NCAA

No. 4 Syracuse beats Canisius 85-61

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No. 4 Syracuse beats Canisius 85-61

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) James Southerland broke out of a slump with 21 points and Brandon Triche had 19 to lead No. 4 Syracuse over Canisius 85-61 on Saturday night in the Gotham Classic.

Michael Carter-Williams added 12 points and 14 assists as Syracuse (9-0) extended its home winning streak to 29 games - the longest in the nation - and moved head coach Jim Boeheim within one victory of 900. Mike Krzyzewski (936) and Bob Knight (902) are the only Division I men's coaches to reach that milestone. The Orange's next game is at home against Detroit on Monday night.

Canisius (6-2) was off to its best start since 1973-74 and was riding a three-game winning streak on the road. The Golden Griffins haven't beaten a ranked team since a 72-69 win over No. 13 Cincinnati in December 1994.

Southerland, who had gone 0 for 10 on 3-pointers in three games since hitting 9 of 13 at Arkansas, was 3 of 6 from beyond the arc and 9 for 14 overall. Rakeem Christmas finished with 10 points.

Billy Baron and Isaac Sosa each scored 15 points to lead Canisius, which outrebounded Syracuse 37-34. Harold Washington, the team's leading scorer at 18.6 points per game, finished with nine, going just 1 of 6 from beyond the arc a week after hitting a career-high six in a 94-82 win at Marist. Alshwan Hymes, who played ball with the Orange's Triche at Jamesville-DeWitt High School in suburban Syracuse, sat the first half for violating team rules and finished with six points.

Syracuse fell behind late in the first half, regrouped and took a three-point lead into halftime, then started the second half with a 15-3 spurt to take control.

A 3-pointer by Southerland completed an 11-0 run spanning halftime and gave Syracuse a 41-32 lead with 18:36 left. The Orange led only 35-32 at the break and broke loose with 50 points in the second half, shooting 21 of 34 (61.8 percent).

The Griffs had four turnovers in the first six minutes of the second half, and the Orange capitalized. Christmas hit a jumper from the foul line, Southerland converted an alley-oop dunk from Triche, C.J. Fair hit off the glass, and Carter-Williams passed to Triche for a 3 from the wing to give Syracuse a 50-35 lead with 14:45 to go.

Canisius was within 69-57 after Sosa's 3 with 4:17 left, but Carter-Williams fed Christmas for a dunk and Southerland scored five straight points.

Canisius fell behind by as many as nine in what was a tight first half. The Griffs trailed 23-14 after Carter-Williams swished a 3 from the top of the key, but they stayed patient, searching for the open man, and slowly came back.

Washington hit consecutive layups and Isaac Sosa nailed a 3-pointer to thwart the Orange's press and move the Griffs within 30-26 with 5:32 left.

After Syracuse missed in close and from beyond the arc, Jordan Heath powered Canisius into the lead. He swished a 3 from the wing and completed a three-point play on consecutive trips down court to give the Griffs a 32-30 lead with 2:24 to go.

Two free throws by Carter-Williams and Triche's layup at the buzzer gave the Orange a 35-32 halftime lead.

Canisius hit 5 of 16 from long range and outrebounded Syracuse 21-17 in the first half, while the Orange converted just 5 of 11 free throws.

The Gotham Classic also includes Temple, Detroit and Alcorn State. The format features 10 games with all teams facing each other once. Syracuse and Temple will meet in the feature game at noon on Dec. 22 at Madison Square Garden.

Wolfpack overcomes 10-minute scoring drought to top Virginia

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Wolfpack overcomes 10-minute scoring drought to top Virginia

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- D.J. Funderburk scored 14 points before fouling out and North Carolina State overcame a second-half scoring drought of more than 10 minutes in a 53-51 victory against Virginia on Monday night.

C.J. Bryce added 13 points for the Wolfpack (14-5, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), including a jumper with 27 seconds left after allowing the shot clock to race to near 0:00. The victory ended an eight-game losing streak against the Cavaliers.

Viginia (12-6, 4-4) used a 15-0 run during the N.C. State scoring drought that lasted 10:13 to take a 46-42 lead, bringing the crowd at John Paul Jones Arena back into the game. But Jericole Hellems hit a 3-pointer for N.C. State with 3:38 left and, after a free throw by Mamadi Diakite for Virginia, Markell Johnson hit a 3-pointer and then Hellems' putback gave the Wolfpack a 50-47 lead.

