Pittsburgh, PA (WBNG Binghamton) Freshman Tyler Ennis hit a shot from two steps inside the half court line at the buzzer to give #1/1 Syracuse a 58-56 win at #25/23 Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at the Petersen Events Center.
After Syracuse knotted the game at 45-45, Pittsburgh scored nine of the next 12 points to go ahead 54-48 with just 1:56 remaining in the game. Senior C.J. Fair tallied the next five points and Ennis converted two free throws with 10 seconds left to give the Orange a 55-54 lead - its first since 8-6. A pair of free throws from Talib Zanna on the other end of the floor put the Panthers back on top with four seconds left. But Ennis took the inbounds, dribbled up the court and launched the near-half court shot to win.
With the victory, Syracuse (24-0, 11-0 ACC) not only extended its record for wins to start a season, but also set a program-record with 24 straight wins. For the Panthers (20-5, 8-4 ACC), it was the team's first loss in 10 tries against top-five opponents in the Petersen Events Center.
Fair led SU with 14 points and pulled down four rebounds. Ennis added 13 points and five assists. Redshirt sophomore Trevor Cooney was the only other Orange man in double figures with 11 points.
A tightly contested first half featured six ties and three lead changes. Neither team was able to pull away in the first 10 minutes until four straight points gave Pittsburgh a 14-10 edge. The Orange responded with a pair of free throws each by sophomores Jerami Grant and Michael Gbinije to tie the score back up at 14-14.
Over the next five minutes the Panthers put together a 10-3 run to take their largest advantage of the first at 24-17. However, the Syracuse defense clamped down and didn't allow another Pitt basket for the final 4:29 while ending the half on a 7-3 spurt to close the gap to 27-24.
After Ennis cut SU's deficit to just one a minute into the second half with two free throws, Pittsburgh extended its margin to 37-28 following a 7-0 run. A three by redshirt sophomore Trevor Cooney helped the Orange counter with seven unanswered points of their own with 13 minutes left.
Syracuse continued to keep it close during the next six minutes, staying within five points. It wasn't until another three by Cooney that SU tied the game at 45-45.
Despite Syracuse outshooting Pittsburgh 42.9-percent (18-42) to 36.0-percent (18-50), the Panthers were able to grow and maintain a lead for most of the game by crashing the offensive boards. Pitt outrebounded SU 35-24, including a 16-6 advantage on the offensive glass which yielded a 15-3 edge in second chance points.
Talib Zanna posted a double-double with game highs of 16 points and 14 rebounds. Lamar Patterson joined him in double-figures with 14 points.
The Orange return home for an ACC game with NC State on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 3 p.m.
(Courtesy: Syracuse University Athletics)