The Syracuse Orange scored on their opening possession, getting on the board first.
But. the University of Detroit Mercy Titans would hang with them early on before the Orange extended out to a 19-point lead at the half, 40-21.
Syracuse kept separation from Detroit in the second half, with their largest lead of the match coming with 9:30 remaining, when Syracuse went up by 22 off of two made free throws from freshman forward Jerami Grant.
However, that lead dwindled down to three points on three separate occasions within the final 29 seconds.
Sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams five made free throws in six opportunities were the advantage that the Orange needed to secure head coach Jim Boeheim's 900th career victory, winning 72-68.
Here is how each position looked as well as the team overall in Boeheim's milestone win:
Carter-Williams came into the contest on an eight-game streak of having at least nine assists.
At the half against Detroit, he had already made seven assists.
Carter-Williams finished the game with 10 assists, giving him nine-consecutive games with at least nine assists.
But, Carter-Williams also had trouble keeping possession, making six turnovers against the Titans. This marks the third time in 10 games this season that Carter-Williams has had six turnovers.
He has had three or more turnovers in eight of Syracuse's 10 matches.
The sophomore guard also struggled from the field, missing five of his six tries, making one of his four attempts from long range as his only made field goal of the game.
Carter-Williams worked to combat these mistakes and misfires while at the free throw line. Despite the Orange as a whole not shooting well from the charity stripe (22-for-32, 68.8%), Carter-Williams made nine of his 10 attempts.
Senior guard Brandon Triche's streak of consecutive games scoring in double-digits ended in this match. Versus Detroit, he amounted seven points, completing his streak of double-digit point outings at nine this season.
Like Carter-Williams, Triche had a poor shooting game, also going 1-for-6.
The majority of his points, thus, like Carter-Williams as well, came at the free throw line, where he made five of his nine attempts.
Triche added to the backcourt woes with three turnovers of his own.
Redshirt-sophomore Trevor Cooney was coming off a game in which he played six minutes and failed to score against Canisius.
He prevented going scoreless once again when he took the ball in transition all the way toward the rim, elevating for a one-handed make off the backboard. Cooney made the free throw that follow for an old-fashioned three-point play.
Overall, Cooney shot 1-for-3, missing both attempts that he took from long range.
As a backcourt, Syracuse shot 3-for-15 and committed 10 turnovers, but did aid the offense with 11 total assists.
Senior James Southerland led Syracuse in scoring for the second straight game. After amounting 21 points against Canisius, Southerland scored 22 versus Detroit.
He has scored 57 points among Syracuse's last three games.
Southerland, asked to step up this season, has scored in double-digits in seven of the team's 10 match-ups, attaining more than 20 points in four of those seven games.
After shooting 3-for-14 between the Eastern Michigan and Long Beach State games, Southerland has gone 22-for-37 within the last three matches, making almost 60% of his tries.
Southerland also got involved on the boards with an offensive rebound to go with three defensively. He now has a rebound on the offensive and defensive side in each of Syracuse's 10 games.
The senior forward was the only Orange player of nine to not turn the ball over.
He had the most complete game of any Syracuse player as well, with a steal, two blocks, and two assists to go with his 22 points and four rebounds.
Freshman forward Jerami Grant only made one field goal in the game, but it made a statement. When Grant elevated for a dunk and finished with an old-fashioned three-point play.
His tenacity cannot be understated, as he also attained a block on the defensive end.
Junior forward C.J. Fair played close to the rim in this match, making four of his seven attempts, which were all inside the arc.
He grabbed six rebounds, five defensively and one on offense, equaling his exact output against Canisius.
Fair's contributions on the defensive glass and on the boards overall were second only to sophomore forward Rakeem Christmas.
Christmas led the team in both defensive rebounds (6) and total rebounds (8).
One of his two rebounds on the offensive end, showed his strength as Christmas reached out to grab the ball one-handed and assisted Southerland on his fifth made three of the game.
He also negated one of Detroit's shots, giving him at least one block in all 10 of Syracuse's games this season.
Junior center Baye Keita once again made his contributions count, getting four points by the basket, making both of his high-percentage attempts. Those four points came up big for Syracuse when the match grew closer within the final minute.
Defensively, he blocked two shots, tying Southereland to lead the team, and took away another Detroit possession off of his steal.
Freshman center DaJuan Coleman got involved in many different areas of the match. He scored four points, attained a block, a steal, and grabbed four rebounds.
Coleman's two rebounds on both the offensive and defensive ends marked nine straight games in which he has attained a rebound on both sides of the court.
Overall on offense:
Syracuse and Detroit switched shooting percentages almost exactly between the first and second halves. In the first half, the Orange made 55.6% of their shots (15-for-27), while the Titans connected 34.5% of theirs (10-for-29). During the latter half, Syracuse made 35% of their attempts from the field (7-for-20), whereas Detroit made 58.1% of their tries (18-for-31).
From long range, the Orange and Titans also switched places, with Syracuse connecting in the first half (6-for-10), but not in the second half (0-for-6), while Detroit failed to make any deep tries in the opening half (0-for-10) before scoring from long range in the latter half (3-for-8).
At the charity stripe, the Orange resided under 70% for the fifth time in 10 games (68.8%).
Despite Syracuse's poor shooting from the line, outside of Carter-Williams 9-for-10 performance, the Orange allowed 20 less free throw attempts to the Titans.
This would prove beneficial with Detroit shooting well from the line, making nine of their 12 opportunities.
Syracuse did not record as many assists as Detroit, 15 to 19, losing in the assist category for only the second time in 10 games. The only other match where the Orange attained less assists than their opponent came against the Tigers of Princeton.
The Orange did lead the Titans in another category, but it is not something to boast of. Syracuse had 18 turnovers to Detroit's 11.
This was only the third time in 10 games that the Orange committed more turnovers than their opponent. The other two opponents who had less turnovers than Syracuse in their matches with the Orange were San Diego State (16 to 18) and Arkansas (14 to 19).
On the offensive glass, the Orange slightly edged the Titans, 14 to 13.
Overall on defense:
Syracuse also grabbed more rebounds on the defensive glass, 20 to 15.
Overall, the Orange led the Titans in total team rebounds, 34 to 28.
Syracuse has led all but one opponent, Canisius, in total rebounds in their 10 matches.
The Orange did lose in head-to-head steals, with the Titans getting three more takeaways, nine to six. Syracuse came up short of only two of their nine other opponents this season in the category of steals, with 12 to San Diego State's 14 and eight to Arkansas' 10.
Syracuse negated more shots than Detroit, seven to two, marking the 10th time in 10 games that the Orange have achieved more blocks than their adversaries.
The Orange continue their play in the Chevrolet Gotham Classic with their third match-up of the event coming on Saturday, December 22nd, at Noon Eastern against the Temple Owls.
This will be the first and only match in the Chevrolet Gotham Classic that Syracuse will play away from the Carrier Dome. But facing the Owls at Madison Square Garden, Syracuse's home-away-from-home, is sure to be reminiscent of a home game.