COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Up by 12 points with just under 6 minutes left, No. 4 Syracuse appeared poised to secure an unusually easy victory.
Not a chance.
After letting the seemingly comfortable lead dwindle to a single point in the closing seconds, Syracuse squeezed past Maryland 57-55 on Monday to end a two-game losing streak.
It was another close call for the Orange (26-2, 13-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), whose previous four games were decided by a total of 12 points.
“We’re in a lot of these games,” coach Jim Boeheim said. “For the most part we’ve made good plays at the end of them, and that’s why we are where we are. We’re not overpowering too many people, I can promise you that.”
Syracuse led 51-39 with 5:45 left but allowed Maryland to close to 56-55 with 47 seconds remaining. After C.J. Fair missed a jumper for the Orange, Baye Moussa Keita blocked a driving layup by Nick Faust to keep Syracuse in front.
“I thought Nick got fouled and the replay showed that,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “It’s been that type of year for us.”
Trevor Cooney was fouled and made one of two free throws with 4 seconds to go before Maryland’s Seth Allen’s off-balance shot bounded off the back of the rim as the buzzer sounded.
Tyler Ennis scored 20 points and Fair had 17 to help Boeheim secure his 946th career victory. Like many of the previous ones during Syracuse’s first season in the ACC, this was not easy.
“How many we played in the league now? We’ve had one that wasn’t close,” Boeheim said. “This was the game we were most ahead of in all except two. This has been how we’ve played since the league started. We were actually ahead, which we probably weren’t used to.”