Recap: Syracuse vs. California
Maui, HI (SportsNetwork.com) - Jerami Grant's head hovered well above the rim when he threw down an emphatic two-handed dunk off a Trevor Cooney miss that jumpstarted a game-changing run.
The jam was part of a career night for the blossoming sophomore.
Grant had 19 points and eight rebounds as No. 8 Syracuse defeated California 92-81 in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational.
Grant wasn't the only youngster who shined.
Coming off a rough 1-of-9 performance against Minnesota in the quarterfinals Monday, freshman Tyler Ennis netted a game-high 28 points on 9-of-12 shooting to go with four rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Orange (6-0), who will face No. 18 Baylor in the title game on Wednesday. Cooney poured in 23 points in the triumph.
"We played very, very well the second half, is really the best we've played all year by far offensively," Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said.
Already without the interior presence of Richard Solomon due to a freak eye injury suffered in Monday's quarterfinal win over Arkansas, Cal forward David Kravish exited midway through the second half with his fourth foul and the Golden Bears trailing 60-57. His third and fourth fouls came 42 seconds apart.
With Kravish out, the Orange proceeded to go on an 11-2 run and never looked back.
After Grant's stuff, Cooney nailed a right corner 3-pointer and Ennis stole the ensuing inbounds pass before racing in for a layup. Cooney's layup just over a minute later capped the surge and gave the Orange a 71-59 cushion with 6:33 to go.
"Plays like that just kind of get you pumped up to go down in defense and get that next stop and keep it going momentum-wise," Cooney said of Grant's dunk.
The Bears never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
Justin Cobbs had 18 points, eight assists, five rebounds and four steals, while Kravish finished with 15 points for Cal (5-1), which lost to Syracuse in the third round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Solomon had 22 points and 14 rebounds in that defeat.
"I like the way we fought without our big guy, Richard Solomon," Cobbs said. "I think we played hard and gave them everything we wanted."
Neither team led by more than five in the first half as the contest was knotted at 41-41 heading into the break.
Ennis and Cooney nailed back-to-back triples on consecutive trips down the floor to cap a 10-4 burst to start the second half and stake the Orange to a 51-45 spread.Game Notes
Grant fouled out with 3:01 left ... C.J. Fair had 14 points and seven rebounds
for the Orange ... Freshman Jabari Bird registered 17 points and seven boards
for Cal ... Syracuse shot 53.4 percent (31-of-58) and was 7-of-14 from beyond