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November 12, 2007

Orange need Flynn's 28 to beat Siena

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Guard Jonny Flynn scored 28 points, a Syracuse record for a freshman making his debut, and the Orange held off stubborn Siena 97-89 on Monday night in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-off.

It was the season opener for the Orange, who will play either Fairleigh Dickinson or Saint Joseph's on Tuesday night. The Knights and Hawks played later Monday.

Siena, which lost to James Madison in its season opener Friday night, will play in Tuesday's consolation game.

Flynn, who started at guard, was 10-for-13 shooting and 6-for-7 on 3-pointers to surpass the points record set by Carmelo Anthony at the start of the Orange's championship season four years ago. Flynn also had nine assists and five turnovers.

Sophomore Paul Harris, Flynn's former high school teammate, added 14 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, Eric Devendorf had 19 points, freshman Donte Greene had 14 points, and Arinze Onuaku 12.

Kenny Hasbrouck led Siena with 24 points, Edwin Ubiles had 20, Alex Franklin 19, and Ronald Moore had 14 points and 11 assists.

Syracuse led for most of the game, but Siena refused to go away.

After a layup by Ubiles brought the Saints within 69-65 midway through the second half, Flynn, one of five Orange freshmen, soon had the crowd chanting his name. He hit a trio of 3-pointers in a 61-second span to give Syracuse a 78-69 lead with 8:43 left, then drew a charge on Ubiles to prevent a certain basket with 7:54 remaining.

Forty-two seconds later, Harris stole the ball and fed Flynn for a fast-break layup and Onuaku followed with a resounding dunk to give Syracuse an 82-72 lead.

Undaunted, the Saints made one last charge. Franklin converted a three-point play, Tay Fisher hit a pair of 3-pointers, and Ubiles hit a turnaround jumper to move Siena within 87-83 with 3:25 left.

But Greene converted a follow and made a fast-break layup off a feed from Flynn to give the Orange a commanding 91-83 lead with 2:43 left.

The Saints had nine steals in the first half, but even though they had plenty of good looks at the basket they missed a lot while the Orange shot 72.4 percent (21-for-29), hitting 8-of-13 from beyond the arc, and had a double-digit lead midway through the period.

After Josh Duell hit a 3-pointer to put Siena up 14-13 just over five minutes into the game, the Saints missed five of six shots and committed a turnover, and the Orange took off on a 21-8 run.

Flynn began it with a 3-pointer, Harris sank a pair of jumpers and fed Onuaku for a one-handed slam dunk, and Devendorf hit a pair of 3s from left wing to give the Orange a 34-22 lead with 8:22 left.

The Saints refused to fold, scoring 18 points off the Orange's 13 turnovers in the half, and moved within 43-37 with 2:03 left on four straight points by Hasbrouck.

But Greene hit a 3-pointer from left wing, Rick Jackson converted a follow, Devendorf had a steal and layup, and Flynn made a 3 right before the buzzer to send the Orange into the locker room with a 53-39 lead.

Paced by six points from Franklin and four from Hasbrouck, Siena opened the second half with a 12-2 run to get right back in the game.

For more coverage of Syracuse, visit CuseConfidential.com.

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