Syracuse 86, Towson 52
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP)—Gerry McNamara had 20 points, seven assists and five steals to make his homecoming special, Demetris Nichols added 25 points and Syracuse beat Towson 86-52 on Tuesday night.
McNamara, who grew up in nearby Scranton and led Bishop Hannan High School to a state championship as a senior, was greeted with a standing ovation by the crowd of 8,209 at soldout Wachovia Arena. He responded by hitting four 3-pointers and now leads the Big East with 40 3-pointers and 75 assists.
The game was scheduled by Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim after last season in honor of his senior guard, and McNamara didn’t disappoint. He swished his first shot of the game—a 3 from the top of the key—and scored 13 points in the first half to help stake the Orange (10-2) to a commanding 42-20 lead at the break as they won their seventh straight.
It also was a homecoming of sorts for Towson freshman guard Tim Crossin, who starred here in high school at Bishop O’Reilly. Crossin, Pennsylvania Class A player of the year last year, didn’t fare so well, finishing with six points and four assists.
Gary Neal led Towson (3-6) with 19 points and Lawrence Hamm had eight.
Syracuse scored the first nine points of the game, McNamara’s first 3 finishing the spurt as the Tigers struggled, committing three turnovers.
Towson responded with an 11-2 run to tie it. Neal hit a runner and a 3-pointer and Velmar Coleman’s fast-break dunk made it 11-11 at 13:15.
McNamara’s 3 at 8:18 began a decisive 18-2 run and a fast-break, one-handed slam dunk by Nichols put Towson behind 38-17 with 2:38 left.
Syracuse scored the first five points of the second half before Crossin hit a 3 from the right wing and fed Neal for another 3 in a 21-second span.
Nichols scored seven straight points and McNamara converted a three-point play and hit a 3 from the right corner to boost the lead to 66-35 midway through the second half.
McNamara, whose parents were sitting behind the Syracuse bench and have not missed any of his 112 straight starts, left the game with just under four minutes left to another standing ovation and chants of ‘Gerry, Gerry, Gerry’ imploring Boeheim to put him back in.