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Rautins on fire as Syracuse holds off Coppin State

Dec 23, 2008 - 7:08 AM SYRACUSE, New York (Ticker) -- Andy Rautins' sizzling stroke from deep kept Syracuse from losing at home to another underdog.

Rautins connected on a school record-tying nine 3-pointers and scored a career-high 29 points as No. 14 Syracuse captured an 82-71 victory over Coppin State on Monday.

Paul Harris scored 15 points and Arinze Onuaku added 12 for the Orange (12-1), who were playing at the Carrier Dome for the second time since being shocked by Cleveland State last Monday on a 60-foot heave at the buzzer by Cedric Jackson.

However, it was Rautins that provided the highlights this time, going on to tie the single-game record for most 3-pointers set by Gerry McNamara in Syracuse's win over BYU in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament.

"They were playing a pretty passive zone defense," Rautins told The Post-Standard. "I knew they were playing off me. They continued to play off me. I'm not sure why they did that, but they left me open and guys like Jonny (Flynn) and Rick (Jackson) and Kris (Joseph) were able to kick out for me and I was able to knock down shots."

The son of former Orange standout Leo Rautins, the junior sharpshooter made 5-of-9 attempts from the arc in the first half. However, Syracuse had only a 28-26 edge with 6:16 left before closing out the half with an 18-8 run.

Rautins hit two shots from the arc and scored eight points in that burst, and later added three more 3-pointers during a 15-2 run that turned a 61-57 edge into a 76-59 cushion with 3:59 to play.

"I just let it fly," Rautins told The Post-Standard. "It looked good and felt good. I would've been happy to break the record, but I'm more happy that we're 12-1 right now."

In all, Rautins went 9-of-16 from the field without a single attempt inside the arc as he easily eclipsed his previous scoring best of 19 points against Providence on February 24, 2007.

"We knew he could shoot it," Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell told the newspaper. "All you got to do is look at the stats and see how many threes he puts up. They were supposed to find him. They didn't find him early. They found him in the middle. They didn't find him late. That's the equivalent of losing. He had a wonderful night."

Despite being known as a long-range bomber, Rautins had been struggling from deep, making just three of his last 13 over the last three games. Even with the career effort, he is still only 33-of-94 (35 percent) on the season.

"We got great shots for Andy," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim told the paper. "One of his problems with shooting is he hasn't been getting those shots. He's been getting contested shots; off-balance shots. If we can get him those shots, he's going to make those shots."

The Orange needed Rautins to step up as second-leading scorer Eric Devendorf served the second game of his suspension.

Tywain McKee did his best to get the Eagles (1-8) a rare win over a ranked opponent, netting 32 points and six 3-pointers.

"We couldn't do anything with their guard," Boeheim told the paper. "We weren't helping Jonny (Flynn) on the screens. He's a really good player. He's one of the better point guards that I've seen."

McKee was 12-of-24 from the floor, including 5-of-10 from the arc, but it was not enough as Coppin State dropped to 0-3 vs. Syracuse.