SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- When Syracuse guard Gerry McNamara glanced
up at the scoreboard midway through the second half, Boston College
was suddenly in a heap of trouble.
McNamara scored 13 points in less than 5 minutes after the
Eagles had erased all but six points of a 22-point deficit, and the
Orangemen (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 17 AP) ran away to a 96-73 victory Saturday.
"I just got a little upset," said McNamara, who had 26 points
and seven assists. "I figured it was time to get hot or die
It was the 664th win for Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, tying him
with former UCLA mentor John Wooden for 19th on the all-time list.
Syracuse (11-1, 2-0 Big East) shot 70.4 percent in the first
half and used a 21-0 run to build what appeared to be a commanding
lead, but the Eagles refused to give up.
Craig Smith scored eight of his 27 points and freshman Sean
Marshall drained two 3-pointers to lead them back.
Marshall's third 3 of the game pulled BC to 61-55 midway through
the period, and when McNamara missed from the top of the key and
again on a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions, the Eagles seemed
poised to continue their impressive comeback.
Then, just like that, all hope vanished. McNamara exploded for
three of his six 3-pointers in the game and hit a long jumper off a
screen by Hakim Warrick in less than 3 minutes as Syracuse went on
a 21-6 surge to take an 82-61 lead with 4:25 left.
"He's like a cow, and you have to keep milking him," said
Warrick, who finished with 19 points. "To get it (the lead) back
up there I think says a lot about this team."
And a lot about the Eagles.
Ryan Sidney, their No. 2 rebounder and No. 3 scorer last year,
left the team last summer for personal reasons and Andrew Bryant, a
valuable reserve, was dismissed in August because of academics.
That, plus the loss of top scorer Troy Bell to the NBA, has forced
coach Al Skinner to rely heavily on freshmen.
"Our inexperience showed when we put ourselves in positions
that they took full advantage of," Skinner said. "Our intention
was not to lose McNamara, but that again is our youth. We got back
in the game and we forgot (about him)."
The game was on the verge of becoming a rout after Syracuse held
the Eagles scoreless for 7:07 during that first-half run.
Smith got the ball repeatedly inside and scored 10 points as the
Eagles matched the Orangemen shot for shot in the opening minutes.
But after his rebound basket at 10:22 tied the game at 19, the
Orangemen stepped up the defensive intensity and BC didn't' score
again until Steve Hailey hit two free throws with 3:15 left.
BC began the game 7-of-14 from the field, then shot 3-for-13
over the final 11 minutes of the first half as the Orangemen
switched defenses, nabbing seven steals and getting six blocked
shots in building a 49-29 halftime lead.
"Everyone thought it was over at halftime, but these games are
never over. It could have gone either way," Boeheim said. "But
it's a good win for us and good to start out the conference on a
Freshman Jared Dudley was 11-for-11 from the foul line and
finished with 15 points, while Marshall added 15 points and Uka
Agbai had 12 for the Eagles.