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College basketball Top 25 recap: Syracuse escapes Wolfpack in final seconds

Christmas has best game of season for Syracuse
Christmas has best game of season for Syracuse
Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange basketball team have been no stranger to fantastic finishes this season, and Saturday night produced more of the same. The late arriving North Carolina State squad was well prepared to play against the vaunted Syracuse zone for 39 minutes, but the 40th minute produced two Wolfpack turnovers in the final three possession.

The second turnover led directly to a C.J. Fair lay-up with 6.7 seconds left. The hoop put the Orange up 56-55, and Syracuse had to survive one more defensive stand to escape with victory.

Tyler Ennis makes winning plays for Syracuse.

For the most part, Syracuse has played flawlessly down the stretch of games, but Saturday was not one of those nights. Missed foul shots and bad offensive possessions almost eliminated Syracuse’s undefeated streak.

Jerami Grant threw up a whirling spin-o-rama shot that hit nothing but backboard. C.J. Fair had a chance to tie the game on the foul line, but he went 1-2 to set up the defensive stands.

Syracuse used a half court trap on the right wing to force Desmond Lee to dribble off of his leg out of bounds. However, on the ensuing possession, North Carolina State forced and offensive charge on Tyler Ennis.

Arizona loses second game of the season at the buzzer.

That set the stage for the final steal by Syracuse’s Rakeem Christmas. The center finished 14 points, 12 rebounds, and seven blocks.

T.J. Warren led North Carolina State with 23 points. Kyle Washington scored 14 and Ralston Turner scored 13 points. The three players combined for 50 of the 55 points for the Wolfpack. The other five players who saw action hit a total of one shot.

Jerami Grant had a double-double for Syracuse with 12 points and 14 rebounds. C.J. Fair had another rough shooting night, but his game winner barely got him to double figures with 11.


Syracuse is (25-0, 12-0) in the ACC.
North Carolina State dropped to (16-9, 6-6) in the ACC.
Baye Moussa Keita has missed the last two games with a knee injury.


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