No. 9 Syracuse holds off St. Francis
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.