Syracuse Beats Colgate, 68-55

For 30 minutes of play Saturday, family fun night for 23,342 fans at the dome wasn't so fun. For 30 minutes, the high-powered Syracuse Orange, ranked third in the latest Associate Press poll, could not shake the stingy Colgate Raiders. For 30 minutes, a rivalry, which was born in 1901 and devoid of real drama since the ‘60s, was alive and well.

Tied at 44 with 10 minutes to play, the Orange finally woke up, outscoring Colgate 24-11, overcoming its sluggish play to escape with the hard-fought 68-55 win, their 39th straight in the series. Syracuse defeated the Raiders 101-63 last season.

"I don't want to overlook Colgate because they deserve the credit," Orange coach Jim Boeheim said. "They were patient on offense, had good guard play, and had good movement. We didn't guard anybody in the low post or on the perimeter.

"We have a long way to go," he added. "I think we had a couple fool's gold games against teams that were supposed to be good, but aren't."

Frustration was as evident on the faces of a stunned Orange crowd as it was for the players as they came out of the locker room to start the second half. As Syracuse set up to begin on defense, Guard Gerry McNamara turned to Warrick and said "no more of this."

For the first 10 minutes of the second, though, there was more of the same, as the two teams traded baskets. Syracuse opened the half with full-court pressure, but could not rattle the Raider ball-handlers. Colgate guard Jon Simon outshined his counterpart McNamara, scoring 12 of his 18 in the second half.

McNamara, slowed by asthma in the first half, finished with 12 points on 3-of-10 shooting in 35 minutes. He did, however, contribute six assists.

"We played so poor and I don't see much to holler about," said McNamara. "I'm upset. We're a veteran team, and we should've jumped on them."

The Orange was in need of a spark with 10 minutes to go. They turned to sophomore Terrence Roberts. Roberts' dunk on an assist from McNamara started a 10-0 run that stretched the lead to 54-44. The Orange extended their zone beyond the three-point line, and their aggressive press forced two turnovers. The Orange scored 23 points on 16 Raider turnovers.

Roberts would score six of the Orange's 10 points during the run, with Warrick adding an above-the-rim dunk, and Josh Pace with his patented running jumper in the lane. Warrick was 10-of-14 from the field, and hit his first 3-pointer of the season with 11:21 to play in the first.

It was Roberts who delivered the game's exclamation point, bringing the crowd to its feet with 25 seconds to play with a rim-rattling dunk that stretched the Syracuse lead to 68-55. He finished with a career-high 13 points and notched eight rebounds, three coming on the offensive end.

"The month of December is always a learning experience," said Roberts, who played 15 minutes in the second half, 31 for the game. "I feel confident that I can be the guy to give us a spark, whether on offense, or defense."

The win was a sigh of relief for Syracuse (7-0), who may have been caught looking ahead to Tuesday's showdown at Madison Square Garden with the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Syracuse hit just three of their first 10 shots. An ineffective man defense forced the Orange into playing a zone, leaving many open looks for the Raider guards.

Despite outscoring the Raiders 20-8 in the paint and 8-0 on fast breaks, Syracuse could muster just a 31-29 lead at the half. Syracuse's troubles shooting in the first half, 42 percent Saturday, is nothing new. In four of its six games this season, Syracuse had shot under 43 percent in the first half, highlighted by a season-low 25 percent against Mississippi State.

"We came out so flat, and they did a good job running their offense," said Warrick, who had a game-high 23 points and nine rebounds. "This was a real step back for us."

Colgate forward Andrew Zidar showcased his mid-range game in the first, scoring 10 of his 12 points in the first half. It was Zidar's 3-pointer with 2:57 to play in the first that cut the Orange lead to 26-24. Zidar was 1-of-5 from the free throw line in the first.

"Hopefully, we'll be able to bounce back," McNamara said. "Oklahoma State embarrassed a team today. We're on our way to being embarrassed Tuesday night. If we play like we did tonight, we'll be in for a rude awakening."

The seventh-ranked Cowboys (5-0), Syracuse's opponent in Tuesday's Jimmy V Classic, held Washington State to just 29 points on 22 percent shooting in an 81-29 rout earlier in the day.

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