Syracuse survives ACC road test at Miami with balance

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Jerami Grant led a balanced scoring effort with 15 points.  (USATSI)
Jerami Grant led Syracuse's balanced scoring with 15 points. (USATSI)

Syracuse let an 18-point first half lead disappear, but held on late to beat Miami on the road and improve to 19-0 on the season.

An early 28-6 lead disappeared as the Orange froze in the first half. The Hurricanes were able to slowly chip away at the deficit while Syracuse was scoreless for six minutes of gametime. By the time Jerami Grant finally ended the slide with a dunk, Miami had all of the confidence that it needed to pull an upset.

Miami held a 47-46 lead at the under-eight minute timeout thanks to a strong second half from Davon Reed; the Hurricanes leading scorer with 16 points on 5-for-8 shooting off the bench, but Tyler Ennis guided the Orange offense in the final minutes to retake the lead and secure the 64-52 win.

Miami held a second half lead in the first meeting between these two teams, as the Orange needed a C.J. Fair-led rally to win 49-44 in the Carrier Dome earlier this month. The Hurricanes' matchup zone dictated the pace in that game and forced Syracuse into a poor shooting day (36.2 percent). Saturday's game was not expected to be a breeze -- especially considering it was only the team's fourth true road game all year and third true road contest outside the state of New York, so survival was the word of the day for the Orange.

Survival was possible thanks to a balanced effort from the leaders of this Orange team. Fair led all scorers with 15 points and seven rebounds while Jerami Grant added 14 points and eight rebounds in an aggressive performance that resulted in a team-high 12 free throw attempts. Throw in Tyler Ennis' game management (and 14 points) and three well-timed three-pointers from Trevor Cooney and you've got a well-rounded performance from the ACC's most impressive team.

There will likely be a game that Syracuse loses at some point this season, but it is becoming harder to pick against the Orange because of how many different issues they present. Any game could feature a dominant performance from any combination of Ennis, Fair or Grant. That balance has allowed the team to survive in these close games and squeeze out just enough offense against strong defensive foes like Miami.

 
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