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Syracuse rallies late to defeat Miami in its ACC opener

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Syracuse entered its ACC opener Saturday afternoon against Miami undefeated and ranked second in the country. It took two hours of grind and grit for the Orange to hold on to both of those titles.

C.J. Fair scored 15 points to lead Syracuse back from a five-point, second half deficit to defeat Miami 49-44 at the Carrier Dome. Miami (8-6, 0-2) led 40-35 with 6:11 remaining in the game before Syracuse (14-0, 1-0) went on an 8-0 run to take a 43-40 lead it would never relinquish.

Fair made a jumper with 4:20 remaining to put Syracuse up 41-40 and Tyler Ennis followed that up with a layup to give the Orange a 43-40 lead. Miami pulled to within one at 43-42 when Garrius Adams found James Kelly for a reverse layup with 2:18 left, but that was as close as the Hurricanes would get the rest of the way.

Ennis made a layup on the next possession, and after Miami missed jumpers on back-to-back possessions, Trevor Cooney hit two free throws to put Syracuse ahead 47-42. Ennis finished with 10 points and seven assists while Cooney scored 11 despite making just two of his 12 shots, all from beyond the arc.

Miami trailed by four at halftime but started the second half on a 14-4 while Syracuse missed its first nine shots. Garrius Adams and Manu Lecomte each hit three-pointers, which Lecomte and Rion Brown followed up with jumpers to put Miami ahead 35-29 with 12:26 remaining. Fair finally ended Syracuse’s drought with a three-pointer with 11:16 left.

Miami built a 40-35 lead thanks to its shooting from three-point range, making seven of its 19 attempts. Miami unraveled down the stretch though, making just two of its seven shots in the final six minutes while turning the ball over twice.

Adams led Miami with nine points, all from three, while also grabbing five rebounds and dishing out four assists. Lecomte and Kelly each scored eight points.

Miami will face Syracuse again in Coral Gables on January 25th. The Hurricanes head to Chapel Hill next to face North Carolina on Wednesday night.

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