A Learning Lesson in South Beach: Syracuse's comeback bid falls short to No. 2 Kansas
Two of college basketball's most historic programs met on the same court Saturday night, battling it our for the right to be named Hoophall Miami Invitational champion.
Syracuse and Kansas have not played often in their respective storied traditions, but they did play a thriller in 2003, serving as the Orange's lone National Championship in program history.
On Saturday, a National Championship was not on the line. Rather, it was solely a regular season game.
Kansas entered the game ranked No. 2 in the latest AP Top 25 poll, and certainly looked the part.
The Jayhawks jumped out to a 35-21 lead at the half, due in large part to Syracuse starting point guard Frank Howard racking up three personal fouls.
With Howard on the bench, Kansas went to work.
In the second half, it began with much more of the same.
Devonte' Graham, Kansas' senior point guard, poured in a game-high 35 points, proving to be too much for a young Orange team.
However, Syracuse did not go down quietly.
Syracuse went on a 16-2 run early in the second half, as Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett and Howard each recorded important baskets to turn a once 20-point deficit, to only seven in a matter of minutes.
After a Kansas timeout and trailing by seven, the Jayhawks buried back-to-back three-pointers to increase the lead back to 13, essentially deflating any Syracuse comeback attempt for the remainder of the contest.
With the 76-60 loss, the Orange dropped its first game of the season, falling to 6-1 overall on the year.
Battle led the Orange with 22 points, while Howard chipped in 15 points and seven assists.
Additionally, Brissett went for 13 points and nine rebounds.
Syracuse will look to get back on track in New York City on Tuesday when it takes on Connecticut as part of the annual Jimmy V. Classic.
Game time is set for 9 p.m. from Madison Square Garden, and will also be televised on ESPN.