Orange down Hokies, advance to title gameNov 24, 2011 - 6:14 AM Syracuse pulled away to beat Virginia Tech, 69-58, Wednesday night in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
C.J. Fair added 12 points and Dion Waiters scored 11 for the Orange, who moved on to face Stanford in Friday's title game.
Syracuse (5-0) didn't hold a lead until Fair's dunk with almost eight minutes gone in the second half made it 44-42.
It was part of an 11-0 run that turned the game around for a team that had won its first four games this season by an average of 32.5 points, but suddenly found itself in a dog fight.
"We went with veterans in the second half, guys that have been there," said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, "and I thought they did a tremendous job."
Jarell Eddie scored 17 points to lead Virginia Tech (3-1) while Erick Green had 14 and Dorenzo Hudson added 13.
Stanford beat Oklahoma State, 82-67, in Wednesday's other semifinal.
The Hokies, who opened the season with victories over East Tennessee State, Monmouth and FIU, started the game on a 10-4 run and led by as many as seven points four different times in the first half.
The last time came when Green's three-pointer made it 27-20 inside three minutes. But the Orange closed the half on a 7-2 burst and remained close until Waiters drove the lane and dumped a pass to Fair for a dunk that gave them the lead with 12:12 left.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Fair and Waiters pushed Syracuse's lead to eight points, and Waiters' layup moved it into double digits moments later at 56-45.
"I thought we played 30 really competitive minutes of basketball. I thought we had that one little four- or five-minute stretch where we got soft," said Hokies coach Seth Greenberg. "We didn't compete as hard as we needed to offensively, and we got soft defensively."
Virginia Tech closed within five, 58-53, when Eddie's jumper capped an 8-2 spurt, but Syracuse scored the next nine points to put the game out of reach. Triche scored the final five points on a three-pointer and layup to make it a 14-point game with 79 seconds remaining.
Syracuse shot 48.3 percent from the floor, including 55.2 percent in the second half. The Hokies shot 37.5 percent after halftime and 42.6 percent in the game.
The Orange played their second game since longtime assistant coach Bernie Fine was accused last week by two former ball boys of sexual molestation. They beat Colgate easily, 92-47, on Saturday after news of the accusations broke last Thursday night...Boeheim earned his 861st win and is 15 behind Adolph Rupp for fourth place all-time among Division I coaches. He is No. 2 among active coaches behind only wins leader Mike Krzyzewski of Duke...Syracuse leads the all-time series against Virginia Tech, 4-2.
- VIRGINIA TECH: 58
Nov 23 11:22 PM
- VIRGINIA TECH: 29
Nov 23 10:11 PM
- VIRGINIA TECH: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Nov 23 9:34 PM
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