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No. 1 SU loses second straight game

The Orange fell to No. 5 Duke in a controversial ending.

Syracuse was on top of the college basketball world after a 25-0 start to the season and No. 1 ranking. Now the Orange (25-2, 12-2 ACC) are amid a two-game losing streak and facing a drop in the polls after a 66-60 loss at Duke (22-6, 11-4 ACC) Saturday.

A rematch of one of the best games of the year lacked the offensive firepower of the first contest at the Carrier Dome. The Orange shot just 38.7 percent, hitting 24-of-62 field goals. The Blue Devils hit 47.9 percent of their shots, but were relatively quiet from three-point range, hitting 7-of-21 shots from beyond the arc.

Both teams were carried by its pair of star forwards. Jabari Parker led the Blue Devils with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Rodney Hood, who relentlessly attacked the middle of Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, chipped in with 13 points and seven boards. For the Orange, Jerami Grant had 17 points and eight rebounds, while C.J. Fair had 12 points and seven rebounds.

Syracuse jumped out to a 17-8 lead in the first 8:05 of the game, but went cold the rest of the half and was tied with Duke at 26 at the midway point. Michael Gbinije, playing at Cameron Indoor Stadium for the first time since transferring from Duke, kept the Orange in control with two three-pointers. He finished with eight points.

In the second half, though, the scoring picked up. Quinn Cook gave Duke a lift with two key threes. First, he hit a deep shot with 12:06 left to give the Blue Devils a 39-38 lead. Then, he extended Duke’s lead to 51-45 with another three at the 7:48 mark.

Syracuse also had to deal with foul trouble to its frontcourt. The Orange enjoyed added depth with the return of Baye Moussa Keita, who played extended minutes after playing just two minutes in his initial return from injury Wednesday against Boston College. Keita contributed on the glass, grabbing a team-high nine rebounds, eight coming on the offensive end. But he was limited by three first half fouls. Rakeem Christmas had two fouls in the first half, but picked up two more early in the second, forcing Syracuse to play with a smaller lineup for a stretch.

The Orange stayed within striking distance throughout, but the game ultimately turned in the final ten seconds. With Syracuse down 60-58, Fair drove baseline and hit a lay-up, but Hood drew a charge on Fair, giving Duke possession. Jim Boeheim, upset with the call, ran onto the court, yelling at referee Tony Greene, who made the call. Greene assessed Boeheim with a double technical, ejecting him from the game. The ejection was the first ever for Boeheim in a regular season game and his second ever as a head coach.

The Blue Devils used the free throws as a result of Boeheim’s technical fouls to put the game out of reach. The loss puts Syracuse 1.5 games out of first place in the ACC, behind 14-1 Virginia. Duke is now three games out of first, and 1.5 games behind the Orange.

Syracuse hit the 60-point mark for the first time since beating Notre Dame February 3, but it still wasn’t enough. Tyler Ennis scored nine points but shot 2-of-13 from the field, while Trevor Cooney shot 1-of-5, failing to hit a three-pointer.

 The Orange will have to solve their offensive issues in a hurry. Syracuse has a quick turnaround, playing at Maryland Monday.


Orange hold off feisty Hurricanes to remain undefeated

Tyler Ennis, C.J. Fair, Trevor Cooney and Jerami Grant played well down the stretch to help SU advance to 19-0.

For the second time in four weeks, Syracuse played a difficult, grind-it-out game against a tough Miami team. For the second time in four weeks, Syracuse used a late run to put Miami away.

The No. 2 Orange (19-0, 6-0) remained undefeated thanks to a 15-3 run to close out a 64-52 win over Miami (10-9, 2-5).

In the first match up between these two teams, the Hurricanes kept the game close by competing on the glass and holding the Orange to a low shooting percentage from the field. This time, though, Syracuse was the team holding its opponent in check, limiting Miami to 39.1 percent shooting and outrebounding the Hurricanes 39-24.

