Warrick leaves Bulldogs feeling Orange
New York, NY (Sports Network) – Hakim Warrick delivered 21 points, including
17 in the second half, and 10 rebounds to lead No. 5 Syracuse over 12th-ranked
Mississippi State, 71-58, in the second of two semifinal matchups at the
Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Madison Square Garden.
Josh Pace posted 12 points while Gerry McNamara added nine points and seven
assists for Syracuse (3-0), which will face No. 24 Memphis in the final on
Friday night. The Tigers defeated Saint Mary’s earlier Thursday.
Shane Power netted 18 points to lead the way for Mississippi State (2-1),
which reached the semis after beating Birmingham Southern.
The contest featured two of the premiere players in the nation in Warrick and
the Bulldogs’ Lawrence Roberts, who saw action for the first time this season
after serving a suspension and suffering from a broke nose. The former was
honored as the Most Valuable Player of the New York Regional for this
tournament while the latter was honored as the 2004 Southeastern Conference
Player of the Year. Roberts finished with nine points and 12 rebounds.
“We made a conscious effort to get (Warrick) the ball,” said Orange head coach
Syracuse got off to a slow start, trailing 12-5 after five minutes of action,
but a Louie McCroskey three-pointer brought the Orange within three, 14-11,
with over 12 minutes to go in the first half.
The momentum seemed to be building for the Orange soon after as an intentional
foul gave Syracuse’s Terrence Roberts, who was on the receiving end of a long
pass from McNamara under the basket, a pair of foul shots and the ball back
However, Roberts failed on both free throw attempts and the Orange could not
score when they received possession immediately following. Not only that, but
the Bulldogs went the other way and a basket increased their lead to five.
A Demetris Nichols slam with over eight minutes left broke a four-minute
period in which neither team scored a single point. The shot selection on both
sides was poor and the overall play was sloppy.
A bucket by Power with 5:15 remaining made it 21-13 for MSU, but Warrick
connected on an inside layup a minute later and followed with a jumper from
the foul line to bring Syracuse within four, 21-17.
Inside the final minute of the first half, a travelling call on the Bulldogs
allowed Pace to hit a spin-around jumper in the lane which sent the teams into
the break tied at 25 apiece.
Syracuse started the second half on a tear, using a 13-2 run in the first four
minutes to move ahead 38-27.
The Bulldogs began to slice away at their deficit, though, and when Power
nailed a three-pointer, they trailed by eight, 46-38, near the 12-minute mark.
But McNamara responded with a trey of his own soon after and the Orange lead
was back to double digits at 51-40.
“We executed about as well as we could in the second half,” Boeheim added.
With seven minutes remaining in regulation and holding a 10-point edge, Craig
Forth made room for himself in the lane and put one in off the glass to put
Syracuse ahead 60-48. .Forth ended with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Nearly three minutes later, Warrick was fouled very hard by Roberts but made
just one of two foul shots and the Orange led 63-50. Following a missed shot
on the other end by Mississippi State, Pace’s bucket inside put Syracuse ahead
by 15 before Warrick’s thundering dunk with two minutes to go sealed the
This was the third all-time meeting between these teams and the Orange have
captured all three. The most recent matchup came in the 1996 Final Four, when
the Orange advanced to the championship game with a 77-69 victory but fell to
eventual title winner Kentucky.