SYRACUSE, New York (Ticker) -- Craig Forth's teammates had seen him dominate in practice for over two years. Now they finally witnessed it in a game.
Forth scored a career-high 14 points and helped 21st-ranked Syracuse extend its winning streak to five game with a 74-61 victory over Siena.
With several family and friends and children from an Albany-area charity that he is involved in attending, Forth had the best game of his career at Syracuse. Averaging 6.3 points per game, Forth had started all 76 games since arriving, but had yet to dominate.
Facing the team he grew up watching, the 7-foot Forth turned in a complete effort, something that teammates felt needed to happen for the defending national champions to flourish. He held his own against Siena center Michael Haddix, made 6-of-8 shots and grabbed six rebounds.
"I feel good physically," said Forth, whose previous career high had been 12 points against Seton Hall and Georgetown as a freshman. "I'm blocking out some of the bad things. I'm feeling better. I'm just trying to bark out commands, get people energized. Today felt like just a perfect day."
Hakim Warrick led the team with 24 points, but Forth helped ease some of the scoring load. He also aided a 22-8 run that enabled the Orangemen (5-1) to take a 42-27 lead into the locker room.
"This is the Craig Forth that we need," Syracuse guard Gerry McNamara said. "You can see how how important he is for us. He just dominates practice. You can see what he does when he carries that over to the game."
The run began after Haddix was able to score over Forth with 8:57 remaining. But Forth hit a 16-footer, a reverse hook and helped Warrick make easy baskets plays.
"I think Forth's movement has been better lately," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "He's been working hard and he really helps us a lot on offense."
While Boeheim enjoyed watching Forth provide a low-post presence, he was bothered by the second half. Playing man-to-man defense for the second game in a row, the Orangemen were not nearly as effective in the second half as they were Wednesday against Manhattan as they allowed Siena to shoot 52 percent (15-of-29) to make the contest competitive.
"Our low-post defense was not good in the second half and our offense got stagnant," Boeheim said. "I was disappointed that we got pushed around a little bit. Right now we have a team of five or six guys who know what they're doing and five or six guys who have no idea."
When Forth dunked with 13:05 to play, Syracuse had stretched its lead to 56-37. The Saints got no closer than nine points.