SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Senior attackman Kevin Rice tallied a career-high nine points to power second-seeded Syracuse (13-2) to a 20-8 victory against Marist (14-4) in the opening round of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship on Sunday at the Carrier Dome.Rice scored four goals and passed out five assists. He had two goals and three assists in the third quarter alone, factoring in five of Syracuse's six goals in the period to help break open the game.
Rice's point total tied Matt Riter and Gary Gait for third on SU's single-game NCAA scoring list, and were the most points for an Orange player in a postseason game since Riter had seven goals and two assists versus Hofstra in 1993.
With the victory, the Orange improved to 11-4 in first round NCAA games and advanced to the quarterfinal round for the 31st time in school history. Syracuse will face Big Ten champion Johns Hopkins on May 17 at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland.
"I'd first like to congratulate Marist on their season," SU head coach John Desko said. "To win their conference and the [NCAA] play-in game, I thought they did a great job. We watched them on film for most of the week and I really thought they put 10 players out there that were going to be all we could handle."
In addition to Rice's virtuoso performance, Syracuse received five points apiece from Jordan Evans and Dylan Donahue. Evans had his most productive game in an Orange uniform, scoring a career-high five goals. Donahue contributed three goals and two assists.
After falling behind 1-0, the Orange scored the final six goals of the first quarter, including three by Evans, to take a commanding five-goal lead.
The Orange extended its run to 10 by scoring four more times in the opening seven minutes of the second quarter to go up 10-1. Rice had a pair of goals in the frame, including his first of the game at the 13:32 mark to increase his goal-scoring streak to 30 games.
After Dillon Walker broke a 22:41 goal drought for Marist, Joseph Radin added another goal for the Red Foxes with 3:37 to go in the half to make the score 10-3 at the break.
In the third quarter, the Red Foxes notched a pair of early tallies to cut the deficit to 10-5. However, SU dashed any hope of Marist comeback by scoring the next four goals of the games to establish a 14-5 advantage.
The Syracuse lead eventually swelled to 14 (20-6) on consecutive unassisted goals by Evans midway through the fourth quarter, before Michael Begley and Radin each found the cage unassisted to close the scoring.
Radin led Marist with four goals, half of his team's total. He also contributed an assist to finish with a team-best five points. J.D. Recor added one goal and three assists for the Red Foxes.
Bobby Wardwell played most of the game in goal for the Orange and made six saves to earn his 13th win of the year. Warren Hill replaced him in the fourth quarter and stopped one shot.
Marist goalie Dave Scarcello had 14 saves in the contest, including eight in the first half.
Next weekend's quarterfinal matchup with Johns Hopkins will be Syracuse's 13th postseason meeting with the Blue Jays, and its first since a 13-10 triumph in the 2008 national championship game. The Orange is 8-4 against Johns Hopkins all-time in NCAA tournament play.
"We're always happy to get through this round," Desko said. "Now we have to get ready for the Blue Jays."