Posted at: 02/24/2014 9:34 PM
No. 4 Syracuse blew most of a 12-point lead in the last 8 minutes and used one final defensive stop to squeeze past Maryland 57-55 on Monday night and end a two-game losing streak.
It was another close call for the Orange (26-2, 13-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), whose previous four games were decided by a total of 12 points. Syracuse led 49-37 with 7:54 left but allowed Maryland to close to 56-55 with 47 seconds remaining.
After C.J. Fair missed a jumper for the Orange, Baye Moussa Keita blocked a driving layup by Nick Faust to keep Syracuse in front. Trevor Cooney was fouled and made one of two free throws with 4 seconds to go before Maryland's Seth Allen's game-ending jumper bounded off the back of the rim.
Tyler Ennis scored 20 points and Fair had 17 to help Orange coach Jim Boeheim secure his 946th career victory.
After opening the season with 25 straight wins, Syracuse dropped successive games to Boston College and Duke to lose its stature as the nation's top-ranked team. Saturday's game at Duke was decided by a pivotal call in the final seconds that caused Boeheim to storm the court, receive two technical fouls and an automatic ejection.
In this one, Boeheim was relatively calm on the sideline as the Orange forced 18 turnovers and limited Maryland (15-13, 7-8) to 35 percent shooting.
Allen scored 22 points for the Terps. He was 6 for 9 from beyond the arc, but his teammates combined to go 2 for 13.
It was the first sellout of the season at Maryland, which does not have traditional rivals Duke or North Carolina on the home schedule during its final season in the ACC. The crowd of 17,950 lost much of its enthusiasm during a stretch in which the Terrapins went scoreless for nearly 5 minutes in the second half while Syracuse upped its lead to double figures.
Ennis, a 6-foot-2 freshman, made a 3-pointer and two baskets in an 8-2 spree that put Syracuse up 42-30. After the Terps closed to 44-37, Michael Gbinije popped a 3, Faust botched a dunk on the other end and Ennis hit a jumper for a 49-37 lead.
It barely held up.
Syracuse shot 50 percent and Ennis drilled a 3-pointer just before the buzzer for a 32-24 halftime advantage.
After a steal by Dez Wells set up a dunk by Charles Mitchell to put Maryland ahead 5-3, the Orange got four points apiece from Fair and Jerami Grant in a 15-3 run that made it 18-8. At that point, Syracuse was 8 for 12 from the field and the Terrapins were 3 for 13.
A 3-pointer by Allen capped a 9-2 spurt that got Maryland to 20-17 before the Orange rattled off three straight baskets. The Terrapins were still in it, though, despite missing 12 of 17 shots and committing nine turnovers.
With 4:55 left, Fair picked up his third foul and hit the bench for the remainder of the half after scoring 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting.