A quick take on Syracuse’s thrilling, dramatic and improbable 58-55 win against Pitt on Wednesday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: Tyler Ennis’ 3-pointer as time expired kept Syracuse perfect on the season. The Orange trailed by six points with 1:42 left but CJ Fair and Ennis immediately responded, combining for 10 points to give Syracuse a 55-54 with 10 seconds left. Talib Zanna was fouled with 4.4 seconds left and calmly hit two free throws, and the Pitt faithful seemed confident of an upset. But Ennis’ 30-foot heave while double-teamed, a shot that will be talked about for some time as his legend continues to grow, found the bottom of the net, and Syracuse escaped with one of its most thrilling wins of the season.
ANALYSIS: It was another classic Big East game played in the confines of the ACC. As has always been the case when these two teams play each other, it was a low-scoring, grind-it-out, defensive slugfest. Syracuse shot 42 percent from the floor while the Panthers were at 36 percent. Pitt had never lost to a top 5 team at the Petersen Events Center, and the Panthers were actually favored heading into this game. But as has been the script all season, the Orange found a way to win thanks to its duo of Fair and Ennis, who never seem rattled. SU and Wichita State remain the only two unbeatens in Division I basketball.
HERO: What else can be said of Ennis at this point? The freshman continues to astound, especially against the Panthers. Against Pitt on Jan. 18, Ennis hit a pair of clutch layups to push the Orange to the win. On Wednesday, Ennis rescued the Orange again with two late free throws and the game winner. He finished with 13 points and five assists. A secondary hat tip goes to Fair, who struggled for most of the night, but delivered a 3-pointer and a midrange jumper in the final 1:42 of the game. Fair led SU with 14 points.
ZERO: Tough game for Syracuse on the glass. In their first game without Baye Moussa Keita (knee), the Orange was outrebounded 35-24, with the Panthers grabbing 16 offensive rebounds to Syracuse’s six.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will return home to host NC State on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 3 p.m. at the Carrier Dome. TV: ACC Digital Network.