Syracuse's Tyler Ennis runs downcourt after making the winning basket against Pittsburgh. (Matt Freed / MCT)
Muncie, Ind. — Ray Lee led Eastern Michigan with 24 points as the Eagles cruised to a 73-62 victory over Ball State on Wednesday night.
Lee was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line and knocked down two of Eastern Michigan’s four 3-pointers. Mike Talley chipped in 13 points and Da’Shonte Riley added six blocks for the Eagles (14-10, 6-5 Mid-American).
Ball State (4-18, 1-10) got within four after Zavier Turner hit a 3-pointer, but the Cardinals turned the ball over on the next possession and allowed an 8-0 Eagles run, after which the Cardinals could get no closer than seven. Ball State finished the night with 21 turnovers.
Jesse Berry made five 3-pointers and led the Cardinals with 17 points. Turner added 15 and Chris Bond chipped in 12. Ball State is on a six-game losing streak after getting its lone conference win, a 71-68 victory over Buffalo, on Jan. 23.
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(At) Western Michigan 57, Akron 54: David Brown scored 17 points and Western Michigan pulled ahead in the final two minutes.
Akron (16-8, 8-3 MAC) led by eight at halftime. The Broncos tied the score midway through the second half after Shane Whittington scored five straight points. Western Michigan (15-8, 8-3) did not take back the lead for the first time since a 4-2 advantage, however, until Brown hit a layup with 1:16 to play.
Akron’s Quincy Diggs made two free throws to tie the score again, but the Zips missed their last two shots and Western Michigan closed out the game with three free throws.
Whittington scored 15 for the Broncos while Connar Tava and Tucker Haymond added 12 apiece.
(At) Northern Illinois 88, Central Michigan 63: Darrell Bowie scored 19 and Aaric Armstead 17 for Northern Illinois. Armstead’s 17 are a career high and Bowie’s 19 are his best output since back-to-back 19- and 23-point games in November.
Northern Illinois (11-12, 5-6 MAC) struggled with the Chippewas (8-15, 11-10) through much of the first half until Armstead and Daveon Balls combined for nine points in a little under three minutes, staking Northern Illinois to an 11-point lead just before intermission.
Central Michigan went scoreless for more than 4 minutes to open the second half, but Chris Fowler (19 points) got hot with a personal 9-2 run and then dished to Rayshawn Simmons as Central Michigan closed to 56-50. The Huskies sank 12-for-12 from the line in a 22-9 run that put the game away. They outrebounded Central Michigan 39-19.
No. 1 Syracuse 58, (at) No. 25 Pittsburgh 56: Tyler Ennis made a 35-footer at the buzzer and Syracuse remained unbeaten. Syracuse (24-0, 11-0 ACC) and Wichita State are the lone undefeated teams in Division I.
With the Orange down by one with 4.4 seconds left, Ennis caught the inbounds pass and dribbled up the court before hitting the shot over two defenders.
Talib Zanna, who led Pitt (20-5, 8-4) with 16 points and 14 rebounds, hit two free throws to give Pitt a 56-55 lead before Ennis’ winner.
No. 6 Villanova 87, (at) DePaul 62: Darrun Hilliard scored 22 points, JayVaughn Pinkston had 14 points and 11 rebounds as Villanova won its sixth straight. Villanova (22-2, 10-1) opened a three-game trip with its eighth consecutive victory against DePaul.
No. 14 Kentucky 64, (at) Auburn 56: Andrew Harrison scored 16 points to help Kentucky overcome shooting struggles. The Wildcats (19-5, 9-2 SEC) won their fourth consecutive game despite making just 17 of 55 shots (30.8 percent).
(At) No. 20 Memphis 76, Central Florida 70: Joe Jackson scored 18 points, Shaq Goodwin added 14 and Memphis used a late rally to prevail.
The Tigers (19-5, 8-3 AAC) crafted a 15-2 run in the latter stages of the second half to break open a tight game. Chris Crawford and Michael Dixon finished with 10 points each for Memphis.
(At) No. 24 UConn 83, South Florida 40: DeAndre Daniels scored 12 points to lead a balanced UConn offense. Freshman Kentan Facey added 10 points for the Huskies (19-5, 7-4 AAC), who held the Bulls to just 12 baskets and 24 percent shooting.
Duke-North Carolina postponed
No. 8 Duke’s game at North Carolina was postponed Wednesday night because of a storm that brought enough snow and ice to paralyze many area roads. The game will be played Feb. 20.
The postponement came about three and a half hours before the scheduled tipoff at 9:10 p.m.
North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham said Duke’s bus couldn’t make it to the Durham campus to pick up the Blue Devils for the 11-mile drive to Chapel Hill.