Syracuse, NY, United States (4E Sports) – C.J. Fair scored 19 points as No. 1 Syracuse remained unbeaten with a 57-44 win over defensive-minded Clemson Sunday before 25,931 fans at Carrier Dome.
Jerami Grant added 12 points and eight rebounds while Trevor Cooney had 11 as the Orange improved to 23-0 and 10-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
With the victory, Syracuse tied the all-time school record for consecutive wins. The Orange also won 23 straight games between the 1915-16 and 1916-17 seasons.
Syracuse’s 23-0 record is also the third-best start for an ACC team. Only the 1956-57 North Carolina Tar Heels and the 1972-73 North Carolina State opened a season with more consecutive wins.
Points were hard to come by against Clemson, which leads the ACC in scoring defense, allowing just 55 points per game. Syracuse was just above that average, but it was more than enough as the Orange held Clemson to third-lowest total of the season.
The Orange became just the second team this season to beat Clemson while scoring 60 points or less. Clemson had been 15-1 in those games with the only loss being a 56-41 setback to Florida State on Jan. 9.
K.J. McDaniels scored 19 for the Tigers, who fell to 15-7 overall and 6-4 in the conference.
The game was tied at 22 late in the first half before Syracuse launched a 9-0 run sparked by Cooney’s triple and two baskets by Grant for a 31-22 lead at the break.
In the second half, Jaron Blossomgame cut the deficit to six but Rakeem Chrismas, Fair and Grant scored a basket each to pad the lead to 39-27.
However, Christmas picked up his fourth foul with 13 minutes to play, leaving the Orange without an experienced center.
The Tigers capitalized on the mismatch, launching a 10-3 blast to trim the gap to five, 42-37, midway through the second half.
Syracuse then launched another run behind Cooney and Grant to grab a double-digit lead with less than seven minutes to play.
The Orange lost reserve center Baye Moussa Keita, who suffered a sprained right knee with seven minutes left in the first half. Keita went to the locker room for the rest of the half. He returned to the bench in the second half, but did not play.