Syracuse 77, Cincinnati 76

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Eric Devendorf made two free throws with 12.6 seconds left to thwart a late Cincinnati rally, giving Syracuse a 77-76 victory over the Bearcats on Wednesday night and spoiling a career night by Marcus Sikes.

It was the fourth straight Big East victory for Syracuse (15-4, 4-1 Big East) and the fifth straight loss for Cincinnati (9-8, 0-3), its longest losing streak in 19 seasons. The victory also was the 741st in the 31-year career of Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, moving him into a tie with former Temple coach John Chaney for 14th all-time in Division I.

Demetris Nichols led the Orange with 22 points, Terrence Roberts had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Devendorf had 17 points and eight assists. Darryl Watkins had 10 rebounds and eight blocks to move ahead of John Wallace (209) into sixth place all-time at Syracuse with 215 blocks.

Sikes had a career high by going 8-for-12 on 3-pointers. Freshman Deonta Vaughn, the Bearcats leading scorer, had 13 points but was 2-for-10 on 3-pointers. Marvin Gentry and John Williamson each scored 11 points and Cedric McGowan 10.

The Orange led 48-34 at halftime and held a double-digit lead for most of the game until the Bearcats went on a 10-0 run to make a game of it.

Vaughn hit a 3-pointer at 7:07 to begin the spurt and Jamual Warren ended it with a 3 from the top of the key to move Cincinnati within 68-67 with 4:43 left. Syracuse committed two turnovers and missed a pair of 3s during the run.

A 3-pointer by Devendorf gave the Orange a four-point cushion, but Sikes hit his seventh 3 at 3:53 and another with 69 seconds remaining to give Cincinnati a 75-73 lead, its first of the game, and Gentry's free throw gave Cincinnati a three-point edge with 43. seconds left.

Nichols made two free throws to pull the Orange within a point with 34.2 seconds left, and 11 seconds later Warren missed the front end of a one-and-one, then fouled Devendorf to set up the decisive free throws.

Vaughn was short with a shot at the buzzer.

The Bearcats, whose tallest starter was Sikes at 6-foot-8, struggled to find open shots in close against the 6-9 Roberts and 6-11 Watkins and fell into an early hole when their outside shooting faltered. They missed their first five 3-pointers, made only 1-of-10 from the floor in the first four minutes of the game, and fell behind 12-4 on a 3-pointer by Nichols at 16:25.

Roberts, who scored 16 points in the period, all but one of his seven baskets coming on dunks, converted a three-point play to boost the lead to 17-7 at 14:10.

Andy Rautins converted a long jumper from left wing off a block by Watkins to give Syracuse a 30-11 lead at 8:22, its largest of the game, before the Bearcats finally got untracked, finishing the half hitting 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Consecutive 3-pointers by Sikes and Vaughn cut the lead to 13 at 7:21 and two more 3s by Sikes in a 25-second span moved Cincinnati within 43-34 with 57 seconds left in the period.

But Nichols swished a 3 from the right side and converted a layup at the buzzer to give the Orange a 48-34 halftime lead, the most points they've scored in the first half this season.