Syracuse came out strong in the early going and led 26-8 with less than eight minutes left in the first half. However, Miami used an 18-5 run to close out the half and only trailed 31-25 at the break.

The Hurricanes slowly crept back into the game during the second half, eventually tying it up at 49 with 5:24 to play. However, Syracuse withstood Miami’s second big run of the game with another run of its own. Clutch shots from Tyler Ennis, C.J. Fair, and Trevor Cooney kept the Hurricanes at an arm’s length, and the Orange sealed the deal at the free throw line down the stretch.

Jerami Grant led the Orange in scoring and rebounding with 16 points and eight boards. Davon Reed had 16 points for the Hurricanes off the bench.

Syracuse hits the road again Wednesday when it plays at Wake Forest.

Jerome Smith to enter 2014 NFL draft

Syracuse running back Jerome Smith will forgo his final year of eligibility to pursue a career in the NFL.

Jerome Smith will not return for his final season next year, opting instead to enter the NFL. Earlier today, Smith hinted that this could be the end of his collegiate career, tweeting: "It's been a pleasure Syracuse."

Head coach Scott Shafer confirmed this information today, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.

Smith had one year of eligibility left after he was granted a medical redshirt for his freshman season, in which he rushed for only two carries due to injury. In four seasons, he has rushed for 2,145 yards and 15 touchdowns. This year, he led the Orange in rushing for a second consecutive season, with 840 yards and 11 touchdowns on 184 carries.

Smith will play his final game as a member of the Orange December 27 when Syracuse takes on Minnesota in the Texas Bowl.

SU basketball prepares for new players and a new conference

Freshman Tyler Ennis and sophomore transfer Michael Gbinije may be new to the team, but the entire SU team is new to the ACC.

The Syracuse men’s basketball team received a warm welcome to the Atlantic Coast Conference earlier this week at ACC media day. The Orange were picked to finish second in the league, behind only Duke, and senior forward C.J. Fair was selected as the preseason conference player of the year.

The talk of the new conference continued Friday at Syracuse’s media day for inside the Carmelo K. Anthony Center. Head coach Jim Boeheim expects his team to be prepared for ACC play coming from the equally competitive Big East.

“We’re going from a really, really tough league to a really, really tough league, so there’s no difference for us as far as league play,” he said.

Boeheim isn’t worried about any potential changes in officiating style the ACC may pose as well. He said he has no plans to change the team’s style of play due to any new interpretations of rules.

DaJuan Coleman had the chance to play in the Big East last season, although he did so sparingly due to Boeheim’s penchant for limiting freshmen big men’s minutes and a knee injury that kept him out for over a month. Nonetheless, he also has maintained the same approach towards the ACC.

“We’re just going to continue to play our game,” Coleman said. “We’re not going to change up our game for nothing.”

Although the Orange is making the switch to a new conference, the team does have someone with ACC experience: Duke transfer Michael Gbinije. Gbinije appeared in 19 games for the Blue Devils in the 2011-12 season before sitting out last year, and is ready to get back to competitive action.

“I’m just really excited,” he said. “Last year was tough, but hard work pays off and I believe I’ll have a good season this year.”

Gbinije used his time off well, Boeheim said, and expects Gbinije to be a versatile threat for the Orange, capable of playing any perimeter position.

“He plays a little bit more of the one in practice because it’s a more difficult position but he’s comfortable at both the two and the three,” Boeheim said.

In the new conference, it will be important for the Orange to close out opposing three-point threats, Gbinije said, threats he believes will have a tough time adjusting to Syracuse’s 2-3 zone defense.

“You just have to locate shooters. I think our zone will be very surprising to the ACC,” he said.

Another change the Orange has experienced going into this season is the new NCAA rule allowing teams to begin practice two weeks earlier than usual. While the extra practice has certainly helped the team, Boeheim insisted that it doesn’t imply a better end result.

