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Syracuse 76, St. Bonaventure 66
Posted: Wednesday March 13, 2002 10:15 PM
St. Bonaventure
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Syracuse
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SYRACUSE, New York (Ticker) -- If Syracuse was disappointed about not making the NCAA Tournament, they did not show it against St. Bonaventure.

Preston Shumpert scored eight of his 28 points in a pivotal second-half stretch as Syracuse posted a 76-66 triumph over St. Bonaventure in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament.

Kueth Duany added 12 points and Hakim Warrick had 14 and 10 rebounds for Syracuse (21-11). The Orangemen advance to the second round, where they will face the winner of Thursday's matchup between Bowling Green and Butler.

St. Bonaventure clawed within 61-54 on a 3-pointer by Marques Green with 4:56 to go but Shumpert, a senior forward, grabbed a loose ball and turned it into a three-point play. After J.R. Bremer sank a 3-pointer for the Bonnies, Shumpert countered with a 3-pointer and jumper less than a minute apart.

Hakim capped the 10-3 spurt with a short jumper that put Syracuse ahead 71-57 with 2:56 left.

The Orangemen were passed over for the NCAA Tournament, becoming the first Big East team ever to reach the 20-win plateau and not be awarded a bid since the field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Syracuse snapped a four-game losing streak and won for just thr fifth time in 14 games.

"People were worried about whether we would play hard but we played as hard as we have all year," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "We made some key shots and defended very well. We played really well tonight in a lot of ways." Bremer finished with 29 points for St. Bonaventure (17-13).

Syracuse scored eight of the first nine points and were up 16-9 with 12 minutes left in the half. But St. Bonaventure went on an 11-2 burst, punctuated by Marques Green's 3-pointer with 7:09 to go.

The game was tied, 23-23, when Syracuse closed the half with a 10-3 spurt. Warrick had six points in the run, which James Thues capped with a jumper with just under a minute remaining.

Syracuse leads the all-time series, 19-3.

"I think our defense in the first half, when we couldn't make anything was as good as it has been all year," Boeheim added. "The difference in the second half was that we finally made some shots. We made seven 3-pointers and we just haven't done that lately in the second half of games." .

 


 
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