HARTFORD, Conn. – In an intense back-and-forth battle between #6/7 Syracuse (20-4, 8-3) and Connecticut (17-6, 7-4), the Orange failed to emerge triumphant, dropping a tough 66-58 decision on the road against the Huskies at the XL Center.
Sophomore Michael Carter-Williams led the offense with 15 points and four steals, while senior James Southerland tallied 14 points.
Syracuse and Connecticut traded the lead throughout the entire first half, as neither club produced more than a three-point advantage in the opening frame. With SU trailing by three at 8-5, Syracuse used a small six-point spurt to get back on top at 11-8 with 12:00 remaining in the first half.
SU found itself trailing by three at 24-21, before freshman Jerami Grant tipped in a layup and added a free throw to tie the score at 24-24 with less than a minute remaining. The Huskies responded with a jumper from Omar Calhoun and a three-pointer from Ryan Boatright to send the Orange into the intermission trailing 29-24 at halftime.
Looking for a comeback in the second half, SU hit six unanswered points for a one-point advantage at 30-29 following the break, but a pair of consecutive three-pointers from Boatright lifted the Huskies back on top. Rebounding, SU tied the score for the seventh time at 35-35 after a bucket from Carter-Williams. From there, the Huskies took off as Calhoun hit a three to send UConn ahead for good at 52-44 with 6:49 remaining.
As time expired, SU attempted to chisel away at another nine-point Huskie advantage that eventually grew to 10 points at 59-49 after a pair of free throws from Niles Gifey at 3:43. The Orange managed to get within five points of the lead with 25 seconds remaining, but SU couldn't regain control, ultimately falling to UConn 66-58.
Boatright paced the Huskies, tallying 17 points after shooting 3-of-4 from the three-point line.
Syracuse will remain on the road, traveling to Seton Hall to take on the Pirates Saturday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m.