Boys basketball: Syracuse finishes rally to beat Roy on late free throws
SYRACUSE — With apologies to Charles Dickens, Syracuse was dead; there was no doubt about it.
The Titans boys basketball team was buried, down by nine points in the fourth quarter without a ghost of a chance of coming back.
But senior forward Josh Godfrey led a frenzied 19-6, fourth-period rally and Syracuse pulled out a thrilling, 52-50 non-region victory over Roy on Tuesday night.
“We had more energy; we were really focused. We were hyper, ready to go,” junior guard Brad Trejo said. “We just outhustled them in the fourth quarter.
“We did really good on defense in the fourth quarter; first three quarters we fouled them on 3-pointers and gave them open looks. We dialed it down on defense and it helped us come back.”
Skyler Orton hit a baseline jumper to put Syracuse (1-0) up 47-46 with 2:02 left in the final frame and the teams alternated advantages until Roy’s Bronson Belnap tied it at 50 with 11.6 seconds left.
Trejo was then fouled with 2.5 seconds to go and, after Roy called a timeout to ice him, he drained both free throws for the win.
“Just stay calm, be prepared. Do what we do in practice in the game,” Trejo said. “(The play) was supposed to be a back cut, but I had an open lane and got fouled for the free throws. Just normal.”
Roy (1-2) led for much of the first three quarters with a six-point lead after one, eight at the break and the nine-point bulge after three before collapsing in the fourth.
The Royals forced nine Syracuse turnovers in the first half and only committed three as they built the lead.
Then the Titans settled down and only had five giveaways in the second half.
“First game jitters. We calmed ourselves down after they pressed us early, played some defense and got some stops,” Trejo said.
Terik Hamblin led the Titans with 16 points and Godfrey checked it with 11 off the bench, including nine in the fourth-quarter comeback. Trejo and Orton added eight each.
For the Royals, senior forward Dahlen Pontius had 16 points and eight rebounds. Colby Frokjer scored 12 points and Isaac Burnett had double digits off the bench with 11.