NEW YORK, N.Y. – #5/5 Syracuse ended the NIT Season Tip Off Championship on an 18-5 run as the Orange defeated Stanford 69-63 to win the tournament Friday evening at Madison Square Garden.
The Orange trailed the Cardinal 58-51 with just over four minutes remaining, but Syracuse connected on its final six field goal attempts, including two three point plays, to seize momentum and capture the tournament title.
Tournament MVP Kris Joseph had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead five SU players in double-figures. He scored 12 of his points in the second half. Scoop Jardine had a season-high 14 points while Brandon Triche scored 11 and had a team-best four assists.
All-Tournament performers C.J. Fair and Dion Waiters# each had 10 points.
Stanford led Syracuse 25-24 at halftime as neither team could manage much offense. The Orange shot 35 percent (11-of-28), while the Cardinal was 39 percent (11-of-32). The two teams combined for 27 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
Jardine opened the second half by hitting back-to-back three pointers, which Triche followed up with one of his own, to give SU a 35-34 lead. Stanford’s Randle Chasson put the Cardinal back on top with a jumper, which gave Stanford the lead at 16:25. From there, the Cardinal would play with the lead until the final four minutes.
With Stanford leading 58-51, a Joseph three from the corner jumpstarted the run. After two Stanford free throws, Triche got into the lane for two, and then stole the ensuing inbound pass which resulted in a three point play for Fair, bringing SU within one at 60-59.
After a defensive stop, a Joseph jumper gave the Orange the lead for good. Waiters would then give SU a four point advantage with an and-one to wrap up the game.
Fab Melo matched a career-high with nine rebounds, to go along with his six points, three blocks and a career-high three steals.
Aaron Bright of Stanford had 13 points to lead the Cardinal. Chasson had 12 points and John Gage had 10.
SU is back in action on Tuesday night in the Carrier Dome against former SU assistant coach Rob Murphy and Eastern Michigan.