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Orange comeback not enough in ACC Quarters

By SU ATHLETICS

GREENSBORO, N.C. - No. 11/11 Syracuse's comeback attempt fell just short in the Orange's 66-63 loss to North Carolina State in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. SU trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half but couldn't connect on several three-point attempts in the final 25 seconds.

Freshman Tyler Ennis led the Orange with 21 points, while sophomore Jerami Grant posted a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Syracuse (27-5), the tournament's No. 2 seed, fought back from a double-digit deficit and led by two, 59-57 with 3:41 to play. North Carolina State (21-12) scored five straight points to regain the lead and held a 64-61 advantage with 1:38 remaining. A slam dunk by Michael Gbinije cut the lead to one, but T.J. Warren hit two free throws giving him a game-high 28 points and NC State a 66-63 advantage with 24.6 seconds remaining as the Orange had the last possession of the game.

Grant grabbed the rebound on Ennis' missed shot, but couldn't convert his dunk attempt. Trevor Cooney, C.J. Fair and Ennis all had three-point attempts, but none could get the tying basket to fall as North Carolina State recorded the 66-63 victory.

The Orange trailed by three at halftime but fought back and Ennis' steal and layup tied the game at 37-37 at the 14:48 mark. Ralston Turner broke the tie with a three-pointer that sparked North Carolina State on a 13-3 scoring run over a span of nearly four minutes that gave the Wolfpack its largest lead at 50-40 with 11:02 remaining.

Syracuse trailed by eight, 55-47, before the Orange scored seven unanswered points to cut the deficit to one. Ennis had five straight points before Rakeem Christmas' alley-oop dunk on an assist from Grant. After Warren hit two free throws, the Orange scored five straight points from the free throw line to take a 59-57 lead.

The first half featured back-and-forth action that included seven ties and eight lead changes. A pair of Ennis free throws at the 3:32 mark gave Syracuse a 21-20 lead before the Wolfpack outscored SU 7-2 to take its largest lead of the first half at 27-23 with 1:20 remaining. Ennis went back to the charity stripe where he again went 2-for-2 to cut the deficit to two, but Tyler Lewis put North Carolina State back up by one with a free throw with 29 seconds remaining. The Orange had the last possession of the half but couldn't convert and went to the locker room trailing 28-25.

Syracuse struggled from the field in the first half converting on just 7-of-27 attempts (25.9 percent), but was more accurate after intermission, hitting 11-of-28 (39.3 percent). The Orange's performance at the free throw line kept it within striking distance as it converted 23-of-29 attempts.

The Orange will find out its NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday, March 16 during the selection show at 6 p.m.

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