SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- When Syracuse pulled a switcheroo on
Manhattan, the Jaspers were lost.
The Orangemen (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP), whose tough 2-3 zone defense helped
them win the national championship last season, changed to a stiff
man-to-man in the second half Wednesday night and rallied behind
Billy Edelin for a 69-63 victory after trailing by eight points at
In the first half against Syracuse's sluggish zone, Manhattan
used the strong inside game of Jason Benton, who made all six of
his shots, and the all-around play of Luis Flores, who had 15
points, to take a 42-34 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Jaspers sputtered, managing only two
baskets by little-used Guy Ngarndi in the final 7:40 as they
struggled to find open shots.
"When you think Syracuse, you think 2-3 zone," said Edelin,
who scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half. "I think they
were coming in thinking that that's what they were going to go up
against. When we went man, it threw a monkey wrench in what they
were trying to do. It made things tough for them."
Indeed. Benton did not take a shot in the second half and made
only two free throws, and Flores managed only seven points on
2-for-9 shooting playing against Edelin and Josh Pace.
"It was a gamble," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "We gave
up 42 points in the first half, so I figured we weren't going to do
any worse. We were either going to win the game or lose by 15. Our
zone wasn't good tonight. We just stood around."
It was the fourth straight victory for Syracuse (4-1) and the
Orangemen's second win over Manhattan (3-2) in 2003. They beat the
Jaspers 76-65 in the first round of the NCAA East Regional in
March. But the Jaspers were within 61-56 with 6:57 left in that
one, and this time the Orangemen didn't have Carmelo Anthony.
"I thought we battled," Manhattan coach Bobby Gonzalez said.
"We could have stolen this game. We knew they were going to turn
it up in the second half. We weathered it, we battled with them.
I'm a little disappointed."
Dave Holmes had 12 points and nine rebounds for Manhattan.
Syracuse shot 51.1 percent from the field and finished with a
37-26 rebounding edge but committed 22 turnovers.
Edelin, held to three points in only nine minutes in the first
half, came alive early in the second. He hit a floater along the
baseline, then converted his second steal of the game into a layup
as Syracuse scored the first eight points to tie the game at 42.
"The 8-0 run really hurt us," Flores said. "It put our backs
against the wall, and we weren't able to respond. When the game was
hanging in the balance, we were not able to grasp the momentum and
emotion of the game.'
Edelin's layup with 13:53 to go gave him 10 points in the period
and the Orangemen a 50-48 lead.
"Billy got aggressive in the second half and got to the
basket," Boeheim said. "This was a game you could lose very
Ngarndi hit a jumper from the top of the key to move Manhattan
within 57-54 with 7:40 left. McNamara hit a wide-open 3 from the
left wing 25 seconds later, and then the Syracuse defense really
clamped down. The Jaspers did not score another basket until
Ngarndi made one with 15 seconds left.
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