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Freshman C.J. Fair Sparks Syracuse Rally But Pittsburgh Leads At Half, 31-27

The No. 3-ranked Syracuse Orange turned one of the worst starts in program history into something they can work with heading into the second half against No. 5/4 Pittsburgh Panthers, who leads 31-27 after 20 minutes of play. Pittsburgh (17-1, 5-0) led 19-0 in the game’s first eight minutes but SU (18-0, 5-0) rallied behind freshman guard C.J. Fair.

Fair scored six of the contest’s next 17 points, which were all scored by the Orange who closed within 19-17 with 10:35 to go in the first half. Fair, who entered the game just before Pittsburgh guard Brad Wanamaker’s stuffed home a dunk that gave the Panthers a 19-point advantage with about 12 minutes remaining. SU sophomore guard Brandon Triche added four first-half poist, all coming during the comeback.

Orange junior forward Rick Jackson, who currently has a game-best six rebounds and three blocks, capped the rally with one of his patented left-handed baskets. Syracuse has made it a game because of ti's 2-3 zone defense that slowed down the Panthers offensiveness attack, which started eight of 13 (.615 percent) from the floor. The Panthers finished the half 13-for-29 (.448).