A quick take on Syracuse’s 64-52 win over Miami to remain perfect on the season:
WHAT HAPPENED: What had the makings of a rout early on turned into another tightly contested conference game. Syracuse saw its 18-point first half lead evaporate, and the Hurricanes took a 47-46 lead with just over 8 minutes left. But in what was an eerily similar situation to SU’s last game against Pitt, freshman guard Tyler Ennis calmly converted on a pair of tough drives to help the Orange reclaim the lead. CJ Fair’s baseline jumper with 4:09 to go gave SU 53-49 lead, and Syracuse survived its second close game against Miami this season.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse has consistently found itself in tight situations this season, and has still managed to stay undefeated because it has two players who consistently deliver in the clutch. On Saturday afternoon, it was more of the same. With the Orange trailing for the first time since early in the first half, Fair and Ennis immediately responded, combining for 7 points to wrestle momentum back for the Orange. Syracuse also dominated the boards, outrebounding Miami 39-24, with 14 offensive rebounds. Baye Moussa Keita accounted for four of them, and his two putbacks helped slow Miami’s momentum in the second half.
HERO: No surprises here. Ennis continues to play at a level beyond his years, and led the Orange with 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Fair started hot and cooled off in the middle of the game, but finished strong and led the Orange with 15 points and 7 rebounds. While the stats may not be gaudy for Miami center Tonye Jekiri (3 points, 5 rebounds), he quarterbacked the Hurricanes’ attack against the zone, finding his teammates for open looks at the free throw line extended. He finished with 4 assists, helping Davon Reed (16) and Rion Brown (13) thrive from 3.
ZERO: This would’ve been a less stressful afternoon had the Orange hit their free throws. The Orange shot 17-27 from the line (63 percent) and at one point was 9-20. The Orange perimeter defense was also suspect, allowing the Hurricanes to shoot 9-17 from downtown. Miami came in shooting just 31 percent from distance.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange travel to Winston-Salem to take on Wake Forest on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 9:00 p.m. TV: ACC Network.