Ed. note - This recap is the third installment as part of our Syracuse basketball rewatch series. Today’s recap features Syracuse’s 2003 win over Quin Snyder’s Missouri squad. If you missed the introduction to this series, click here for more information. We recapped Syracuse’s 2004 win over BYU and Syracuse’s 1996 Final Four win over Mississippi State.
The Syracuse Orangemen (10-1, 2-0) entered Monday night’s game against the 11th-ranked Missouri Tigers (10-1, 1-0) on a ten-game winning streak. In their first game as a ranked team this season Syracuse was facing their first ranked opponent of the season and handled the test with a 76-69 win in the Carrier Dome.
Hakim Warrick led a balanced Orangemen attack with 20 points and 10 rebounds as Missouri struggled to handle the Syracuse defense. Carmelo Anthony wasn’t on his offensive game but he also had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The other three Syracuse starters hit double-figures as Gerry McNamara finished with 14 points, Craig Forth added 11 and Kueth Duany chipped in 10 to lead.
Missouri was led by the 26 points and 7 assists of Ricky Clemons and Arthur Johnson’s 17 points and 11 rebounds. Johnson was only 6 of 14 from the field and leading scorer Ricky Paulding shot 3 for 12 as the Tigers were held in-check by the Orangemen defense, especially in the second half. The Tigers shot 38% from the field and committed 20 turnovers against a very active Syracuse zone.
Neither team was able to gain control early in the game as they both struggled with turnovers and poor shooting. Outside of Jim Boeheim yelling at Jim Burr for a missed out-of-bounds call the Carrier Dome crowd didn’t have a lot to get excited about early. With three minutes to go in the half, the teams were tied at 23 but back-to-back baskets from Jeremy McNeil and Warrick got the crowd on their feet. Clemons tied the game at 29 with a 3 but Melo hit a jumper to regain the lead for the Orangemen. After Josh Pace made 1 of 2 from the foul line with 2.9 seconds to go McNamara made a great read of the in-bounds pass and his steal and jumper at the buzzer sent the Orangemen to the locker room with a 36-31 lead.
Warrick led the way in the first half with 12 points and 8 rebounds while Johnson had 11 points and 8 rebounds to pace Missouri.
The second half saw Syracuse find some surprising offense from Forth as he scored inside to extend the lead to seven in the first three minutes. Clemons took advantage of some bad McNamara positioning to find an open 3 and get Missouri back within 46-42. The Orangemen turned up the defensive pressure with Josh Pace and Jeremy McNeal helping key a stretch where Syracuse was able to push the lead to double-digits forcing Quin Snyder to call timeout.
That didn’t slow the Orangemen as Duany hit a corner 3 and Warrick converted a turn-around jumper in the post to give the Orangemen a 61-49 advantage with 11 minutes to play. Missouri rallied with a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to four after a Ricky Paulding free throw but McNamara and Melo finally found the range from deep and Syracuse’s lead was pushed back to 71-57 with six minutes to play. After going 1 for 9 from 3 in the first half, Syracuse hit 4 out of 5 in the second half to keep Missouri trailing the entire way.
The Orangemen were patient down the stretch and content to run more clock on offense as they kept the Tigers from making one final push. Syracuse only went 11 for 22 from the foul line which kept them from an even bigger win. Included in those misses was one by McNamara which ended a streak of 30 straight from the charity stripe.
Missouri’s focus on stopping Carmelo allowed the other Syracuse players more room to operate and they took advantage. Warrick hit a new career high in shot attempts going 8 of 17 from the field and in the final game of Billy Edelin’s suspension, McNamara went the full 40 minutes. Syracuse won’t get to rest after this one as they travel to face the 3rd-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday.