Men's Basketball

Carter-Williams comes up clutch down stretch in Orange’s comeback win against No. 21 Cincinnati

In a span of 42 seconds, Michael Carter-Williams put Syracuse in position to beat Cincinnati. The Orange’s steady-handed point guard hit two clutch shots that capped SU’s second-half comeback.

Carter-Williams converted a layup with 2:03 left in the game that closed Syracuse’s deficit to two, then less than a minute later drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key that tied it up. With the sophomore nailing those two big shots, the Orange would go on to beat the Bearcats 57-55 in the Carrier Dome Saturday.

“Coach has confidence in me to take those shots,” Carter-Williams said. “It’s up to me to make them.”

Along with his seven assists, Carter-Williams finished with 16 points and went 6-for-10 from the field. But it was his last couple of shots that meant the most for Syracuse.

C.J. Fair called Carter-Williams’ 3 in the closing minutes the biggest play of the game.

“We know he can shoot,” Fair said. “It ain’t like he makes open 3s, he makes some tough deep 3s with a hand in his face.”

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said after the game that Carter-Williams believes he can make all those shots, and that’s why he lets his guard take them. Boeheim called Carter-Williams’ belief in his ability to hit shots a great thing, and it has helped the Orange all season, especially in this game.

Carter-Williams, the nation’s leader in assists, also took care of the shots Monday.

“I can’t cook. But if I believed in my cooking like Michael Carter-Williams does, I would win the show ‘Iron Chef,’” Boeheim said. “I’d win and I can’t boil water.”

In Syracuse’s win against Louisville Saturday, Carter-Williams scored 16 points. He said Monday Brandon Triche was responsible for creating a lot of those opportunities. Against Cincinnati, the Orange ran screens for Carter-Williams and it worked.

“This game, I was able to use the ball screen,” Carter-Williams said. “They went behind the screen and I was able to get a jump shot. I’ve just been open.”

Carter-Williams scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half, a time when Syracuse needed him the most as the Bearcats continued to try to balloon their lead.

He also hit a jumper from the left elbow with 12:08 left to cut the Orange’s deficit to three, and then hit a 3 from the right wing to tie it. Carter-Williams was much of the reason why Syracuse didn’t let the game get away from it in the second half as Sean Kilpatrick hit 3-pointers from all over the floor for Cincinnati.

Carter-Williams knocked down Syracuse’s two biggest shots of the day, and because of them, the Orange walked away with a gritty win.

“He’s a very good shooter,” Fair said, “one of the best shooters in our conference.”

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