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Lowly Boston College shocks Syracuse in overtime at Carrier Dome


SYRACUSE — OK, Syracuse fans. You knew the magic could not last forever.

But against lowly Boston College?

One of the Atlantic Coast Conference bottom feeders who came into the game losers of five straight and winners of just six games all season.

The heavy underdog Eagles went toe-to-toe with the top-ranked Orange Wednesday night in the Carrier Dome, forcing overtime with a hot-shooting second half and outscored SU 12-9 in the extra session to earn a stunning 62-59 win.

Junior Lonnie Jackson made four free throws in the final 26 seconds for Boston College (7-19 overall, 3-10 ACC).

SU’s Trevor Cooney missed a potential tying 3-pointer at the end of overtime, sending the Orange (25-1, 12-1) to its first loss and ending an incredible streak of end-of-game comebacks.

“It’s unbelievable what these kids have done,’’ SU coach Jim Boeheim said. “But sooner or later, you don’t make the offensive or defensive play you need, and you lose games like this.’’

Sophomore Olivier Hanlan hit four of BC’s nine 3-pointers in the second half, finishing with 20 points, to help the Eagles overcome as much as an 11-point deficit.

SU’s offensive woes continued for the fifth straight game as the Orange was held in check by the ACC’s worst defense. The Orange shot a season-low 32.3 percent, including a 7-for-23 effort from leading scorer C.J. Fair.

They hit only 2 of 12 from 3-point range, while BC made 11 of 22, including 9-for-14 in the second half and overtime.

“We can’t win shooting 32 percent and 16 percent on threes,’’ Boeheim said. “It’s a pretty simple game. If the ball’s not going in the basket, every game is going to be close.’’

BC coach Steve Donahoe, who was 0-7 against SU while at Cornell, said, “My kids did a tremendous job of staying in the moment. The longer we kept it close, the more we thought we could win.’’

After taking a 25-17 halftime lead, SU expanded that to 13 points four minutes into the second half and still led by 11 (37-26) with 13 minutes remaining.

BC — one of the best perimeter shooting teams in the league – then began hitting over the SU 2-3 zone. After making only 2 of 10 3-pointers the first half, the Eagles made five of their first six in the second half. A Joe Rahon three cut the SU lead to 41-39 at the 8:50 mark, and Ryan Anderson’s inside bucket tied the game at 41-all a minute later.

“I don’t think we closed out on their shooters as well the second half,’’ SU freshman guard Tyler Ennis said.

A pair of Ennis hoops forged a 46-46 tie. But BC’s Patrick Heckmann scored on a driving basket to put BC ahead 48-46.

SU’s Jerami Grant (11 points) and Rakeem Christmas were only able to make one of two free throws on successive two-shot situations. But a strong Grant drive put SU ahead 50-48 with 1:18 left.

Hanlan worked his way through the zone for an uncontested layup at 47 seconds left to tie the game.

Following a pair of Ennis misses and two offensive rebounds, Boeheim called timeout with 20 seconds left, setting up for a final shot.

Ennis got the ball to Christmas for a short jump hook that rolled around the rim as the clock expired.

Hanlan drained a deep 3-pointer to begin overtime, and the Orange was battling from behind again.

After a Heckmann three, Christmas made two free throws and Ennis a driving bucket to tie it at 56.

Ennis was fouled with 1:12 left, but he also could make only one of two foul shots.

BC called its final timeout, and worked a perfect play with Anderson feeding Heckmann for a reverse layup and the lead.

Fair was the man whom SU gave the ball to for a potential winning shot. But the senior forward, who has had two poor shooting games in a row, misfired on a driving shot in the lane.

SU was forced to foul Jackson, who hit both ends of a 1-and-1 with 26.2 seconds to play.

A Christmas follow shot produced SU’s final points with 13 seconds left. But when Jackson, only a 56-percent foul shooter, drained two more foul shots, that forced the Orange to take a three to force another overtime.

When Cooney missed from outside the top of the key, SU’s win streak was over as the crowd of 26,716 sat in stunned silence.

“Sure, we would have liked to win them all,’’ said Fair, who finished with 20 points. “We had this game in hand and gave it away. Hopefully, we learned we have to play 40 or more minutes.’’

As for why the SU offense, which has averaged just 58 points the last five games, has been ineffective, Boeheim said it was a combination of things.

“We’re not a great jump shooting team, so we’ve got to get to the basket more,’’ he said. “And our offensive flow and rhythm is just not what it was earlier in the year.’’

Probably the best thing for SU is that the Orange don’t have time to dwell on this loss with a huge road game at Duke looming Saturday in a rematch of the overtime classic on Feb. 1 in the Dome.

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