McNamara Nets 23 As SU Wins Conference Opener

Sophomore guard Gerry McNamara scored a game-high 23 points to lead #17/19 Syracuse to a 65-59 win over St. John's in both teams conference opener at the Carrier Dome on Wednesday night.<br><br>

With the win, Syracuse picked up its 10th straight victory of the season and are now 10-1. St. John's falls to 4-7.t.

McNamara hit 16 of his 23 points in the second half to lead the Orange. He was 6-of-15 from the floor. He was also 8-for-8 from the free-throw line. It marked the fifth consecutive game he has hit at least three three-pointers. .

St. John's went on an 11-3 run with 7:43 left in the game to cut into the Syracuse lead. McNamara answered with a three to give SU an eight-point cushion. The Red Storm got within five points again, 64-59 on a three-point basket by Kyle Cuffe with 28 seconds left, but that's the closest they would get.t.

Head coach Jim Boeheim played his entire starting five throughout the second half.t.

"In the beginning of the conference season, I always try to see if we can go to the veterans for a while," Boeheim said. "I told some of the young guys we're going to use some guys Saturday and Monday. We're just going to have to throw them out there. I just haven't felt they've played very well in games or at practice. If they were playing better at practice, I'd have a little different feeling about playing them. I know we're going to be in close games, like this Saturday, and we can't afford somebody going in there and making two or three mistakes and taking two or three bad shots. That said, we're going to try and play some guys in the next couple of games and they're going to have to sink or swim now. We've waited as long as we can on them and we're going to need to rest people a little bit."t.

St. John's put together an 8-1 run and led 17-11 with 14:07 left in the first half. McNamara hit a three to end the run and two field goals each from Hakim Warrick and Josh Pace cut the St. John's led to 23-22 at 9:36. With the game tied at 26, Syracuse closed the half on a 6-0 run to take a 32-26 lead at the break.t.

In the second half, a jumper by Pace at the 14:26 mark gave SU a 10-point edge and the Orangemen took their biggest lead of the contest when McNamara was fouled shooting a triple. He drained all three foul shots to give SU a 53-40 lead at 8:59.t.

Warrick had18 points and 11 rebounds and sophomore Billy Edelin had 13 points. Junior Craig Forth grabbed 11 rebounds, one short of his career high, and and also tallied six blocks.t.

St. John's was led by Grady Reynolds, who posted 13 points and 13 rebounds. Kyle Cuffe and Daryll Hill added 12 points each. The Red Storm bench outscored SU's 16-0, with Stanley and Lamont Hamilton notching eight points apiece.t.

The Orange defense held St. John's leading scorer Elijah Ingram to three points on just one field goal. He entered the contest averaging 13.9 points per outing.t.

It was the fourth straight conference opening victory for SU. The Orangemen are 18-7 all-time in BIG EAST openers and 10-4 when they open the league slate at home.t.

With Boston College, the Orange's final home game before they take the road, Boeheim is not pleased with his team.t.

"Am I happy right now with the way we're playing," asked Boeheim. "No, not at all. It's either the defense, the rebounding, the turnovers, or some area that we're just not doing. We started out in the second half with four-straight possessions where we should have scored and we got zero points. We're not playing good."

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