NCAA

Syracuse plows through WVU and snow, 38-14

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Syracuse plows through WVU and snow, 38-14

NEW YORK (AP) Prince-Tyson Gulley ran for 217 yards and had three touchdowns, Syracuse scored twice on safeties and the Orange bid a snow-covered farewell to the Big East with a 38-14 victory over West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl on Saturday.

Syracuse (8-5) will enter the Atlantic Coast Conference on a roll after finishing this season with six wins in its last seven games, capped by its second postseason victory at Yankee Stadium in the last three years.

In a bowl game played in a baseball stadium with weather better suited for a playoff game in Green Bay, the team that plays in a dome ended up being better equipped to handle the elements.

The Orange leaned on their running game to plow through former Big East rival West Virginia (7-6) and the snow. Jerome Smith added 158 yards rushing.

Geno Smith connected with Stedman Bailey for two touchdown passes, but the Mountaineers' quarterback also was sacked in the end zone in the first half and called for intentional grounding in the end zone in the second half as he tried to avoid another sack.

Smith, who was an early Heisman Trophy front-runner as the Mountaineers got off to a 5-0 start this season, was 18 for 26 for 197 yards in the final game of his record-breaking career. The NFL awaits.

Same goes for Ryan Nassib, though Syracuse didn't ask much of its talented senior quarterback. He threw two touchdown passes and an interception. His most impressive feat on this day was surviving being driven into the frozen turf by Terence Garvin on a sack in the first half. Nassib missed only one play.

Snow fell just about all game, giving most of the field a white dusting. Fans were bundled and players not in the game tried to do the same. It took a while for those potent offenses - both ranked in the top 25 nationally in yards per game - to heat up, which seemed appropriate considering the conditions.

A goal-line stand by West Virginia in the second quarter kept Syracuse out of the end zone, but set up the Orange for a scoring run.

Left at their own 1, the Mountaineers tried to pass out of their end zone, but Smith was smothered by blitzing linebackers Cameron Lynch and Siriki Diabate for a safety to make it 5-0 - a baseball score, of course.

The Orange followed that up with a 33-yard touchdown run by Gulley to make it 12-0 with 6:07 left in the second.

The Mountaineers responded with their first sustained drive and Bailey took a quick pass, darted and broke tackles, and scooted 32 yards to the end zone to make it 12-7.

The Orange extended the lead to 12 points with a touchdown drive to start the second half when the Orange caught a break - and touchdown pass. Nassib's throw was tipped around the goal line, but floated safely into the waiting arms of intended receiver Beckett Wales for an 11-yard score.

West Virginia appeared to answer with a touchdown of its own, when Andrew Buie broke free for a TD run on fourth-and-2. Not so fast. A holding call on the Mountaineers wiped out the play and sent coach Dana Holgorsen on to the field screaming at the officials.

It didn't help. Instead of a touchdown, a punt.

Moments later another close call, this time on a fumble by Smith which was reviewed to determine if it was an incomplete pass, went Syracuse's way, and again the Orange capitalized.

On the next play, Gulley broke through the line bounced to the outside and went 67 yards for a touchdown to make it 26-7 with 6:52 left in the third.

West Virginia wouldn't let Syracuse pull away. Smith found Bailey deep down the sideline beating one-on-one coverage for a 29-yard score 1:11 later.

Right back came the Orange, nine plays, 70 yards, with Gulley taking a swing pass from Nassib 10 yards for his third touchdown of the day.

A minute and half later, Brandon Sharpe was taking down Smith in the end zone, when the quarterback made a futile attempt to dump the pass off. The officials dropped the flag and the second safety of the day made it 35-14 with 1:08 left in the third.

The 60th meeting between these teams, but first in a bowl, ended up being a romp in the snow for Syracuse.

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphdrussoap

No. 7 Maryland takes down Northwestern for 9th straight win

No. 7 Maryland takes down Northwestern for 9th straight win

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Jalen Smith had 22 points and a career-high 19 rebounds for his ninth consecutive double-double, and No. 7 Maryland extended its winning streak to nine games by defeating Northwestern 76-67 Tuesday night.

Smith achieved his 17th double-double of the season by halftime. In two games against Northwestern this season, the 6-foot-10 sophomore has 47 points and 30 rebounds.

Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 19 for the Terrapins (22-4, 12-3 Big Ten), who never trailed in improving their record at home to 15-0. The victory, combined with Penn State's loss to Illinois, left first-place Maryland with a two-game lead with five games to go.

Ryan Young scored 17 and Boo Buie added 15 for the Wildcats (6-19, 1-14) in their 10th successive defeat.

Down by 12 at halftime, Northwestern trailed only 50-46 with 10:45 left. It was 63-57 before a dunk by Smith, two free throws by Cowan and layup by Aaron Wiggins put the Terps up 69-57 with 3:23 remaining.

When the teams met at Northwestern a month ago, the Terrapins rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit to win 77-66. This time, Maryland took charge at the outset.

Smith had 10 points and six rebounds in the opening seven minutes to stake the Terps to a 17-6 lead. After the Wildcats closed to 25-22, Darryl Morsell, Wiggins and Eric Ayala hit successive 3s and Cowan added a free throw for a 13-point cushion.

A late dunk by Smith made it 37-25 at halftime.

MOVING ON UP

Cowan passed Tom McMillen to move into eighth place on Maryland's career scoring list. Cowan, a senior guard, has 1,809 points and is 49 short of catching Lonny Baxter for seventh. The school record is 2,269 by Juan Dixon.

BIG PICTURE

Northwestern: The Wildcats can take solace in making a game of it on the road against a Top 10 team. But what Northwestern could use instead of a moral victory is a real one, a feat the Wildcats haven't accomplished since Jan. 11 against Nebraska.

Maryland: One week after squeezing past lowly Nebraska at home, the Terrapins left nothing to chance against an overmatched opponent. It wasn't a blowout, but the outcome was never really in doubt. Maryland now stands two wins away from a perfect season at home.

UP NEXT

Northwestern hosts Minnesota on Sunday, the rematch of a game the Wildcats lost 77-68 on Jan. 5.

Maryland faces No. 25 Ohio State on Sunday to begin a stretch in which the Terrapins play three of four on the road.

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If Georgetown wants to make the NCAA Tournament, they must beat Providence

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If Georgetown wants to make the NCAA Tournament, they must beat Providence

An improbable upset over No. 19 Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse suddenly vaulted the Georgetown Hoyas into the NCAA Tournament conversation over the weekend. 

They pulled out the victory with only seven scholarship players, missing their top two scorers on the season. But no matter how they accomplished the feat, they win drew attention across the country. Any team in the Big East conference that just pulled out a road victory against the ranked Butler Bulldogs has to have postseason aspirations, right? 

There was a surprising revelation when evaluating the Hoyas: The don't have that bad of a tournament resume. 

Yes, at 15-10 (5-7 Big East) the Hoyas can be considered a bubble team. They're ranked 46th in the NET, 47th in KenPom, 60th in BPI and are the last team in Joe Lunardi's bracketology projection as of this writing. Their surprising win over Butler, along with an atrocious bubble this season, has helped them get there.

Now is when the season gets important for the Hoyas, though. One loss to a subpar team could derail that. On Wednesday they host Providence for their second matchup of the season. If they lose, the Hoyas can kiss an at-large bid goodbye. 

Georgetown's resume is contingent on them avoiding bad losses. Their worst loss on the season was to a solid UNC Greensboro team. Every other one is qualified as a Quadrant 1 loss according to the NET. They are 10-1 in non-Q1 situations. 

Bad losses are abound in college basketball this season, even from the top teams. Those losses have Virginia, VCU and Alabama stuck on the bubble. Somehow, the scrappy Hoyas have kept them off their resume. 

Losing to Providence would be a bad loss for the Hoyas. It would be their worst loss to date, according to the NET. Providence is, in fact, one of those teams with a handful of poor losses (9-4 vs. sub-Q1 opponents). And while Providence is also in consideration for the NCAA Tournament, it would crush the Hoyas' outlook since they don't have the Q1 wins to offset a loss like that. 

Beating the Friars at home will not likely be enough for the Hoyas to make the tournament. They'll have to also beat Xavier, DePaul and likely find some magic in one of their other three games. 

The Hoyas can get there, but their quest for the NCAA Tournament starts by beating Providence. 

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