Cleveland State coach Gary Waters figured his team was headed for overtime. Cedric Jackson thought otherwise.
The senior guard took an inbounds pass from J'Nathan Bullock with 2.2 seconds left, turned and swished a two-handed, 60-foot shot at the buzzer to give the Vikings a shocking, 72-69 victory over No. 11 Syracuse last night in the Carrier Dome.
"I looked up to see if there was a chance but knew there wasn't enough time," Jackson said. "It was a prayer. It's not an everyday shot."
Certainly not for Waters.
"I have never been a part of one of those types of shots, I had my head down," said Waters, in his third year at Cleveland State (7-4). "I told my coaches we were headed for overtime. I didn't expect that to happen. Nobody in the house expected that to happen."
Syracuse (9-1) sure didn't.
The Orange had escaped in all five games they had trailed this season, and they tied this one in the closing seconds on a rebound dunk by Arinze Onuaku.
Only to set up Jackson's amazing shot, which was almost never in doubt from the moment he let it go.
"It tears your heart out when you see the ball up in the air and you know it's good," said Syracuse's Andy Rautins, whose missed three-pointer for the win was rebounded by Onuaku. "I kind of stopped looking at it because I knew it had a pretty good chance. Then I heard the crowd and I knew the game was over."
It was just the second regular-season win over a Top 25 team for Cleveland State, a program in disarray for most of the past 20 years. The Vikings stunned No. 12 Butler last January.
Cleveland State's last appearance in the Carrier Dome was also a memorable one. The Vikings won NCAA tournament games over Indiana and Saint Joseph's in the building in 1986 to advance to the round of 16. The 83-79 victory over Indiana was the first by a No. 14 seed over a No. 3 seed in tournament history and was the first time former Hoosiers coach Bob Knight lost a first-round game.
Bullock led Cleveland State with 18 points, all in the second half.
In another game:
* At Hartford, Conn., Jeff Adrien had 18 points and 10 rebounds and No. 2 Connecticut (9-0) returned from an 11-day break for exams to rout Stony Brook, 91-57.
* North Carolina, Connecticut and Pittsburgh held on to the top three spots in the
Oklahoma, Texas and Duke are fourth through sixth, respectively, followed by Xavier, Gonzaga, Louisville and Wake Forest.
Syracuse was 11th followed by Notre Dame, Purdue, UCLA, Georgetown, Tennessee, Ohio State, Villanova, Michigan State and Arizona State.
In women's basketball, Tennessee's record run in the top 10 ended at 211 straight weeks. The Lady Vols are 11th in the latest AP poll. North Carolina, which stayed No. 2 this week, now has the longest active streak in the Top 10 with 70 consecutive weeks. It would take the Tar Heels nearly 8 years to match the Lady Vols' run.
Meanwhile, Connecticut is an unanimous No. 1 choice for the third straight week.
* Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury was hospitalized for tests after complaining of severe migraines and flulike symptoms, according to a university spokesman. It was not immediately clear whether Stansbury would be available to coach the Bulldogs in their next game, at Cincinnati on Thursday.
* Utah suspended guard Luka Drca for two games for an intentional foul committed against Blake Griffin in a loss to No. 4 Oklahoma Saturday. *