NEW YORK – Despite a career-high effort from junior C.J. Fair, the #3/3 Orange (10-1) saw its 10-game winning streak snapped in a an 83-79 loss to Temple (9-2) in the Chevrolet Gotham Classic on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
"I think Temple is a really good team and they shot really good tonight and made their free throws," said head coach Jim Boeheim. "You don't like to say the game comes down to that, but when you miss 15 free throws, it's going to be tough to win any game."
Fair led the offense with a personal-best 25 points and seven rebounds, for his sixth double-digit scoring game of the season. Senior James Southerland matched a career-high mark with nine rebounds to lead the Orange.
Trailing by one just four minutes into the game at 7-6, Syracuse quickly responded with an 8-2 run to take a six-point lead at 14-8. Senior Brandon Triche had four points during the stretch. SU notched its first double-digit lead at 24-14, with 9:40 remaining in the opening frame.
Temple slashed the SU lead to two points,after Jake O'Brien connected on two threes and a layup for the Owls to set the score at 26-24 with 7:06 left in the half.
Fair connected on two free throws and a bucket, while sophomore Michael Carter-Williams hit another free throw to give the Orange a two-point lead heading into halftime at 40-38.
Temple used a 10-1 run to start the second half, putting the Owls ahead by seven points at 48-41. Syracuse responded with a 5-0 spurt, led by a three-point play from Carter-Williams to get within four points at 51-47. The Owls pulled away with an eight-point lead at 70-62.
The Orange used a three from Fair and another bucket from junior Baye Moussa Keita to get within two points at 74-72 with 2:36 remaining in the game.
Still chasing at 74-73, Syracuse could not capitalize on one last opportunity as Triche just barely missed a three pointer that would have put the Orange back on top.
Temple followed with six free throws, ultimately resulting in an 83-79 win. Khalif Wyatt paced the Owls with a career-high 33 points. Temple made 29-of-36 from the line, including a 15-of-15 effor by Wyatt. The Orange managed to make just 19-of-34 from the charity stripe,
The loss ended a steak of 52 straight regular-season victories against non-conference opponents for the Orange.
Syracuse returns to action on Saturday, December 29, when it hosts Alcorn State in the final game of the Chevrolet Gotham Classic. Tip time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.