High Point fades, loses 75-54 to No. 2 Syracuse Print
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Friday, 20 December 2013 16:50
 SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - When Devante Wallace hit a leaner in the lane early in the second half, the High Point Panthers were in rarefied air - ahead of No. 2 Syracuse by a point and thinking big.
Less than 3 minutes later, the Panthers were deflated, trailing by 10, as the Orange turned up the defense and pulled away to a 75-54 victory Friday night.
Dreams of an upset vanished among 15 second-half turnovers by High Point (3-7), which lost its fifth in a row after a game effort.
''I'm really proud of my team and the way that they battled and competed,'' High Point coach Scott Cherry said. ''This should give us some confidence to be able to compete with anybody in the country. It doesn't mean we're going to beat them, but we should certainly be able to compete with all the teams in our league. I'm proud of everybody's effort. They competed the whole game.''
Syracuse (11-0) pressed early and led by 10 points in the opening half, gaining a 16-6 lead on Trevor Cooney's second straight 3-pointer at 12:47. Baye Moussa Keita's three-point play kept the Orange lead intact at 11:55, but the Panthers had begun to find their range from outside with Anthony Lindauer's 3-pointer.
Wallace's 3 from the left wing knotted the score at 24-all with 5:37 left and Adam Weary's 3 - his only shot of the game - tied it again at 31. The Panthers went into the locker room at halftime trailing just 37-34, and leading scorer John Brown had only two of those points on 1-of-7 shooting.
After missing six of their first seven shots, the Panthers finished the half 14 of 28 and were 6 of 12 from beyond the arc as four players hit from long range. High Point also matched the Orange with 12 rebounds and held a 3-1 advantage on the offensive glass in the period.
''We just had a mindset where we had nothing to lose,'' Brown said. ''We had to go out there and play hard, match their intensity.''
Syracuse has turned up the defense at the right time all season, and when High Point threatened to pull off that monumental upset the second-ranked Orange did what they do best with their quick hands and savvy play.
Wallace led High Point with 10 points, Lindauer had nine, and Dejuan McGaughy and Lorenzo Cugini seven apiece. Brown, averaging 20.1 points, was held to a season-low six points on 3-of-11 shooting.
Cooney hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 points and C.J. Fair added 15 points to pace Syracuse.
That 11-point Orange run turned into a 28-3 spurt and erased any doubt about the outcome.
''We knew in the second half we had to get our confidence early, but we kind of started off a little bit slow again the first couple of minutes,'' Fair said. ''But then we got it going. We got the stops we weren't making in the first half. They were making us work on offense and on the defensive end, taking their time, and we were taking quick shots and not making them work.''
The Orange are the highest-ranked team High Point has ever played. The Panthers lost to third-ranked North Carolina 94-69 in December 2006 and are 2-26 against the Atlantic Coast Conference, the two wins coming more than 50 years ago.
They departed deflated by the score but satisfied with the effort.
''The turnovers that we had we were trying to be aggressive and attack the basket,'' Cherry said. ''We tried to drive the high post a few times and they're quick with their hands. If we could have limited those turnovers in the second half and stayed in the 10- or 12-point range for the game, we would have had eight, nine or 10 more shots on the rim. I don't know if they would have gone in, but I would have liked to have seen if they would have.''
Cooney, who entered the game shooting 46.3 percent from beyond the arc, has made at least five 3-pointers in six games this season. Freshman point guard Tyler Ennis had 10 points and matched his season high with nine assists and Jerami Grant also had 10 points for Syracuse.
''It's tough when he plays these guys with this length,'' Cherry said about Brown, his redshirt sophomore star. ''He's in the inside and he's trying to find space, and there's not a lot of space to work down there. But he did get some good looks. For some reason, he didn't convert them tonight. He was just trying his heart out.''
Syracuse finished 29 for 54 (53.7 percent) and scored 38 points in the paint.
Fair's runner and another 3 from Cooney boosted the lead to 55-43 midway through the second half as the Orange overwhelmed the Panthers, who committed 19 turnovers that Syracuse converted into 27 points.
''The first half, when you're not active, you don't force turnovers,'' Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. ''We forced four turnovers in the first half, 15 in the second, and that got us out, got us some easy baskets. That was really the difference - starting to just really play defense.''

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