|Syracuse forward Kris Joseph, left, defends against Stanford forward Dwight Powell during the first half of the championship game at the NIT Season Tip-Off college basketball tournament at New York's Madison Square Garden, Friday, Nov. 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)|
No. 5 Syracuse beats Stanford 69-63
NEW YORK—Kris Joseph had 18 points and eight rebounds and No. 5 Syracuse closed the game on a 15-3 run in a 69-63 victory over Stanford on Friday night to win the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden.
The Orange (6-0) were never able to make a run against Stanford until the game's final 4 minutes, when they made all five of their shots from the field and five of seven free throws. They were able to force the Cardinal (5-1) into turnovers all game, with three of their 24 coming in the closing stretch.
Joseph had 38 points and 19 rebounds in the two games and was selected the MVP.
Aaron Bright had 13 points for Stanford, which led 60-54 with 4:27 to go on two free throws by Chasson Randle.
Brandon Triche, who finished with 11 points, started the Orange's big run with a drive. C.J. Fair followed with a three-point play after a turnover and Joseph gave Syracuse the lead for good, 61-60, with a banked jumper with 2:54 to go.
Scoop Jardine added 14 points for the Orange, and Fair and Dion Waiters, the two reserves who led the semifinal win over Virginia Tech, both had 10 points. Syracuse shot 46.7 percent for the game from the field (28 of 60), including 17 of 28 (60.7 percent) in the second half.
Randle had 12 points for the Cardinal, who beat Oklahoma State in the semifinals, while John Gage added a career-high 10, six more than he scored all season.
Stanford struggled against Syracuse's 2-3 zone, but it was controlling the ball rather than making shots that did in the Cardinal. They shot 42.9 percent from the field (24 of 56), but their 24 turnovers were converted into 25 points by Syracuse. The Cardinal outrebounded the Orange 36-34 and that led to a 16-11 advantage in second-chance points.
The crowd of 8,477 seemed to be waiting for Syracuse's run that would keep Stanford at bay but it didn't happen until the final minutes when the Orange's speed and size suddenly became a problem for the Cardinal.