No.4 Syracuse Holds Off Maryland, Orange Snap Two Game Slide
It was a win that ends a two-game skid, but yet another one that Syracuse fans had to sweat out in the closing minute of a game that never should have been that close. And, for much of the second half, it really wasn't.
Maryland's Seth Allen led all scorers with 22, but missed a running 3-point attempt from just outside the arc as time expired, giving the Orange a much needed 57-55 victory on the road against the unranked Terps.
Tyler Ennis had 20 points, six rebounds and three assists to boost No. 4 Syracuse (26-2, 13-2 ACC), which earlier in the day was officially booted from the number-one ranking. It was expected after back-to-back losses the followed back-to-back wins that came on the team's final possession.
It wasn't much easier on Monday. Leading by a dozen with just under six minutes to play, Maryland (15-13, 7-8 ACC) rattled off an 8-0 run to pull within 51-47.
Then, with 48 seconds left, Jake Layman drew a foul that could have tied the game. He hit just one of two free throws keeping Syracuse in the lead 56-55. After a missed C.J. Fair jumped from the perimeter, Baye-Moussa Keita hustled back on defense and swatted away a potential go-ahead bucket for the Terps. 'Cuse got the rebound, but again, nothing comes easy for the Orange of late.
Trevor Cooney made his first free throw but clanked the second, making it a two-point game with 4.4 seconds remaining. Had he drilled both, 'Cuse could have fouled on the inbound and avoided the hold-your-breathe prayer put up by Allen.
In the end, Syracuse gets back in the win column with the help of 17 points and nine rebounds from Fair. Keita added eight boards and two blocks. Cooney was off again (3-13 from the field and 2-10 from 3-point range) and had just nine points - including 1-2 from the stripe in the final five seconds.
After shooting the lights earlier in the year, Cooney has made just 3-of-19 from long range over the last three games.
Syracuse has a another tough challenge ahead, visiting No.12 Virginia on Saturday afternoon at 4:00.