SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Syracuse was in a zone, and Princeton had
no answer for it.
Burned early by Princeton's motion offense against their
man-to-man defense, the Orange switched to their zone. The Tigers
managed just five free throws over the final 8:41 and No. 6
Syracuse held on for a 56-45 victory in the second round of the
Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Friday night.
"We wasted a lot of time in practice over the last two weeks
playing man-to-man," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "Against
Princeton, we looked like we never practiced it. We felt all along
we would play some zone but felt we could get by a little longer
than we did."
Hakim Warrick had 20 points for Syracuse (2-0), which advanced
to the semifinals at Madison Square Garden next Thursday against
No. 12 Mississippi State. Princeton (1-1), which beat Bucknell
61-48 in the first round, built that early lead and held its own
until the closing minutes.
Syracuse rallied from a 14-5 deficit to lead 28-22 at halftime
and built a 34-24 lead on a three-point play by Warrick with 17:13
That was the Tigers' last field goal against the Syracuse zone.
"We keyed in on defense," said Terrence Roberts, who had eight
points and six rebounds for the Orange despite a sore left knee
injured the previous game. "That was the main thing. We knew we
had to be mentally prepared to play defense."
Josh Pace broke the tie with a runner in the lane and Gerry
McNamara hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to give Syracuse a
47-41 lead with 6:07 left. It was Pace's first points of the game
and McNamara's first basket since the opening minute of play. Pace,
McNamara and center Craig Forth, all starters, combined for only 12
points and Syracuse managed only two fast-break baskets in the
"It's different than the way we've been playing," said
Warrick, who was selected the tournament's MVP. "They really do a
good job of making you work for everything. It was tough not
getting shots and going to the line, but we did a real good job of
keeping our composure."
Nichols had 14 points for the Orange.
Princeton shot 39.5 percent for the game and Syracuse finished
at 42.9 percent.
In the first round, the Orange hit nine of their first 10 shots,
jumped to a 24-0 lead and beat Northern Colorado 104-54. It wasn't
so easy against the Tigers.
After McNamara hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key just 19
seconds into the game, Princeton went 6-for-9 and reeled off a 14-2
spurt while the Orange hit just 2-of-11 shots. Venable had six
points to key the run and Scott Greenman's 3-pointer gave Princeton
a 14-5 lead at 13:10 despite two shot-clock violations.
"We just about put ourselves in position to have a chance o win
the game," first-year Princeton coach Joe Scott said. "Syracuse
couldn't guard us man-to-man, but they have something to go to that
really is their staple. I don't know if there's another team in
America that could have done that to us."