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Syracuse routs Villanova, could rise to No. 1

SYRACUSE - Rick Jackson scored 19 points and Arinze Onuaku 17 as No. 4 Syracuse routed No. 7 Villanova, 95-77, last night before an NCAA on-campus record crowd of 34,616.

Syracuse (27-2, 14-2 Big East) improved to 7-0 against ranked teams and clinched at least a tie for the Big East regular-season title. The Orange also own the tiebreaker because of the victory over the Wildcats (23-5, 12-4), who have lost three of their past four.

On a day when the top two teams in the nation - Kansas and Kentucky - both lost, Syracuse could move to No. 1 for the first time since 1989-90. It was 11th in the final AP poll of the 2002-03 season before winning the national championship.

Syracuse increased its 10-point halftime lead to 72-56 as the 6-9, 260-pound Onuaku converted consecutive follows and the 6-9 Jackson slammed home a feed from Andy Rautins.

Onuaku made the play of the night when he converted a bank shot off the glass after getting knocked to the floor and completed the three-point play for a 16-point lead with 8:54 left.

Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine each scored 16 points off the bench for Syracuse. Wes Johnson had 14 and Andy Rautins added 12 points and eight assists. Scottie Reynolds led Villanova with 16 points.

- AP

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