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CBB: Cooney scores 21 as No. 2 Syracuse beats Boston College

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The Canadian Press
1/14/2014 12:30:45 AM
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BOSTON -- Playing a home game with an arena nearly half-filled with chanting fans of the visiting team didn't seem to faze Boston College for most of the game.

Trevor Cooney scored 21 points, Jerami Grant added 16 and No. 2 Syracuse fought off the pesky Eagles for a 69-59 victory Monday night.

Boston College, which struggled through a rough non-conference schedule, led the Orange with just over 10 minutes to play.

"I think they have great hope in that locker room," BC coach Steve Donahue said of his team. "Is there confidence? It's getting there. There's not despair, not discouragement. There's a lot of hope and they're proud to play for each other."

C.J. Fair and Tyler Ennis both had 12 points for the Orange (17-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). Grant added eight rebounds for Syracuse, one of four unbeaten teams in Division I.

Syracuse's size just proved to be too much for BC, which was missing starting centre Dennis Clifford, who rolled his ankle in warmups. He has played just two games this season battling soreness in both knees.

Lonnie Jackson scored 18 points -- all on 3-pointers -- for the Eagles (5-12, 1-3), Ryan Anderson had 14 and Olivier Hanlan finished with 13 points and six assists.

Mainly behind Jackson, who was 6 of 9, BC went 9 for 21 from 3-point range, but that magic ran out when the Orange tightened up their famed 2-3 zone down the stretch.

"We knew he could shoot from the last game, we just couldn't find him," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.

Jackson nailed a 3-pointer late Saturday to give BC a win at Virginia Tech.

Midway into the first half, the Syracuse fans broke into a chant of 'Let's Go Orange,' and Cooney had three breakaway dunks off turnovers -- two coming off his steals -- as they took a 32-23 lead with 2 1-2 minutes left in the half. It looked like they were ready to break the game open.

But the Eagles rallied to start the second half.

"Even after we kind of collapsed in the first half, we bounced back and played great basketball," Donahue said.

The Orange, who also started 2011-12 by winning their first 17 games, outrebounded Boston College 28-24, collecting half on the offensive glass, which helped them pull away for the win.

Trailing 51-46 with just over 10 minutes to play, the Orange started take advantage of their size inside during a 16-1 run over the ensuing 3 1-2 minutes. Grant had a dunk and conventional three-point play. Cooney scored on a putback on the third offensive rebound and nailed a 3 from the right wing, capping the run.

Following Hanlan's two free throws, Baye Moussa Keita had a one-handed putback slam, making it 60-51 with 6:01 left.

The Eagles were never closer than six points the rest of the way.

Jackson's sixth 3-pointer of the game, coming off Joe Rahon's long arcing pass over a double-team from corner to corner, had given BC a 50-44 lead with 11:56 left. But, after that shot, the Eagles went 11:12 without a field goal, turning the ball over on a handful of trips, before Eddie Odio had a dunk in the closing minute.

The Eagles, who trailed 32-30 at halftime, opened the second half by outscoring the Orange 15-3 to take a 45-37 lead on Anderson's dunk with just under 16 minutes to play. BC ran plays through the lower part of Syracuse's zone that led to consecutive 3-pointers from the right corner by Jackson and Rahon before Anderson collected a feed inside for his dunk.

The Eagles scored the final seven points of the first half, with Jackson's third 3-pointer triggering the run.

It was the first time the schools -- both charter members of the Big East -- met as members of the ACC.

Trevor Cooney (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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