Behind a team-best 18 points from junior guard Brandon Triche, the No. 3-ranked Syracuse Orange held off West Virginia, 63-61, in a Big East Conference men's basketball game. The Orange (22-1, 9-1 Big East) were outrebounded 41-20 and made just four of their 20 3-point shots, but outlasted the Mountaineers (15-7, 5-4) for their second straight victory without starting center Fab Melo.
"We're going to get beat on the boards a little bit but we need to make some of those shots," said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim after the game. "The difference in the game was our defense stopped them a couple times when we had to and we made some free throws.
With the game tied 61-61 with 1:28 to go, Triche nailed two free throws to help give Syracuse a 63-61 lead -- SU made their last five from the charity stripe.
The Mountaineers had two solid chances to tie, but a goaltend-call on a Deniz Kilicli put-back with :08 remaining was not made and senior forward Kevin Jones failed to make a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, as WVU dropped its second straight game.
"It's inexcusable. It's inexcusable. My kids played their hearts out,' said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins on his post-game show. "I've done this a long time, and I've never won a game when they didn't call a goaltend on us."
Jones finished with a game-best 20 points and added eight rebounds, while Kilicli added five and five.
Senior forward Kris Joseph finished with 13 points, including a huge rebound and put-back that led to an old fashion 3-point play, which gave SU a 59-56 lead with 3:06 remaining. Joseph also collected seven rebounds and two blocks.
Overall, the Orange defense forced 17 turnovers, including nabbing 17 steals, and held West Virginia to just 40.7-percent shooting.
SB Nation New York is blogged live from press row at the Carrier Dome for the Syracuse vs. West Virginia Big East showdown. Be sure to check back to this StoryStream for post-game comments from SU head coach Jim Boeheim. For more on the Orange, visit the SB Nation blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, while The Smoking Musket everything on the Mountaineers. Make sure to follow along on Twitter at SBNationNY or JaredSmithCNY.