SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams was held in check by Cincinnati for the first half Monday afternoon.
The second half was a different story.
Carter-Williams came through with 14 of his 16 points after halftime, and teammate C.J. Fair tipped in the game-winner with 19.6 seconds left as the third-ranked Orange held off 21st-ranked Cincinnati 57-55 in front of 24,281 fans in the Carrier Dome.
Carter-Williams' heavy lifting came two days after his last-second steal and bucket toppled then-No. 1 Louisville 70-68.
"It's definitely tough. We were a little fatigued," Carter-Williams said of the quick turnaround. "I think (it's) our urgency. We didn't want to lose. None of us like losing."
Syracuse (18-1, 6-0 Big East) doesn't do that at home, at least not lately. The victory was the 35th straight for the Orange in the Dome, the longest active home winning streak in Division I.
Fair and Brandon Triche each scored 13 points. The Bearcats (16-4, 4-3) got a game-high 21 points from guard Sean Kilpatrick, who made six 3-pointers.
Carter-Williams ignited the crowd with 1:45 left in the first half by throwing down a one-handed thunder dunk in the lane. That pulled Syracuse within 22-18, the margin at halftime.
"I got into the lane. I was just going to try to finish it as hard as I can," Carter-Williams said.
The momentum carried deep into a seesaw second half. The Orange's Jerami Grant hammered down a dunk with 3:20 left to pull Syracuse within 54-50, and Carter-Williams then tossed in a floater with 2:03 left to cut the deficit to two.
"He's a good player," Cincinnati's JaQuon Parker said of Carter-Williams. "We knew he was going to get them sooner or later. I guess he got into a rhythm."
Bearcats center Cheikh Mbodj hit a foul shot with 1:31 remaining to nudge Cincinnati ahead 55-52.
With 1:21 left, Carter-Williams made a long 3-pointer to tie the game.
"If I miss, coach (Jim Boeheim) wouldn't have been too happy," Carter-Williams said. "I just took the shot. It did look good all the way. I would have been surprised if I missed it."
Cincinnati guard Cashmere Wright missed a 3-pointer at the other end, Mbodj snared the rebound, and then Wright turned the ball over with 47 seconds left. Wright had been questionable for the game with a knee ailment, and he was held to five points, 10 below his average.
The Orange came down with a chance to win. Grant missed a shot from the lane, but Fair outbattled Mbodj for the ball. Both got a piece of it, and Fair was able to direct it in.
"We both tipped the ball at the same time. I was trying to knock it away from him," Mbodj said.
Fair said, "I tipped that in. I did have help, but I think I was the last person that touched it. I'll take it. Even if I didn't, I'll take the win."
Boeheim didn't know whether to buy Fair's version, but he was happy how it changed the scoreboard regardless.
"C.J.'s claiming it's his. He might've been the closest guy to the tip, but I don't think he got any part of it," Boeheim said.
Wright came down with a final chance to take the hero's role, but his 3-point attempt with 2.9 seconds left just missed.
"It rolled in. It rolled right out," Kilpatrick said. "It looked perfect. For it not to go in like that was crazy."
NOTES: Carter-Williams entered the game leading Division I with an average of 9.3 assists per game. He finished with seven assists Monday. ... The last time the teams met, the Bearcats bounced Syracuse out of the 2012 Big East tournament with a 71-68 win. ... The Bearcats entered the game 7-0 on the road this season. Cincinnati and Louisville were tied for the league lead in most wins away from home. ... Cincinnati has won 10 of its past 15 games against ranked opponents, but the Bearcats are 2-28 all-time against AP top-5 opponents on the road, having dropped their past 21 such matchups. ... The game was the fourth in a grueling 10-day stretch for Cincinnati.