Syracuse beats NC State 75-65 behind Gbinije
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Michael Gbinije scored a career-high 34 points and Syracuse limited North Carolina State star Anthony ''Cat'' Barber to one of his lowest-scoring outputs of the season in a 75-65 win on Saturday.
Gbinije shot 11 for 18 overall and 8 for 13 from 3-point range as he reached 1,000 career points for Syracuse (19-10, 9-7 Atlantic Coast Conference). His seventh 3-pointer - the one that gave him a career-high and 1,000 points - also turned the momentum back in Syracuse's favor after the Wolfpack had cut the Orange lead to five.
Before the game, Syracuse honored seniors Gbinije and guard Trevor Cooney as they played their final contest at the Carrier Dome.
''It just came down to Mike having to put us on his back,'' Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. ''The two threes he made (late in the game) were huge momentum threes. He had a tremendous game, probably as good as any senior as ever had (on Senior Day), as I can recall.''
Barber, who was averaging 23.5 points per game, was held to 15 for North Carolina State (14-15, 4-12).
''We're not used to playing (against) zone,'' Barber said of Syracuse's 2-3 defense. ''That's probably the first team we've played zone all game. We found (an opening) sometimes; sometimes we couldn't find it.''
Malachi Richardson scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds and Tyler Lydon added 11 points for Syracuse.
Caleb Martin led the Wolfpack with 18 points and Abdul-Malik Abu added 14 and 12 rebounds.
''Cat's so good in the open floor but they got their defense back, they stopped us in the break and then they gave him no room to penetrate,'' North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried said. ''I thought that's where he struggled the most, getting inside the lane.''
The Wolfpack whittled a 14-point deficit to five, 61-56, with 5 1/2 minutes remaining. But Gbinije answered with his seventh 3-pointer, and he made his eighth with just under three minutes remaining to give Syracuse a 70-60 cushion.
''I had no idea when I woke up this morning that would happened,'' said Gbinije, whose previous career-high was 27 points against Duke last season. ''I had a lot of help today, with Frank (Howard) playing the point today so I was off the ball.''
DaJuan Coleman's three-point play and Richardson's dunk highlighted a 7-0 run at the start of the second half that boosted Syracuse's lead to 41-26. Trailing 51-34, the Wolfpack closed the gap to nine, 51-42, with an 8-0 spurt, but Gbinije's 3-pointer and dunk on a fast break increased the Orange lead to 56-44.
''He was terrific,'' Gottfried said of Gbinije. ''I thought he made big shots. I thought he made timely shots and he made them when they needed him to make them.''
The Orange led 34-26 at the half after sinking seven 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes - four by Gbinije and three by Richardson. Gbinije sank two from beyond the arc in an 8-0 run that gave Syracuse a 22-13 lead, and Richardson ended the half with a pair of 3-pointers, including one with six seconds left that boosted Syracuse's lead to 34-26.
Syracuse shot 37.6 percent in its previous two games, losses to Louisville and Pittsburgh. The Orange shot 46.4 percent Saturday, including 37.5 (12-for-32) from 3-point range.
''We made seven threes in the first half and we're just a different team when we're making those shots,'' Boeheim said.
While Barber scored only seven first-half points on 2-for-5 shooting, the Wolfpack stayed close by forcing nine Syracuse turnovers and outscoring the Orange 16-6 in the paint. Abu had six points and seven rebounds in the first half.
North Carolina State: Despite his off-game Saturday, Barber is on pace to become the second player in ACC history to average 23 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game (Georgia Tech's Kenny Anderson accomplished that trifecta in 1991) . Valuable reserve forward Lennard Freeman (3.6 points, 5.6 rebounds in 21.5 minutes per game entering Saturday's game) played limited minutes Saturday due to a stress reaction in his lower right leg. .Center Beejay Anya had one block Saturday and now has 206 career blocks, one shy of Thurl Bailey's school record.
Syracuse: Cooney ranks second in the ACC for 3-pointers made with 74 this season, but he shot 0 for 6 from beyond the arc Saturday and ended his streak of 32 consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer. . Senior center DaJuan Coleman, who missed most of the past two seasons with knee injuries, announced this week that he will return as a grad student next year for his fourth year of eligibility.
Syracuse won despite committing 17 turnovers because the Orange's 2-3 zone limited North Carolina State to 37.3 percent shooting and the Wolfpack turned the ball over 15 times.
''We just tried to get the ball out of his hands the best we could, and any shot he took we tried to make it a low percentage shot for him.'' - Syracuse's Michael Gbinije on holding North Carolina State's ''Cat'' Barber to 15 points.
North Carolina State hosts Boston College on Wednesday night .
Syracuse is at North Carolina on Monday night.