Texas knew life at the top would be tough, and the Longhorns’ first week at No. 1 was every bit as hard as they expected.
Damion James scored 26 points, including 7 in overtime, and Texas rallied for a rugged 72-67 win over Texas A&M last night in Austin. James made a 3-pointer with one minute left in overtime and blocked a 3-point attempt by Texas A&M’s B.J. Holmes that would have tied the game in the final seconds.
J’Covan Brown made two free throws with three seconds left to seal the win for the Longhorns (17-0, 3-0 Big 12). Brown finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Gary Johnson added 18 points and 10 boards.
Donald Sloan scored 21 points for the Aggies (12-5, 1-2), who didn’t trail in the game until James’s first basket of overtime.
“We fought back,’’ James said. “Once we put it in overtime, we felt like it was our game.’’
James did everything Texas needed in the second half and the extra period, scoring 23 points. The Big 12’s career rebounding leader also grabbed a game-high 12 boards.
James pulled Texas within 44-37 with a 3-pointer and followed it with a 3-point play after a steal. Brown followed his own miss for a layup and James made two free throws. Another jump shot by James and his soaring dunk pulled Texas to 48-46.
With the game tied at 60, Texas A&M tried to set up for the winning shot but Sloan was stripped of the ball. Avery Bradley sprinted to the basket but his layup skirted around the rim and Texas’s Alexis Wangmene and James missed tip-in chances at the buzzer.
Texas A&M led, 67-66, on David Loubeau’s dunk with 1:18 to play before James made his 3-pointer. After a turnover by Loubeau, Dogus Balbay made one of two free throws, his only point of the game, to put Texas up, 70-67, with 30 seconds left.
Syracuse 72, West Virginia 71 - Brandon Triche scored 16 points and the fifth-ranked Orange nearly blew a 10-point lead in the final 1:18 before outlasting the No. 10 Mountaineers in the first matchup of top-10 teams in Morgantown, W.Va., in 50 years.
West Virginia (13-3, 4-2 Big East) stormed back after Wes Johnson’s free throw put the Orange ahead, 65-55. Darryl Bryant hit two 3-pointers in the final 33 seconds, including one with three seconds left to make it 72-71. Kris Joseph missed two free throws with 2.5 seconds to play, but Syracuse (17-1, 4-1) survived when Da’Sean Butler couldn’t get off a quality shot as time ran out.
Temple 76, UMass 64 - The Minutemen were unable to contain Ryan Brooks, who had seven 3-pointers among his 29 points and paced the 19th-ranked Owls (15-3, 3-0 Atlantic 10) to victory in Philadelphia.
UMass (7-10, 1-3) fell behind, 30-13, and cut their deficit to 11 by the break. But Brooks opened the second half with three 3-pointers, ballooning the lead back to 20. Anthony Gurley led UMass with 20 points.
Kentucky 72, Auburn 67 - John Wall shook off an uncharacteristically sloppy game by sinking two free throws with 8.9 seconds left, clinching a road win for the No. 2 Wildcats (18-0, 3-0 SEC). Wall finished with just 13 points and four assists to go with seven turnovers.
After pulling Auburn (9-9, 0-3) within 70-67 with a pair of free throws, DeWayne Reed missed a tying 3-point attempt, leading to Wall’s clutch foul shots. The win was coach John Calipari’s 52d straight in a regular-season conference game at Memphis and Kentucky, breaking Adolph Rupp’s NCAA record.
Kansas 89, Texas Tech 63 - Marcus Morris had 20 points, Xavier Henry and Cole Aldrich added 14 apiece, and the No. 3 Jayhawks (16-1, 2-0 Big 12) overcame a slow start to beat the Red Raiders for their 52d straight win at home, best in the nation.
Texas Tech (12-5, 0-3) trailed by 24 after an abysmal first half and never recovered. Leading scorer Mike Singletary (15.4) went scoreless.
