7:00 PM ET, February 12, 2014
Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Back in late summer, when football was in full swing and Syracuse's C.J. Fair was getting set for his senior season in basketball, he figured the Orange would field a pretty decent team despite the loss of three stars."I knew we'd have a good team at the end of the year, but in the summertime I didn't think we'd be the No. 1 team in the country," Fair said.That's exactly what the unbeaten Orange are -- the unanimous No. 1 for the second straight week. Syracuse is on a school-record-tying 23-game winning streak atop the Atlantic Coast Conference at 10-0, but that perch seems a bit precarious with a daunting schedule looming.Next up is a game at No. 25 Pittsburgh (20-4, 8-3) inside the rowdy Petersen Events Center on Wednesday night.The venue and a thin roster make it likely the biggest challenge so far for Syracuse, which barely held off the Panthers 59-54 at home in mid-January before a Carrier Dome crowd of more than 30,000.Syracuse remained one of two unbeatens in Division I with a 57-44 victory over Clemson at home on Sunday night.But Orange coach Jim Boeheim had to make some adjustments after backup center Baye Moussa Keita suffered a right knee injury late in the first half and starting center Rakeem Christmas picked up his fourth foul early in the second.That led to an unusual lineup with 6-foot-8 Jerami Grant at center. He did OK and the Orange pulled away in the closing minutes of what had been a tight, slow-paced game, something the Orange have dealt with almost the entire season."Every game we have in this league is difficult," Boeheim said. "We've been in tough games. We know it will be tough. We like to run, but people are going to do what they've been doing. We can't force tempo if someone wants to do this (slow the pace)."The status of the 6-10 Keita for the Pitt game is unknown. It won't matter. Pitt will do what it always does no matter who's in the game for Syracuse."You gotta get fouls on them," said Pitt coach Jamie Dixon, who has had great success against the Orange, stopping double-digit Syracuse winning streaks twice in the past four years."I don't think it'll change a lot of what we do. Unless we get foul trouble on their starting center, it won't really change too many things."The Panthers are coming off a double-overtime victory over Virginia Tech at home, where they've suddenly become somewhat vulnerable.They lost consecutive games to Duke and Virginia before the win over the Hokies, and that was a struggle against the ACC's cellar-dweller, which is 1-10 in the league."You don't want to lose to teams you're supposed to beat," Lamar Patterson said. "This team just figured out a way to grind it out and that shows big growth. That will be helpful down the line once it is tournament time."Pitt has some lineup concerns, too: Talib Zanna has a sore ankle and Patterson a sore thumb."You don't play great every game, but we played well at the end," Dixon said. "I thought we showed a lot of character, and that's most important."The Orange's late-game character was on display in the first meeting between the teams. Freshman point guard Tyler Ennis scored twice on driving layups and made two free throws in the final two minutes to rescue Syracuse."I am real confident," Patterson said. "We want another shot at them because we let one go there. It is going to be a fun game."
|Avg Points Allowed||59.5||62.4|
Tyler Ennis has been incredible in the clutch. In the last 5 minutes of the 2nd half and overtime in 1-possession games, he's scoring 1.94 points per play with 6 assists and 0 turnovers. That's far and away better than any of the other top freshmen -- Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle.[+]
Last 5:00 of 2nd Half/OT in 1-Possession Games - Notable Freshmen This Season
Tyler Ennis had only made 1 field goal in the 2nd half prior to his game-winning 3-pointer from halfcourt...and it was a layup with 13:57 left. He had only made 2 total field goals prior to that shot.
Pittsburgh's offensive-rebounding percentage (47%) was the second-highest allowed by Syracuse this season. Syracuse scored three second-chance points Wednesday, and was held to two second-chance points in its first meeting with Pittsburgh on Jan. 18. The Orange have scored at least eight second-chance points in every other game this season.[+]
Tyler Ennis does not make mistakes when the game is on the line. In 1-possession games (when the score is within 3 points) in the final 5 minutes of the 2nd half and overtime this season, Ennis is now 8-for-9 on field goals, including the game-winning 3-pointer against Pitt, and 14-for-14 on free throws, including 2 clutch free throws against Pitt. He also has 6 assists and no turnovers in those situations.[+]
Final 5:00 of 2nd Half/OT This Season - Tyler Ennis in 1-Possession Games
According to KenPom.com's win probability calculator and assuming this was a toss-up game before it started, Pitt had a 97.7% chance of winning when leading 54-48 after Talib Zanna's putback basket with 1:56 remaining.
Talib Zanna's tip-in with 1:56 remaining gave Pittsburgh a six-point lead. Syracuse outscored the Panthers 10-2 the rest of the way, not missing from the field (3-of-3) or the free throw line (2-of-2).[+]
Final 1:56 - Wednesday
Syracuse's Tyler Ennis turned the ball over with 3:17 left in the 2nd half tonight, his 1st turnover with under 5:00 left in the 2nd half all season. Ennis entered the game with 20 assists and 0 turnovers in the final 5 minutes of the 2nd half and overtime.
That was the first game-tying/go-ahead field-goal attempt Tyler Ennis has attempted in the final minute of a game. In the final 5 minutes of the 2nd half and overtime on plays in which Syracuse has a chance to tie the game or take the lead, Ennis is now 4-for-4 on field goals, including the game-winning 3-pointer against Pittsburgh, and 8-for-8 on free throws, including 2 clutch free throws against Pitt. He also has 4 assists and no turnovers in those situations.[+]
Final 5:00 of 2nd Half/OT This Season - Tyler Ennis Game-Tying/Go-Ahead Plays
In one-possession games (when the score is within 3 points) in the final 5 minutes of the 2nd half and overtime this season, Ennis is now 8-of-9 from the field, including the game-winning 3-point field goal as time expired against Pittsburgh, and 14-of-14 from the free-throw line.[+]
Tyler Ennis in 1-Possession Games - Final 5:00 of 2nd Half/OT, This Season
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