Miami (Fla.) vs Syracuse

Fair helps Orange rally past Canes in ACC opener wire reports

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Jim Boeheim won his first game in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He likely won't rest easy any time soon, though.

C.J. Fair scored 15 points, including the go-ahead basket with 4:16 to go, and No. 2 Syracuse rallied late to beat Miami 49-44 on Saturday in the Orange's ACC debut.

Syracuse trailed 35-29 nearing the midpoint of the second half of a slow-paced game that featured just three fast-break points -- a 3-pointer by Syracuse's Trevor Cooney in the first five minutes of play. But with the sharpshooting Cooney suffering through his worst shooting performance of the season, the Orange found a way to prevail in the end by going inside against Miami's matchup zone.

"When you get into league play, you're going to have games like this," Boeheim said. "It's not easy. We're going to see this a lot."

Syracuse (14-0, 1-0) entered the game as one of seven unbeaten teams remaining in Division I and struggled against Miami (8-6, 0-2), the reigning conference champion. The Hurricanes are the only team in the conference with no returning starters, and they lost their ACC opener 61-60 in overtime to Virginia Tech in early December.

On this day, they gave the Orange a game right until the end.

A long jumper from the right corner by Rion Brown gave Miami a 35-29 lead with 12:22 remaining and the Hurricanes were executing coach Jim Larranaga's game plan nicely, taking time off the clock and preventing the Orange from scoring inside.

"They had a real solid matchup zone and we couldn't really get anything going," Fair said. "They got good shots working the shot clock down and made us work on defense. It's tough playing defense that long."

Still, Syracuse managed to slowly chip away at the lead. Fair's 3 from the right corner at 11:08 was the Orange's first basket of the second half and narrowed the deficit to 35-32. After two free throws by Davon Reed gave Miami a 40-35 lead, Rakeem Christmas scored twice inside -- on a putback and lefty hook in the lane -- to start a decisive 10-4 Orange run.

"When we got down, we just wanted to go back out there and be stronger, make big plays," Christmas said. "It got our team going and we turned up our defense from there. We just came together as a team."

Jerami Grant hit a jumper from the free throw line, Fair converted a spinning layup in the lane and Tyler Ennis hit a driving layup to give Syracuse a 43-40 lead with 3:19 left.

Syracuse overcame a 25-7 deficit and beat then-No. 8 Villanova by 16 points a week ago, but the Orange struggled to find any rhythm against Miami. With 7:54 left, Cooney was 2 of 11 from the field, all from 3-point range. He entered the game shooting 50 percent from long range (43 of 86), tops in the ACC.

"I got open 3s, they just didn't fall," said Cooney, who finished 2 of 12. "It's tough. You just have to hang strong. It was great to see us hang in there."

Miami pulled within 43-42 on a reverse layup by James Kelly with 2:15 left, but Ennis scored again inside, and Cooney and Ennis both hit two free throws in the final minute as the Orange prevailed.

"We got a little spread out in the zone," Brown said. "We were so worried about the shooters they got in the lane a couple of times and got some easy layups. We deviated from the game plan just a couple of plays and it showed."

Miami, which trailed by four points at halftime, started the second half with a 14-4 run as the Orange missed their first nine shots. Garrius Adams, who led Miami with nine points, and freshman Manu Lecomte hit 3-pointers and Brown hit a jumper from deep in the right corner to key the surge.

"The tempo was what we wanted. We needed to keep them on defense," Larranaga said. "Time of possession was very important, almost like a football game. Defensively, we wanted to keep them on the perimeter, and that's the one disappointing part for us. Overall, we had a good defensive game plan and executed it pretty well, but at the end they got some interior baskets and that really hurt us."

Cooney finished with 11 points and Ennis had 10 points, seven assists and two turnovers for Syracuse. Forward Dajuan Coleman, who sat out Tuesday's game against Eastern Michigan nursing a sore left knee, dressed and participated in pregame warmups but did not play.

Kelly and Lecomte both finished with eight points for Miami, which finished 7 of 19 from 3-point range.

The Hurricanes didn't look like the team that went 0 for 15 from 3-point range in opening the season with an overtime loss to St. Francis Brooklyn, a program that hasn't finished over .500 since 2003-04.

Facing the vaunted Syracuse zone, the Hurricanes were up for the task, hitting 5 of 11 3-point attempts in the first half. Adams and Lecomte hit from long range on successive possessions late in the period and Miami trailed just 25-21 at halftime.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
C.J. Fair puts Syracuse ahead for good with 4:16 to go as the Orange successfully rally past the defending ACC champion Canes. (USATSI)
C.J. Fair puts Syracuse ahead for good with 4:16 to go as the Orange successfully rally past the defending ACC champion Canes. (USATSI)
Miami (Fla.) (8-6)212344
Syracuse #2 (14-0) «252449
MIAMI:G. Adams 9 Pts
MIAMI:G. Adams 5 Reb
MIAMI:G. Adams 4 Ast
CUSE:C. Fair 15 Pts
CUSE:R. Christmas 7 Reb
CUSE:T. Ennis 7 Ast

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Miami (Fla.)Syracuse
Garrius Adams
C.J. Fair
Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes
G. Adams, G363-80-05419
R. Brown, G353-90-04417
D. Kirk, F301-30-04132
J. Kelly, F284-50-03118
D. Reed, G201-32-20115
M. Lecomte, G253-60-00018
T. Jekiri, C182-51-23225
E. Swoope, F50-10-00000
R. Akpejiori, F30-00-01010
J. Heller, GDid Not Play
S. Sorenson, GDid Not Play
D. Burnett, GDid Not Play
C. Elder, GDid Not Play
M. Fernandez, GDid Not Play
Totals 17-403-420131144
Syracuse Orange
C. Fair, F406-142-261215
T. Cooney, G392-125-600111
T. Ennis, G394-72-217410
J. Grant, F382-71-25105
R. Christmas, F283-52-27018
B. Keita, C120-20-02010
M. Gbinije, F40-00-00120
R. DeRemer, GDid Not Play
N. Hart, GDid Not Play
A. Nassar, FDid Not Play
D. Coleman, FDid Not Play
B. Johnson, FDid Not Play
C. Obokoh, CDid Not Play
R. Patterson, GDid Not Play
T. Roberson, FDid Not Play
Totals 17-4712-1421101149
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N. Carolina14-433-75
Florida St.12-626-914
Notre Dame12-626-1023
Va. Tech10-822-1148
Miami (Fla.)10-821-1242
Wake Forest9-919-1439
Georgia Tech8-1021-16106
NC State4-1415-17141
Boston College2-169-23219
Other games
NEB 53 Final
CINCY 69 Final
IAST 73 Final
WASH 62 Final
MIST 73 Final
IND 56
UCONN 65 Final
SMU 74
RICH 58 Final
FLA 67
DUKE 77 Final
ND 79
OKST 71 Final
KSU 74
LBSU 59 Final
LOU 83 Final
RUT 76
UMOH 65 Final
UOP 64 Final