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Sports briefs


Syracuse is No. 1

for first time in 20 years

Syracuse took quite a route to its first No. 1 ranking in 20 years.

The Orange was not in the preseason top 25 and, just days after it was released with it in "others receiving votes," the Orange was beaten by Division II Le Moyne in an exhibition game.

But the Orange was back in the poll - at No. 10, in fact - just two weeks into the season after impressive wins over California and North Carolina in the 2K Sports Classic.

The Orange (27-2), which hosts St. John's Tuesday night, hasn't been out of the top 10 since and Monday moved from fourth into the No. 1 spot, taking advantage of a weekend in which the top three teams lost.

West Virginia tops Georgetown

Da'Sean Butler scored 22 points in his final home game as No. 10 West Virginia beat No. 19 Georgetown, 81-68.

The Mountaineers (23-6, 12-5) clinched a double bye into the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament.

The free fall continues for Georgetown (19-9, 9-8), which was ranked No. 7 three weeks ago and has lost four of five.

Charles sets marks

Tina Charles had 18 points and eight rebounds to become top-ranked Connecticut's career leader in both categories in a 76-51 win over host No. 6 Notre Dame, leaving the Huskies one shy of tying their NCAA women's record for consecutive victories.

Connecticut (30-0, 16-0), which reached 30 wins for the fifth straight season, can match the record of 70 consecutive wins set by the Huskies from 2001-03 in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals Sunday.

NBANelson leads Magic

Jameer Nelson had 22 points and 10 assists as the visiting Orlando Magic beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 126-105. All five starters scored at least 14 points for the Magic.

Spurs waive Finley

The San Antonio Spurs have waived veteran forward Michael Finley after nearly five seasons. The Spurs said that Finley had asked to be released from his contract, which was in its final year.


Bears part ways with Pace

The Chicago Bears have waived former All-Pro tackle Orlando Pace after one season in which he was limited to 11 games because of injuries.

Chicago signed Pace last season as a free agent to help patch up a faulty offensive line, but the fading star didn't provide much help. - AP

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