College Park, MD (WBNG Binghamton) Senior Baye Moussa Keita blocked a shot with seven seconds remaining to help Syracuse hold on to defeat Maryland, 57-55, at the Comcast Center on Monday, Feb. 24. The victory snaps the Orange's two-game losing streak and improves its record to 26-2 overall, 13-2 in ACC play.
Freshman Tyler Ennis led Syracuse with 20 points, while senior C.J. Fair finished with 17 points. Fair led the Orange on the boards with nine rebounds, and Keita grabbed eight rebounds to go along with two blocks.
Syracuse equaled its largest lead of the game of 12 when Ennis' basket gave SU a 51-39 lead with 5:45 to play. Maryland (15-13, 7-8) responded with eight unanswered points, five coming from the free throw line, to cut the lead four, 51-47, with 4:35 remaining. Fair halted the run with a three-pointer, but Seth Allen hit his sixth three-pointer of the night to again bring Maryland within four.
Redshirt sophomore Trevor Cooney hit a jumper to put SU up by six at 56-50 before the Terrapins scored five straight points from the free throw line to cut the lead to one, 56-55, with 48 seconds on the clock. Fair missed a jumper and Dez Wells grabbed the rebound, giving Maryland a chance to take the lead. But Keita blocked a shot by Nick Faust with seven seconds remaining and Fair pulled down the rebound. Allen's foul with four seconds left in the game sent Cooney to the free throw line for a one-and-one. He hit the first but missed the second, giving Maryland one final possession with three ticks on the clock.
Following a Terrapins' timeout, Maryland was able to get off a shot, but Allen's three-point attempt was off target and Syracuse held on for the 57-55 victory.
Fair opened the second half with a slam dunk but two straight baskets by Maryland cut Syracuse's lead to six at 34-28. The Orange responded with an 8-2 scoring run that gave SU its largest lead of the game of 12 with 11:46 to play. Ennis had the final seven points of the run. A pair of free throws by Allen halted the run and the Terrapins' scoring drought of more than five minutes to cut the lead to 10. The Orange maintained its double-digit lead before Maryland outscored Syracuse, 16-5, to pull with one, but Cooney's free throw ended SU's scoring drought of 1:54 to seal the victory.
Syracuse used a 15-3 scoring run to erase an early deficit and take the lead for good. Maryland fought back and got within three at 20-17 with 8:02 on the clock, but three straight baskets by the Orange, two from Fair, put Syracuse back up by nine. An Allen three-pointer with 2:38 remaining cut the lead to 28-24 before the Orange scored four straight points, the final three coming on an Ennis' three-pointer with one second on the clock that gave Syracuse a 32-24 halftime lead.
Syracuse shot 40.0 (24-for-60) from the field, while Maryland was 14-for-40 (.350). The Terrapins committed 18 turnovers, which led to 26 points for the Orange.
The Orange returns to action on Saturday, Mar. 1 when it travels to Charlottesville, Va. to face Virginia. The game will feature the top two teams in the ACC standings.
(Courtesy: Syracuse University Athletics)