Syracuse prevails in thrilling fashion, downing Duke in overtime to remain unbeaten

Gino Bottero

Saturday's marquee matchup lived up to the hype in a big way, treating the record crowd of 35,446 at the Carrier Dome to a tightly contested game that went right down to the wire.

The second-ranked Syracuse Orange prevailed in overtime over the 17th-ranked Duke Blue Devils, 91-89.

Syracuse forward C.J. Fair came up big for the Orange, pouring in a career-high 28 points on 12 of 20 shooting. Fellow forward Jerami Grant added 21 points and 11 rebounds for the game's only double-double. As a team, Syracuse shot 57.4 percent from the field.

The officials certainly got some use out of their whistles on this night. Duke's Jabari Parker and Amile Jefferson each found themselves on the bench with four fouls with better than 10 minutes to play in the second half. Parker fouled out of the game with 1:42 to play, Jefferson fouled out with 30 seconds remaining.

Parker finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, two steals, and an assist before exiting. Four other Blue Devils scored in double figures, most notably guard Rasheed Sulaimon who led the team with 16 points off the bench including a clutch three-pointer at the end of regulation that forced overtime. Duke closed out regulation hitting five of their final six, and seven of their final 10 three-point attempts.

Even still, the ball was in Rodney Hood's hands for the deciding play, and he appeared to have it all wrapped up.

With Duke trailing by a single point inside the final 15 seconds of the game, Hood drove to the basket and appeared to have a lane but Syracuse forward Rakeem Christmas came out of nowhere for the block (foul?) to save the day for the Orange.

[Courtesy: ESPN]

Syracuse's 21-0 start to the season is the best start in the history of the program. Next up for the Orange is a date with Notre Dame on Monday night.

Duke will be off until Tuesday when they return home to take on Wake Forest.