Syracuse 82, St. Bonaventure 70
SYRACUSE , N.Y. (AP)—Demetris Nichols had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Darryl Watkins scored a career-high 18 points, and Syracuse beat St. Bonaventure 82-70 on Saturday night.
Syracuse (11-3) struggled in its first game since dropping out of the national rankings, but the Bonnies (3-10) were no match in the end and lost their eighth game in a row and 12th straight in the series.
Nichols has scored 20 or more points in nine of the last 10 games, and Watkins also had eight rebounds and five blocks, Eric Devendorf had 17 points, and Paul Harris 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Orange, who open Big East play on Thursday in the Carrier Dome against 10th-ranked Pitt.
Tyler Relph had 19 points for the Bonnies, Michael Lee had 14 points and 10 rebounds, A.J. Hawkins had 14 points and nine rebounds, and seldom-used Jourdan Morris had 13 points.
Morris, St. Bonaventure’s only scholarship freshman, scored 11 points in 11 minutes in the first half. He had played just 24 minutes in the previous 12 games and had scored only one point.
Syracuse led only 35-34 at halftime, but Watkins sent the Bonnies reeling as soon as the second half began, scoring nine straight points. He went 3-for-4 from the foul line, followed with his fifth dunk of the game and a lay-in off a pretty pass by Devendorf, and completed the flurry with a resounding one-handed slam off a bounce pass in the lane from Nichols to give the Orange a 44-36 lead at 17:34.
The Bonnies pulled back within 44-41 on a dunk by Hawkins just over a minute later, but the Orange went on an 8-1 spurt to take a 52-42 lead. Consecutive 3-pointers by Devendorf and Nichols boosted the Orange lead to 63-51 midway through the period.
The Bonnies pulled within 75-70 on a 3-pointer by Tyler Benson with 59 seconds left, but Nichols converted a follow and Devendorf sank two free throws to secure the victory.
Syracuse led 13-7 after Rautins hit a 3-pointer from the right corner at 14:14, but the Bonnies quickly showed they wouldn’t go down without a fight. They scored eight straight points and gained their first lead, 15-13, on a follow by Hawkins at 11:55.
Nichols then led the Orange on a 10-2 run, scoring six points and feeding Matt Gorman for a lay-in to give Syracuse a 30-23 lead with 5:08 left.
Despite making just one of their first seven attempts from beyond the arc, the Bonnies finally got untracked. They hit three straight 3s—two by Relph and the other by Morris—all from the top of the key in a 2:02 span to key an 11-0 surge and give St. Bonaventure a 34-30 lead with 2:38 left.
Senior forward Terrence Roberts did not dress for the second straight game for the Orange because of a sprained left knee. He is expected to be back for the Pitt game.