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Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2003 9:48 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(15) Syracuse 89, West Virginia 51
WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS
West Virginia Mountaineers
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SYRACUSE ORANGEMEN
Syracuse Orangemen
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SYRACUSE, New York (Ticker) -- Syracuse had little trouble moving one game closer to a perfect season at home.

Freshman Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Hakim Warrick added 18 and eight as No. 15 Syracuse trampled West Virginia, 89-51, to remain in first place in the Big East's West Division.

Kueth Duany also scored 18 for the Orangemen, who remained tied with Pittsburgh and moved a full game in front of Notre Dame in the West division.

With only a March 9 contest with Rutgers remaining, Syracuse is 16-0 at home.

"Defensively, this was the best man-to-man we played in a long time. Our defense carried us," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, whose team held the Mountaineers to six buckets in the first half.

The Orangemen (20-4, 10-3 Big East West) dominated almost from the outset. With the score tied at 8-8, they went on a 22-6 run, taking a 30-14 advantage on Duany's free throw with 2:55 left in the period.

Syracuse was even more masterful in the second half. Already leading, 56-34, it went on a 21-2 run in which West Virginia went nearly six minutes without a bucket.

An alley-oop dunk by Warrick with 12:15 to go gave the Orangemen a 77-36 bulge.

Drew Schifino, who did not get on the scoreboard until less than two minutes remained in the first half, scored a season-low 10 points for the Mountaineers (13-12, 4-8).

Syracuse has come out on top of its last three contests by an average of just three points, but had no problems putting the Mountaineers away early.

After freshman Kevin Pittsnogle's basket evened it at 8-8 4:35 into the game, Warrick got things rolling with a tip-in and a dunk, freshman Billy Edelin made a layup and Anthony sank a basket to cap the 8-0 run.

"I was just out of sync in the first half," said Anthony, who was 2-of-11 from the field in the opening period. "I was just missing shots. I was out of it, but I kept a smile on my face."

A 10-1 burst with the Orangemen already up, 20-14, led to a 35-17 halftime advantage for Syracuse.

Edelin had 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists in 25 minutes off the bench for Syracuse, which shot a sizzling 78 percent (18-of-23) from the field in the second half and 56 percent overall (32-of-57).

"This is a game we should win and we played well, which is a good sign," Boeheim said. "Offensively, we were not patient in the first half. In the second half, we were much more patient and we scored a lot more points."

The victory was the fourth in a row for the Orangemen, and their 16th in 19 home contests against West Virginia.

Schifino, who averages 20.8 points a game and is normally a 47 percent shooter from the field, is 13-of-42 (31 percent) in the Mountaineers' two losses to Syracuse this season.

"They played tight defense on me and everyone the whole game," Schifino said. "Syracuse is one of the best teams in the country. They're definitely a Sweet 16 team, at least."

Pittsnogle had nine points and nine rebounds as West Virginia shot 27 percent (17-of-63) from the field and was outrebounded, 43-33.

The Mountaineers shot just 21 percent (6-of-29) in their lowest-scoring first half of the season.


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