Vengeance can wait
Warrick scores 27 as 'Cuse knocks off Bonnies
Posted: Wednesday December 3, 2003 10:47PM; Updated: Thursday December 4, 2003 12:14AM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) -- Last April, Jim Boeheim erased the worst memory of his coaching career when his Orangemen beat Kansas for the national championship.
On Wednesday night, he put to rest another painful loss in front of a crowd that still loves to taunt him.
Hakim Warrick scored 27 points and Billy Edelin added 20 to lead No. 16 Syracuse to an 87-78 victory over St. Bonaventure.
The game was played at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, where Delmar Harrod's turnaround jumper in the lane with 16 seconds left gave St. Bonaventure a 70-69 victory over Syracuse in the old ECAC playoffs in March 1978, Boeheim's second year as coach of the Orangemen.
"I could never win enough games in here to make up for that game," said Boeheim, who also lost his last high school game in the same building.
Syracuse (2-1), which dropped nine spots in the AP poll after losing its season-opener to Charlotte and only defeating Rhode Island by four points, beat St. Bonaventure (2-2) for the 11th straight time. The Orangemen, who will play five more games against upstate New York teams before the end of December, also got 19 points from Gerry McNamara, while Josh Pace added 11.
"I think our first five guys are starting to play the way we need them to. It's the fifth guy we need," said Boeheim, who waited 16 years to obliterate the memory of Keith Smart's baseline jumper that gave Indiana a one-point win in the 1987 national championship game in New Orleans where the Orangemen won the title eight months ago. "The key for us is this next three weeks."
Craig Forth finished with eight points and a career-high 12 rebounds for the Orangemen.
"We're going to be a tough team if we can hit from every position," McNamara said. "It's great to see. If we don't have that (balanced scoring), we're in a dogfight."
Marques Green led St. Bonaventure with 24 points, while Ahmad Smith had 17, Patrick Lottin 13 and Yankuba Camara 10.
Syracuse shot 51.6 percent while the Bonnies hit 44.3 percent and were only 7-for-29 on 3-pointers.
The Orangemen were not outrebounded for the first time this season, but they also didn't have an edge against the smaller Bonnies. Both teams finished with 37.
Despite the loss, it was another positive step for St. Bonaventure and first-year coach Anthony Solomon, who has only eight scholarship players after last year's academic scandal at the western New York school.
"I'm proud of them for the way they played," Solomon said. "We've been pretty consistently getting behind by six or eight points."
Syracuse led 44-37 at halftime and took command at the start of the second half in front of a crowd of 11,650.
Consecutive fast-break layups by Edelin and another by McNamara put Syracuse up 52-39 with 16:35 left. Warrick's soaring dunk after a courtlong dash gave the Orangemen 57-43 lead less than two minutes later.
"We did a really good job rotating and moving and got a lot of fast-break points off our defense," said Warrick, who was coming off a career-high 30-point game against Rhode Island. "That dunk was a little frustration from the other one I missed."
McNamara's 3-pointer at 7:41 boosted the lead to 73-52, but the Bonnies battled back behind a barrage of 3-pointers. Green and Lottin each hit two from long range and Smith's follow off a missed 3 by Lottin had them within 77-67.
The closest the Bonnies got again was when Green hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"They hit some tough shots," Warrick said. "The crowd, no matter what, if we went up 50, the crowd would have still been cheering [for St. Bonaventure]. The crowd was on us the whole game. It's good to get a tough road game like this."