WVU drops fifth-straight

Preston Shumpert scored eight of his 21 points during a key second-half run Saturday as No. 8 Syracuse held off West Virginia, 75-69.

Chris Moss and Jonathan Hargett had 17 points apiece in the Mountaineers'fifth straight loss.

WVU (7-7, 0-3) led early but, with both teams struggling to shoot well, Shumpert hit consecutive three-pointers to give the Orangemen (15-2, 5-0 Big East) the lead for good, 50-48, with 12:54 to play.

That came after West Virginia guard Drew Schifino hit a running three-point bank shot with one second left to tie the game at the half.

Shumpert later capped the 15-0 run with a pair of free throws, making it 57-48 with 11:03 to play. Before the run WVU led by six at one point. Shumpert finished the game 6-of-17 from the field in 39 minutes. He also had a game-high 11 rebounds.

"Both teams struggled shooting tonight," Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. "We got a lot of open looks and the one big run. Towards the end of the game, Preston finally got some open looks."

After Syracuse's 15-0 run, West Virginia fought within four twice, but Keith Duany followed with a jumper for a 59-53 lead with 8:26 left and DeShaun Williams made a layup for a 63-57 edge with 6:11 to go.

Williams and Duany totaled 35 points for Syracuse, which claimed its sixth straight win and took over sole possession of first place in the Big East West Division.

Hargett hit a layup to get the Mountaineers within 64-59 with 5:14 to play, but the freshman also committed two bad fouls and a turnover in the final moments.

Following his layup, Hargett held Shumpert under the basket, leading to a free throw, then threw away a pass on West Virginia's ensuing possession.

Moss sank a pair of free throws with 72 seconds remaining, getting the Mountaineers within 70-65. But Hargett was called for an intentional foul in the frontcourt, giving the Orangemen two free throws and possession.

James Thues made 1-of-2 foul shots and Williams added two more for a commanding 73-65 lead with 53 seconds left.

Syracuse has won five in a row since Boeheim returned to the court following prostate surgery. West Virginia's loss is its fifth straight. The last time the Mountaineers lost five in a row came during the 1999-2000 season when WVU dropped consecutive Big East games to Villanova, Boston College, Miami, Connecticut and Georgetown.

Hargett went just 4-of-18 from the floor -- 2-of-13 from 3-point range -- in 34 minutes. Lionel Armstead had 14 points on 4-of-11 shooting, making only 3-of-10 shots from behind the arc.

"Our shot selection is not good, we're not rebounding off the board and we have too many turnovers," said West Virginia head coach Gale Catlett. "You can't win like that."

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