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Syracuse Shoots Down Friars

Syracuse's latest win won't make any highlight reels. It just keeps the perfect season going.

The fourth-ranked Orangemen set school records for free throws made and attempted Saturday night in a 74-58 victory over Providence, one that kept them the only unbeaten team in Division I.

Etan Thomas had 19 points and 14 rebounds for Syracuse (19-0, 9-0 Big East) in the game that seemed to be stopped by a whistle every few seconds..

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  • "When you don't make shots you have to find another way to win. We hung in there and Etan had a good game inside," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "Our defense was active. We didn't give them anything easy. You have to find a way to win these games and we did."

    Thomas, who was saddled with early foul trouble, had 12 points in the second half, including six free throws. He finished 9-of-14 from the line.

    "That was a lot of free throws," Thomas said. "It was a real chippy type game the whole night. When one aspect isn't working you have to find another."

    Syracuse finished 38-for-51 from the line, breaking the record for free throws made 36 against Pittsburgh in 1969-70 and Connecticut in 1981-82 and attempted 48 against Siena in 1987-88.

    "They're a pressing, trapping team trying to create turnovers," Boeheim said. "They're going to come at you. They're going to foul you."

    The 19-game winning streak matches the longest in a season for the Orangemen, set in 1978-79, and is four short of the multiyear record, set with the last seven games in 1916-17 and the first 16 in 1917-18.

    "We have a ton of difficult games ahead of us," Boeheim said. "There are a lot of tests left on the schedule."

    Providence (8-14, 1-8) wa within 37-33 early in the second half only to see Syracuse pull away.

    The loss was the eighth straight for the Friars, their longest streak since losing 12 in a row in 1948-49.

    "It's not easy. I'm trying to hold my character high and keep the kids pumped up," Providence coach Tim Welsh said. "My insides and outside are a lot different but you can't feel sorry for yourself or you're going in the wrong direction."

    Damone Brown and Jason Hart each had 11 points for Syracuse, which led 68-48 with 3:13 left on a basket down low by Hart. The Orangemen shot 34.7 percent (17-for-49), including 2-for-11 from 3-point range.

    Erron Maxey had 18 points for Providence, which shot 28.6 percent (18-for-63), including 2-for-13 from 3-point range.

    The teams combined for 50 fouls, 31 called on Providence.

    "It had a lot to do with our inexperience but they had a lot to do with it too," Welsh said. "They make it very difficult for you to get a second shot. They're a great team. We hung around for a while but couldn't make any shots against their zone."

    "Fifty-one free throws was because they're an aggressive team. Period. End."

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