for this game

Freshman Greene leads Syracuse past Washington

Nov 24, 2007 - 1:14 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SYRACUSE, New York (Ticker) - Syracuse claimed a victory but struggles at the foul line and getting rebounds made the final margin a lot closer that it would have liked.

Freshman Donte Greene scored a season high-tying 25 points as as the 21st-ranked Orange claimed third place in the NIT Season Tip-Off with a 91-85 victory over Washington on Friday at Madison Square Garden.

Eric Devendorf added 18 points and Paul Harris chipped in 12 for Syracuse, which shot 50 percent (27-of-54). Freshman Jonny Flynn, who was scoreless in Wednesday's loss to Ohio State, bounced back with 16 points.

The Orange (4-1) played in the consolation round of this tournament for the first time in their three appearances. They had won the titles in this event in 1988 and 2001 and entered the semifinals with wins over Siena and St. Joseph's.

Their attempt at another title opportunity was thwarted Wednesday when they could not stop Ohio State and lost by 14 points. Looking to get at least one victory out of its first trip of the season to New York, Syracuse took a 48-39 lead at halftime and led by double digits for a significant portion of the second half.

Greene had a solid all-around game, equaling his production from a week ago against Fordham while turning in his third straight 20-point performance. He was 9-of-15 from the floor, had seven rebounds and also blocked three shots.

"Donte Greene, everybody says he's only a freshman but he looks like been a veteran player," Harris said. "He's been playing excellent and hopefully he'll continue to play like that as the season goes on."

Although they were leading, the Orange never truly put this one away after Greene's layup with 2:15 remaining put them up 86-77. Greene had missed a pair of free throws on an earlier possession and his teammates were 5-of-11 in the final 2:07 and were 34-of-52 overall.

"No disrespect to Washington, but I honestly think we didn't play that well," Harris said. "We really could have beaten them by 20 points. I think we missed a lot of free throws and I didn't rebound so they outrebounded us. They just kept coming and coming and I commend them for that and fortunately we got the 'W'."

"That's just how the game goes," Greene added. "Everybody makes their run and we make our run and we couldn't really hold them back - but we got to definitely work on some things."

That allowed Washington to almost pull out the victory. The Huskies were within 88-85 after Quincy Pondexter rebounded a missed three-point attempt by Devendorf and hit a layup with 26 seconds remaining.

"I was pleased with our guys perseverance, resiliency tonight," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. "We were on the road, we were in foul trouble. Things weren't going our way, necessarily."

The Orange were outrebounded, 54-31, and, 30-16, in the second half. They also had just five offensive rebounds and allowed Washington to pull down 19.

"If we had rebounded the ball at all on the defensive end, the game shouldn't have been close," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "They just kept getting second efforts and just really killed us on the boards. They did it against our man-to-man as well as our zone. The shots they got against our man-to-man were on the offensive boards too and this is really the first time."

Syracuse held on though as Flynn, Arinze Onuaku and Harris each split their respective trips to the line.

Greene had 15 points, including a dunk that capped a 15-0 run with 6:15 remaining. That put Syracuse ahead, 31-25, and the Orange pulled away with a 13-5 burst that gave turned a four-point edge into a 10-point lead.

Pondexter led Washington with a season-best 20 points and Justin Dentmon added 16. Freshman Venoy Overton chipped in 11 for the Huskies, who shot 42 percent (34-of-81) and were called for 35 personal fouls.

That caused four players to foul out, including star forward Jon Brockman, who battled foul trouble the whole game. He finished with 10 points before fouling out with 2:09 remaining.

"I just went out and played," Pondexter said. "Jon is a big part to what we do offensively. So I felt when he went out someone had to step up."

"Anytime you foul like that, and you don't get to stay in for any long period of time, you can't really get a feel for a game," Brockman said. "You can't really get the flow but that's part of basketball."

Brockman had two fouls in the first 4:15 and was limited to 10 minutes. He did not score his first basket until early in the second half but picked up his fourth foul with 17:21 left, a call that Romar so vehemently disagreed with that he picked up a technical foul.

Despite having Brockman on the bench, the Huskies hung around for a few minutes. They were within 55-50 on an Overton layup with 16:09 remaining but Syracuse went on a 12-6 run and grabbed a 67-56 lead on Harris' layup with 10:34 remaining shortly after Brockman returned.