The No. 9 Syracuse Orange scored 10 straight points and forced four turnovers in the final four minutes of play to avoid a monumental upset and beat St. Francis Brooklyn, 56-50, in the Carrier Dome on Monday night.
C.J. Fair struggled mightily with his shot and combined with freshman point guard Tyler Ennis to go 3-for-21 from the floor. But reserve forward Jerami Grant made key plays down the stretch to score 13 points and grab eight rebounds off the bench. DaJuan Coleman led Jim Boeheim's team with 14 points.
Grant scored on a putback off a Fair miss with 1:39 left in the game to tie it at 50, and on the ensuing St. Francis possession, Grant stole the ball off the inbounds pass and found Michael Gbinije for a transition layup and the lead. Gbinije would record a steal on the very next possession, and Grant knocked down two more free throws with 26 seconds left to make it a two-possession game and out of the Terriers' reach.
Syracuse built a 22-14 lead with 6:20 left in the first half but St. Francis, which opened the season with a win against the Miami Hurricanes, never allowed the Orange lead to reach double figures. The Orange led 30-26 at halftime, and the break wasn't enough to change the tide. With 17:10 left in the game, a three-pointer by Anthony White gave St. Francis a 33-32 lead -- Syracuse wouldn't lead again until 58 seconds remained in the game.
Forward Jalen Cannon led St. Francis with 16 points and eight rebounds in the loss.