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Orange Squeezes Maryland

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim gestures during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Maryland, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, in College Park, Md. Syracuse won 57-55. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim gestures during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Maryland, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, in College Park, Md. Syracuse won 57-55. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

College Park, Md. — No. 4 Syracuse blew most of a 12-point lead in the last 8 minutes and used one final defensive stop to squeeze past Maryland 57-55 on Monday night and end a two-game losing streak.

It was another close call for the Orange (26-2, 13-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), whose previous four games were decided by a total of 12 points, including losses to Boston College and Maryland. Syracuse led 49-37 with 7:54 left but allowed Maryland to close to 56-55 with 47 seconds remaining.

After C.J. Fair missed a jumper for the Orange, Baye Moussa Keita blocked a driving layup by Nick Faust to keep Syracuse in front. Trevor Cooney was fouled and made one of two free throws with 4 seconds to go before Maryland’s Seth Allen’s game-ending jumper bounded off the back of the rim.

Tyler Ennis scored 20 point and Fair had 17 to help Orange coach Jim Boeheim secure his 946th career victory.

Allen scored 22 points for the Terps (15-13, 7-8).

Florida to No. 1

New York — Florida is the new No. 1 in the AP college basketball poll, the Gators’ first time on top of the rankings since they repeated as national champions in 2007.

The Gators (25-2) moved up one place Monday, replacing Syracuse (25-2), which lost twice last week and dropped to fourth.

Wichita State (29-0) and Arizona (25-2) both moved up one place to second and third.

Florida, the fifth school to hold the No. 1 spot this season, received 47 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel. Wichita State was No. 1 on 14 ballots and Arizona got the other four first-place votes.

Kansas jumped three places to fifth and was followed by Duke, Louisville, Villanova, Creighton and Saint Louis.

Top 25 Women

No. 6 Baylor 96 Oklahoma 89

Waco, Texas — Odyssey Sims scored 38 points and Nina Davis added 28 points and 14 rebounds to help No. 6 Baylor beat Oklahoma.

Makenzie Robertson added 11 points for the Lady Bears (25-3, 15-1 Big 12).

Baylor led by 32 points in the second half before Oklahoma cut it to 93-87 with 37 seconds. The Sooners (17-12, 8-8) could have made it closer, but Aaryn Ellenberg’s shot bounced off the rim and Davis grabbed the rebound.

No. 16 Nebraska 94 No. 8 Penn State 74

Lincoln, Neb. — Tear’a Laudermill scored 22 of her career-high 27 points and made six of her seven 3-pointers in the first half, and Nebraska defeated Penn State to stay alive in the Big Ten race.

The Cornhuskers (21-5, 11-3) extended their winning streak to a season-best eight games and pulled within a half-game of the two-time defending champion Lady Lions (21-6, 12-3). The Huskers have two games remaining in the regular season and the Lady Lions have one.

No. 21 Michigan State 75 Minnesota 61

East Lansing, Mich. — Tori Jankoska scored 16 of her 21 points in the first half, including four 3-pointers, as Michigan State beat Minnesota.

Michigan State got out to a 16-point first half lead, after making 6 of 9 3-pointers, and led by double-digits for the first 16 minutes of the second half.

The Spartans (19-8, 11-3 Big Ten) are now tied in the conference loss column with No. 16 Nebraska and No. 8 Penn State.

Michigan State’s leading scorer, freshman Aerial Powers, fouled out with 8:59 left in the second half, and finished with seven points.

The Big Ten scoring leader, Rachel Banham, scored 31 points, on 11-of-29 shooting, for Minnesota (17-11, 6-8).

Jankoska’s first 3-pointer gave MSU a 16-7 lead. Later, Branndais Agee made Michigan State’s sixth 3-pointer to open up a 34-18 advantage.

Michigan State has now won seven of the last eight meetings with Minnesota.