For at least two days, however, all concerns have been put to rest as the much maligned Syracuse offense, in hiding since mid-January, finally made its presence felt...in a big way.
The No. 25 Orangemen (16-5, 6-4) scored a season-high 54 first half points on 72 percent shooting and stretched their lead to as many as 25 in the second half as it cruised to a 91-74 victory over the Miami Hurricanes (3-8, 13-12).
The win snaps the Orange's three-game road losing skid and ties them for fourth in the Big East Conference with Seton Hall. It is the first time the Orangemen have scored 90 or more points since a 96-73 win against Boston College on Jan. 10, a span of eight games.
"It was the first time in a long time that we played like that," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "We took care of the ball and got good shots and we made them which makes the game a lot easier. This was a good win."
With the game tied at 20 with 13 minutes to play in the first half, Syracuse went on a 25-4 run in the next nine minutes, extending its lead to 21 at the break. At one point, the Hurricanes were held scoreless for nine minutes.
The Orangemen shot 62 percent from the floor for the game, outscored Miami 38-12 in the paint, and had 22 assists. They committed just seven turnovers.
Hakim Warrick led the rejuvenated attack, scoring 21 points on 9-of-9 shooting from the floor in the half. He finished with 27 points on a Syracuse record 11-of-11 shooting from the floor in 35 minutes of work.
Warrick, who tore through the Hurricane zone with ease the entire game, made his present felt above the rim, connecting on five dunks in the first half, forcing a Miami timeout after he took off from outside the lane and threw the ball down over Miami's William Frisby with 31 seconds to play.
"It was crazy, I saw G-Mac coming and I knew he would give it to me," said Warrick, who added seven boards and five assists. "I had some easy baskets around the rim and that helped get me going."
Orange guard Gerry McNamara, who had scored a combined 28 points in his last three games on a dismal 8-of-37 shooting from the floor, reverted to old form, scoring 23 points of 8-of-12 shooting. McNamara, who was 1-of-12 from 3-point range in Syracuse's win at Miami in 2003, was 5-of-7 from behind the arc.
When the Hurricanes pulled to within 65-52 with 13 minutes to play in the second half, it was McNamara who had an answer, connecting on back-to-back threes in a 42-second span and sparking an 11-2 Orange run to put the game out of reach.
Josh Pace had a team-high four steals to go along with his 13 points and Jeremy McNeil continued his solid play off the bench with 10 points.
Frisby led four Hurricanes in double figures with 16 points. Guillermo Diaz pitched in with 13 and Darius Rice, who was forced to leave the game after re-aggravating a right foot injury, finished with 14 points, all coming in the first half. The Hurricanes have lost seven straight.
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