COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Ahead by 12 points with slightly under six minutes left, No. 4 Syracuse appeared poised to secure an unusually easy victory.
Not a chance.
After letting the seemingly comfortable lead dwindle to one point in the closing seconds, Syracuse squeezed past Maryland 57-55 on Monday to avoid a three-game losing streak.
It was another close call for the Orange (26-2 overall, 13-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), as the team’s previous four games were decided by a total of 12 points.
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“We’re in a lot of these games,” coach Jim Boeheim said. “For the most part, we’ve made good plays at the end of them and that’s why we are where we are. We’re not overpowering too many people, I can promise you that.”
Syracuse led 51-39 with 5:45 left but allowed Maryland to close to 56-55 with 47 seconds remaining.
After C.J. Fair missed a jumper for the Orange, Baye Moussa Keita blocked a driving layup by Maryland’s Nick Faust to keep Syracuse in front.
“I thought Nick got fouled and the replay showed that,” Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon said. “It’s been that type of year for us.”
Hall of Famer Boeheim took exception to Turgeon’s claim Faust was fouled on his drive.
“They shot 27 free throws. If anybody’s going to complain about the officiating, I’m going to complain,” Boeheim said. “If they didn’t turn it over 18 times, they wouldn’t have to worry about that.”
Seth Allen’s off-balance shot for Maryland (15-13, 7-8) bounded off the back of the rim as the buzzer sounded. Allen scored 22 points.
After opening the season with 25 straight victories, Syracuse dropped successive games to Boston College and Duke to lose its stature as the nation’s No. 1 team.
Other Top 10 men
At No. 5 Kansas 83, Oklahoma 75
Naadir Tharpe scored 19 points as the Jayhawks (22-6, 13-2 Big 12) beat the Sooners (20-8, 9-6) to secure at least a share of their 10th straight regular-season conference championship.
Wayne Selden Jr. and Andrew Wiggins added 15 points each, and Joel Embiid had 12 points and 13 rebounds for Kansas, which leads the nation with 57 men’s conference titles.
Cameron Clark scored 18 points for the Sooners, who have lost in 12 of their last 13 games against the Jayhawks.
Other men’s game
Portland State 87, at Eastern Washington 76
Kyle Richardson scored 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting as the Vikings (13-12, 8-8 Big Sky) beat the Eagles (13-14, 8-8) in a game attended by 614.
Tyler Harvey led Eastern with 23 points and Venky Jois added 18 with nine boards.
• Florida, Wichita State and Arizona are 1-2-3, in that order, in the Associated Press media poll and USA Today coaches poll. The Gonzaga men’s team, which has lost its last two games, dropped out of both polls.
• The Gonzaga women (24-4) moved from 24th to 22nd in the AP poll.