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McNamara's 23 key Orange

1/7/2004

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Elijah Ingram had an off-night for St. John's. Good thing for the Syracuse Orangemen.

With Ingram, the Red Storm's leading scorer, missing all but one
of his 12 shots on Wednesday night, Syracuse (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 17 AP) built a
13-point lead in the second half and rode Gerry McNamara's hot hand
to a 65-59 victory in the Big East opener for both teams.

The Orangemen (10-1) won for the 10th straight time, but it
certainly wasn't easy. They committed 17 turnovers, managed only 10
assists, were victimized for nine steals, and allowed 17
second-chance points, and coach Jim Boeheim played all five
starters the entire second half.

"Any game is tough in the Big East, especially when you play a
team like St. John's, how hard they play," said McNamara, who
scored 14 of his 23 points over the final 11 minutes. "You're
going to turn the ball over, they're going to get some steals.

"We're going to have to get some more guys in. Coach said that
after the game," McNamara said. "He just challenged a lot of guys
-- you'd better be ready. It's just a matter of time before that
next two or three people come in ready to go."

Grady Reynolds led St. John's (4-7) with 13 points and 13
rebounds, while Daryll Hill had 12 points and five assists, and
Kyle Cuffe had 12 points. Ingram, averaging 13.9 points a game,
scored only three points.

Hakim Warrick had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Billy Edelin had 13
points, and Josh Pace had eight points and seven rebounds for the
Orangemen.

Syracuse held St. John's without a field goal for nearly 8
minutes -- from a dunk by Reynolds with 6:42 left in the first half
until he converted an alley-oop at 18:20 of the second -- and still
led only 32-28.

"I was extremely proud of our team," said interim head coach
Kevin Clark, who dropped to 2-3 since taking over last month after
Mike Jarvis was abruptly fired. "They came into a difficult
environment to play in. There were times where we had lulls, but

Syracuse also made big plays at key junctures."

Leading by just four points, Warrick fed Craig Forth for a layup
to begin a 10-3 spurt that gave Syracuse a 42-31 lead with 13:30 to
go.

And after Cuffe's tip-in brought the Red Storm within 44-36
nearly 2 minutes later, McNamara hit a 3-pointer and six free
throws and fed Warrick for a slam dunk to give Syracuse a 57-45
lead with 7:43 left.

"He's tough," said Andre Stanley, who scored all eight of his
points in the second half. "We tried everything, but it's hard
with a shooter like that. He got hot and nailed us with a tough one
near the end."

Still, the Red Storm weren't finished. A 3-pointer by Ingram,
two baskets by Stanley and a pullup jumper by Hill closed the gap
to 58-51 at 3:34.

But McNamara hit a 3 from the left wing off a handoff from Pace for a 61-53 lead with 2:30 left.

The Orangemen managed to hold on, giving Ingram that sinking
feeling.

"When the game was over I told everyone it was my fault,"
Ingram said. "If I played just a little bit better, we would have
won."