Syracuse jumped out to an early lead on Miami (Fla.) Saturday afternoon, but needed to close the game on a 15-3 run to pull out a 64-52 road win. The second-ranked Orange (19-0, 6-0 ACC) led by 18 points in the first half, but actually trailed with under nine minutes in the game before finally putting away the Hurricanes (10-9, 2-5).
SU dominated the backboards in the contest, posting a 39-24 advantage in the game, including collecting 14 rebounds on the offensive end. The Orange defense turned in another solid effort, holding Miami to just over 39 percent shooting in the game. The ‘Canes, though, proved adept from outside, making 9-of-17 (53 percent) attempts of their three-point tries.
With the two teams tied at four a couple minutes into the game, Syracuse turned on the gas, dominating the next ten minutes of play. Tyler Ennis, Trevor Cooney, and C.J. Fair all hit three-pointers as the Orange jumped out to a 13-7 lead.
SU continued their strong play, scoring 13 of the next 14 points in the game to grab a 26-8 lead with 8:20 left in the opening half. Fair closed the stretch with seven consecutive points, including a three-point play that gave the Orange that 18-point cushion.
The Syracuse defense played very well during that span, permitting the Hurricanes to make only 1-of-12 shots from the floor, and was highlighted by Rakeem Christmas snuffing out one shot with a tremendous block.
Miami surged back, though, going on an 11-0 burst to climb back within seven points. Jerami Grant turned in his customary highlight of the game to end the run, putting home a one-handed putback dunk to put the Orange up, 28-19, with just over two minutes left in the opening half.
The ‘Canes were not finished, though, getting a three and a dunk to slice the gap to four. SU hung on to the lead, though, and a Rakeem Christmas jumper in the waning seconds gave them a 31-26 lead at half.
After the Orange posted the first marker of the second half, a three and another score pulled the hosts within two points just over three minutes into the second half. SU ran off the next half dozen points, including a long Cooney three, to go up, 39-31.
Miami was resilient, wrapping a pair of treys around an SU jumper to climb within 41-37. The Hurricanes kept slicing points off the Syracuse lead, finally taking the lead on a three-point-play at 47-46 with 8:20 on the clock.
Ennis regained the lead for the Orange with a three-point-play of his own with just over six minutes left, but a pair of Miami free throws knotted the game at 49. Ennis again stepped forward, making a jumper, then Fair followed with one of his own to push SU in front by four before the under-four media timeout.
Miami used a foul shot to get within three, but Cooney banged home a triple from the top of the key to double the margin with 2:25 remaining. The score held at 56-50 until the final minute, when the Orange, who had made only 9-of-19 free throws at that point, drained eight consecutive shots at the line to ice the game.
C.J. Fair paced SU with 15 points, including ten in the opening half. Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant each scored 14 points while Trevor Cooney chipped in with 11.
Davon Reed lit up the Orange after coming off the bench, scoring 16 points to lead all scorers. Rion Brown was the only other Miami player to reach double figures, tallying 13 points. Both Brown and Reed hit three triples in the game.
- Both Tyler Ennis and C.J. Fair were named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25. The Wooden Award is given to the best collegiate basketball player following the season and Syracuse was one of only four schools to have two players on the list.
- Ennis is also one of nine players on the watch list for the Wayman Tisdale Award, which is given to the nation’s best freshman.
- The Orange hit the hardwood again on Wednesday when they visit Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons (14-6, 4-3) have won their last two games, including a 65-58 victory on Saturday over Notre Dame. It will be a good test for SU, as Wake Forest owns a perfect 12-0 record at home this year.
- Codi Miller-McIntyre leads the Demon Deacons with 15.2 points and 4.0 assists per game. Two other players average double digits in scoring for Wake – Devin Thomas (11.5/game) and Travis McKie (10.2). Thomas is also their leading rebounder at 8.5 boards per outing.
- The contest, which gets underway at 9:00pm Eastern, will be televised via the ACC Regional Sports Network and available online at ESPN3.com or through the WatchESPN app.