Syracuse Downs Virginia Tech Without Edelin

Billy Edelin did not play Saturday for the Orangemen. Edelin is out for an indefinite period of time for what SU coach Jim Boeheim called "personal issues not related to basketball or academics." Lucky for, the Orangemen, they did not need him against the Virginia Tech Hokies. The Orangemen (14-3, 4-2) used a solid first-half effort to beat the Hokies (8-10, 1-6), 76-64.

Starting in Edelin's place, freshman Demetris Nichols scored the first four points of the game. It was Nichols's first career start and he did not waste any time getting in the flow. He missed his first shot attempt, but then came right back to hit two shots and give the Orangemen the early lead.

Syracuse did not give up the lead the rest of the game. The lead was as large as 22 points in the first half. Hokies guard Jamon Gordon was the only Virginia Tech player to score in the first ten minutes of the game. But the Hokies rallied in the second half to bring it to 51-45 with 13 minutes to play. From there, Syracuse used an alley oop from Gerry McNamara to Hakim Warrick and a McNamara three to spark a run that sealed the victory.

"The first half was very good," said Boeheim. "In the end, we made plays when we had to."

Gerry McNamara connected on three of six three-point attempts in the first half, and paced the Orangemen with 15 points in the first half. He led all scorers at the end of the night with 26 points, including six three-pointers. Three others scored in double figures for the Orangemen. Junior Hakim Warrick tallied 15, while Nichols and Josh Pace each scored 12.

For Virginia Tech, guard Jamon Gordon led them with 21 points. Senior and Big East leading scorer Bryant Matthews finished with 18 points and five rebounds.

Syracuse snapped its two-game losing streak despite turning the ball over 20 times. Syracuse's two leaders, McNamara and Warrick, had 11 between them.

"Anytime we turn the ball over more than 12 times, that's not our game," said Boeheim.

Next up for the Orangemen is a contest at Connecticut on Monday. UConn is one of the most talented teams in the country. They are led by guard Ben Gordon and center Emeka Okafor. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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