Syracuse Throttles No. 6 North Carolina, 86-71
Nov. 20, 2009
NEW YORK (AP) -Brandon Triche and Arinze Onuaku combined for 13 points in Syracuse's 22-1 run to open the second half and the Orange went on to a 87-71 victory over No. 6 North Carolina on Friday night in the championship game of the 2K Sports Classic.
The Orange (4-0) were the only unranked team in the semifinals of the tournament that benefits Coaches vs. Cancer but they left Madison Square Garden with blowout wins over No. 13 California and the Tar Heels (4-1).
North Carolina had a 39-37 halftime lead but that was gone in a hurry as Triche and Onuaku had field goals in the first 40 seconds. By the time the run ended 8 minutes into the second half Syracuse had a 59-40 lead.
Tournament MVP Wesley Johnson had 25 points for the Orange, who beat California 95-73 in the semifinals. Onuaku finished with 15 points and Triche had 11.
Johnson, a 6-foot-7 junior transfer from Iowa State, was 10 of 17 from the field, including making half of eight 3-point attempts, and had eight rebounds.
Ed Davis had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Marcus Ginyard added 15 points for the Tar Heels, who lost almost all of a 19-point second-half lead before beating No. 15 Ohio State 77-73 to reach the title game.
North Carolina missed its first 13 shots of the second half and turned the ball over six times as the Orange just didn't miss. Syracuse started the half by making 10 of its first 14 shots and the baskets were coming down low from Onuaku and from the perimeter including a 3 by Johnson that made it 57-40.
The Tar Heels closed to 68-60 on a 3 by David Wear with 7:04 left, but Onuaku had the first and last baskets of a 6-0 run that ended any thoughts of a comeback for the ages.
The first half had the crowd, which was split almost evenly between Carolina Blue and Syracuse Orange, on a ride of runs that kept Madison Square Garden in a constant roar more accustomed to late in the season than late November.
Syracuse scored the first eight points of the game and was up 11-2 when Andy Rautins hit a 3.
It didn't take long for North Carolina to get right back in it as the Tar Heels scored 11 straight points, including two 3s by Will Graves.
There were four lead changes and four ties the rest of the half, which ended with the Tar Heels leading 39-37. It wasn't a perfect half as both teams had 10 turnovers.
Ohio State beat California 76-70 in the third-place game.