SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — C.J. Fair scored a career-high 26 points, Jerami Grant added 16 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 9 Syracuse beat Fordham 89-74 on Tuesday night.
Syracuse, which started the season with a so-so 82-60 win over Cornell on Friday night after trailing by 14 points late in the first half, left little doubt about the outcome of this one. The Orange had the game in hand by halftime, leading by 25 behind 15 points from Fair as the Syracuse defense clamped down from the opening tip.
Grant, who missed Syracuse's season opener due to a violation of NCAA rules regarding summer-league play, was sharp, hitting 6 of 12 shots and nabbing three steals. Freshman point guard Tyler Ennis had a solid game after scoring his first collegiate basket on a driving layup on the game's first possession. He finished with 16 points, five assists, no turnovers and four of the Orange's 15 steals.
Dajuan Coleman had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Syracuse, while Trevor Cooney, named ACC player of the week after scoring a career-high 27 points against Cornell including 7 of 8 from long range, had two points on 1-of-6 shooting and missed all four attempts he took from beyond the arc.
Branden Frazier had a career-high 33 points for Fordham and freshman Jon Severe added 19, hitting 4 of 10 from long range.
Severe, who hit 7 of 10 from long range and scored 28 points in an 87-67 victory over St. Francis, Pa. to open the season on Friday night, found little room to roam in the early going. Severe was 0 for 3 from beyond the arc in the first half, scoring just two points on free throws, and only a late surge by Frazier kept the game from being more lopsided than it was at halftime.
The Rams made just 2 of 12 from long range in the decisive first half and finished 11 of 27 from beyond the arc after making 13 of 28 in their opener.
Frazier hit two 3s and scored 12 points in the final 7 minutes of the first half, but it wasn't so easy for the rest of the Rams. Syracuse was credited with only one block in the period, a monster swat by Rakeem Christmas in the first 3 minutes of play, but the Orange's big bodies left little room to operate inside.
Syracuse outrebounded Fordham 23-10 in the opening half and took a 46-21 lead into halftime.
Syracuse jumped to a 12-2 lead at the outset behind seven points from Fair and didn't need much from Cooney, whose only basket of the game came on a driving layup in the first half. The Orange closed the half with a 14-5 spurt capped by a tip by Grant, two free throws from Fair and two more from Coleman.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim gave his four freshmen extended minutes in the second half and the Rams took advantage, outscoring Syracuse 53-43. Consecutive 3-pointers by Mandell Thomas and Severe and two free throws by Thomas narrowed the lead to 76-60 with 5:44 left, the closest the Rams had been since Grant hit a jumper from the top of the key to give Syracuse a 25-8 lead.
And Fordham wasn't quite through. Frazier hit a jumper in the lane and Ryan Roomes added another and two free throws to cut the lead to 78-66 with 3:33 left, but that was it.