CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Orange wins ACC opener 49-44 over Miami
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) C.J. Fair scored 15 points, including the go-ahead basket with 4:16 to go, and No. 2 Syracuse rallied late to beat Miami 49-44 on Saturday in the Orange's Atlantic Coast Conference debut.
Syracuse (14-0, 1-0) entered the game as one of seven unbeaten teams remaining in Division I and struggled against Miami (8-6, 0-2), the reigning conference champion. The Hurricanes are the only team in the conference with no returning starters, and they lost their ACC opener 61-60 in overtime to Virginia Tech in early December.
On this day, they gave the Orange a game until the final horn.
Miami, which trailed by four points at halftime, started the second half with a 14-4 run as the Orange missed their first nine shots. Garrius Adams, who led Miami with nine points, and freshman Manu Lecomte hit 3-pointers and Rion Brown hit a jumper from deep in the right corner to stake the Hurricanes to a 35-29 lead with 12:22 left.
Fair scored the Orange's first basket of the half and first in 10 minutes spanning halftime when he drained a 3 from the right corner with 11:08 left.
Syracuse overcame a 25-7 deficit and beat then-No. 8 Villanova by 16 points a week ago, but the Orange struggled to find any rhythm against Miami. With 7:54 left, Trevor Cooney was 2 of 11 from the field, all from 3-point range, easily his worst performance of the season. Cooney entered the game shooting 50 percent from long range (43 of 86), tops in the ACC.
Two free throws by Davon Reed gave Miami a 40-35 lead with 6:11 left before Rakeem Christmas scored twice inside to start a 10-4 Orange run.
Jerami Grant hit a jumper from the free throw jumper, Fair converted a spinning layup in the lane and Tyler Ennis hit a driving layup to give Syracuse a 43-40 lead with 3:19 left.
Miami pulled within a point on a reverse layup by James Kelly, but Ennis scored again, and Cooney and Ennis both hit two free throws in the final minute as the Orange survived.
Cooney finished with 11 points and Ennis had 10 points, seven assists and two turnovers for Syracuse. Forward Dajuan Coleman, who sat out Tuesday's game against Eastern Michigan nursing a sore left knee, dressed and participated in pregame warmups but did not play.
Kelly and Lecomte both finished with eight points for Miami, which finished 7 of 19 from 3-point ranges.
The Hurricanes didn't look like the team that went 0 for 15 from 3-point range in opening the season with an overtime loss to St. Francis Brooklyn, a program that hasn't finished over .500 since 2003-04.
Facing the vaunted Syracuse zone, the Hurricanes were up for the task, hitting 5 of 11 3-point attempts in the first half. Adams and Lecomte hit from long range on successive possessions late in the period and Miami trailed just 25-21 at halftime.