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Johnson helps No. 2 Syracuse hold off UConn 72-67

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Wes Johnson and Kris Joseph combined to make six straight free throws in the final 33 seconds, and No. 2 Syracuse held off Connecticut 72-67 on Wednesday night after squandering a 16-point lead in the second half.

Jerome Dyson's 3-pointer for the Huskies tied it at 65 with 2:33 left, but Johnson put the Orange back in front by hitting two foul shots with 30.4 seconds to go.

It was the 11th straight victory for Syracuse (24-1, 12-1 Big East) and it snapped a six-game skid against the Huskies in the regular season.

Syracuse opened the season with 13 wins before losing to Pittsburgh. It's the first time in school history the Orange have had two 10-game winning streaks in one season.

Connecticut (14-10, 4-7) dropped to 0-6 on the road this season and 1-5 against ranked teams. That lone victory was over Texas when the Longhorns were No. 1, and the Huskies are still looking for another signature win.

George Blaney fell to 3-4 in place of coach Jim Calhoun, who took a medical leave of absence last month.

Rick Jackson led Syracuse with 15 points. Joseph had 14 and Johnson 13.

Dyson paced Connecticut with 19 points and Stanley Robinson had 16, but only two in the second half. Kemba Walker added 14 and Gavin Edwards 12.

The Orange seemed in command after Jackson's shot over Edwards gave Syracuse a 50-34 lead with 13:50 left.

But the struggling Huskies roared back with a 14-2 run. Dyson scored six points, drawing a key charge on Scoop Jardine to set up a dunk by Edwards, then converted a follow on the third try to move Connecticut within 52-48 with 8:36 to go.

Syracuse held the lead, but never by more than six, and Dyson's 3 from the top of the key had the Huskies within 61-60 with 4:06 remaining.

Johnson's soaring dunk along the baseline over Ater Majok put the Orange back up 65-62, but Dyson followed with another 3 from the left wing to tie it at 65 with 2:33 left.

Walker then missed a 3, Dyson snared the long rebound from Joseph and missed a runner as the shot clock was about to expire.

After a timeout, Rautins missed a 3 off the inbounds pass, Jackson rebounded and Orange coach Jim Boeheim called a timeout with 36.6 seconds left and 32 on the shot clock.

Johnson was fouled by Robinson as soon as play resumed and sank both free throws to give Syracuse a 67-65 lead with 30.4 seconds left.

Joseph followed with two more free throws with 11.5 seconds to go. Walker hit a layup to cut the lead back to a basket, but Joseph sealed it with two more free throws after he was intentionally fouled by Majok on a breakaway with 5.8 seconds left.

(This version SUBS 10th graf to CORRECT that foul was on Scoop Jardine, not Andy Rautins)