- The Washington Times - Friday, March 21, 2008

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — An injured Jonny Flynn had to watch helplessly from the bench Tuesday night as Syracuse struggled in its opening round NIT game. Last night, Flynn was feeling better and scored 23 points to help the Orange advance to the quarterfinals of the NIT with an 88-72 victory over Maryland.

Flynn scored 16 of his 23 points in the second half and handed out seven assists to lead Syracuse (21-13), which will play the winner of tomorrow’s second-round matchup between Massachusetts and Akron.

“I started the game coasting a little bit, but I said to myself if I’m out here I might as well play all out,” Flynn said. “I’m not going to be out here and be a liability to the team.”

Flynn, the co-Big East freshman of the year, sat out the second half of Syracuse’s victory Tuesday over Robert Morris after aggravating a back injury he first suffered March 12 in Syracuse’s loss in the first round of the Big East tournament. After sitting out a week of practice, he scored just one basket in 14 minutes.

“Jonny practiced a little Wednesday, and that was the difference,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “He looked just as good as he has all year long. He was tremendous when we broke the game open. He hit a couple big shots and then made big, big pass plays where he got in the lane and found people.”

“I wished we had played him Tuesday night,” Maryland coach Gary Williams said. “He’s a great player. He gives you the ability to break down the defense. Even if you have a play that doesn’t work, if you have a Jonny Flynn he is going to create something.”

Arinze Onuaku added 14 points and 14 rebounds for Syracuse, which also got 19 points and 10 rebounds from Paul Harris.

Top-seeded Syracuse used a 15-5 spurt late in the second half to pull away from Maryland (19-15), which got 23 points and 11 rebounds from James Gist before he fouled out in the final minute and a career-high 21 from Bambale Osby.

The Terps, a fifth seed, pulled ahead to start the second half on three straight baskets by Osby. When Osby converted a 3-point play with 13:26 to go he gave Maryland a 54-53 lead.

But Syracuse regained the lead for good with its spurt, taking a 68-59 lead on Flynn’s basket with 8:52 to play.

“Our offense broke down against that zone. That zone just starts wearing on you,” Osby said, referring to Syracuse’s trademark 2-3 zone.

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