Syracuse (11-2), which won its eighth straight, has not lost
since Devendorf replaced McCroskey in the starting lineup a month
ago. On this night, they worked well together as the Orange used a
balanced attack and pounded the ball inside repeatedly against the
Golden Flashes (6-5). Syracuse scored 52 points in the paint.
Devendorf finished with 16 points and Gerry McNamara had 10
points and 12 assists, his fourth double-double of the season, also
matching his career high for assists, and Demetris Nichols had 10
Syracuse blew its seven-point halftime lead in the first two
minutes of the second half, missing three times and committing a
turnover. The Golden Flashes took advantage, getting a goaltending
call against Darryl Watkins, two free throws by Omni Smith, and a
fast-break layup by Haynes to make it 37-36 at 18:06.
Any hopes of an upset disappeared in a flash as the Orange
responded with a 10-0 run to take command. McCroskey scored on a
layup off an inbounds pass, then hit a spinning layup off a feed
from McNamara to give the Orange a five-point edge.
Devendorf's scoop shot, a driving layup by Roberts, and a layup
off the glass by McCroskey, who switched hands in midair, made it
47-36 at 14:37.
McNamara completed his eighth career double-double when he hit a
3 from the top of the key to give the Orange a 61-48 lead with 8:06
The first half was tied three times, the last coming after
Haynes hit a long 3 to make it 17-17 midway through the period.
Roberts and McNamara then keyed a 15-6 Syracuse run that gave the
Orange a nice cushion.
McNamara began it with his 29th steal of the season and 221st of
his career, which moved him past Pearl Washington into fourth place
all-time at Syracuse. That led to two free throws by Devendorf, and
McNamara followed that with an alley-oop pass to Roberts for a
thunderous slam dunk.
After Roberts converted twice more from in close, McNamara hit 3
from the top of the key and then fed Watkins for another slam dunk
to give Syracuse a 32-23 lead with 5:14 left.
Mike Scott hit a midrange jumper with just under a minute to
play and Haynes made a runner in the lane with 1.5 seconds left to
bring the Golden Flashes within 37-30 at halftime.