Saturday afternoon, #3 Syracuse was the beneficiary of a missed goaltending call with under ten seconds to go that helped them preserve a 63-61 win against West Virginia at the Carrier Dome. After a Mountaineer lay-up attempt went off the backboard, Baye Keita batted the ball away, but the officials missed the call, keeping the Orange (22-1, 9-1 Big East) in front.
The Mountaineers (15-7, 5-4) got the ball back after it went out of bounds with six seconds to play, but a buzzer-beating three pointer missed, allowing the hosts to escape with the win. SU survived in spite of being crushed on the boards, getting outrebounded 41-20, including giving up 19 offensive rebounds. The Orange were able to offset that deficit by forcing 17 turnovers while committing only six of their own.
After the first few minutes were tight, West Virginia put together a run of seven straight points to take a 13-7 lead. SU quickly responded by working the margin down to 15-14, but could not seize control. The Mountaineers by stretching the lead back out to 22-16 with under eight minutes left in the opening half. Syracuse was undeterred, closing the half on an 8-0 run capped by a three-pointer with six seconds remaining to take a 28-24 lead at the break.
After the Mountaineers clipped the lead to a single point at the start of the second half, the Orange stretched the lead out to its biggest point of the game at 33-27. West Virginia worked the lead down to one again, then tied the score at 41 just under seven minutes into the half. The teams traded a pair of scores, then West Virginia regained the lead at 47-46 with under nine minutes to play. Less than a minute later, the Mountaineers had their last lead of the day at 49-47. SU spent the remainder of the game grabbing the lead, then fending off the visitors, who tied the score four times in the final eight minutes, the last coming at 61-61 with 1:37 to play. Syracuse got a pair of free throws to take a two-point lead with 1:28 to go, then survived five West Virginia field goal attempts, including the one where goaltending was missed, to escape with the win.
Only two Syracuse players reached double figures in scoring. Brandon Triche led the way with 18 points, including a dozen in the second half, while Kris Joseph contributed 13. Scoop Jardine added nine points while Dion Waiters chipped in with eight. Baye Keita blocked three shots in the game.
The Orange are off until Saturday, when they travel to Madison Square Garden in New York City to take on St. John’s. The Red Storm (9-12, 3-6) have dropped seven of their last nine games and face DePaul on the road Wednesday before hosting SU.
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