NEW YORK (Ticker) -- After another slow start, Hakim Warrick and No. 6 Syracuse put on a show in the second half.
Warrick scored 17 of his 21 points after halftime and collected 10 rebounds to help the Orange advance to the championship game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic with a decisive 71-58 victory over No. 14 Mississippi State.
Syracuse (3-0) will face No. 23 Memphis on Friday in the tournament final at Madison Square Garden.
Bulldogs senior Shane Power nailed a 3-pointer just 12 seconds into the first half and Gary Ervin scored seven straight points to help Mississippi State jump out to a 14-5 lead just 5:55 into the game.
"I thought in the first half we did a great job of keeping Warrick and (Gerry) McNamara from getting us in trouble," Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said.
Despite getting just four points from Warrick and three from McNamara, Syracuse chipped away at the lead until Josh Pace hit a turnaround hook at the buzzer to tie the score, 25-25, at halftime.
"We came out sluggish," Pace said of the first half. "We didn't have much time to warm up, so that may not have helped us. But we knew we had to get more aggressive in terms of hustle and making positive plays. One positive play usually leads to another, and that's what happened (in the second half)."
Syracuse forward Demetrius Nichols opened the second half with a 3-pointer from the corner to give the Orange their first lead of the game and spark a 17-4 run.
"Guys really stepped up tonight," Warrick said. "Demetrius and Josh came up huge when we needed them, and that's what this team is all about. ... They really helped us and that got me and Gerry going as well."
"In the second half, we came out right away and Demetrius hit a couple of shots right away and we got better execution on offense," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "We had better shot selection. We also rebounded better in the second half."
After Warrick added a dunk, Nichols buried a pull-up jumper before Warrick went to work, scoring six straight points - including a pair of layups. Senior Craig Forth added tip-ins on consecutive possessions to give Syracuse a 42-29 lead 4:45 into the second half.
"The difference was, we got (Warrick) the ball," Boeheim said. "We made a conscious effort to get him the ball. He's improved his shooting."
"Those guys came out (in the second half) and had an 11-0 run," Stansbury said. "Warrick made some big shots, it is what good teams do. They are more advanced, tougher and more mature at this point than we are."
The Orange took advantage of some carelessness by the Bulldogs (2-1), scoring 16 points off 14 turnovers.
Lawrence Roberts, who missed the first two games with a broken nose, had nine points and 12 rebounds for Mississippi State.
Power scored 18 points for the Bulldogs, who shot just 31 percent (20-of-64).
Mississippi State will face St. Mary's in the consolation game Friday.