Dec 7, 11:02 PM EST
Binghamton starts fast, loses 93-65 to No.4 SUBy JOHN KEKIS
AP Sports Writer
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- For a few fleeting moments, Binghamton star Jordan Reed dared to dream the unthinkable.
A barrage of 3-pointers against No. 4 Syracuse in the first 4 minutes - the first by Marlon Beck II from the right wing and two more by 6-foot-9 Nick Madray - gave the Bearcats an 11-3 lead and prompted Orange coach Jim Boeheim to call an early timeout.
"We came out firing," said Reed, a sophomore guard who led Binghamton with a season-high 26 points, going 13 of 14 from the free throw line. "Nick hit a couple of shots, I got a couple of foul shots, Marlon hit a 3. It felt good. I was just like, `Geez! I hope this happens the whole night, upset these guys.'"
Not on this night.
C.J. Fair scored 19 points, Trevor Cooney had 17, and No. 4 Syracuse cruised past the Bearcats 93-65 on Saturday night, taking charge with an 18-0 first-half run spurred by a full-court press.
"When you come out real flat and a team gets going kind of early and then you jump into it (the press), it kind of gets you going, gets you moving," said Cooney, who had five of Syracuse's 13 makes from long range. "We were able to get them in tough spots, make them make tough decisions, and turned them over a little bit."
The Bearcats (2-7) had snapped a four-game losing streak with a 74-70 victory at Mount St. Mary's on Wednesday night, thanks to 68 percent shooting, but they nearly blew a 19-point lead by committing 23 turnovers against a pressing defense.
The Orange used the same strategy to rally and it worked like a charm. The first 10 points of the Syracuse surge came in just 76 seconds, thanks in large part to three steals. Michael Gbinije hit a 3-pointer, Cooney added two more, and Jerami Grant finished it with a resounding two-handed slam dunk to give the Orange a 21-11 lead at 12:46.
"They opened up a lead with their pressure in the first half and there was no quit in them," Binghamton coach Tommy Dempsey said of his Bearcats. "You take the fact that we continued to compete. I thought we were very together and didn't hang our heads. Through a tough stretch in that first half, we never wavered and kept coming at them."
Syracuse (9-0), which beat Indiana 69-52 on Tuesday night, upped its nonconference home winning streak to 48 games in the Carrier Dome and figures to move up to No. 2 next week after top-ranked Michigan State and No. 3 Kentucky lost this week.
With a starting lineup of one sophomore and four freshmen, Binghamton figured to struggle against the bigger, more athletic Orange, and the Bearcats did after that solid start.
"I thought we were focused. We were ready. We were excited. We got out to a good start," Dempsey said. "We struggled a little bit against it (the press), and it changed the complexion of the first half. I do think we settled in after a while, but the run was significant. We were just chasing them from that point on."
Beck finished with 14 points and Madray 11 for the Bearcats, who took a lot of positives from the experience.
"For my young guys, just get the experience," Reed said. "Playing against the best is always good."
Grant had 14 points for Syracuse, Dajuan Coleman had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and freshman Ron Patterson added a season-high 10 points, hitting two of the Orange's 13 3-pointers, two off the school record.
Binghamton notched just four baskets in the final 10:51 of the first half as the Orange steadily pulled away. Syracuse hit nine 3-pointers, nabbed eight steals, scored 22 points off Binghamton's 11 turnovers, and out-rebounded the Bearcats 24-15, 12-5 on the offensive glass, to take a 54-30 halftime lead.
Syracuse finished 13 of 36 from long range, forced 18 turnovers and notched 12 steals. Binghamton finished 6 of 22 from beyond the arc after its hot start but was outscored just 39-35 in the second half and converted 21 of 32 free throws.
"We need to take care of the ball better," Dempsey said. "We get exposed when we play against that kind of length. But we had a tenacity with us that I liked. When you get to the free throw line 32 times against Syracuse, I think that's impressive. Our guys were trying to force their will on the game. We keep coming at people."
Three of Syracuse's freshmen - Patterson, B.J. Johnson, and Tyler Roberson - hadn't played in five games, since the Orange's 69-50 win over Colgate on Nov. 16. That changed after starting freshman point guard Tyler Ennis picked up his second foul less than 4 minutes into the game and had his first off-night of the young season - 3 points and 3 assists in 19 minutes.