“We’re way ahead of where we would be,” he said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean, though, that we’re going to get further than where we want to be.”

In particular, Boeheim said the added practices have helped the underclassmen better acclimate themselves to the 2-3 zone.

“We’ve been able to do a lot of stuff with the young players, getting them familiar with the defense and also to play more than one position on defense, which takes some time do,” he said.

One younger player the team will be especially counting on is freshman point guard Tyler Ennis, who is expected to run the offense. Ennis said he aims to play within his game and keep the rest of the team focused.

“As a point guard, I’ve always been taught to keep everything in check,” Ennis said. “Making sure everyone’s in their spot and getting them the ball while playing in the system is important.”

Boeheim said he has shown the capability to both run the team calmly and make plays himself when necessary.

“He’s got a good skill set, and he can be explosive,” Boeheim said. “He can also run the team in the half court and make good decisions.”

He also called Ennis one of the most prepared freshman point guards he’s ever had. And Ennis understands the unique situation he is in.

“I have a different opportunity than most freshmen,” he said on his chance to start right away.

Fair is very confident in the team’s new show runner.

“He’s more mature than a normal freshman,” he said of Ennis.

Fair will be well-served to develop a good connection with Ennis, since he will likely be the main target of Ennis’ passes. Boeheim said Fair will get his points regardless of who is around him because he plays off of others so well. Now he must show that he can do the same in a larger role.

“Offensively last year he was the second or third option most of the time, and this year he’ll be the first option,” Boeheim said of Fair.

Fair joked, “second or third, who said that?”

On a more serious note, he added that he is ready to lead the team and for the extra pressure that comes with it.

“I’m looking forward to being the focal point of the team,” he said. “I know there’s going to be a lot of attention coming my way.”

Him and the team, both.

ACC basketball conference schedule released

Syracuse basketball's slate of opponents have been revealed for its first season in the ACC.

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced its conference schedule for the upcoming basketball season, releasing each team's 16-game schedule.

Syracuse begins ACC play January 4 at home against Miami and finishes the regular season March 9 at Florida State. Along with the Hurricanes, the Orange will play Boston College and Pittsburgh both home and away.

One of Syracuse's more highly anticipated games is February 1, when Duke will visit the Carrier Dome. The game will be featured on ESPN as part of its College GameDay program.

Syracuse's full 2013-14 schedule can be seen here.

ACC kickoff 2013: Syracuse football picked to finish 6th in Atlantic division

A group of 120 members of the media voted the Syracuse football team to finish 6th in the Atlantic division in its first year of ACC play.

The Syracuse University football team took part in its first Atlantic Coast Conference Kickoff this week, a two-day media event held in Greensboro, N.C.

It was also a first for new head coach Scott Shafer, who takes over this season for Doug Marrone. Shafer said the rest of the conference has been very welcoming to him and his team.

“It’s really interesting for me to meet different people,” he said. “There are a lot of good ball coaches in this conference, a lot of guys passionate about where this conference is and where it needs to be. What a great time for Syracuse to jump into the conference.”

Senior center Macky MacPherson reiterated his coach’s sentiments, saying it’s been fun getting to know everyone in the new conference.

Senior defensive tackle Jay Bromley said he felt welcomed as well and looked forward to the new challenges the team faces in the ACC. “These conference games mean everything,” he said. “We accept the challenge that the Clemson’s and Florida State’s bring.”

Looking at the new competition, the two linemen agreed that their opponents’ speed was something they’d have to get used to, especially at skill positions.

“That is the biggest difference between the two conferences: the game is played a lot faster,” Bromley said, comparing the ACC to the old Big East.

“All these teams have speed up and down the field,” MacPherson added. “You have to account for that every play.”

In a poll of 120 members of the media, Syracuse was predicted to finish sixth out of seven teams in the Atlantic division. Bromley said the league will provide the team an opportunity to outperform expectations.

“The competition level is great. As a true competitor you look forward to this and having a chance to prove the world wrong.”

