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Updated: Sunday, November 30, 2003 4:56 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(7) Syracuse 69, Rhode Island 65

SYRACUSE, New York (Ticker) -- Syracuse's comeback did not fall short this time.

Hakim Warrick scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the seventh-ranked Orangemen rallied for a 69-65 victory over Rhode Island.

For the second time in as many games this season, Syracuse (1-1) fell behind by double digits in the first half. The defending NCAA champion trailed Charlotte on Wednesday by as many as 23 points in a surprising season-opening 96-92 defeat.

On Sunday, Rhode Island took a 24-13 lead on a pair of free throws by Jamaal Wise with 8:44 left in the first half. But the Orangemen outscored the Rams, 20-10, the rest of the half and trailed only by 34-33 at intermission.

In the second half, Syracuse went on a 17-4 run midway through to take control. Warrick dunked to give the Orangemen the lead for good, 49-48, with 9:20 left. Josh Pace's jumper capped the spurt as Syracuse built a 62-52 advantage with 3:02 to go.

Dustin Hellenga's 3-pointer pulled Rhode Island within, 65-59, with one minute left, but Gerry McNamara and Billy Edelin combined for four free throws in the final 26 seconds.

Warrack shot just 6-of-15 from the field, but connected on 18-of-22 free throws, tying school marks for foul shots made and attempted set by Allen Griffin against St. John's in 2001.

"Hakim won the game. Without him, we're a 10-point loser," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "We called Hakim's play every time."

"He's such a dominant inside presence," added McNamara, who followed up his career-high 34-point performance with a 1-of-9 seven-point effort. "The coach made it clear the ball needs to be in his hands every play."

Edelin had 16 points for the Orangemen, who lost their first game last year before responding with 11 straight wins. They have not started a season 0-2 since beginning the 1968-69 campaign with five consecutive defeats.

"We're out of sync on offense," Boeheim said. "We were standing around too much. That's going to be a problem until we find some continuity. That's college basketball. Anybody can beat you."

Hellenga scored 16 points and Terrence Mack had 10 and nine rebounds as Rhode Island (3-2) fell to 2-5 all time against Syracuse.

After allowing Charlotte 13 3-pointers, the Orangemen held the Rams to only one in 22 attempts - the lowest total for an opponent since Syracuse held Villanova to one in 1999-2000.

However, the Orangemen were soundly outrebounded, 55-41.

"Our rebounding was just horrendous," Boeheim said. "Our centers have got to rebound better. URI did a good job on the boards."


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