Syracuse Edges Florida, 72-68
|men's BASkEtBALL RESULTS
|Syracuse 72, Florida 68
|Cincinnati 57, Georgia 51
|Seton Hall 81, Auburn 59
|Louisville 62, Vanderbilt 60
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- No. 4 Syracuse remained unbeaten with a 72-68 win over No. 10 Florida on Friday, as coach Jim Boeheim maintained a stoic facade amid an intense federal investigation into his program.
It's the second game since the firing of longtime associate head coach Bernie Fine, who has been accused by three men -- including two former Syracuse ballboys -- of molesting them as minors.
Fine, who was fired Sunday, has denied the allegations.
Just as he was in Tuesday's home win over Eastern Michigan, Boeheim was greeted by a nice ovation when he was introduced to a crowd of 24,459. It was the largest on-campus attendance in the nation so far this season, and it included former Syracuse star Carmelo Anthony and former Orange assistant Rob Murphy, in his first year at EMU, in front-row seats.
Syracuse (8-0) breezed to its first seven wins with an average margin of victory of 26 points, but the Gators (5-2), whose only previous loss was by seven at No. 2 Ohio State, figured to provide a stiff challenge and they did in a game that seemed like a midseason encounter in the Big East.
But, once again, the game was secondary on the first Friday of December.
Some sex abuse victims' advocates have said Boeheim should resign or be fired after the accusations, as well as Boeheim's disparaging comments regarding the accusers in defense of his longtime friend.
After initially saying Fine's first two accusers were lying to make money in the wake of the Penn State sex abuse scandal, Boeheim backed off those comments in a statement after Fine's firing was announced Sunday.
Two days later, Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor supported Boeheim's new stance.
"Coach Boeheim is our coach. ... We're very pleased with what he said Sunday night, and we stand by it."
Boeheim, in his 36th season as head coach, said after Tuesday night's game that he's never been worried about his job throughout his tenure at his alma mater and has not considered resigning.
"When the investigation is done, we will find out what happened on my watch," Boeheim said. "We don't know what's happened on my watch right now."
Meanwhile, federal authorities have searched coaches' and player's lockers in the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center. Authorities declined to say what they were looking for.
Fine's office on campus was searched Tuesday morning, and his suburban home was searched last Friday. The U.S. Attorney's office in northern New York, which is leading the investigation, has not said what it sought or found.
Earlier Thursday, Cantor said the school decided to fire Fine upon hearing an audiotape recorded by Bobby Davis, one of Fine's accusers. ESPN broadcast the 2002 audiotape, recorded by Davis, of a conversation between Davis and a woman ESPN identified as Fine's wife, Laurie, in which she says she knew "everything that went on."
Cantor's comments were in a published response to a USA Today editorial Thursday that calls on Syracuse to release a "full accounting" of what it did and why Fine was kept on the job.
The controversy continues to swirl around those most closely associated with the program.
"It's been crazy," said Matt Roe, a Syracuse star from the late 1980s who does color on radio broadcasts. "Nonstop for 14 days. What am I going to say? I don't know anything. (Boeheim) is a good man."
Judging by the reaction of the crowd and the jammed student section -- two signs were held aloft often that read: "In Boeheim we trust" and "In Jim we trust" -- Boeheim continues to enjoy wide support.
"I think the press and everybody else just wants a story," said Bob Sawken of Vestal, N.Y. "They don't know if anyone's guilty or innocent. They want a story and no answers. (Boeheim's) been a longtime friend.
"I don't see a reason why he wouldn't see that."
Boeheim's spot on the coaching staff of the U.S. basketball team remains secure, though the U.S. Olympic Committee is monitoring the investigation of Fine. Boeheim is the top assistant to Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski on the team that will play at the 2012 London Olympics.
Against the Gators, Boeheim's players responded again.
Brandon Triche had 20 points and Scoop Jardine finished with 16 and seven assists for the Orange. Kenny Boynton led Florida with 22 points and Erving Walker had 17.
Neither team led by more than six points in a first half that was tied six times.
Florida, which entered the game shooting 42.9 percent from beyond the arc and was averaging 12 3-pointers a game, went 3 of 14 from long range in the period -- all by Erving Walker -- while the Orange struggled even more, hitting just 1 of 10.
Syracuse still managed to forge ahead at the break, 31-27, behind seven points each from Kris Joseph, Fab Melo and Triche.
After the Orange built a 39-30 lead early in the second, Boynton led the Gators back with three 3s, the last putting Florida back on top 49-46 with 9:19 to go. Triche tied it for the fourth time in the period 11 seconds later with his first 3 of the game.
Jardine fed Joseph for a one-handed slam to break the tie and Jardine's steal and layup had the Orange up 54-49 with 6:20 to go and the crowd shaking the Carrier Dome.
The roar reached another crescendo when Jardine hit a runner in the lane as the shot clock neared zero, Joseph fed C.J. Fair for a baseline jumper, and Jardine hit a 3 from the left wing in a span of 2:19. That gave Syracuse a 61-53 lead with 3:52 left and the Gators couldn't rally back.
Kilpatrick leads Cincinnati past Georgia 57-51
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Sean Kilpatrick scored 22 points, Dion Dixon added 19 and Cincinnati held off Georgia 57-51 in the Big East-SEC Challenge on Friday night.
The Bearcats (5-2), playing their first road game this season, erased an 11-point deficit early in the second half with a 16-4 run capped by Dixon's layup, giving Cincinnati a 39-38 lead with 10:40 remaining.