Johnson and Bryce both missed the front end of one-and-one free throw opportunities, and Kihei Clark hit a pair for Virginia. Braxton Beverly made the first and missed the second for the Wolfpack with 7.2 seconds left, and the Cavaliers Casey Morsell was short on a contested 3 at the buzzer.

Clark led Virginia with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

The Wolfpack had used an 8-0 run to go ahead 42-31. Virginia helped out by going scoreless for more than 6 1/2 minutes. Francisco Caffaro, who had just been inserted into the game, ended the drought with 11:13 left.

BIG PICTURE

N.C. State: The Wolfpack seemed on their way to a solid victory until the drought, during which they were 1 for 8 from the field with five turnovers and repeatedly let the shot clock run down into single digits, forcing bad shots.

Virginia: In the Cavaliers' continuing search for scoring help, freshman Casey Morsell had as many as three field goals for the first time since a 65-56 victory against Navy on Dec. 29. He was 4 for 20 from the field in his last five games. He finished the night 4 for 9 and his buzzer-beater attempt was closely guarded.

UP NEXT

The Wolfpack remains on the road and plays at Georgia Tech on Saturday.

The Cavaliers go on the road and play at Wake Forest on Sunday.

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Despite place in standings, Wizards believe playoffs aren't a pipe dream

Despite place in standings, Wizards believe playoffs aren't a pipe dream

WASHINGTON -- This may be the most realistic and self-aware Wizards team we have seen in a while. It wasn't long ago they had a penchant for talking big about what they believed they could accomplish. Nowadays, knowing where they are in the standings, their expectations are much more measured.

They know they are 12th in the Eastern Conference, even after beating the Pistons on Monday. They know their 14-28 record, which is 14 games under .500 and has them on pace to win 27 total games, isn't good.

But the Wizards are allowed to dream and they say making the playoffs is still something they would like to do.

"That's the goal, that's every day for us. [It's] in the back of my mind," shooting guard Bradley Beal said.

"I watch the games, I watch the standings and everything. We're not talking about it," head coach Scott Brooks said. "If that comes into play [we'll see]. The seventh and eighth seeds, the records aren't great."

There is certainly a case for that. The two teams currently occupying the bottom two playoff spots in the East have sub-.500 records. The seventh-ranked Magic are 20-23 and the Brooklyn Nets are in eighth with an 18-24 mark.

Last season, the Charlotte Hornets held up the Eastern Conference playoff bracket with a losing record as the eighth seed. They went 39-43, not good but still a much better pace than the Wizards are currently on. To win 39 games, they would have to go 25-16 the rest of the way.

Though they have shown some positive signs, going 4-4 in their last eight games, that would require going to a completely different level in the second half of the season. Still, there is no harm in maintaining their goals.

Beal, for one, has envisioned a way it can happen.

"Especially once All-Star hits, that second half is just flying. We have to tighten up and try to get some wins here before the break because that's usually the time when teams like to ease off the pedal a little bit. We have to take advantage of [that], that advantage of our schedule, take care of our bodies, and rally together," he said.

If the Wizards really, really wanted to go for the playoffs, they could try to add some pieces before the Feb. 6 trade deadline. But that should not be expected. In fact, this year's deadline for the Wizards likely won't be affected much at all by the playoff picture.

It's hard to envision them being buyers and they may not be able to be true sellers, either, due to injuries and other factors. Also, there is a belief in the front office that keeping a close distance in the playoff race could be a nice incentive for their young players, that having something to work for later in the season could help their development.

If the Wizards did somehow make the playoffs or even get close, that would be quite the surprise and it would say a lot about the direction of the organization. But in the long-term, it would seem to be more beneficial if they continue on their current course and end up with a top draft pick.

The Wizards right now have the fifth-worst record in the league. That would net them a lot of ping-pong balls for the draft lottery.

It seems likely that's where this season will end. But it doesn't hurt to try.

"We just want to play. We just want to finish the second half of the season playing better," Brooks said.

The Wizards are only 4 1/2 games back in the playoff race. Stranger things have happened.

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