PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Josh Pace coughed up the ball against
the Providence press on consecutive plays. Then he made sure his
turnovers didn't cost Syracuse the game.
Pace hit the final two baskets and the seventh-ranked Orange
held on to beat Providence 75-71 on Saturday after the Friars took
advantage of his mistakes to erase most of a 14-point deficit.
"Josh Pace is our most efficient player," Syracuse coach Jim
Boeheim said. "He made a couple of turnovers he doesn't usually
make, but he made up for it with the clock winding down."
Pace scored 14 points and Hakim Warrick had 25 points, 12
rebounds and a key steal with 3.3 seconds left to help Syracuse
(17-1, 4-0 Big East) win its 10th straight game.
Dwight Brewington had 21 points and eight rebounds for
Providence while shooting 4-for-14 from 3-point range and Ryan
Gomes, who averages 21 points, had just 14.
Providence (9-7, 0-3) fell to 0-3 against ranked teams and lost
its third straight since the start of conference play despite
leading No. 13 Boston College in the final 5 minutes and taking
Villanova into overtime.
"I can put my head in the sand and say, 'Woe is me,' but no one
cares," Providence coach Tim Welsh said. "We've got to get going
quickly. I see some light but it's not bright enough, yet."
Syracuse led by 14 points early in the second half and still led
67-63 with 2:43 left before DeSean White's basket cut the deficit
to two points. Providence pressured Pace into a turnover in the
backcourt and Tukka Kotti came away with the ball.
White hit one of two free throws, making it a one-point game,
before Kotti again stole the ball from Pace. But Kotti couldn't
handle a pass underneath and Pace converted at the other end to
extend the Friars' lead to 69-66 with 1:22 left.
Providence cut it to one point again when Gomes rebounded
Brewington's missed 3 and made his second attempt at a putback.
Pace again extended the lead to three points, driving to the
basket before pulling up on the side of the lane and hitting a
one-hander with 23 seconds left.
"We took their best shot," Syracuse guard Gerry McNamara said.
"They hit some big shots down the stretch to get them back in the
game, but we maintained our composure. This is the Big East, and we
know everyone is tough on their home court."
Brewington missed another 3 and Warrick got the rebound, forcing
Providence to foul McNamara with 9.4 seconds left. After missing
the first free throw, McNamara made the second to make it 72-68.
Brewington was fouled on his way to the basket and completed the
three-point play to cut the deficit to one point with 4.1 seconds
left. But McNamara made both free throws with 3.3 seconds left to
make it 74-71, and Warrick pulled down White's errant inbounds pass
He was fouled and made the second of two free throws to make it
McNamara drew the attention of the Providence defense and dished
off eight assists but scored just 10 points.
Donnie McGrath was 1-for-12 from the field as the Friars shot
just 41 percent compared to 59 percent for the Orange.