With the win, the Orangemen earned their 20th victory of the 2003-04 campaign. It is SU's 26th 20-win season in head coach Jim Boeheim's 28 years at SU. Boeheim trails only Dean Smith (30) and Jerry Tarkanian (29) for the most 20-win campaigns all-time.
The Orange moved into fourth place in the BIG EAST Conference standings. The top four teams in the league earn byes in the first round the BIG EAST Conference Championship, which begins on March 10.
Warrick was 9-of-11 from the free-throw line and also contributed a game-high 10 rebounds. Sophomore Gerry McNamara scored 14 points, including four threes. McNamara now has 83 treys in 2003-04, tying Matt Roe for third on the Orangemen's all-time single-season three-point field goals made ledger. McNamara now is five three's behind Preston Shumpert who holds SU's single-season mark with 88 triples in 2001-02. Junior Josh Pace added 13 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. The Orangemen are 21-3 when Pace scores 10-or-more points in a game.
D'or Fischer led the Mountaineers with a career-best 19 points. He also added eight rebounds and three blocked shots. Tyrone Sally contributed 12 points for West Virginia.
Syracuse held an early 13-9 lead versus West Virginia as McNamara and junior Craig Forth combined to score nine of SU's first 13 points. West Virginia's three-point shooting kept the Orange from pulling away halfway into the first period. Back-to-back triples by Patrick Beilein and Kevin Pittsnogle put the Mountaineers ahead, 15-13, with 8:05 left in the first period. After a three-point play by Pittsnogle, the Orangemen used an 11-4 run to take a 26-22 advantage at 3:17. Warrick and Pace each had four points during the stretch. A three by West Virginia's Tyrone Sally pulled the Mountaineers within one, but two Warrick free throws and field goals by Pace increased the SU lead to 30-25. The Mountaineers scored the last four points of the opening period, including a running jumper by Jonathan Curran to make the score 30-29 at the break.
SU notched the first five points of the second half to extend its lead to six, at the 18:56. D'or Fischer recorded the next six West Virginia points to get the Mountaineers within three, but a bucket by Forth and layup on a steal of the ensuing inbounds pass by Pace put SU in front by seven, 42-35. Another Pace field goal gave SU a nine-point advantage. McNamara drilled his final three of the game with 6:59 left on the clock to put SU ahead by 11, 53-42. The Mountaineers whittled SU's margin to five, 57-52, with 2:53 to play, but the Orangemen held West Virginia scoreless the rest of the way to earn the triumph.
West Virginia was the fourth consecutive opponent the Orange has held to fewer than 60 points. SU has limited six foes to less than 60 markers this season and are 6-0 in those games. SU's defense held West Virginia, to 5-of-28 from three-point range (.179) and the Orangemen outrebounded the Mountaineers, 40-26.
Syracuse will close out the regular season versus #7/8 Connecticut in the Carrier Dome on Sunday, March 7 at 2:00 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on CBS.
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