. He missed all eight of his 3-point attempts.
At No. 3 Kansas 92, Oklahoma State 65: Marcus Morris had 27 points and the Jayhawks (26-2, 11-2 Big 12) brushed off the suspension of point guard Tyshawn Taylor, romping past the Cowboys (16-11, 4-9).
Kansas hit eight of its first 10 shots and pulled away from Oklahoma State with an 18-2 spree that led to a 52-28 halftime bulge.
Marshall Moses had 27 points for Oklahoma State, 13 above his season average. He scored 16 in the first half, but the Cowboys never got closer than 19 after halftime.
Taylor, a 6-foot-3 junior who has struggled at times to replace Sherron Collins at the point, was suspended indefinitely earlier Monday for violating unspecified team rules.
Sophomore Elijah Johnson, who started in his place and scored 15 points, was 4-for-4 from behind the 3-point arc.
TOP 25 WOMEN
At No. 4 Tennessee 77, No. 22 Georgia 44: Meighan Simmons scored 14 points and the Lady Volunteers (26-2, 14-0 SEC) cruised to their 16th Southeastern Conference regular season title with a win over the Bulldogs (20-7, 10-4). Tennessee has won its SEC games by an average of 24.2 points.
At North Carolina State 88, No. 13 North Carolina 72: Amber White scored 23 points to lead the Wolfpack (12-15, 3-9 Atlantic Coast Conference) to an upset victory over the Tar Heels (22-5, 8-4), who are on a two-game skid.
Bonae Holston added 13 points and 16 rebounds for North Carolina State.
At No. 12 Miami 74, Wake Forest 46: Shenise Johnson had 19 points to fuel the Hurricanes (24-3, 10-2 ACC) against the Demon Deacons (12-16, 3-9).
No. 21 Marist 79, at St. Peter’s 38: Erica Allenspach had 13 points and a career-high seven steals to lead the Red Foxes (25-2, 16-0 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference), who have the longest current women’s basketball winning streak at 21 games, over the Peacocks (3-24, 3-13).
At No. 25 Iowa State 66, Texas 57 (OT): Chelsea Poppens had a career-high 24 points and 11 rebounds to help the Cyclones (19-8, 7-6 Big 12) hold off the Longhorns (17-10, 6-7) in overtime.
Yvonne Anderson had 14 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to lead Texas.
Duke and Connecticut are back at No. 1.
The UConn women received 37 of the 40 first-places votes in the weekly AP poll after No. 1 Baylor was upset Saturday at Texas Tech.
Second-ranked Stanford got the other three votes for first place.
The Huskies spent a record 51 straight weeks at No. 1 before their loss to the Cardinal on Dec. 30.
The Blue Devils (25-2) were the men left standing after the top four teams in last week’s AP poll lost.
Duke returns to the top for the first time in just over a month.
Duke’s move from sixth was the biggest jump since Kansas went from sixth to No. 1 in November 2003, the last time the top four all lost in the same week.
The Blue Devils received 35 of the 65 first-place votes. In a sign of this season’s parity, five other teams received No. 1 votes.
Ohio State stayed No. 2 with 10 first-place votes, while Kansas dropped from No. 1 to third with five first-place votes. Pittsburgh, No. 1 on 12 ballots, stayed fourth and Texas, which got one first-place vote, fell two spots to fifth.
Meanwhile, St. John’s returned to the Top 25 for the first time in over a decade on a the heels of its fourth victory this season over a top-10 team.