Northwestern 72, Purdue 64 - The No. 6 Boilermakers (14-3, 2-3 Big Ten) dropped their third straight as the Wildcats beat a ranked opponent at home for the first time in four tries this season.
Michael Thompson scored 20 points for Northwestern (13-4, 2-3) and Drew Crawford had a key 3-pointer and a 3-point play in the final 2:04 to help put away Purdue, which hadn’t lost three in a row since 2006.
Michigan St. 73, Illinois 63 - In a battle for first place in the Big Ten, Kalin Lucas scored 20 points and led a second-half charge by the seventh-ranked Spartans (15-3, 5-0) in East Lansing, Mich.
Tennessee 71, Mississippi 69 - Wayne Chism knocked down six consecutive free throws in overtime and finished with 26 points to carry the ninth-ranked Volunteers (14-2, 2-0 SEC) to a home victory over the No. 21 Rebels (13-4, 1-2). Chism also had 12 rebounds.
Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said he decided to reinstate suspended guards Melvin Goins and Cameron Tatum and both will rejoin the team today. The players were among four people arrested Jan. 1 on misdemeanor gun, drug, and alcohol charges during a traffic stop in Knoxville.
Georgia Tech 73, N. Carolina 71 - Iman Shumpert racked up a career-best 30 points and Zachery Peacock hit a short, go-ahead jumper with 25.7 seconds left, enabling the No. 20 Yellow Jackets (13-4, 2-2 ACC) to leave Chapel Hill, N.C., with a win after the 12th-ranked Tar Heels (12-6, 1-2) wiped out a 20-point deficit.
After Peacock’s basket, Larry Drew missed a layup and Georgia Tech burned about 10 seconds before the Tar Heels were able to foul. D’Andre Bell made one of two free throws with 3.4 seconds left, setting up Will Graves’s final miss from near midcourt.
Ohio St. 60, Wisconsin 51 - With Evan Turner (15 points) weathering foul trouble, David Lighty took over by scoring 18 points and leading the host Buckeyes (13-5, 3-3 Big Ten) past the No. 13 Badgers (14-4, 4-2).
Kansas St. 87, Colorado 81 - Jacob Pullen scored 18 points, Denis Clemente had 15, and the No. 13 Wildcats (15-2, 2-1 Big 12) sent the Buffaloes (10-7, 1-2) to their first home loss in 10 games this season.
Pittsburgh 82, Louisville 77 - The No. 16 Panthers (15-2, 5-0 Big East) staged a frantic rally in the final minute of regulation to force overtime, then blew past the visiting Cardinals (12-6, 3-2) behind Nasir Robinson’s career-high 26 points.
Gonzaga 68, San Diego 50 - Elias Harris had 20 points, Steven Gray supplied 17, and the No. 17 Bulldogs (14-3, 3-0 West Coast) romped in San Diego.
BYU 91, Colorado St. 47 - The 18th-ranked Cougars matched the best start in school history at 18-1 (3-0 Mountain West), rolling over the visiting Rams as Jimmer Fredette netted 21 points.
Baylor 83, Oklahoma St. 70 - LaceDarius Dunn finished with 25 points to lead the No. 22 Bears (14-2, 2-1 Big 12) to their 10th straight win at home.
Virginia 75, Miami 57 - The host Cavaliers (11-4, 3-0) continued their surprising start in ACC play by routing the No. 23 Hurricanes (15-3, 1-3). Sylven Landesberg had 18 points in Virginia’s seventh consecutive win.
Clemson 73, N.C. State 70 - Trevor Booker’s 20 points helped the No. 24 Tigers (15-3, 3-1 ACC) hold off the host Wolfpack (12-6, 1-3) after blowing most of a 21-point lead.
Florida St. 63, Virginia Tech 58 - Solomon Alabi and Deividas Dulkys scored 13 points apiece, and the No. 25 Seminoles (14-4, 2-2 ACC) repelled a late charge by the Hokies (13-3, 1-2) in Tallahassee, Fla.