Warrick's career day saves No. 7 Syracuse from Rhode Island
Posted: Sunday November 30, 2003 6:05PM; Updated: Sunday November 30, 2003 6:27PM
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- A Hak attack saved defending national champion Syracuse from another loss.
Hakim Warrick scored a career-high 30 points Sunday -- 11 during a decisive second-half spurt -- to help the No. 7 Orangemen rally past Rhode Island 69-65 and avoid an 0-2 start.
"This is only our second game," said Warrick, who was 18-for-22 from the foul line to match the school record set two years ago by Allen Griffin. "Just having a new lineup in there and losing leadership like Kueth Duany and Carmelo Anthony, it's going to be really tough at first."
The Orangemen, who haven't lost the first two games of a season since the 1968-69 team started 0-5, fell behind by 11 points in the first half and appeared just as uncertain of what they were doing as they did in Wednesday's season-opening loss to Charlotte.
To be certain, the settling influence of Duany, who graduated, and Anthony, now in the NBA, was sorely missed again.
"I think we came out a little too shaky," Warrick said. "A couple of people were a little too anxious, really wanting to win bad. We came out kind of hesitant at first, but I think we did a good job of turning it around at the end."
Syracuse trailed 45-41 with 12:39 left after Dustin Hellenga stole the ball from Gerry McNamara and converted a three-point play.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim then kept signaling for Warrick to get the ball in the lane, and he took over the game, sparking the Orange on a 19-5 run.
"I knew it was coming to me," said Warrick, who also had a team-high nine rebounds. "There was one time I got elbowed in the nose, didn't know where I was, and he was still calling my play."
The Orangemen won despite shooting just 39.2 percent and being outrebounded 55-41. Rhode Island (3-2) scored 44 points in the paint but went 1-for-22 from 3-point range and shot only 32.9 percent from the field.
"We knew we were not going to make a lot of shots from outside," Rams coach Jim Baron said. "So we had to be aggressive going to the glass, and we were able to do that."
Syracuse won despite a subpar performance from McNamara. He scored a career-high 34 points and hit eight 3-pointers against Charlotte but shot 1-for-9 from the field Sunday. McNamara missed all six of his 3-point attempts and finished with seven points. Billy Edelin had 16.
Hellenga led Rhode Island with 16 points, and Terrence Mack had 10. Dawan Robinson, who entered the game averaging 15.5 points, was 1-for-15 shooting and finished with six points, all in the final 2:52.
"I couldn't find my shot and struggled horribly," said Robinson, who was 0-for-6 on 3-pointers. "We see this as a big loss because we thought we could beat this team."
Despite falling behind 60-50 with 3:41 left, the Rams made it interesting.
A 3-pointer by Hellenga and a steal and layup by Robinson in the final two minutes cut the lead to 65-61. But McNamara and Edelin combined to hit four free throws in the final 26 seconds and Boeheim breathed a sigh of relief.
"To get a win in these two games, the way we played, was good," Boeheim said. "Now we have December to try and get ourselves better. We have a lot of work to do."