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Orange keeps its focus

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim sits aside the empty chair of longtime assistant Bernie Fine, who is on administrative leave.

Associated Press

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim sits aside the empty chair of longtime assistant Bernie Fine, who is on administrative leave.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — His top assistant missing from the bench, coach Jim Boeheim tried to keep his team focused on basketball, not scandal.

It seemed to work. The Orange had an easy day on the court, even as its program was still trying to come to grips with molestation allegations against assistant coach Bernie Fine.

Playing for the first time since Fine was accused of sex abuse, No. 5 Syracuse romped over Colgate 92-47 Saturday, capping a tumultuous week with a 40-minute break from the lurid headlines swirling around the team.

Syracuse placed Fine on administrative leave "in light of the new allegations" that he molested two former ball boys for years. City police are investigating, while Fine has dismissed the allegations as "patently false."

Fine's usual seat by Boeheim was vacant. This is Fine's 36th season working for the head coach.

Boeheim again defended his friend against the claims.

"I've been friends for 50 years with Coach Fine," he said. "That buys a lot of loyalty for me, and should."

Orange center Fab Melo honored Fine by tapping his empty seat during the game.

"He treated me like a son, and I treated him like a father," Melo said. "Of course, we miss him. It was different to be on the bench and don't see him there."

Dion Waiters scored 16 for the Orange (4-0).

Bearcats shocked

CINCINNATI — A stunning loss has Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin considering lineup changes three games in.

Khalid Mutakabbir led Presbyterian's comeback from a 15-point deficit, hitting a go-ahead 3-pointer with 7.6 seconds left, and the Blue Hose pulled off a 56-54 upset of the 20th-ranked Bearcats (2-1).

"I've got a team that had a false sense of security about who we are," Cronin said.

The Blue Hose trailed by 15 midway through the second half before Mutakabbir hit one big shot after another.

NO. 2 KENTUCKY 85, PENN ST. 47: Doron Lamb had 26 points for the Wildcats (3-0) in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament in Uncasville, Conn.

NO. 8 L'VILLE 69, BUTLER 53: Kyle Kuric hit two 3-pointers in the final five minutes as the Cardinals (3-0) handed the Bulldogs a rare home loss.

NO. 14 WIS. 69, WOFFORD 33: Josh Gasser scored 16, and the host Badgers (3-0) finished the first half on a 19-2 run.

NO. 18 VANDY 86, N.C. STATE 79: John Jenkins had 28 points, and the Commodores (3-1) closed on a 10-2 run in the semifinals of the TicketCity Legends Classic in East Rutherford, N.J.

NO. 22 GONZAGA 73, HAWAII 54: Robert Sacre had a successful homecoming to Canada with 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs (3-0) in Vancouver.

MIAMI 75, N. FLORIDA 62: Garrius Adams had 14 points, and the host Hurricanes (3-0) held off a furious rally.

STETSON 74, SAINT LEO 69: The visiting Lions (2-2) kept it close against a Division I-A foe before Aaron Graham hit four free throws in the final 31 seconds.

Orange keeps its focus 11/19/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 19, 2011 11:55pm]
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