for this game

Curry helps Oklahoma State hold on against Syracuse

Dec 6, 2006 - 2:53 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- JamesOn Curry stepped up to make sure that another late run by Syracuse fell short.

Curry scored five of his 20 points in the final 22 seconds as No. 24 Oklahoma State held off 21st-ranked Syracuse for a 72-68 victory in the Jimmy V Classic.

Beating the Orange in this event for the second time in three years, the Cowboys (10-0) remained undefeated under new coach Sean Sutton, notching their best start since winning their first 13 games in 2001-02.

"That was a great win for our basketball team against a very good team," said Sutton, who over for his legendary father, Eddie, this season. "It's the first time we played away from home this year, I was anxious to see how we would compete."

Oklahoma State appeared as if it was going to cruise to the victory, leading, 67-54, on a driving layup by Mario Boggan with 4:05 remaining.

Similar to its loss to Wichita State on Saturday, when it put together a 21-2 run in the final minutes, Syracuse (7-2) hit its stride down the stretch. Freshman Paul Harris capped a 12-0 run when he grabbed a defensive rebound and went the distance for the layup with 49 seconds to play, cutting it to 67-66.

Once a high-profile recruit himself, Curry answered back, knocking down a deep 3-pointer from up top 27 seconds later.

"Usually that's a play we run against a man-to-man defense," Sutton said about Curry's big shot. I felt like we would have a hard time getting the ball to Boggan. Very late, I felt he (Curry) was the guy that I wanted to take the shot. He came off that ball screen and stepped up and made a shot."

"He (Harris) just didn't realize that this is the guy you don't want shooting the ball," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said about the defense on Curry's shot. "If you don't realize that, then that's not just thinking the game (through). If we make a good play on that, then we have a good shot to win the game, which we never should have had."

Although Curry missed a free throw after a turnover by the Orange, the junior guard converted two with 5.4 seconds left to seal the contest.

"That just comes from confidence and wanting it so bad," Curry said about closing out the game. "Last year, we lost about eight games at the very end and we all deep down inside knew if we kept getting stops on our end instead of missing free throws and (making) turnovers, we were going to end out on top."

Curry finished 4-of-6 from the arc for the Cowboys, who shot 52 percent (28-of-54) and held a 22-13 advantage in bench points.

Boggan, who scored his team's first nine points of the game, ended up with 21 points and eight rebounds for Oklahoma State, which ended up with 23 turnovers.

"We had a couple of costly turnovers in the end," Boggan said. "We should have won the game by 15, maybe more. We had some careless plays and that kind of set us back. But we're just glad we got the win."

The Orange also proved careless with the ball, giving it away 22 times to lead to 17 points for the Cowboys. After scoring all 14 of his points in the second half against the Shockers on Saturday, Harris once again led the comeback charge for Syracuse.

Harris, who finished with 11 points, sank two free throws to start the burst and highlighted it with an explosive one-handed dunk in transition, cutting the deficit to 67-60 with 2:25 left.

After a missed layup by Oklahoma State, Demetris Nichols sank one of his three 3-pointers spotting up from the right wing to make it a four-point game 23 seconds later.

Nichols finished with 26 points and Terrence Roberts added 14 and seven rebounds for the Orange, who were outrebounded by a 31-25 margin, leading to 15 second-chance points for the Cowboys.

    --- --- -----
    OKLAHOMA ST (24) 39 33 72
    SYRACUSE (21) 34 34 68 FINAL

    Dec 5 9:20 PM


    Dec 5 8:00 PM