SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse's streak lives on.
With its key players struggling, the top-ranked Orange used its defense to remain unbeaten, edging North Carolina State 56-55 on C.J. Fair's layup with 6.7 seconds left Saturday night.
Rakeem Christmas started the winning sequence with a steal in the lane off a trap in the left corner, and Fair finished it with a layup in transition. Christmas had 14 points and set career highs with 12 rebounds and seven blocks.
"We got out of it by making a good play at the end," Orange coach Jim Boeheim said. "We were able to make some good plays finally at the end, and one big play."
Syracuse (25-0, 12-0 ACC) was coming off a dramatic last-second victory at No. 25 Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. The Orange earned its 10th single-digit win despite shooting 35.2 percent.
Syracuse is the first No. 1 team to win back-to-back games by two points or fewer since North Carolina in 1981-82, the Elias Sports Bureau said. The Tar Heels went on to win the national title.
"They're terrific," N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said of Syracuse. "Obviously, when you have a year like they're having, when you're undefeated, you're going to have some close ones, some not-so-close ones. We just tried to prepare for them as best we could, and I thought our guys did a great job."
NO. 5 SAN DIEGO ST. 64, AIR FORCE 56: Winston Shepard scored 14 of his 16 in the final 7:14 as the host Aztecs (22-2, 11-1 Mountain West) bounced back from their first loss since mid November.
NO. 7 KANSAS 95, TCU 65: Perry Ellis scored a career-high 32 and the host Jayhawks (19-6, 10-2 Big 12) overcame a sluggish start.
NO. 8 DUKE 69, MARYLAND 67: Jabari Parker scored 23 for the Blue Devils (20-5, 9-3 ACC), who started a run of four games in eight nights by giving Maryland a loss in its last scheduled visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium.
NO. 10 Cincinnati 73, HOUSTON 62: Sean Kilpatrick scored 28 and Justin Jackson had 13, all in the second half, to lead the host Bearcats (23-3, 12-1 American Athletic).
NO. 11 IOWA ST. 70, TEXAS TECH 64: DeAndre Kane had 17 points and nine assists for the host Cyclones (19-5, 7-5 Big 12), who hung on after blowing an 18-point second-half lead.
NO. 12 ST. LOUIS 64, VCU 62: Dwayne Evans had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the host Billikens (23-2, 10-0 Atlantic 10), who broke a late tie with seven straight points and held on for their 17th straight victory.
NO. 16 IOWA 82, PENN ST. 70: Melsahn Basabe scored 16 for the Hawkeyes (19-6, 8-4), who won their fourth Big Ten road game of the season and third in a row.
NO. 17 UVA 63, CLEMSON 58: Joe Harris scored 16 and hit a critical 3-pointer with about three minutes left, and visiting Virginia (21-5, 12-1) won its ninth straight ACC game for the first time in 32 years.
NO. 19 TEXAS 88, W. VA. 71: Javan Felix scored 18 to lead five players in double figures for the host Longhorns (20-5, 9-3 Big 12).
NO. 22 OHIO ST. 48, ILLINOIS 39: Aaron Craft scored 14 for the visiting Buckeyes (20-6, 7-6 Big Ten), who held the Illini to 28.3 percent shooting.
NO. 24 UCONN 86, NO. 20 MEMPHIS 81, OT: Shabazz Napier scored a career-high 34, Ryan Boatright had 21, eight in overtime, and the host Huskies (20-5, 8-4 American Athletic) swept the season series from the Tigers (19-6, 8-4).
UNC 75, NO. 25 PITT 71: James Michael McAdoo had 24 points and 12 rebounds for the host Tar Heels, who fought off a late push from the Panthers (20-6, 8-5 ACC) to win their season-best sixth straight.
PURDUE 82, INDIANA 64: Sterling Carter had 19 points and hit five 3-pointers for the host Boilermakers (15-10, 5-7 Big Ten), who handed the Hoosiers (14-11, 4-8) their third straight loss.
VA. TECH 52, Miami 45: C.J. Barksdale scored 12 and Devin Wilson got all 12 of his in the final 3:37 as the host Hokies ended a 10-game skid. The Hurricanes (12-13, 3-9 ACC) made 15 of 58 shots from the field.
DELAWARE ST. 79, B-CU 67: Tyshawn Bell had 21 points and 10 rebounds as the visiting Hornets pulled away from the Wildcats (6-22, 4-9 MEAC).
FAMU 82, COPPIN ST. 71: Reggie Lewis scored 24, including six 3-pointers, and the host Rattlers (9-16, 5-7 MEAC) overpowered the Eagles in the second half.
TAMPA 66, LYNN 60: Da'Markco Foster had 13 points and Eric Moraes hit a crucial dunk with 4:58 left to lift the visiting Spartans (15-7, 8-5 Sunshine State).
ECKERD 85, BARRY 83: Malcolm Brunner's layup with one second left lifted the visiting Tritons (14-10, 6-6 SSC).
LATE FRIDAY: Getting big plays from Jermaine Marshall and Jordan Bachynski, host Arizona State grinded out a 69-66 double-overtime victory over No. 2 Arizona (23-2, 10-2 Pac-12). "No words can explain the joy that we feel right now," Sun Devils center Jordan Bachynski said. "That is huge for us … for our resume, for our goals of (playing in a) postseason tournament."
BYU 62, NO. 20 GONZAGA 52: Jennifer Hamson scored 18 of her 20 in the second half for the host Cougars, who ended the Bulldogs' 13-game winning streak and kept Gonzaga (23-4, 13-2) from clinching a 10th straight West Coast Conference title.
NO. 24 ST. JOHN'S 69, VILLANOVA 56: Aliyyah Handford scored 25 and Amber Thompson had a career-high 17 rebounds to lead the host Red Storm (19-5, 12-1 Big East).
NO. 25 MICH. ST. 70, OHIO ST. 49: Annalise Pickrel had 17 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for the host Spartans (17-8, 9-3 Big Ten).
TAMPA 69, LYNN 44: Juliana Cavallaro had 13 points and a career-high 10 rebounds for the visiting Spartans (18-5, 11-2 SSC), who won their 10th straight to move into first place.
BARRY 72, ECKERD 67: Tyler Hardy's layup with 29 seconds left lifted the host Buccaneers after the Tritons (9-13, 2-10 SSC) had erased an 18-point deficit.