Sunday, December 09, 2001

NC State shocks No. 9 Syracuse

NIT champ Orangemen lose without Boeheim

AP Sports Writer

Syracuse defense could not stop the Wolfpack.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
        SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Every time Syracuse tried to rally past North Carolina State, Anthony Grundy slammed the door.

        Grundy scored 26 points, including nine in less than three minutes late in the second half, as North Carolina State beat the ninth-ranked Orangemen 82-68 on Saturday night.

        For a team that has been giving five freshmen plenty of playing time, it was an important win. And it came in front of 20,150 screaming Syracuse fans, who saw their Orangemen lose for the first time after nine straight wins.

        “It's something that we have to be able to do as a young team, and we handled it well,” said Grundy, a senior who was 10-for-16 from the floor and also had five assists. “Everybody just stepped up, and that's what we need.”

        It's only the second time the Wolfpack (7-2) has beaten a Top 10 team on the road in Herb Sendek's five years as coach.

        “What made me most pleased tonight was the look they had in their eye,” Sendek said. “I was really relaxed and confident on the bench, just feeding off of them. Our team had a real sense of purpose. As the game went on, the confidence continued to build.”

        Partly, probably, because Syracuse was playing its second straight game without coach Jim Boeheim. Longtime assistant Bernie Fine is directing the team while Boeheim recovers from surgery for an enlarged prostate gland, and he took the blame for the loss.

        “I'm embarrassed, and I'll take the blame for this,” Fine said. “We kept rushing our offense. Coach Boeheim does not teach to play basketball like this. That's not a Syracuse team the way we played.”

        The Wolfpack trailed only once, 38-37, after DeShaun Williams hit a 3-pointer with 18:49 left for the Orangemen.

        N.C. State rallied with a 9-0 run, and Grundy was the key. Josh Powell, who finished with 14 points, began it with a layup. Grundy, who had 22 in the period, then hit a 3-pointer, a jumper from the top of the key, and a soft shot off the glass over hulking Jeremy McNeil to put the Wolfpack ahead 46-38 with 16:31 remaining.

        “That's one thing coach told us,” Grundy said. “We had a lot of easy opportunities and we made the best of them.”

        Every time the Wolfpack built a substantial lead, Syracuse fought back. But after Williams hit a scoop shot to move the Orangemen within 57-52 at 7:23, Grundy went to work again.

        He began his spurt with a fastbreak layup, then converted a dunk and pullup jumper before ending it with a three-point play to give the Wolfpack an insurmountable 70-59 lead with 3:43 to go.

        “They just wanted it more than us,” said Syracuse freshman Hakim Warrick, who hit two shots in the final four minutes of the first half to help rally the Orangemen back from an 11-point deficit to trail 35-33 at the break. “They just went out there and played hard, and we didn't.”

        Julius Hodge and Clifford Crawford each had 12 points for the Wolfpack, whose defense frustrated Syracuse's top guns into several bad shots when plays broke down.

        Syracuse has relied on a trio of shooters all season in Preston Shumpert, Williams, and Kueth Duany. Shumpert finished with 29 points and Williams had 20, but Duany, who was averaging nearly 15 points, did not score until he hit two foul shots with 11.9 seconds left in the game.

        Shumpert and Williams combined to take 36 of Syracuse's 57 shots while Duany attempted only two shots from the floor.

        “We lost because we were not patient on offense,” Fine said. “We settled down for the last four minutes of the first half and cut the lead from 11 to 2. We discussed it at halftime, and I tried to make a point of the fact that you play together, you make them defend you and you get good looks.

        “We come out, do it a few times, get careless and we decide to start doing 1-on-1 again.”


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