SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Jim Boeheim breathed a sigh of relief when
it was over. With the season winding down, he didn't need anything
hanging over his head.
Hakim Warrick scored a career-high 36 points in his final home
game and Boeheim notched his 700th victory when No. 15 Syracuse
overwhelmed Providence in the second half for a 91-66 victory
"This week has been tough for everybody just to get through,"
said Boeheim, the sixth active coach to reach 700 wins and the 18th
overall. "When you have to win a couple of games, I think there's
more of a pressure situation than anything, just to get 700 out of
the way, not having to keep that going for another week. That was a
huge relief for me. It was great to get this all done at once."
Boeheim, in his 29th year at Syracuse, saluted the Carrier Dome
crowd of 32,804 from center court, held up a team jersey with
"Boeheim 700" emblazoned on the back, and was presented with a
huge banner sporting the autographs of thousands of adoring fans.
"I could have done without that," Boeheim said. "You have to
do that because that's what people expect. I want the players to
get all the credit. I just look at these kinds of things as a
distraction. One of my jobs is to keep distractions to a minimum.
Anything I can eliminate, that's what I want to do.
"That doesn't mean I'm not proud. It's a private feeling," he
said. "I've seen too many people where their focus changes and
they don't do the same things that they always did."
It was the second straight win for Syracuse (24-5, 11-4 Big
East) and the worst loss of the season for tough-luck Providence
(12-16, 2-12), which has dropped eight conference games by five
points or less.
Gerry McNamara had 14 points and 10 assists for his second
career double-double, Terrence Roberts had 14 points and 10
rebounds, and Josh Pace finished with 11 points for the Orange, who
shot 68 percent (17-for-25) in the second half.
Ryan Gomes had 21 points and four assists, freshman center
Randall Hanke had a career-high 17 points and Rob McKiver finished
with 11 points for the Friars. Donnie McGrath, who had 15 points in
a double-overtime loss to Connecticut two weeks ago and came into
the game averaging 10 points a game, played 40 minutes and did not
Warrick hit two free throws and hammered home one of his seven
dunks in the game to give Syracuse an 18-6 lead less than seven
minutes into the game, and Boeheim's milestone victory seemed a
sure thing with the huge crowd roaring.
But Providence began to press and forced the Orange into 10
turnovers to rally back. Hanke scored 10 of his 14 first-half
points in just over four minutes, his follow shot bringing the
Friars within 22-21 with 8:54 to go.
Syracuse led 40-36 at the break and overcame the Friars' press
with a 14-3 run midway through the second half.
"We didn't want to give up any easy layups," said Hanke, who
picked up his fourth foul less than three minutes into the second
half and went to the bench. "It was a careless mistake on me. I
shouldn't have been as aggressive."
After Gomes converted a three-point play and hit a jumper in the
lane to move Providence within 62-57 with 11:50 to go, Craig Forth
hit a follow shot, Warrick made two free throws, and Louie
McCroskey slammed home a fast-break dunk to put the Orange up by 11
"It's a catch-22. You want to play aggressive, but sometimes
that can hurt you at the end of games because you lose something
with your foot speed," said Providence coach Tim Welsh, a former
assistant under Boeheim. "But give them credit, they had a hop in
their step. When you've got big-time players that have been
champions, they know the setting, the stage, what it meant for the
seniors and what it meant for Jim."
After Gomes drained a 3 from the left corner, McNamara hit two
3-pointers and fed Warrick for a layup to give Syracuse a 76-60
lead with 7:31 left.
"I couldn't ask for a better ending to my career. It's just a
great way to go out," said Warrick, who moved ahead of Stephen
Thompson into fifth place all-time at Syracuse with 1,958 points.
"It was icing on the cake to go out there and be a part of that.
That's something special, something that's going to go down in
Syracuse outrebounded Providence 41-28, finished with 24
assists, scored 60 points in the paint, and had 30 fast-break
points to just six for the Friars.
At halftime, Syracuse retired the No. 19 once worn by Wilmeth
Sadat-Singh, who came to Syracuse on a basketball scholarship but
went on to become one of the first black quarterbacks in college