It came down to the final few seconds for the second straight game, but the #t3/4 Orange (18-1, 6-0) triumphed again, defeating #21/20 Cincinnati (16-4, 4-2), 57-55, in the Carrier Dome on Monday afternoon.
The Orange upset then #1/1 Louisville on Saturday, 70-68, and hours after the new rankings came out on Monday were involved in another barn-burner.
With 1:30 remaining in the game, the Orange found itself trailing by three points, 55-52. Sophomore Michael Carter-Williams
connected on a three-pointer to tie score. Junior C.J. Fair
earned a steal on Cincinnati's subsequent possession and then tipped in the game-winner with 13 seconds left. The Bearcats tried one last three but Cashmere Wright missed and junior Baye Moussa Keita
secured the rebound and the victory for Syracuse.
The victory extended the SU home court winning span to 35 straight games, which the longest active stretch in Division I and a Syracuse school record. The Orange also improved its current success streak to eight consecutive games.
Carter-Williams led the offense with 16 points, while senior Brandon Triche
and Fair tallied 13 points apiece. Freshman Jerami Grant
topped both clubs with seven rebounds.
Cincinnati, bolstered by two 3-pointers from Sean Kilpatrick and another by Cashmere Wright, built an early 9-5 lead. The Orange responded and held the Bearcats scoreless for the next 9:57 while tallying 10 unanswered points. SU eventually had its largest advantage at 20-13 before Cincinnati regrouped with a 5-0 run. The Orange led at the break, 22-18.
Following the break, the Bearcats opened the second half with consecutive three-pointers and a pair of free throws to climb back on top by six at 30-24. Pulling away with its largest lead of the half, Cincinnati moved up by seven at 36-29, before Carter-Williams answered back with seven straight points to tie the score at 36-36 with 11:36 remaining in the period.
Unable to take control of the lead, the Bearcats took a six-point advantage at 44-38 before Triche and Carter-Williams broke up the offensive attack and put the Orange within two points of the lead at 44-42 with 7:08 remaining in the game.
Trailing by seven as Bearcats held another seven-point advantage at 51-44, Syracuse scored nine of the last 10 points in the final three and a half minutes to secure the Syracuse victory.
The Orange is back in action on Saturday, Jan. 26, taking on Villanova at 11 a.m., before concluding a two-game road swing with a stop at Pittsburgh on Saturday, Feb. 2 at noon.