No. 4 Syracuse uses big first-half run to rout Binghamton
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP)
C.J. Fair scored 19 points, Trevor Cooney had 17, and No. 4 Syracuse cruised past the Bearcats 93-65, taking charge with an 18-0 first-half run spurred by a full-court press.
''When you come out real flat and a team gets going kind of early and then you jump into it (the press), it kind of gets you going, gets you moving,'' said Cooney, who had five of Syracuse's 13 makes from long range. ''We were able to get them in tough spots, make them make tough decisions, and turned them over a little bit.''
Syracuse was torched three times from long range in the first 4 minutes. Marlon Beck II started it with a 3 from the right wing and 6-foot-9 Nick Madray followed with two more, the second giving the Bearcats an 11-3 lead as Syracuse freshman point guard Tyler Ennis picked up two quick fouls and went to the bench.
''We came out firing,'' said Jordan Reed, who led Binghamton with a season-high 26 points, going 13 of 14 from the free throw line. ''Nick hit a couple of shots, I got a couple of foul shots, Marlon hit a 3. It felt good. I was just like, `Geez! I hope this happens the whole night, upset these guys.'''
The Bearcats (2-7) had snapped a four-game losing streak with a 74-70 victory at Mount St. Mary's on Wednesday night, thanks to 68 percent shooting, but they nearly blew a 19-point lead by committing 23 turnovers against a pressing defense.
The Orange used the same strategy to rally and it worked like a charm. The first 10 points of the Syracuse surge came in just 76 seconds, thanks in large part to three steals. Michael Gbinije hit a 3-pointer, Cooney added two more, and Jerami Grant finished it with a resounding two-handed slam dunk to give the Orange a 21-11 lead at 12:46.
''We've used it. We've practiced it. We haven't used it in a while.,'' Orange head coach Jim Boeheim said of the press. ''It was good tonight.''
Syracuse (9-0), which beat Indiana 69-52 on Tuesday night, upped its nonconference home winning streak to 48 games in the Carrier Dome and figures to move up to No. 2 next week after top-ranked Michigan State and No. 3 Kentucky lost this week.
With a starting lineup of one sophomore and four freshmen, Binghamton figured to struggle against the bigger, more athletic Orange, and the Bearcats did after that solid start.
''I thought we were focused. We were ready. We were excited. We got out to a good start,'' Binghamton coach Tommy Dempsey said. ''We struggled a little bit against it (the press), and it changed the complexion of the first half. I do think we settled in after a while, but the run was significant. We were just chasing them from that point on.''
Grant had 14 points for Syracuse, Dajuan Coleman had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and freshman Ron Patterson added a season-high 10 points, hitting two of the Orange's 13 3-pointers, two off the school record.
Ennis had his first off-game of the season, picking up four fouls and finishing with three points and three assists in 19 minutes.
Marlon Beck finished with 14 points and Madray 11 for the Bearcats.
Binghamton notched just four baskets in the final 10:51 of the first half as the Orange steadily pulled away. Syracuse hit nine 3-pointers, nabbed eight steals, scored 22 points off Binghamton's 11 turnovers, and out-rebounded the Bearcats 24-15, 12-5 on the offensive glass, to take a 54-30 halftime lead.
Syracuse finished 13 of 36 from long range, forced 18 turnovers and notched 12 steals. Binghamton finished 6 of 22 from beyond the arc after its hot start but was outscored just 39-35 in the second half and converted 21 of 32 free throws.
''We need to take care of the ball better,'' Dempsey said. ''We get exposed when we play against that kind of length. But we had a tenacity with us that I liked. When you get to the free throw line 32 times against Syracuse, I think that's impressive. Our guys were trying to force their will on the game. We keep coming at people.''
Three of Syracuse's freshmen - Patterson, B.J. Johnson, and Tyler Roberson - hadn't played in five games, since the Orange's 69-50 win over Colgate on Nov. 16. That changed after Ennis picked up his second foul less than 4 minutes into the game.
Patterson played 15 minutes, one more than Johnson and Roberson, who had six points. Johnson was 0 for 5, all on 3-pointers.