No time to panic.
"We've been down in the second half a number of times this year.
When we've been in that situation, guys make plays," Orange coach
Jim Boeheim said after his team outscored the Eagles 30-14 over the
final 15:32 to escape with a 69-59 Atlantic Coast Conference victory
in a matchup of two old Big East rivals.
With the win, Syracuse (17-0, 4-0 ACC) remains one of four
undefeated Division I teams in the nation.
"We have (rallied) before, but this was the first time that was on
the road," said Orange guard Trevor Cooney, who led all scorers with
21 points and also had three of his team's 13 steals. "This was a
test. Once the crowd really got into it and you're down eight
points, it's tough going against anybody.
"We really got it together and came together as a team and just
really focused on defense, and that's really what got us the win
The Orange, whose offense sputtered most of the night, held the
Eagles (5-12, 1-3) without a field goal for most of the final 11:56.
Boston College scored just nine points the rest of the game.
Syracuse guard Tyler Ennis scored five consecutive points to start
the comeback, and Cooney scored seven points during a 14-0 run that
established control for the more talented and more physical Orange.
"We have confidence in each other," said Ennis, who had 12 points,
six steals and five assists. "We know what we're going to do at the
end of games. We have a confidence going into close situations. We
try not to get into them. We're going to get into some, so we have
confidence in each other."
A rare Conte Forum sellout included the usual large number of
Orange-clad Syracuse fans, creating a great atmosphere. Boston
College, coming off a win at Virginia Tech, gave Syracuse everything
it could handle.
However, the Eagles, the fifth-ranked free-throw-shooting team in
the country, went 16-for-26 at the line and yielded 14 offensive
Syracuse forward Jerami Grant had 16 points and eight rebounds,
including five offensive boards. Orange forward C.J. Fair, averaging
17.4 points per game coming in, also had 12 points.
For the second consecutive game, guard Lonnie Jackson led Boston
College in scoring, this time with 18 points. He went 6-for-9 from
3-point range Monday after going 5-for-8 and hitting the winning
3-pointer at Virginia Tech. However, he was shut down with the game
on the line.
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Forward Ryan Anderson, a one-man gang inside against the
bigger Orange, had 14 points. Guard Olivier Hanlan had 13 points
and six assists, and fellow guard Joe Rahon added nine points,
six rebounds and four assists but also committed five of the
team's 16 turnovers.
The Eagles, playing what ESPN rated the third-toughest schedule
in the country, continue to try to grow.
"The schedule has obviously set us back with our record and
things like that, but I believe it's helping us now, it's going
to help us in a month, it's going to help us next year, and it
gave us great confidence," said Boston College coach Steve
Donahue, who added that his troops remain upbeat.
The loss was Boston College's ninth straight against a ranked
opponent, the last win coming over Florida State on Feb. 8,
Syracuse jumped out to a 16-8 before an 11-2 run got Boston
College its first lead. The Eagles went ahead on their third
straight 3-pointer, the first two by Rahon.
Down by one entering the final five minutes of the half, the
Orange used the hands and feet of Cooney to run off 10 straight
points over a 2:27 span to go ahead by nine. Cooney had three
fast-break slam dunks, two of them off his own steals.
The last slam came with 2:29 left in the half. The Orange then
was outscored 7-0 the rest of the way to take just a two-point
lead into halftime.
NOTES: Syracuse was without C DaJuan Coleman, who has missed all
but three minutes of the past five games due to a bruised knee.
... Boston College C Dennis Clifford, who is battling chronic
knee problems but returned for the previous two games, was a
late scratch with a turned ankle. Eagles freshman F Garland
Owens was limited to a brief appearance because of a turf toe.
... Boston College won the previous two games between the old
Big East rivals, beating Syracuse in the 2004 Big East
tournament and then again in a home game the following season.
... The Orange host Pittsburgh on Saturday. Boston College
visits North Carolina the same day.
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