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Updated: Tuesday, December 28, 2004 11:24 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(8) Syracuse 72, Albany NY 55

SYRACUSE, New York (Ticker) -- Hakim Warrick and No. 8 Syracuse had a tougher time than expected, but still maintained its dominance in the state of New York.

Warrick scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as Syracuse won its 34th straight game against an intrastate foe with a 72-55 triumph over Albany.

The normally efficient Warrick made just 9-of-19 shots, but still easily recorded his seventh double-double of the season.

"Hakim was aggressive," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "He missed a lot of shots he usually makes but he was looking to score."

With Warrick struggling from the field, the Orange (12-1) needed to turn to their bench to finally pull away midway through the second half as reserve Demetris Nichols scored seven points in less than a minute to give Syracuse some breathing room.

After a 3-pointer by Jamar Wilson drew the Great Danes (4-5) within 49-37 with just over 10 minutes to play, Nichols - who had missed the last three games with a back injury - hit a jumper at the 9:44 mark and stole the ball from Wilson on the other end, leading to an uncontested layup.

"We had that one run where we finally made some shots," Boeheim said. "Demetris Nichols made a nice play. He has been practicing and he has been pretty good. His back has been better and he made a nice play."

Warrick made 1-of-2 free throws before Nichols drained a 3-pointer with 8:48 on the clock to make it 57-37, and the Orange coasted thereafter.

"I was just happy to be back," Nichols said. "I felt great out there. I think I played well."

Nichols finished with 10 points for Syracuse, which will face New York foes Hofstra and St. John's in its next two contests.

Levi Levine scored 15 and Wilson added 14 for Albany, which lost in its first ever meeting with a Top 10 opponent.

The Great Danes entered the game making over 47 percent of their 3-pointers, but against the vaunted Syracuse 2-3 zone, Albany managed to make just 24 percent (6-of-25).

"I think they had a chance to be in this game," Boeheim said. "They just missed the shots they had to make. A lot of their missed shots we did challenge. It wasn't because they had a bad night, we got up on them."

"We lost to a pretty good team tonight," Albany coach Will Brown said. "This was our worst offensive performance of the season. We just didn't knock down shots."


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