Providence, RI – C.J. Fair scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the seventh-ranked Orange survived the quick start by Bryce Cotton and the Providence Friars for a 72-66 win at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
Michael Carter-Williams filled the box score with 17 points, six assists, six rebounds and five steals, while Rakeem Christmas contributed to a dominant frontcourt with 15 points and eight boards in the Orange's (15-1, 3-0 Big East) fifth straight victory.
Syracuse shot just 3-of-21 from beyond the arc, but controlled the glass, 41-27, and had 21 more points in the paint, 46-25.
The Friars (8-7, 0-3) held a nine-point lead in the first half behind Cotton's 17 points in the opening 12-plus minutes. But Cotton was stifled from there, finishing with just five more points, and Providence was held to 38 percent shooting in the second half to drop its fifth consecutive game.
Providence's second leading scorer, Kadeem Batts, was limited to three points after averaging 16.2 coming in.
Syracuse controlled the tempo in the second half and led the final 10 minutes, On back-to-back possessions late in the game, Fair cleaned up his own miss with a layup and followed up a Carter-Williams miss with a thunderous dunk for a 58-53 lead with under five minutes to play.
Cotton made two free throws to get within a possession, but another offensive rebound at the other end, this time from Christmas, resulted in an easy deuce for Syracuse. James Southerland made it 62-55 the next time down with a mid- range jumper, and the Orange made enough free throws down the stretch to hold off Providence's late charge.
Cotton made his first six shots -- five from long range -- to jump-start the Friars. By comparison, Syracuse started out 0-for-9 from 3-point range and trailed 33-24 after a LaDontae Henton layup with five minutes remaining in the half.
Providence saw its lead dwindle to 33-30 at the break, and Syracuse pulled even at 38-38 following a pair of Christmas dunks less than five minutes after intermission.
The Orange have won the last six meetings ... The Friars' last win against Syracuse came on Jan. 28, 2009 ... Syracuse shot 17-of-18 from the foul line, compared to Providence's 15-of-23 effort ... Southerland totaled 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench.