For the second straight night, #8 Syracuse used a second half run to create a large enough cushion to hold on for a victory, this time knocking off #18 Baylor to win the EA Sports Maui Invitational championship game by a 74-67 score. The Orange (7-0) posted ten straight points to stretch a four-point lead to fourteen with just over five minutes on the clock and never let the gap shrink to less than six until the game’s waning seconds.
Like his father (a 22-point Providence loss in the Dome in ’86), Richard Pitino suffered the same result in his first meeting against Boeheim Monday in Hawaii, with C.J. Fair stepping up (16 points, 10 rebounds) following a vicious first half slam dunk that resulted in a deep, bloody cut on his cheekbone.
Monday night, #8 Syracuse started their stay in Hawaii with a hard-fought 75-67 win over Minnesota in the EA Sports Maui Invitational. The Orange (5-0) used a big run to grab a 14-point lead early in the second half, then relied on their defense to hold off the Golden Gophers (5-1), including holding them without a field goal for over five minutes late in the game.
Andre Holland’s free throws with 2:13 left cut Syracuse’s lead to 67-65 after the Orange had led by as many as 14 in the second half. But from there, Syracuse went on a 8-0 run, sparked by three turnovers in the final two minutes. By the time Minnesota finally scored, Syracuse had put the game out of reach.
At the beginning of each college basketball season, fans and critics get a taste of tournament basketball in November. For most teams, this opportunity provides an early checkpoint to see not only how far a team has progressed since the dog days of summer lifting, but more importantly, in what areas they need to improve before conference play commences.