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Syracuse wins first ACC challenge

By SU ATHLETICS

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Second-ranked Syracuse closed the game on a 14-4 run, rallying for a 49-44 victory against Miami in the program's first game as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference on Saturday.

Syracuse (14-0, 1-0 ACC) trailed 40-35 with 6:11 remaining when the comeback began. SU scored the next eight points to go ahead 43-40 with just 3:20 left. After a layup by James Kelly cut Miami's (8-6, 0-2 ACC) deficit to one, Orange freshman Tyler Ennis made a layup then he and redshirt sophomore Trevor Cooney sealed the victory with two free throws each in the final minute.

It was the first time the Orange won a game in which it did not score 50 points since beating Pittsburgh 49-46 in overtime on Feb. 29, 2004. The last time Syracuse didn't reach 50 points in a regulation victory was against Kent State on Dec. 1, 1962, 36-35.

Senior C.J. Fair posted a game-high 15 points, to go along with six rebounds. Ennis added 10 points, seven assists and three steals. Junior Rakeem Christmas grabbed a game-best seven rebounds and scored eight points.

The teams traded the lead six times in the opening six minutes until a 10-2 run put the Orange ahead 17-11 with 11:32 left in the half. Fair tallied SU's last six points during the stretch. After consecutive Hurricane layups, a Fair basket and Cooney three gave Syracuse its largest lead of the game at 22-15 with just more than five minutes remaining in the opening period.

Miami closed the gap to 22-21 following back-to-back three's by Garrius Adams and Manu Lecomte. Then Syracuse sophomore Jerami Grant recorded the final three points – including a two-handed slam – to push SU's lead to 25-21 at halftime.

The Hurricanes outscored Syracuse 14-4 in the first seven minutes of the second half to take a 35-29 lead with 12:23 left in the game. It was Miami's first lead since the 15:04 mark of the opening half.

Fair ended the drought with a baseline three, followed by a free throw by Cooney, to get the Orange within one, 36-35. Miami pushed its lead to 40-35 before Syracuse's game-winning run.

Syracuse forced 15 Miami turnovers and scored 13 points off of them and was also active on the offensive glass, pulling down five more rebounds, outscoring the Hurricanes in second chance points 12-5.

Adams led the Hurricanes with nine points, five rebounds and four assists. Rion Brown contributed seven points, four rebounds and four assists in the loss.

The Orange will travel to play at Virginia Tech on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 9 p.m.

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