SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP)—While Cornell was hitting from long range, Syracuse simply stole the game.
Hakim Warrick had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Syracuse’s pressing defense had 11 steals in forcing 17 second-half turnovers to lead the seventh-ranked Orange past the Big Red 82-69 on Monday night.
It was the 28th consecutive victory for Syracuse (10-1) over Cornell, but it was far from easy.
The Big Red (3-6) managed to stay in the game for nearly 30 minutes with its long-range shooting. Cornell shot 62.5 percent on 3-pointers, finishing 15-for-24, to set a school and Carrier Dome record.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim wasn’t exactly pleased with the effort of his Orange, who had allowed that many 3s only once before—to Southern Illinois in the 1995 NCAA tournament.
“When a team shoots 15-for-24 on 3-pointers, it’s a combination of their good shooters and not playing good defense,” Boeheim said. “The only threat they had was from the 3-point line, and we still didn’t do a good job of guarding the 3.
“Our fullcourt pressure was the best we’ve played all year. We really did a good job and forced a lot of turnovers for some easy baskets, and that was the difference.”
Syracuse hasn’t lost to Cornell since Dec. 4, 1968—or eight years before Boeheim became head coach at his alma mater. But the Big Red, who trailed 36-35 at halftime, were dreaming of an upset every time they drained a 3.
“We were excited at the end of the first half,” said senior guard Cody Toppert, who was 7-for-10 from 3-point range. “We knew we were in the game. We wanted to come out and slow it up in the second half and maintain our poise.”
That didn’t happen.
Toppert, who finished with 23 points and seven assists, had all four of his turnovers in the second half and junior forward Lenny Collins committed eight turnovers, six after the break.
“You would love to win a game like this,” Cornell coach Steve Donahue said. “I’m disappointed in the way we lost it. I thought if we kept our composure in the backcourt that we could have made a nice run and they might get a little tight and things happen.”
Cornell was within 53-44 after a layup by Ryan Rourke with 11:37 left, but Terrence Roberts then had eight points and a block, Warrick hit a hook off the glass, Gerry McNamara scored on a driving layup, and Josh Pace hit a runner in the lane after a turnover to boost the lead to 66-49 with 6:23 left.
“Coach told us that we have to come out and play like we played our first game against Northern Colorado,” Roberts, who had all of his career-high 16 points in the second half, said of the season opener when the Orange opened a 24-0 lead. “We have to come out and keep that same intensity and not go up and down the scale.”
Cornell made seven 3-pointers and only one layup over the final 9:14 but never got closer than 12 points the rest of the game.
“We came out a little flat and they did a good job of jumping on us, executing, running and controlling the tempo,” said Warrick, who notched his sixth double-double of the season. “Our performance tonight took another step back.”
Pace had 16 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals.
McNamara, the Orange’s second-leading scorer with a 14.8 average, landed awkwardly after taking a shot and sprained his left ankle with 4:23 remaining in the first half. He played 11 minutes in the second half and finished with eight points.