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NATIONAL INVITATION TOURNAMENT

Syracuse Gets Extra Disappointment With Early Exit

March 13, 1997|From Associated Press

After getting snubbed by the NCAA tournament, Syracuse was looking for redemption in the National Invitation Tournament. The Orangemen didn't get it.

Randell Jackson scored 20 points and LaMarr Greer added 16 as Florida State beat Syracuse, 82-67, Wednesday night in the first round of the NIT.

Syracuse (19-13), which reached the NCAA title game last season and failed to win 20 games for only the second time in Jim Boeheim's 21-year tenure, was hurt by the limited presence of leading scorer Todd Burgan and point guard Jason Hart.

Burgan was nursing a sprained finger on his shooting hand and played only seven minutes and didn't score and Hart, the first freshman to lead the Big East in minutes played, played only 24 minutes because of a pulled stomach muscle and had only two assists and six points.

"If Todd Burgan is in the game we're probably playing right down to the final minutes," Florida State Coach Pat Kennedy said. "I don't think you can lose a player like Todd Burgan.

"Todd was starting to post us up and use us a little bit. He's such a strong offensive player. . . . They had a run there at the end of the game. If they have Todd Burgan in there, it's a more dangerous run."

Florida State, which led, 30-24, at halftime, took command early in the second half. Jackson scored 11 points during a 21-9 run that put the visiting Seminoles ahead, 51-33, with 12:49 left, and a dunk by Corey Louis with 7:43 remaining gave the Seminoles their biggest lead, 64-42.

Syracuse closed to 70-61 on a three-point basket by Janulis with 2:29 left but the Seminoles made six of eight free throws to clinch the win.

"We didn't come out prepared to win this game, and it showed," Hart said. "They came out hungry."

Otis Hill led Syracuse with 16 points.

Despite the setback, Boeheim praised his players.

"This team could have won as few as 13 or 14 games," Boeheim said. "To get to 19 wins -- I don't like to be one to say I'm happy with what this team did--but I'm pretty happy with what they accomplished. They made a great run.

"Tonight's game was just typical of what, when you don't have Todd and Jason, how poorly we can be. I was proud they fought back. They got it back to 10 points with three minutes to go, which was a tremendous effort."

OTHER GAMES

Faron Hand scored 27 points as Nevada (21-9) beat Fresno State (20-12), 97-86, at Fresno. . . . Richard Hamilton scored nine of his 25 points down the stretch as Connecticut (15-14) held off Iona (22-8), 71-66, at Storrs, Conn. . . . Ray Weathers scored 18 points as Michigan State (17-11) gained a 65-50 victory over George Washington (15-14) at East Lansing, Mich. . . . Seldon Jefferson scored 29 points as West Virginia (20-9) survived Bowling Green (22-10), 98-95, at Morgantown, W.Va. Bowling Green had a chance to tie, but Antonio Daniels missed a three-point shot at the buzzer. . . . Vonteego Cummings scored 25 points and Pittsburgh (18-14) used their superior height in an 82-63 rout of visiting New Orleans (22-7). . . . Admore White scored 18 points and Pat Garrity added 16 to lead Notre Dame (15-13) to a 74-58 victory over Oral Roberts (21-7) at South Bend, Ind. . . . Pat Bradley scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half as Arkansas (16-12) stopped Northern Arizona (21-7), 101-75, at Fayetteville, Ark. . . . Mikki Moore and Bernard Garner hit free throws in the final 12 seconds to give defending champion Nebraska (17-14) a 67-63 victory over visiting Washington (17-11). . . . Mike Jones scored 18 points and reserve James Penny added 17 as Texas Christian (22-12) routed Alabama Birmingham (18-14), 85-62, at Fort Worth, Texas. . . . Danny Strong scored 25 points, including seven free throws in the final 69 seconds, as North Carolina State (17-14) beat Southwest Missouri State (24-9), 77-66, at Raleigh, N.C. . . . Anthony Parker scored 15 points and Bradley (17-12) held Drexel (22-9) to 32% shooting in the Braves' 66-53 victory at Peoria, Ill.

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