Fair leads No. 2 Syracuse past Rutgers
Piscataway, NJ (Sports Network) - C.J. Fair scored a career-high 21 points on Sunday, leading No. 2 Syracuse to a 74-64 win over Rutgers.
Scoop Jardine added 17 points and seven assists, Kris Joseph had 14 points and Fab Melo finished with 10 points, six rebounds and a pair of blocks for the Orange (27-1, 14-1 Big East), who have won seven in a row.
Gilvydas Biruta had 21 points and seven rebounds for the Scarlet Knights (12-15, 4-10). They have lost five straight.
"I thought as far as the fight and the compete, it was probably one of the most consistent games we've had in the last month," said Rutgers coach Mike Rice. "We just didn't finish plays."
The Orange were up 46-39 early in the second half before a layup from Biruta and a three-pointer from Myles Mack made it 46-44. The two-point margin persisted down the stretch, but the Scarlet Knights never managed to pull even.
It was 64-62 with three minutes to play when Syracuse finally created some distance.
Jardine was the catalyst. He hit a jumper before burying a pull-up three- pointer to make it 69-62 with 1:12 to play. Fair then knocked down a pair of free throws to seal the win.
"Scoop [Jardine] makes some plays down the stretch," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. "That's what we would hope for from a senior guard. He has been doing that all year."
The first half was similarly close. It featured seven ties and eight lead changes and was knotted at 32 before Syracuse closed with an 8-2 run to take a 40-34 lead into the break. Fair threw down a pair of dunks during the burst while Joseph and Dion Waiters both went 2-of-2 from the foul line.
The Orange shot 50.0 percent from the field and made 5-of-12 three-pointers while Rutgers hit 41.9 percent of its shots and went 3-of-18 from beyond the arc...Syracuse leads the all-time series, 38-9...Eli Carter, the Scarlet Knights' leading scorer on the season (13.6 points per game) went 3-of-13 from the field and finished with seven points.
02/19 17:53:03 ET