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(Tuesday, January 7th)
Final Score: (2) Syracuse 72, Virginia Tech 52
Blacksburg, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - C.J. Fair scored 17 points and No. 2 Syracuse pulled away in the second half for a 72-52 victory over Virginia Tech to keep its unbeaten record intact.
Tyler Ennis added 13 points and Jerami Grant had 12 along with 10 rebounds in the first-ever ACC road game for the Orange (15-0, 2-0 ACC), who broke open a close contest with a 20-2 run that turned a 4-point lead into a 64-42 advantage with five minutes remaining.
C.J. Barksdale paced the Hokies (8-6, 1-1) with 12 points, with Ben Emelogu and Adam Smith each netting nine in defeat.
The Orange never trailed after putting together an early 8-0 run that resulted in a 13-8 lead just over seven minutes into the contest. Smith canned a 3- pointer to bring Virginia Tech within two, but Syracuse countered with a 14-4 sequence to further increase the margin.
Trevor Cooney knocked down a trey to begin the surge and later ended it with a putback of a Fair miss to give the Orange a comfortable 27-15 advantage with 8:06 remaining in the first half.
The Hokies were able to close the gap prior to the conclusion of the period, with Smith's third triple of the frame pulling the hosts within 35-29 at the break. Virginia Tech narrowed the deficit a bit more just over five minutes into the second half, when Emelogu's jumper that followed a Jarell Eddie three made it a 44-40 game.
Syracuse then turned it up by notch, holding the Hokies without a basket over an 8 1/2-minute stretch while ripping off 16 consecutive points, with Fair and Ennis accounting for six each.
"[Virginia Tech] didn't score for a long time period and I think that's when we caught our rhythm on offense," said Fair.
Joey van Zegeren's putback dunk finally ended Virginia Tech's scoring drought, but Syracuse's Baye Moussa Keita scored on the other end and Fair buried a jumper off a Hokies' turnover to put the Orange up 64-42 with 5:08 to go.
"Once the lead started to get higher, I thought we started rushing a few shots, and then they got out on our shooters more," said Hokies head coach James Johnson. "They left the high post open and said, 'Hey, make your big guys score.' We rushed those shots inside."
The schools were formerly conference rivals during the Hokies' tenure in the Big East from 2000-04, though the Orange were visiting Cassell Coliseum for the first time since an 87-71 Virginia Tech win on Jan. 30, 1978 ... The Hokies fell to 1-8 all-time against teams ranked second in the AP poll ... Syracuse center DaJuan Coleman returned from a two-game absence caused by a leg injury, but played just three minutes ... Smith had missed VT's last two tests with a left calf strain.
01/08 00:58:36 ET
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