Syracuse's meltdown almost went nuclear. Syracuse had squandered almost all of a 12-point lead in the last six minutes, giving Maryland two chances to win or tie the game in the final seconds. Syracuse, which had won its first 25 games of the season, was looking at the prospect of a three-game losing streak. But even in the face of two losses and a rapidly evaporating double-digit lead, there is a certain confidence born of 25 consecutive victories to open a season. "We knew the pressure was on them because we had the lead,'' Syracuse senior C.J. Fair said. "We never felt that we were going to lose because they still had to score.'' Syracuse survived two Maryland shots in the game's last 10 seconds to hold onto a 57-55 victory here at a sold-out Comcast Center on Monday night. Syracuse (26-2 overall, 13-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) led 51-39 after Tyler Ennis' short jumper with 5:43 remaining in the game. Maryland (15-13, 7-8) outscored Syracuse 16-5 over the next five minutes, coming to within 56-55 in the final seconds. It wasn't until Seth Allen missed an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer that Syracuse was assured of the victory. "We had this game in our hands and nobody wants to lose three in a row,'' Fair said. "We hung in there and we were able to get out of here with a win.'' But Maryland's best chance to knock off the 4th-ranked Orange had come on its previous possession. Fair missed a jumper with 14.6 seconds left and time running out on the 35-second shot-clock. Maryland's Dez Wells pushed the ball upcourt and dished to Nick Faust, who was filling the left lane. Faust went to the basket, but Syracuse center Baye Moussa Keita met him there. Keita blocked Faust's shot with 7 seconds remaining. "I just walled up,'' Keita said, using the term that SU assistant Mike Hopkins uses to get the centers to stand tall and straight when contesting shots. "All the other (foul) calls, they said our hands were down, so I kept my hands up.'' Maryland coach Mark Turgeon thought Keita should have been called for a foul. "I thought Nick (Faust) got fouled,'' Turgeon said, "and the replay showed that.'' For the second time in three days, a Syracuse game came down to a bang-bang play on the left side of the basket. On Saturday night, Syracuse lost to Duke when C.J. Fair was called for a charging foul with 10 seconds remaining. His basket would have tied the game, but it was waved off. After earning his first career ejection arguing the call at Duke, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim wasn't going to listen to any discussion about the non-call on Keita. "First of all, let me just tell you this,'' Boeheim said. "They shot 27 free throws. If anyone's going to complain about the officiating, I'm going to complain, and I think I did enough of that Saturday. I don't think I have to do that.''
Orange escapes with 57-55 win over Maryland to end two-game losing streak
Syracuse.com | Feb 25