Syracuse 77

(15-2, 3-0 Big East)

(25) Cincinnati 58

(13-4, 2-2 Big East)

    8:00 PM ET, January 14, 2006

    Fifth Third Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio

    1 2 T
    SYR 34 4377
    #25CIN 34 2458

    Top Performers

    Syracuse: G. McNamara 29 Pts, 4 Reb, 6 Ast

    Cincinnati: J. White 16 Pts, 2 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    No. 24 Syracuse smashes Cincy for 12th straight win

    CINCINNATI (AP) -- Gerry McNamara cut the small-in-number Bearcats down to size.

    McNamara scored 29 points, and Demetris Nichols started a second-half surge that carried Syracuse (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today; unranked AP) to its 12th straight win Saturday night, 77-58 over depleted Cincinnati (unranked ESPN/USA Today; No. 25 AP).

    The Orange (15-2, 3-0 Big East) trailed most of the first half, when Cincinnati's starting lineup held its own with the help of a freshman tight end fresh off the football roster. It wasn't nearly enough.

    The Bearcats (13-4, 2-2) were dominated in the second half, unable to keep up with a balanced and deep Syracuse attack led by McNamara. The senior guard was 7-of-10 from the field for 22 points after halftime.

    "When Gerry gets going like that, it's disheartening," coach Jim Boeheim said. "He can pull up and make it from anywhere inside the half court."

    McNamara, who made seven 3-pointers in a win at Notre Dame on Wednesday, went 5-of-9 from behind the arc during his sixth 20-point game of the season. Nichols added 16 points and made a pair of jumpers that started the second-half surge that left the Bearcats discouraged.

    "In the second half, we came out with our uniforms on but left our hearts in the locker room," Cincinnati power forward Eric Hicks said glumly.

    James White scored 16 points for Cincinnati, which got outrebounded 51-27 and shot 33 percent from the field.

    "This team has worked extremely hard in the last two months to earn credibility," coach Andy Kennedy said. "I hope they did not lose that credibility in the last two hours."

    The Bearcats had little time to adjust to the loss of 6-foot-8 forward Armein Kirkland, their tallest starter and one of their best defenders. Kirkland tore a knee ligament on Monday night, leaving the already short-handed Bearcats without enough players to practice 5-on-5.

    Kennedy invited football players to try out for the team on Wednesday. Freshman tight end Connor Barwin showed up and, after only three practices, was in a Big East game.

    The 6-foot-4 blocker-turned-rebounder didn't have his name on the back of his No. 51 uniform when he got into the game with 5:07 left in the first half, drawing an ovation. Fifty-two seconds later, he was at the line for a free throw -- he missed off the back of the rim.

    He got his first rebound with 18 seconds left in the half, got fouled and got a standing ovation for making both free throws. Nichols turned that moment into the final highlight for Cincinnati.

    Nichols' 3-pointer at the buzzer tied it 34-all at halftime and silenced the Bearcats' first capacity crowd in 13 home games, the fallout from coach Bob Huggins' ouster in August.

    Cincinnati led most of the first half with intense defense and a gritty performance by White, who played all 20 minutes and scored 14 points. His driving bank shot gave the Bearcats their biggest lead, 23-17.

    Kennedy stayed with his starters for the first 8 minutes, a sign of the lack of depth that started to take its toll at the opening of the second half.

    "I know the loss of Armein is going to impact the team," Kennedy said. "I refuse to allow that to be an obstacle we cannot overcome. I refuse to allow these kids to say, "Well, what could have been?' It's my job to continue to try to find a way."

    Nichols made three jumpers in a 10-point run that put Syracuse up 44-37, its biggest lead to that point. Orange guard Eric Devendorf got his fourth foul during the spurt, forcing McNamara to assume a bigger role.

    No problem. McNamara hit consecutive 3s from the top of the key, and Nichols made a three-point play off a drive to the basket as Syracuse challenged the Bearcats' depleted front line.

    McNamara made a pair of free throws and another 3 from the top of the key during a spurt that put Syracuse in control at 66-51.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 77 58
    FG Made-Attempted 29-63 (.460) 19-57 (.333)
    3P Made-Attempted 6-17 (.353) 4-19 (.211)
    FT Made-Attempted 13-18 (.722) 16-26 (.615)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 19 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 19 6

    2005-06 Season

    » Jan 14, 2006 SYR 77, @CIN 58Recap
    Feb 15, 2006 CIN 82, @SYR 65Recap
    Mar 8, 2006 SYR 74, @CIN 73Recap