Syracuse, NY – James Southerland went 5-of-8 from 3-point range as part of a 22-point night, and No. 3 Syracuse held off determined Detroit for a 72-68 victory that gave head coach Jim Boeheim a landmark 900th career win.
Boeheim joined Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Knight as the only men to achieve the milestone, though the accomplishment didn't turn out to be easy after the Titans cut what was once a 22-point second-half deficit down to three in the closing seconds on the strength of a late 16-0 run.
"I'm proud to be here," Boeheim said afterward. "To win this game was more pressure than I've felt in a long time. Just to get this over with."
Michael Carter-Williams added 12 points and 10 assists for Syracuse (10-0), which allowed the Titans to climb back in it by shooting 35 percent in the second half and failing to record a field goal over the final 5:36 of the game.
"I wasn't thinking about losing until a little bit there at the end," Boeheim said. "That wouldn't have been a good thing to have happen. It very well could have."
Juwan Howard Jr. scored 16 of his 18 points after intermission for Detroit (6-5), but the Titans ultimately came up short and had a four-game win streak halted. Doug Anderson also had 18 points in defeat, with Nick Minnerath finishing with 13 on the night.
Southerland was on fire early on, making good on all five of his 3-pointers on six tries while netting 16 points as Syracuse built a seemingly comfortable 40-21 halftime lead.
The sharp-shooting senior's hot streak began near the midway mark of the opening period, as he buried a pair of triples and recorded the final seven points of a 12-1 burst that gave the Orange a 27-13 advantage with 7:30 left before the break.
Southerland would knock down two more treys within a span of 1:13 to push Syracuse's margin to 37-19 with under two minutes to go in the half, and the Orange took a 19-point differential into the locker room after Carter- Williams hit from beyond the arc six seconds prior to the buzzer.
The spread would fluctuate between 16 and 22 points for the majority of the second half, until Detroit put forth a belated comeback attempt to nearly spoil the festivities at the Carrier Dome.
Howard poured in 11 points during the 16-0 surge that placed the outcome back in doubt, with the Orange aiding the cause by committing four turnovers in addition to going cold from the field. His two free throws with 55 seconds left brought the Titans within 67-63, and Anderson stole the ball from Carter- Williams on the ensuing possession before Southerland fouled Detroit's Jason Calliste with 29 seconds on the clock.
Calliste only managed to make one of the bonus shots to make it a 3-point game, and Detroit could get no closer as Syracuse sank 5-of-6 attempts from the foul line in the waning stages to hold on.
"We did a good job pulling through, especially Mike," said Southerland. "He did a good job of hitting his free throws. We've got to be prepared for these kinds of games because when we play in the Big East, no team is going to give up."
The game was part of the Gotham Classic, a round-robin event between the two programs as well as Temple, Alcorn State and Canisius that will take place through Dec. 30. Syracuse, which opened the series by defeating Canisius on Saturday, will next take on Temple this Saturday at Madison Square Garden, while Detroit will visit Alcorn State on Wednesday ... Syracuse extended its home winning streak to 30 consecutive games, the longest active run in the nation, and has now come out on top in 52 straight regular-season non- conference bouts ... Carter-Williams, the nation's leader in assists per game (10.8) coming in, has now reached double digits in helpers in five straight outings ... Detroit went just 3-of-18 from 3-point range.