LeRon Ellis took matters into his own hands - both of them - to give No. 8 Syracuse an 81-79 overtime victory over No. 12 Connecticut in the Carrier Dome Wednesday night.

Ellis dunked with less than a second left in regulation to tie the score and then jammed again to finish a fastbreak with 30 seconds to play, giving the Orangemen a 4-point advantage the Huskies could not overcome.Gilad Katz, a junior from Tel Aviv, Israel, sank a 3-pointer with 21 seconds remaining to cut the Syracuse edge to 80-79, but Syracuse freshman Adrian Autry sank a free throw with 4.1 seconds left.

Huskies guard Chris Smith drove for a final shot but time ran out.

The victory helped Syracuse, 15-2 overall and 3-2 in the Big East, avenge a 78-75 loss to Connecticut, 12-3 and 3-2, in the championship game of last season's conference tournament.

Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim put the victory, which leaves Pittsburgh, 14-3 and 3-1, in first place in the Big East, in perspective.

"What is going on (in the Middle East) is the only thing that matters as far as I am concerned," Boeheim said. "We could win 1,000 basketball games in a row and that isn't worth one American."

Connecticut Coach Jim Calhoun agreed.

"I think we should tend to more important things than basketball games," he said.

Ellis grabbed a missed layup by Dave Johnson and dunked it with 0.3 seconds left to tie the score 71-71 and send the game into overtime.

Billy Owens, who suffered back spasms Saturday in a 69-67 victory at Seton Hall, scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds to pace Syracuse. Ellis had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Johnson added 14 points.

No. 5 N. Carolina,

N.C. State, canceled

The game between No. 5 North Carolina and North Carolina State was canceled after the outbreak of war in the Persian Gulf.

No. 9 Duke 83, Citadel 50

At Charleston, S.C., Christian Laettner scored 18 points and Bill McCaffrey added 15 to lead the Blue Devil rout. Ted Mosay scored a game-high 19 points for the Bulldogs.

No. 15 Virginia 76, Maryland 62

At College Park, Md., Bryant Stith scored 16 points and the Cavaliers went on a 10-2 run to start the second half to blow the game open. The Virginia lead reached as much as 22 points late in the game. The Terrapins were without 6-foot-8 point guard Walt Williams, who has a fractured fibula suffered in Saturday's loss to Duke.

No. 22 S. Carolina 83, Va. Tech 67

At Columbia, S.C., Barry Manning and Jo Jo English each scored 20 points and all five Gamecock starters scored in double figures. The Hokies were led by a season-high 29 points from Antony Moses. South Carolina outscored Virginia Tech 16-6 over a four-minute stretch late in the half to put the game away.