SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Kevin Love had 21 points and 10 rebounds, former Syracuse star Wes Johnson added four points and three assists in his return to the Carrier Dome as an NBA rookie, and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Detroit Pistons 99-88 on Friday night.
Austin Daye had 18 points, Charlie Villanueva had 16 points, and Ben Gordon added 11 for the Pistons (2-3 preseason).
Minnesota (4-1) trailed for most of the first quarter, then started the second with a 14-2 spurt as the Pistons went cold, hitting just four of 15 shots in the period, and the Wolves never trailed again.
It was a homecoming for three former Syracuse stars of coach Jim Boeheim: Johnson, who earned Big East Player of the year honors last season before declaring early for the NBA draft; point guard Jonny Flynn, who left after his sophomore season; and veteran Jason Hart, who's trying to earn a spot on the Timberwolves as a free agent.
Flynn is recovering from hip surgery and did not play. He was greeted with a standing ovation before the game and signed hundreds of autographs before the game. Flynn and Johnson were featured in a highlight reel played before the game.
"It's great. I really love the support that we have," said Flynn, who averaged 13.5 points and 4.4 assists as a rookie last season. "Just to come back and show how appreciative I am for all the love they show. It's like I just left. Just to be in the atmosphere, at the Dome, and let them see my face. A lot of guys don't get to come back here and play while they're on an NBA team. This is a good stepping stone."
Boeheim was honored before the game because he was an assistant coach for the United States' gold-medal winning team at the basketball world championships.
Dave Bing, Boeheim's college roommate who went on to a Hall of Fame NBA career spent mostly with the Pistons and now serves as mayor of Detroit, tossed the ceremonial jump ball.
Former Orange stars Pearl Washington, Lawrence Moten, Derrick Coleman, John Wallace, Rafael Addison, Gerry McNamara, and Arinze Onuaku also were in the crowd.