No. 4 Syracuse 61, Seton Hall 56
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — No. 4 Syracuse survived a terrible offensive performance for a 61-56 victory over Seton Hall, which had a lot tougher time at that one end of the court than the Orange did.
The Pirates entered the game as the worst shooting team in the Big East at 40.4 percent — and that number looked like an impossible dream in the first half, when they shot 22.9 percent (8 of 35), including missing all 17 3-point attempts.
Syracuse wasn’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard, shooting 30.4 percent (7 of 23), and the Orange missed seven of their eight 3-point attempts. Somehow, they led 20-19 at halftime.
No. 5 Pittsburgh 89, Marquette 81
PITTSBURGH — Coach Jamie Dixon’s Pitt teams are commonly called hardworking, aggressive, defense-minded and resourceful. They win by making few mistakes and rebounding with a passion.
These No. 5 Panthers are adding another descriptive term to all of the previous: high-scoring.
Ashton Gibbs scored 19 points and Brad Wanamaker led a first-half surge in which Pittsburgh rapidly opened up a 16-point lead, carrying the hot-shooting Panthers past Marquette 89-81 on Saturday.
Wanamaker scored 15 points and Gilbert Brown added 14 points and seven rebounds for Pitt (15-1, 3-0 in Big East), which shot a season-high 60 percent (30 of 50).
San Diego State 71, Utah 62
SALT LAKE CITY — Not many stars ask for a breather.
It was a sign of maturity for San Diego State’s Kawhi Leonard, who overcame shortness of breath at high altitude Saturday to help No. 6 San Diego State escape with a 71-62 win over Utah and stay unbeaten.
“He never asks to come out, but he could hardly breathe,” Aztecs coach Steve Fisher said of Leonard, who pulled himself out of the game three times and finished with a team-high 20 points. “But I’d rather have it that way than to play through it and play sloppy at the defensive end.”
Malcolm Thomas added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Aztecs, who improved to 17-0 (2-0 Mountain West Conference).
Colorado 89, No. 9 Missouri 76
BOULDER, Colo. — The Colorado Buffaloes broke Missouri’s press and also the Tigers’ stranglehold on their one-sided series.
Super sophomore Alec Burks, from suburban Kansas City, scored a career-high 36 points and the Buffaloes upset ninth-ranked Missouri 89-76 in their final Big 12 opener.
The Buffaloes (12-4, 1-0), who join the expanded Pac-12 next season, snapped a streak of 13 straight losses in conference openers with their first win over Missouri in nearly five years.
No. 16 Texas A&M 69, Oklahoma 51
NORMAN, Okla. — After what he deemed lackluster performances in wins over McNeese State and Nicholls State, Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon put the Aggies through more-demanding-than-usual practices this week, even going to two-a-day drills on one occasion.
The Aggies’ response to Turgeon’s tough love relieved their coach. Khris Middleton scored 16 points and added five assists and No. 16 Texas A&M won its 11th straight game, beating Oklahoma 69-51 on Saturday in the Big 12 Conference opener for both teams.
Turgeon’s team that shared the basketball well — recording assists on 17 of its 25 baskets — crashed the boards and slowed the Sooners so much that Oklahoma had zero fast-break points. The Aggies also won away from home on a day that two other ranked Big 12 teams — Missouri and Kansas State — lost on the road to conference foes.