Updated at: 12/29/2012 7:37 PM
By JOHN KEKIS
(AP) SYRACUSE, N.Y. - C.J. Fair scored 13 points, Trevor Cooney added 12, all in the second half to key a late surge, and No. 9 Syracuse beat Alcorn State 57-36 on Saturday night in the final game of the Gotham Classic.
It was the 901st win for Orange coach Jim Boeheim, one behind Bob Knight for second place all-time among Division I men’s coaches. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski leads with 939 wins.
Syracuse (11-1), coming off an 83-79 loss to Temple at Madison Square Garden a week ago, increased its home winning streak to 31 games, longest in the nation. Alcorn State (2-13), which was late arriving because of the weather, dropped to 0-9 on the road in losing its ninth straight.
Freshman Dajuan Coleman had eight points and six rebounds, while James Southerland and Brandon Triche, the Orange’s top two scorers, finished a combined 2 for 13 shooting for eight points. Michael Carter-Williams, who had only six assists against Temple, breaking a five-game streak in which he had registered at least 10, again finished with six to boost his season total to 119.
Marquiz Baker, who had averaged 25.7 in three games since returning from a knee injury that had sidelined him since November of 2011, finished with 15 points and LeAntwan Luckett had 11 to lead the Braves.
Syracuse finished 3 of 15 from behind the arc and 12 of 28 on free throws, a second straight lackluster performance in both. The Orange also shot 21 of 56 (37.5 percent) for the game.
Syracuse led by 16 at halftime, and it was a struggle to get there. The Orange were 12 of 33 from the floor, including 1 of 9 as they continued its woeful long-range shooting. The Orange were 2 of 12 in the loss to Temple and were shooting 33 percent for the season from behind the arc.
The Braves weren’t much better, going 1 of 8 on 3-pointers. Alcorn State also was called for two shot-clock violations and committed 17 turnovers as Syracuse pressed a good portion of the opening period.
After Baker’s baseline runner at the shot-clock buzzer gave Alcorn State a 6-4 lead, Syracuse went on a sloppy 19-4 run to take control. After Carter-Williams passed to Southerland for a 3-pointer and an 11-6 lead, Southerland committed a foul, Cooney missed a 3, and Jerami Grant missed twice.
No problem. The Braves committed two straight turnovers and were called for a shot-clock violation.
After Grant completed a three-point play to boost the lead to 19-10 midway through the period, both teams continued their bumbling play.
Baker hit a 3 after the shot clock expired and the Braves were then called for two fouls and lost the ball twice. At the other end, Triche missed and Southerland was way off the mark on a 3 before the Orange lost the ball out of bounds.
Coleman’s hook shot at the buzzer gave Syracuse a 32-16 lead at the break. Then the Orange went into a real funk in the second half, missing their first nine shots. That gave Alcorn State a chance to get back in it, and the Braves capitalized.
Baker scored eight straight points _ a pair of 3s and a steal and layup _ and a reverse layup by Stephane Raquil moved the Braves within 36-29 with 11:58 left.
The Orange were still searching for their first basket of the half, and Cooney finally broke through with a 3 at 11:20, the ball squirted to him in the left corner off the right foot of Triche. Southerland then passed to Fair for a dunk and the Orange moved back in front by 12 points as they went on a 19-5 spurt.
Cooney followed with a pair of driving layups and nailed a quick 3 from the right corner in a four-minute span to give Syracuse a 19-point cushion with 4:46 left.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)