Moving forward, Shafer described the strong identity of the team he hopes to develop. “It’ll be a Syracuse team from a town that’s a tough town, a hard-nosed town,” he said. “We want to be an outfit that’s fun to watch because we’re physical.”

MacPherson also said the team’s toughness will come across in their style of play.

“Syracuse is a team that’s going to be blue collar, intense. We’re going to fight you to the death. That’s been the Syracuse way ever since I can remember.”

Syracuse University athletics receives $1 million donation from board of trustees chairman

Syracuse University athletics announced this week that Board of Trustees Chairman Dick Thompson has donated $1 million towards the department.

Syracuse University Board of Trustees Chairman Dick Thompson and his wife Jean announced a $1 million donation this week towards the university athletics department.

Thompson said the donation was made to help the university's athletics programs remain competitive as they enter the Atlantic Coast Conference, a move that became official July 1st.

"Athletics has been an integral part of the Syracuse University identity since its founding in 1870," Thompson said in a press statement announcing the gift. "It is a great day for our university, the Syracuse community, and intercollegiate sports."

"We are very grateful to the university and especially the athletic department for their support of a variety of outstanding college teams for women and men," added Jean, whose father was a member of the Syracuse football team in 1940. "We hope this gift will help sustain the university's commitment to future generations of student-athletes as it launches itsmembership in the Atlantic Coast Conference."

Michael Carter-Williams selected in 2013 NBA draft

The Philadelphia 76ers drafted Michael Carter-Williams Thursday in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft.

Former Orange Michael Carter-Williams was selected in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft Thursday.

The Philadelphia 76ers took Carter-Williams, Syracuse’s starting point guard this past season, with the 11th overall pick. Carter-Williams left school early, breaking out his sophomore year after a frustrating freshman campaign that saw him average just 10.3 minutes per game. This season, he averaged 11.9 points and five rebounds, while also leading the Big East conference in assists (7.3) and steals (2.7).

The 6’6” Carter-Williams will provide length and athleticism at the guard position that few others can match. In Philadelphia, he will team up with good friend Nerlens Noel, whom the 76ers obtained in a trade with New Orleans after the Pelicans drafted the Kentucky product with the sixth pick.

Men's basketball team to play exhibitions in Canada

The Syracuse men's basketball team will travel north to play four exhibition games against Canadian Universities in August.

The men's basketball team will be heading north to play exhibition games in Canada. The NCAA allows teams to go on foreign tours once every four years and the Orange are using this opportunity to visit Canada August 20th through the 25th.

The trip will be a homecoming for incoming freshman Tyler Ennis. The point guard is a native of Brammpton, Ontario, and a member of the Canadian under-19 team that will be competing in the 2013 FIBA Under-19 World Championship.

The team begins play August 21st in Montreal against Bishops University. The next day, Syracuse will take on McGill University.

The team will then travel to Ottawa for two more games. First they will Carelton University August 23rd. The Orange conclude play the 24th against Ottawa University.

Syracuse's Jerami Grant named to USA Men's U19 team

Sophomore forward Jerami Grant was named to the roster of this year's USA Men's U19 team, which will compete in the World Championship at the end of June.

Jerami Grant was one of 12 athletes named to the 2013 USA Men's U19 World Championship team roster.

Grant made the cut after being named one of 26 finalists for the team led by University of Florida head coach Billy Donovan and assistants Tony Bennett of Virginia and Shaka Smart of Virginia Commonwealth. Grant is joined by Montrezl Harrell of the national champion Louisville Cardinals and Rasheed Sulaimon of the soon-to-be conference rival Duke Blue Devils, among others.

At the end of the month, Grant and his teammates will travel to Prague, Czech Republic for the 2013 FIBA Under-19 World Championship, which runs from June 27 to July 7. The USA team will aim to win its record fifth championship when it begins play June 27 against Ivory Coast.