SU Wraps Up Home Slate With 67-62 Setback
March 5, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – On Senior Night in the Carrier Dome, #7/7 Syracuse came up short against Georgia Tech, falling 67-62 on Tuesday, March 4.
With Georgia Tech (14-16, 5-12 ACC) holding a 59-47 lead at the 5:06 mark of the closing half, Syracuse (26-4, 13-4 ACC) outscored the Yellow Jackets 12-2 during a 4:30-span to pull within 61-59 with just 36 seconds to play. The Orange never had a chance to even the score as Trae Golden hit all six of his free throws in the final 35 seconds to put the game away.
SU welcomed 26,766 fans to the Dome for the final home contest of the campaign - and in the process - officially clinching the NCAA average attendance crown for the 2013-14 season. The Orange averaged 26,253 fans in 18 home dates.
In his last game at the Dome, Senior C.J. Fair led all players, tying his career high of 28 points, which he set in the thrilling overtime victory against Duke on Feb. 1. Fair was an efficient 12-of-25 (48%) and corralled eight rebounds. Freshman Tyler Ennis contributed 18 points and seven assists while junior Rakeem Christmas put forth a solid defensive effort with 10 rebounds and four blocks.
Trailing by eight at intermission, the Orange was able to cut their deficit in half less than just over two minutes into the second following a Fair jumper to make it 35-31. That would be the closest SU would get until under two minutes as an 11-3 run erased Syracuse's efforts and gave the Yellow Jackets a 46-34 advantage with 13:20 remaining.
Georgia Tech maintained its double-digit margin, pushing it as high as 54-41 with 7:38 left and still held a 12-point advantage with 5:06 left. SU tallied the next seven points on two baskets by Fair sandwiched around a floater by Ennis to climb within 59-54 just over two minutes later. Following a dunk by Daniel Miller, redshirt sophomore Trevor Cooney hit his first three of the game and sophomore Michael Gbinije converted a layup to close the gap to 61-59.
Four straight free throws by Golden pushed the Yellow Jacket lead back up to six, 65-59 with 25 seconds on the clock, but a trifecta by Fair six seconds later gave the Orange one last chance. Golden sunk two more from the line and SU came up empty on a pair of three-point attempts in the final 10 seconds.
The first eight minutes of the game saw both squads battling back-and-forth with four ties and four lead changes paving the way for an 11-11 score. Georgia Tech went on to score the next five points and never trailed again.
Another five-point spurt allowed the Yellow Jackets to increase their margin to 21-14 left in the opening 20-minutes. Both teams traded buckets for the remainder of the half with the Georgia Tech taking a 31-23 lead into the break. Ennis scored Syracuse's last nine points of the frame to keep the Orange close. However, a three-point play Kammeon Holsey with 29 seconds to go pushed the visitors' lead back up to eight.
Georgia Tech outshot Syracuse 47.1-percent (24-51) to 39.1-percent (25-64) from the floor and held an eight-point advantage from the charity stripe, going 15-21 compared to 7-of-16 for the Orange.
Despite winning the points off turnovers (13-7) and second chance points (11-5) battles, Syracuse was no match for Georgia Tech's bench, which contributed 17 points to the Orange's four.
Golden was one of three players to score in double-figures for the visitors, finishing with a team-best 16 points. Daniel Miller recorded 15 points, six rebounds and six blocks and Robert Carter Jr. had 12 points and a team-high nine boards.
Syracuse concludes its regular-season schedule at Florida State on Sunday, March 9 at 2 p.m.