Blacksburg, VA (WBNG Binghamton) A 16-0 run that lasted more than eight minutes in the second half allowed #2/2 Syracuse to pull away and beat Virginia Tech, 72-52, on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at Cassell Coliseum.
With the Orange (15-0, 2-0 ACC) ahead 44-40 just over five minutes into the second half, SU scored 16 unanswered points over the next 8:28 to extend its lead to 60-40 over the Hokies (8-6, 1-1 ACC). Senior C.J. Fair and freshman Tyler Ennis each scored six points while sophomore Jerami Grant added four during the stretch. Syracuse's lead never dipped below 18 for the remainder of the contest.
The win marks the third time in the last four years that the Orange begins the season with 15 straight wins.
Grant posted his second career double-double with 12 points and matched his career-high with 10 rebounds. Fair was the game-high scorer with 17 points, with 12 of them coming in the second half.
Ennis contributed 13 points and seven assists while redshirt sophomore Trevor Cooney had 11 points. Senior Baye Moussa Keita pulled down a season-best nine rebounds, including five on the offensive glass.
Cooney started the scoring with basket from long range, but that was quickly answered by consecutive trifectas from Jarell Eddie and Ben Emelogu to give the Hokies a 6-3 edge. Virginia Tech maintained the lead until Syracuse tallied eight unanswered points, sparking a 22-7 run to break open the game and take a 27-15 lead with 8:06 to go in the half.
A short 7-1 spurt by the hosts pulled the Hokies within 28-22 with just over six minutes remaining. The teams exchanged points for the rest of the half with the Orange advantage bouncing between seven and nine until Virginia Tech's Adam Smith connected on his third three with 1:12 left as SU took a 35-29 lead into the locker room.
After SU built a 10-point margin early in the second half, C.J. Barksdale scored six straight for Virginia Tech to close the gap to 42-35. Eddie hit another three followed by jumper from Emelogu to get the Hokies within 44-40 before SU pulled away with the 16-0 run to seal the victory.
Syracuse outshot the hosts 46.7-percent (28-60) to 36.7-percent (18-49) and converted more than 50-percent of its shots in the second half, including 45.5-percent (5-11) from three-point range. The Orange also controlled the glass, 41-25, with 17 on the offensive end leading to 15 second chance points.
Barksdale's 12 points provided a team-best effort for the Hokies. Emelogu and Smith both chipped in with nine points.
SU returns to campus for a date with rv/rv North Carolina on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 12 p.m.
(Courtesy: SU Athletics)