Nov. 27, 2004
By JOHN KEKIS
AP Sports Writer
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gerry McNamara scored 29 points and Hakim Warrick grabbed 15 rebounds to lead No. 4 Syracuse past Siena 78-56 on Saturday.
Syracuse (5-0) won its 29th straight against in-state opponents. This was the Orange's first game in Pepsi Arena since they beat Auburn and Oklahoma to earn a Final Four berth on the way to winning the 2003 national championship.
Warrick and Josh Pace each scored 13 points for Syracuse, which held Siena to 32 percent shooting and outrebounded the Saints 54-29.
The game was a homecoming of sorts for Syracuse senior center Craig Forth, who starred in high school in nearby East Greenbush. Forth, whose father bought tickets for a whole section, finished with seven points and eight rebounds.
Syracuse asserted itself quickly, running to an 18-2 lead in the first five minutes. McNamara, the Orange's best outside threat, paced the early surge with a layup and his first career dunk after a steal and courtlong dash. He then completed a four-point play after hitting his 200th career 3-pointer and finished 6-for-14 from long range.
The Saints, who had 12 steals, finally regrouped and drew to 23-14 on a 3-pointer by Fisher. But every time Siena seemed on the verge of making it a game, McNamara struck back.
Fisher's third 3-pointer of the first half and a free throw by Haddix narrowed the Syracuse lead to 31-20 with 7:33 left in the half.
After Warrick made a one-handed slam, corralled a miss and tossed it outside to McNamara. He drained a 3 to boost the lead back to 16. A jumper in the lane by Pace at 2:41 gave the Orange a 44-24 lead, their biggest of the half.
McClinton hit two baskets and the Saints trailed 46-31 at the break, but they never were closer than 12 in the second half. McNamara hit a long 3 and Forth followed with a tip to finish the game.