After trailing for most of the second half, the Syracuse Orange closed the game on a 13-4 run to squeak out a 57-55 win against the visiting Cincinnati Bearcats on Monday afternoon in the Carrier Dome.
With the win, the Orange improved to 18-1 on the season and 6-0 in conference play to remain alone in first place in the Big East.
The first half was hardly a thing of beauty as both teams struggled to score. Combined, the squads
sank a mere nine baskets in the first 20 minutes of play.
The Bearcats seemed determined to shoot Syracuse out of its zone defense as they launched 18 three-pointers in the first half but connected on only four of them. Syracuse clung to a four-point lead, 22-18, as the first half came to a close.
Cincinnati opened the second half with a 12-2 run to turn a four-point deficit into a six-point lead, 30-24. Syracuse was forced to play catch-up the rest of the way. Every time the Orange closed the gap, the Bearcats answered.
Michael Carter-Williams, whose break-away dunk put Syracuse ahead for good against Louisville on Saturday, saved his best for last again. The sophomore sank a three-pointer to tie the game at 55 with 1:19 remaining in regulation. Carter-Williams led the Orange with 16 points while dishing out seven assists and collecting five rebounds.
Jerami Grant, filling in for the ineligible James Southerland, again made a significant contribution for the Orange as he grabbed a team-high, seven rebounds in 28 minutes of play.
Brandon Triche and C.J. Fair each scored 13 points for Syracuse in the win. Cincinnati guard Sean Kilpatrick led all scorers with 21 points, including 6-for-15 from beyond the arc.
Syracuse ran its home win streak to 35 games, currently the longest in the nation.
The Orange return to the court when they visit Villanova Saturday, Jan. 26. Syracuse beat the
Wildcats, 72-61, earlier this month.
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