Tyler Ennis steps up in the clutch as Syracuse survives 'war' vs. Pitt

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Tyler Ennis scored six points int he final two minutes to help Syracuse remain undefeated.  (USATSI)
Tyler Ennis scored six points int he final two minutes to help Syracuse remain undefeated. (USATSI)

After the game, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim described his team's 59-54 victory against Pittsburgh as "a war" and likened the contest to an old Big East showdown.

The ACC standings were the stakes of the game, but Boeheim was right: there was a throwback feel to this first ACC edition of Pitt-Cuse in the Carrier Dome.

Tyler Ennis was tremendous down the stretch, scoring six of his team-high 16 points in the final two minutes. While the offense ran through C.J. Fair for the most part, "Tyler, the Creator" stepped up with a couple big layups and free throws when Pittsburgh took a three-point lead with less than five minutes to play. For the second straight game, the freshman point guard played all 40 minutes for the Orange.

"He made some of the best plays I've seen in a long time," Boeheim said after the game in reference to Tyler Ennis, adding that the point guard "won the game for us."

Syracuse now gets a week off before returning to action next Saturday afternoon at Miami, then the team faces Wake Forest on the following Wednesday in Winston-Salem. Two winnable games before the marquee meeting with Duke on Feb. 1 in the Carrier Dome.

With the "war" against Pittsburgh in the rearview mirror, Syracuse's biggest enemy becomes focus. The Orange should be able to win its next two games, ranked No. 2 (or No. 1) in the country at 20-0 when the Blue Devils come to town. But too much focus on that game, and not the team's first back-to-back road games of the season, could result in the end of this lengthy winning streak.

Syracuse has been victorious, but not necessarily spectacular, every time on the floor this season. Being one of the last three undefeated teams in Division I requires a little bit of luck and the ability to win ugly. Often, such accomplishments coincide with strong point guard play. If Tyler Ennis' recent play continues after a week off, he belongs in the conversation not only for the best freshman in the ACC, but all Division I.

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