SHABAZZ NAPIER hit a jumper from the free throw line as time expired to keep No. 12 Connecticut undefeated with a 65-64 home victory over No. 15 Florida last night.
Napier, limping on a left ankle he hurt during a four-point play with 33 seconds left, escaped a trap around 30 feet from the basket and got off a wild shot that missed but was tipped blindly back by DeAndre Daniels. Napier grabbed the ball and let go a left-handed jumper that went through as the horn sounded and set off a deafening cheer from the sellout crowd of 10,167 at Gampel Pavilion.
Napier finished with 26 points on 9-for-15 shooting including making five of eight from three-point range.
The Huskies (8-0) and Florida (6-2), which had a five-game winning streak snapped, battled down the stretch exchanging the lead six times in the final 6 minutes.
Daniels had 14 points for Connecticut, which was outrebounded, 34-26, but was able to make up a size difference with its strong guard play on the perimeter. This was Connecticut's first game this season against a ranked opponent. Florida's previous loss was in its only game against a ranked team, Wisconsin.
Casey Prather had 19 points and seven rebounds for the Gators, while Patric Young had 17 points and seven rebounds. Scottie Wilbekin, playing in his third game of the season after being suspended for the first four, had 15 points but he injured an ankle with 3:01 to play, was taken to the locker room and never returned.
Florida outscored the Huskies 32-14 in the paint as Connecticut struggled to defend Young, who was 6 of 10 from the field.
Florida committed 16 turnovers, two more than the Huskies in a game that was physical on all 94 feet of the court.
The programs' only other meeting was in the 1994 Sweet 16, when the Gators won, 69-60, in overtime on the way to the Final Four.
* At Iowa State, Dustin Hogue set career highs with 22 points and 16 rebounds, and the 17th-ranked Cyclones pounded Auburn, 99-70, for their sixth straight win.
Melvin Ejim added 14 points and 10 rebounds for Iowa State (6-0), the Big 12's last unbeaten team.
Iowa State used a 27-5 run midway through the first half to build a 15-point lead. Hogue had 16 points and 12 boards at the break.
Iowa State jumped ahead by as much as 60-33 early in the second half in cruising to its fourth win by at least 29 points.
Chris Denson had 27 points for the Tigers (4-2).
* Michigan State remained No. 1 for a third straight week in the Associated Press' poll, receiving all but two of the first-place votes. Arizona moved from fourth to second, drawing the other No. 1 votes from the 65-member national media panel.
Kentucky remained third while Syracuse jumped from eighth to fourth. Ohio State moved up two spots to fifth and was followed by Kansas, which had been second. Completing the top 10 were Louisville, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State and Duke.