Syracuse gets 29 from Christmas
Rakeem Christmas scored 29 points as host Syracuse (17-9, 8-5 ACC) beat No. 12 Louisville (20-6, 8-5) 69-59 on Wednesday night. Louisville was without suspended guard Chris Jones, the team's assist leader and third-leading scorer.
• BATTLE OF CINCINNATI: Freshman Trevon Bluiett made two free throws with 11.5 seconds left — his only points of the game — and Xavier (17-10) rallied for a 59-57 win over host Cincinnati (17-9). The game returned to campus three years after a brawl in the closing seconds at Xavier.
• HOGS KEEP WINNING: No. 18 Arkansas (21-5, 10-3 SEC) beat visiting Missouri (7-19, 1-12) 84-69 for its fifth straight victory and eighth in nine games.
• FIRST-PLACE CHIPS: Austin Stewart's tip-in with 3.7 seconds left led Central Michigan (19-5, 9-4 Mid-American Conference) to a 68-66 victory over Northern Illinois (10-14, 4-9). The Chippewas have a school-record 14 home victories.
• SDSU TRIUMPHS: South Dakota State held on to beat Western Illinois 79-77 in Brookings. The Jackrabbits (20-8, 11-3) have won three straight and have a half-game lead over North Dakota State atop the Summit League standings.
big ten WOMEN
• COFFEY LEADS 'CATS: Nia Coffey had 17 points, 14 rebounds to lead host Northwestern (20-6, 10-5 Big Ten) to a 59-51 victory over No. 21 Nebraska (18-8, 8-7). The Wildcats have six victories in a row, and Coffey has a double-double in each. Northwestern has won at least 20 games in a season for the first time since 1995-96 and have won at least 10 games in Big Ten play for the first time since 1992-93.
• MEN: St. Thomas (21-3, 16-3) failed in its first attempt to clinch the outright MIAC title after blowing a 14-point lead in the second half and losing at home to Bethel (16-8, 12-7) 71-65 in overtime. The Tommies are a half-game ahead of St. Olaf (21-4, 16-4), which closed out its regular season with a 65-60 victory over Concordia-Moorhead (14-10, 10-9) in Northfield. St. John's (15-9, 13-6) clinched the third seed in next week's six-team conference tournament with a 72-61 win at Augsburg (11-13, 8-11). Gustavus (15-9, 11-8) clinched a playoff berth with a 70-61 road victory over Macalester College (5-18, 2-16).
• WOMEN: St. Thomas (24-0, 17-0) remained unbeaten, defeating Bethel 81-77. The Royals (19-5. 13-4) had won 11 in a row overall and 13 straight at home. Saint Mary's locked up its fourth straight trip to the conference playoffs with 64-56 home victory over Carleton.