Strong defense leads Syracuse past Indiana

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Syracuse, NY ( - Trevor Cooney contributed 21 points, the Syracuse defense stifled Indiana in the second half and the fourth-ranked Orange surged past the Hoosiers 69-52 on Tuesday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Carrier Dome.

Indiana netted the first four points of the second half to pull even at 33-33, but Syracuse held the Hoosiers without a field goal over the next 12-plus minutes to build a 20-point advantage.

Freshman Tyler Ennis stuffed the stat sheet with 17 points, eight assists seven rebounds, and four steals, while C.J. Fair added 15 points and four boards for the Orange (8-0), who have won 47 straight non-conference home games and 38 in a row against unranked teams at Carrier Dome.

"We finally got our offense going a little bit, made a couple of baskets, but our defense was really the difference for the first time this year," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "Coming back from Hawaii, I thought the way everybody held their legs was pretty good. Our energy level was pretty good."

Noah Vonleh led Indiana (6-2) with 17 points, while Yogi Ferrell scored 12 for the Hoosiers, who were upended by Syracuse in the round of 16 during last year's NCAA Tournament.

After Vonleh's jumper just over two minutes into the second half tied the game, Cooney knocked down a pair of 3-pointers en route to 12 points in a 25-4 Syracuse surge that gave the home team a 58-37 lead with 7:29 to play.

Vonleh finally quelled the Indiana field goal drought when he threw down a dunk with 5:08 remaining, but it was too little, too late as the Hoosiers failed to cut the margin below 17 the rest of the way.

"This is one of those games where the first few possessions were going to be absolutely crucial in the second half, and they were. And it totally went the other way. I'm unbelievably disappointed in the lack of fight in the second half," said Indiana coach Tom Crean.

Early on, the Orange jumped out to a 10-0 lead just over four minutes in thanks to a pair of Cooney triples and a jumper each from Fair and Ennis.

Indiana, meanwhile, started the game 3-of-15 from the floor and trailed 23-14 with 6:17 left in the first half before Ferrell got going, knocking down consecutive treys to cap a 13-3 Indiana surge that put the Hoosiers on top, 27-26, with 3 1/2 minutes left in the half.

Syracuse had the final say in the frame, closing the stanza on a 7-2 swing that Cooney capped with a 3-pointer to make it 33-29 at the break.

Game Notes

Indiana forward Austin Etherington was assessed a Flagrant Foul 2 and ejected from the game for shoving Cooney in the back on a breakaway in the second half ... Syracuse owns a 5-1 advantage in the all-time series with Indiana ... Cooney went 5-of-9 from 3-point range, marking the fourth time this year he has hit at least five 3s in a game ... Syracuse shot 51.1 percent (24-of-47) from the floor while holding Indiana to 36.6 percent (15-of-41) shooting.