SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Behind a balanced team effort, The University of Massachusetts men's basketball team won a thrilling 107-100 up and down game over Syracuse on Wednesday evening. Falling behind by as many as 12 early in the second half, UMass rode the backs of Ricky Harris, Gary Forbes, and Dante Milligan to the upset victory. Harris finished with a career-high 25 points while Milligan tied a career-high with 17, and Forbes scored 23. The Minutemen improve to 5-1, while the Orange drop to 4-2.
UMass' 107 points were the most scored by an opponent at the Carrier Dome. The previous record was 103 held by Notre Dame (1/30/07).
It was also the first time the team has reached the 100 point plateau since Feb. 8, 2007 when they scored 102 against La Salle.
For Forbes, it was the fifth time in the first six games he has tallied 20 or more points. Etienne Brower and Chris Lowe also reached double figures in scoring with 14 and 13, respectively. Lowe, who missed last game against Wisconsin-Green Bay, tied a career-high in assists with nine.
For Syracuse, Donte Green, Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf, and Arinze Onuaku all finished with 20 point-games, but it wasn't enough.
After taking a 51-48 halftime advantage, Syracuse opened the lead to as many as 12 early in the second. They were up 70-58 with 14:32 remaining, but from that point forward, UMass slowly chipped away. The Minutemen cut the lead to 78-75 with 10:12 remaining in regulation and tied the score at 84 with 6:52 left.
UMass took their first lead of the second half and first since it was 38-36 with 2:54 remaining when Forbes hit a pair of free throws to make it 94-93.
Not long after, Forbes followed with a big three with 1:11 remaining to essentially put the game out of reach, making it 101-95 in favor of the Minutemen.
Harris was intentionally fouled by Devendorf with 13.3 seconds remaining, icing the win for UMass.
In the first half, the Minutemen opened on fire from behind the three-point arc. After Syracuse scored on their first possession, Brower hit a three to make it 3-2. Luke Bonner took a charge on the defensive end and followed it by hitting a pair of threes to extend the lead to 9-2.
UMass opened up a 12-7 lead before Syracuse stormed back with a 13-0 run over 2:56 to make it 20-12 Orange. The Minutemen ended the run on a layup, which started an 8-0 of their own to tie the score at 20.
Forbes hit a rare four-point play with 8:24 remaining in the first half. It was the first time a UMass player has done that since Harris did so one year ago to the day, Nov. 28, 2006 at Savannah State.
The up-and-down game continued to go back and forth. The Orange opened a nine- point lead, 51-42, with 1:09 remaining in the first half, but UMass responded with a pair of threes in the final minute, and one with two seconds left, to cut the lead to three heading into the locker room.