Georgia (4-4), which has lost three straight, scored just three field goals after Gerald Robinson's layup put the Bulldogs up 38-31 with 13:02 left.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Georgia with 16 points, but was scoreless in the second half before his 3 cut the lead to 55-51 with 8.8 seconds remaining. Robinson added 12 points for the Bulldogs.
Kilpatrick's two free throws with 7.5 seconds to play ended the scoring.
Auburn Falls to Seton Hall, 81-59
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Herb Pope had 23 points and 12 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season and Seton Hall cruised to an 81-59 victory over Auburn on Friday night in the Big East/SEC Challenge.
The Pirates (6-1) matched their season high with 10 3-pointers and controlled the boards, finishing with a 40-26 advantage overall and 14-6 on the offensive end.
Patrik Auda had a career-high 17 points for Seton Hall, while Fuquan Edwin added 14 points and nine rebounds and freshman Aaron Cosby had 13 points, all but one on 3-pointers. Jordan Theodore had three points, 10 assists, five rebounds and two turnovers for the Pirates.
Rob Chubb had 12 points for Auburn (4-1), which was playing its first road game of the season. Josh Wallace and Kenny Gabriel added 11 each.
The Pirates took a 38-31 halftime lead despite Auburn shooting 60.9 percent (14 of 23) from the field. Seton Hall was 6 of 14 from 3-point range in the opening half and had eight offensive rebounds to none for the Tigers. The Pirates turned those opportunities into 11 second-chance points.
Chubb dunked to get the Tigers within 44-37 with 15:57 to play. The Pirates' next two baskets were on offensive rebounds and they pulled away from there, taking a lead as large as 74-50 on a 3 by Auda with 4:37 to play.
The Pirates started the season 3 for 31 from 3-point range at the Prudential Center, their home court. They were 10 of 25 against Auburn, which was 3 for 16 from long range.
Pope, who was 10 of 19 from the field, had the 25th double-double of his career.
This was the first meeting between the schools.
Louisville Slips Past Vanderbilt in Overtime, 62-60
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Peyton Siva drove through the middle of Vanderbilt's defense for a layup with 1.4 seconds left and No. 6 Louisville rallied to beat the No. 20 Commodores 62-60 in overtime on Friday night.
The Cardinals (7-0) came back from two big deficits -- nine in the second half and five in overtime. Kyle Kuric's 16-footer gave Louisville a 60-58 lead with 34 seconds left.
John Jenkins, who finished with 27 points, hit two free throws for the Commodores (5-3) to tie it with 12.2 seconds to play, but Siva broke the defense on a high pick-and-roll and got to the hoop for the game-winning basket to finish with 15 points.
Siva, who has been hobbled recently by a sprained left ankle, smiled watching his big layup on replay following Louisville's 15th straight win in the KFC Yum! Center.
Siva and Louisville freshman Chane Behanan finished with 14 points apiece, but Behanan blew a chance to win it in regulation when he missed a short shot at the buzzer. He'd make amends in overtime.
Jenkins gave Vanderbilt a 55-50 lead when he opened overtime with a 3-pointer, then added two free throws with 2:29 left. Behanan answered with a three-point play. After the two teams traded a pair of free throws, Kuric, who finished with 15 points, hit a 3-pointer that gave Louisville a 58-57 lead.
Brad Tinsley tied it with a free throw before Kuric's jumper set up the final sequence when Jenkins hit two free throws and Siva easily passed Lance Goulbourne down the lane, hitting a finger-roll layup with 1.4 seconds left.
Behanan deflected Tinsley's full-court desperation pass. Goulbourne and Jeffrey Taylor finished with 11 points apiece.
It was the first true road game for a Vanderbilt team that had been ranked seventh in the preseason poll -- ahead of Louisville at the time -- and while the Cardinals have weathered injuries, the Commodores have struggled.
Vanderbilt is still without Festus Ezeli (right knee) for two more weeks and also lost Josh Henderson (left foot). Henderson is scheduled to have surgery Monday to put a screw in his foot and will miss eight to 12 weeks.
Louisville is missing Rakeem Buckles (right knee), Stephan Van Treese (left knee), Mike Marra (left knee), Wayne Blackshear (right shoulder) and Elisha Justice (broken nose).
Just like in an overtime loss to then-No. 11 Xavier when the Commodores gave away a 10-point lead at home, Vanderbilt squandered a big second-half advantage.
Jenkins' jumper gave the Commodores a 43-34 lead, but Taylor made a steal and missed a layup that would've pushed it to double digits.
Louisville answered with a 13-4 run that ended with Behanan's steal and slam that tied it with 2:28 left.
The two teams then swapped inconsistent performances at the free-throw line. Goulbourne hit one to put Vanderbilt up by a point, Siva made two to give Louisville its first lead in 18 minutes and Brad Tinsley hit one of two that tied the game at 49 with 1:26 left.
Gorgui Dieng and Steve Tchiengang each hit one free throw. But Dieng misplay a rebound of Tchiengang's second attempt to give the Commodores a chance with 39 seconds left.
Tinsley threw the ball into the Commodores' bench for a turnover, giving the Cardinals a final chance.
Siva wound the clock down near halfcourt, then drove into the lane around Taylor and found Behanan down low. Behanan took the ball to the floor once to slice across the lane, but missed the shot off the backboard and rim and slumped down in frustration at failing to hit the winner.
Siva made sure the next time he'd take it all the way.