SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP)—When third-ranked Syracuse couldn’t shake pesky Colgate, Terrence Roberts took charge.
The sophomore forward, whom coach Jim Boeheim is counting on to be a key contributor this season off the bench, scored six of his career-high 13 points during a decisive 13-1 spurt in the second half Saturday night to help the Orange to a 68-55 victory.
“I always feel like I can come in and give the team a spark,” said Roberts, who also had four blocks. “I had a bad couple of games. I just wanted to come out, stay focused and just do the little things.”
In the Orange’s previous game, against St. Bonaventure, Roberts played 11 minutes and scored seven points but did not have a rebound. And against Siena last Saturday, he did not score and had four rebounds in nine minutes. Against Colgate (2-4), he played a career-high 31 minutes and also had eight rebounds.
It was the 147th meeting between the schools and the 39th straight time the Orange (7-0) have beaten the Raiders (2-4). Syracuse hasn’t lost to Colgate since the 1961-62 season, when the Orange went 2-22. But the Raiders trailed only 31-29 at halftime as Boeheim went with a man-to-man defense instead of his vaunted 2-3 zone.
“With our good teams, we’ve always been able to play man-to-man. We cannot play man-to-man right now,” Boeheim said, contemplating Tuesday night’s game in the Jimmy V Classic against No. 6 Oklahoma State.
Although a crowd of over 23,000 showed up for the game, the Carrier Dome wasn’t rocking as it usually is, and Boeheim said because it was so quiet he was distracted by a fan yelling to keep playing man in the second half.
“I realized it was a Colgate guy because he wanted to win,” Boeheim said with a smile. “If we had played man, we probably would have lost the game. We just didn’t guard anybody.”
Hakim Warrick led the Orange with 23 points and nine rebounds. And after Jon Simon hit a runner in the lane as the shot-clock buzzer sounded at 10:42 to tie the game at 44-all, Roberts and Warrick led the Orange on their decisive run.
Gerry McNamara, who finished with 12 points and six assists, began it by feeding Roberts for a thundering two-hand dunk. Louie McCroskey then hit Josh Pace in stride for an easy fast-break layup and Warrick followed a missed 3 by McNamara to put the Orange up by six.
Warrick then fed Roberts, who hit a short turnaround baseline jumper, and Warrick’s block of Marc Daniels set up another fast-break dunk by Roberts. That gave Syracuse a 54-44 lead with 4:57 left and the Raiders were finished.
There was little dismay in their voices afterward.
“We’re a young team with a freshman starter and two other first-time starters,” said senior forward Andrew Zidar, who had 12 points and eight rebounds for the Patriot League team. “For these guys to come in here and play well, it builds confidence. If we can play like this, there aren’t too many teams in our league or on our schedule who can beat us.”
Warrick hit only the second 3-pointer of his career to put Syracuse ahead 17-8 and a fast-break layup by Pace after a block by Roberts made it 21-10 midway through the first half.
But a long 3-pointer by Todd Checovich and two free throws by Simon, who led Colgate with 18 points, completed a 9-0 run that brought the Raiders within 21-19 at 6:05.
A 3 by McNamara and a dunk by Warrick gave Syracuse a 39-32 lead early in the second half, but Kyle Roemer hit a 3-pointer and Zidar’s layup tied it at 39-all at 14:24. After Warrick scored three points, Simon hit a 3-pointer to keep it knotted before Roberts keyed the run.