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Updated: Saturday, January 22, 2005 6:50 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(7) Syracuse 72, West Virginia 64

SYRACUSE, New York (Ticker) -- Hakim Warrick dominated in the first half before Gerry McNamara took over.

Warrick scored 16 of his 22 points in the first half when seventh-ranked Syracuse built a 12-point lead en route to a 72-64 victory over West Virginia in a Big East Conference game.

The win was the 12th in a row for Syracuse (19-1, 6-0 Big East), which matched the best start in school history and improved to 13-0 at the Carrier Dome this season.

In 1999-2000, the Orange won their first 19 games before losing to Seton Hall. They also were 19-1 in 1979-80.

"We really don't think about that," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said of equaling the school's best start.

Coming off back-to-back 25-point performances in wins over Providence and Georgetown, Warrick scored nearly half of Syracuse's points in the first half when the Orange built a 34-22 lead.

McNamara, the Orange's all-time leader in 3-pointers made, missed all five of his shots in the first half, but drilled five shots from the arc in the second half. His fourth 3-pointer gave Syracuse a 63-50 lead with 6:50 left.

"It just seemed like I got more good looks from the perimeter in the second half," McNamara said.

But West Virginia (11-5, 1-4) rallied with an 11-2 run, pulling within 65-61 on a 3-pointer by Patrick Beilein with 2:17 left.

McNamara quickly dashed the Mountaineers' bid for an upset, hitting a 3-pointer from the left side with 1:42 remaining. After McNamara made 1-of-2 free throws to increase the lead to 69-61, Beilein connected on his fifth 3-pointer of the game with just 31 seconds left.

McNamara converted two free throws and Warrick added one in the final 30 seconds to seal Syracuse's sixth straight win over West Virginia.

"It's hard to put teams like this away," McNamara said. "They shoot a lot of 3-pointers and can make up ground in a hurry."

Billy Edelin added a season-high 12 points and seven assists for the Orange.

Beilein finished with 17 points for the Mountaineers, who were 10-of-32 from 3-point range.

The loss was the fourth straight and fifth in six games for West Virginia, which started the season with 10 wins.

Despite a snowstorm pummeling the Northeast, the game drew a crowd of 29,077 at the Carrier Dome.

The Mountaineers were as cold as the weather at the start, missing their first eight shots before a dunk by Mike Gansey 5:25 into the game. They shot just 27 percent (9-of-33) in the first half.

Syracuse also missed from the perimeter, making just 1-of-8 3-pointers. But Warrick's play inside was enough for the Orange to build a 12-point advantage.

"Our man-to-man defense in the first half was good enough to give us an edge," Boeheim said. "And Hakim was great for us in the first half."

Warrick opened the second half with a three-point play to give Syracuse its biggest lead at 37-22.


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