Devendorf rallies Syracuse in NIT openerMar 15, 2007 - 2:22 AM SYRACUSE, New York (Ticker) -- Snubbed by the NCAA Tournament, Syracuse almost made an abrupt exit from the National Invitation Tournament.
Eric Devendorf scored a career-high 34 points as the Orange rallied for a 79-73 South Region victory over South Alabama in an NIT first-round game.
Second-seeded Syracuse (23-10) will play host to either Missouri State or San Diego State in Monday's second round.
Demetric Bennett hit a pair of 3-pointers in a 15-6 run that was capped by a shot from the arc by Daon Merritt to give South Alabama (20-12) a 59-50 lead with 11 1/2 minutes to play.
Syracuse countered with an 18-0 spurt to go ahead, 68-59, with 4:58 to play. The Orange held the Jaguars to one point over nine minutes.
Devendorf finished 12-of-19 from the field to surpass his previous career high of 33 set in the regular-season finale against Villanova.
Demetris Nichols added 15 points for Syracuse, which prevailed despite shooting 40 percent (27-of-68) and getting outrebounded, 47-39.
Bennett scored 23 points and Ernest Little added 17 and 18 rebounds for seventh-seeded South Alabama, which was just 8-of-17 at the free-throw line.
- NIT SOUTH REGION
NCAA BB NIT SOUTH REGION
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
SOUTH ALABAMA 39 34 73
SYRACUSE 38 41 79 FINAL
Mar 14 9:02 PM
- NIT SOUTH REGION
NCAA BB (7) SOUTH ALABAMA 39
(2) SYRACUSE 38 HALFTIME
Mar 14 7:51 PM
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