No. 1 Syracuse survives again, edges NC State
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Rakeem Christmas had a key steal to set up C.J. Fair’s winning layup with 6.7 seconds left, helping No. 1 Syracuse edge North Carolina State 56-55 on Saturday night to remain unbeaten.
Christmas had 14 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks as Syracuse earned its 10th single-digit win despite shooting 35.2 percent. Jerami Grant had 12 points and 14 rebounds and Fair scored 11 points on 5-of-16 shooting.
The start of the game was pushed back four hours because of a snowstorm that wreaked havoc along the eastern seaboard. N.C. State did not land in Syracuse until Saturday afternoon. The team’s Twitter account announced the Wolfpack’s arrival at 3:07 p.m., seven minutes later than the original scheduled tip-off.
It turns out it was worth the wait, with a tight game leading to a frantic finish full of missed opportunities.
Ralston Turner missed a 3 for N.C. State with 2:45 left, and then Fair was off on a hook driving across the lane. After N.C. State’s Anthony Barber hit the side of the backboard with a baseline jumper, Grant missed a spinning drive in the lane for Syracuse.
Tyler Ennis then fouled Turner while shooting a 3, and he made three free throws to give the Wolfpack a 55-53 lead with 62 seconds left.
Fair sank 1 of 2 foul shots with 41.4 seconds remaining and N.C. State’s Desmond Lee then lost the ball out of bounds when he was double-teamed at midcourt.
Ennis negated that turnover with a charge, but the Wolfpack couldn’t close it out. After a timeout with 18.3 seconds to go, Christmas stole the ball and Fair put the Orange in front when N.C. State was whistled for goaltending on his layup attempt.
T.J. Warren missed from the top of the key on one last try for N.C. State.