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Syracuse is new No. 1 in AP poll

Monday, February 3, 2014 | 6:36 p.m. CST
Syracuse’s Jerami Grant, right, jams the ball for two points against Duke’s Rodney Hood in overtime of the Orange's 91-89 win on Saturday.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse's reward for winning one of the best college basketball games of the season was a spot on top of The Associated Press Top 25 poll.

Combined with No. 1 Arizona's first loss of the season last weekend, the Orange's 91-89 overtime win over Duke on Saturday moved them up one spot to the top.

Syracuse (21-0) received all 65 first-place votes from the national media panel Monday, making the Orange the first unanimous No. 1 since Duke won the spot for six weeks in 2010-11.

"We're happy to be No. 1," coach Jim Boeheim said Monday, hours before the Orange met Notre Dame. "Obviously, it's taken a lot of hard work. It's an honor. We'll try to keep playing well."

Syracuse, off to the best start in school history, is on top of the poll for the first time since a six-week run in 2011-12.

This is the 15th week all-time Syracuse has been No. 1.

Syracuse is the fourth team to hold the No. 1 ranking this season. Kentucky was on top for the preseason poll and one in the regular season while Michigan State was No. 1 for three weeks and Arizona, which lost to California hours after Syracuse beat Duke, for the past eight.

Arizona (21-1) and Syracuse, which were 1-2 for the last eight weeks, switched spots this week.

Florida, Wichita State and San Diego State remained third through fifth and were followed by Villanova, Cincinnati, Kansas, Michigan State and Michigan.

Duke, which also won at Pittsburgh last week, was 11th, a jump of six spots from last week's poll.

No. 20 Virginia, No. 22 Connecticut and No. 23 Gonzaga returned to the rankings. They replaced Ohio State and Wisconsin, which both reached as high as No. 3 this season, and Massachusetts.

The Duke-Syracuse game drew a Carrier Dome-record crowd of 35,446, and it was a record for wins between competing coaches with Boeheim at 941 with the victory and Mike Krzyzewski, the all-time leader with 973.

Duke's Rasheed Sulaimon beat the buzzer in regulation with an off-balance 3-pointer that tied it at 78, and Jerami Grant scored eight points in overtime to lead the Orange in the first meeting between the schools as members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The teams meet again in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Feb. 22 which means a crowd of about 26,000 fewer people, but it could be just as good a game.

"We don't want to just settle on that one," Syracuse guard Trevor Cooney said after the Duke game. "We want to keep moving and keep winning and keep playing well."


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