Fair scores 20, No. 9 Syracuse tops Colgate 69-50

JOHN KEKIS (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Ninth-ranked Syracuse beat Colgate for the 48th straight time in the series between upstate New York schools, and Orange coach Jim Boeheim seemed OK with another so-so performance by his young team.

C.J. Fair scored 20 points and freshman guard Tyler Ennis hit four 3-pointers as the Orange won 69-50 on Saturday.

Syracuse (3-0) dominated the glass 52-34, including 26-7 on offense rebounds, its active defense forced 21 turnovers that led to 18 points, and the Orange outscored the Raiders 30-10 inside.

''It was a learning experience. We were pretty solid defensively,'' Boeheim said. ''Offensively, we got the ball inside. There were more positive things.''

And a few negatives, to be sure.

Ennis was 4 for 6 from behind the arc for his first 3s of the season, but the rest of his teammates were a paltry 3 for 18 from long range as Colgate focused on sharpshooting Trevor Cooney and Fair.

''When you're playing a game like this, you've got to risk something at some point,'' Colgate coach Matt Langel said. ''A little bit of the philosophy was don't let Trevor get going, try and make some other guys shoot the more difficult ones.''

Cooney, who had a career-high 27 points and hit 7 of 8 3-pointers in the season opener against Cornell, was 1 for 5 on 3s. Fair was 2 of 6 from behind the line against the Raiders.

''They were coming out on Trevor and C.J., so I was wide open,'' said Ennis, who didn't have an assist and committed two turnovers in 21 minutes. ''I'm comfortable shooting the 3.''

The Orange also were 12 of 28 (42.9 percent) from the foul line.

''We can't miss free throws and layups,'' Boeheim said. ''We got a lot of good looks from the 3-point line. We've got to shoot it better.''

Syracuse leads Colgate 121-45 overall in the longest-running series for both teams. Colgate (0-2) was coming off an 89-78 road loss to Wake Forest last week in the Raiders' season opener.

Michael Gbinije had 11 points in 18 minutes and Cooney scored 10 for the Orange.

Colgate led for much of its first game of the season and had six players score in double figures. It also led the Orange in the early going before Syracuse used its superior athleticism to take control.

Ethan Jacobs topped Colgate with 13 points and Austin Tillotson, a transfer from Monmouth who had 14 points and nine assists against Wake Forest, finished with nine points and four assists.

Syracuse failed to put together two straight consistent halves in winning its first two games against Cornell and Fordham. The Orange dominated the second half against the Big Red after trailing by 14 in the first and pounced on the Rams in the first half Friday night to gain a 25-point halftime lead and won by 15.

They were a little more consistent this time but still shot just 36.8 percent - a tick better than the Raiders.

Fair scored 11 of Syracuse's first 13 points, but the Orange still trailed midway through the first half as the Raiders excelled from beyond the arc and reeled off nine straight points, smoothly passing the ball around until somebody was open.

''I thought offensively we moved it well,'' Jacobs said. ''We needed to get it into the zone more. I think we got some good shots at times.''

Pat Moore, who sank 5 of 6 from beyond the arc against Wake Forest, made his first two long-range attempts against Syracuse and the 6-foot-11 Jacobs hit another for a 15-11 lead. The Orange missed six of their first seven free throws.

Fair hit five of his first nine shots while the rest of his teammates were 2 for 11.

A follow by Fair and a floater in the lane by Gbinije tied it at 15 and sent the Orange on a 15-0 spurt that was keyed by a pressing defense. Consecutive 3-pointers by Fair and Cooney also played an important role in the spurt.

''They're more athletic, they're longer, they're bigger and they can force you into that,'' Langel said. ''We practiced against seven guys in the press and it's still not the same.''

The Raiders trailed just 36-26 at the break due in part to Syracuse's 9-for-20 start from the free-throw line.

Fair scored twice inside and Ennis hit two more 3-pointers to start the second half, boosting the Orange lead to 46-31 with 16:19 left. Cooney then stole the ball and threw down a resounding two-hand slam dunk over Murphy Burnatowski after a court-long dash.

The Raiders rallied to 51-40 midway through the period behind a pair of 3-pointers by Tillotson and another from Damon Sherman-Newsome.

Syracuse responded with a 10-1 rush to seal the triumph.

''The press helped get us going,'' said Fair, who's averaging 21.6 points. ''Free throws are not a concern, but we have to be more consistent.''

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