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No. 9 Syracuse holds off St. Francis

Published November 18, 2013 11:39 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Syracuse, N.Y. • Jerami Grant scored 13 points, including a tying follow with 1:43 left, and set up the go-ahead basket by Michael Gbinije in the final minute, as No. 9 Syracuse held off St. Francis Brooklyn 56-50 on Monday night in an opening-round game of the Maui Invitational.

Syracuse (4-0), making its first appearance in the tournament since winning it in 1998, plays its next game in Hawaii in a week against Minnesota.

The Orange closed the game on a 10-0 run, holding St. Francis scoreless for the final 4:10.

Syracuse's last nonconference home loss was to Cleveland State on Dec. 15, 2008.

The Orange were in trouble in this one until the final 3 minutes as its top scorer struggled mightily. C.J. Fair, who came in shooting 53.3 percent and averaging 21.7 points, couldn't buy a basket, going 2 of 13.

But with the game on the line, Fair drove to the basket, missed at the rim and Grant was there to convert it to tie the game at 50-all. Grant then stole the ball and fed Gbinije for the decisive basket with 65 seconds left.

The Terriers (2-2) committed a turnover in the closing seconds and Ben Mockford threw up an airball 3 as the Orange escaped.

No. 1 Michigan 82, Portland 67 • In East Lansing, Mich., Keith Appling matched a career high with 25 points to help Michigan State pull away to beat Portland in its first game as a top-ranked team in 13 years.

No. 16 Florida 67, Southern 53 • In Gainesville, Fla., the Gators lost point guard Kasey Hill to an ankle injury in a victory against Southern. Florida (3-1) already is without starting point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who was suspended indefinitely last week.