for this game

Jackson's last-second heave sinks Syracuse

Dec 16, 2008 - 5:01 AM SYRACUSE, New York (Ticker) -- Cedric Jackson kept the Carrier Dome a magical place for Cleveland State.

Jackson banked in a heave from well past halfcourt to give Cleveland State a 72-69 upset of No. 11 Syracuse on Monday.

Trailing by five points with 2 1/2 minutes remaining, the Orange (9-1) managed to tie the game at 69-69 when Arinze Onuaku rebounded a missed 3-pointer by Andy Rautins and converted a layup with 2.2 seconds remaining.

On the ensuing inbounds pass, Jackson - a transfer from St. John's - got the ball on the left sideline, took a dribble up the court and flicked a last-second shot that went in off the backboard, stunning the fans at the Carrier Dome.

"Normally those types of shots don't really go in," Jackson told the Syracuse Post-Standard. "So I just threw up a prayer shot and luckily it just went in."

"I just saw it keep floating and I was like 'Aw, man' and I watched it go right in," Syracuse forward Paul Harris said. "I knew it was good, too, so I just walked right out. I knew it was good."

Jackson finished with 13 points and J'Nathan Bullock scored 18 - all in the second half - for the Vikings (7-4).

With the win, Cleveland State improved to 3-0 all-time at the Carrier Dome, beating Indiana and Saint Joseph's in the opening rounds of the 1986 NCAA Tournament.

The big shot also made a winner out of Gary Waters, who is in his third season with Cleveland State after leaving Rutgers following the 2005-06 season. The 57-year-old had lost his previous four trips to the Carrier Dome with the Scarlet Knights.

The Vikings are a much different team from anything that Waters had at Rutgers, being named as the favorite to win the Horizon League in the preseason.

"First of all, Cleveland State played great," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "They made key shots down the stretch when we started to come back at them. You have to give them a lot of credit. I think they are a good basketball team."

Although Jackson ended the game with a bang, the big hero for the Vikings was Bullock, who shook off an 0-of-7 performance in the first half to carry his team after the break.

Despite being just 6-5, Bullock was able to maneuver his way around the lane, getting a number of shots off against the much-taller Onuaku.

"Whatever number the guy was who had the braids, he was killing us inside," Harris said of Bullock. "There were a couple times where I should have come over and helped Arinze out, but I thought they had a shooter on my side so I didn't leave. I probably should've doubled him. He just had a great second half."

Bullock sandwiched a pair of close shots around a 3-pointer by Eric Devendorf for a 59-58 lead with 4:18 to play. Onuaku split two free throws to knot the game at 59-59 just 20 seconds later - one of 16 ties in the contest.

Cleveland State then made a break for the win, as freshman Jeremy Montgomery rebounded his own missed 3-pointer, leading to a basket from the arc by Norris Cole.

Syracuse coughed it up on the other side, as Rautins made an ill-advised pass on a drive, leading to a fast-break layup for D'Aundray Brown and a 64-59 advantage with 2:30 left.

Devendorf, who finished with 17 points, hit a 3-pointer moments later, but the Vikings came up with another offensive board on their next possession, leading to a tough bank shot from Bullock.

"I don't think we can beat a team in our league the way we're playing right now," Boeheim said. "I don't believe we can. A 6-4 guy took our center and scored four straight baskets in the low post.

"If we can't stop a 6-4 guy what are we going to do with (Connecticut center Hasheem) Thabeet, (Pittsburgh forward) Sam Young, (Notre Dame forward Luke) Harangody? We've got no chance if we can't stop a 6-4 guy."

The Orange came roaring right back, as Jonny Flynn raced up the court before finding Paul Harris for a finger roll that cut the deficit to 66-64 with 56 seconds left.

Bullock, who ended up 8-of-21 from the floor, came up big again, hitting his only 3-pointer of the game for a 69-64 cushion with 25 seconds left.

Flynn answered right back with a shot from the arc with 19 seconds to go and got the ball back in Syracuse's possession afterwards when he deflected the ensuing inbounds pass on a press before it went off Bullock.

The Orange then went for the lead on Rautins' 3-point attempt from the right corner, but Onuaku worked the weak side for the rebound and the layup to tie the score moments before Jackson's prayers were answered.

One reason why the Vikings were in position to win the game was because of their work on the boards, grabbing 15 offensive rebounds en route to finishing with a 34-33 edge.

"We shot the ball well, and they are a good defensive team," Boeheim said. "We scored enough points. We are just not getting loose balls, we are not getting rebounds."

"I think that they just wanted it more," said Harris, who scored 11 points to go along with his 10 rebounds. "They had a lot of little guys and they were just going after a lot of loose balls and the balls were bouncing their way sometimes, too."

Devendorf scored 17 points and Flynn added 16 and five assists for Syracuse, which shot 54 percent (27-of-50), including 6-of-15 on 3-pointers, in defeat.

Onuaku chipped in 11 points, seven rebounds and four blocks.