Grant works through foul trouble to help seal Syracuse’s victory over Villanova

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Jim Boeheim yanked Jerami Grant as soon as the sophomore forward picked up his fourth foul. Seven minutes remained and Syracuse clung to a three-point lead.Less than two minutes later, though, as SU tried to close the game out, Boeheim put Grant back on the court. It wasn’t a hard decision at all for the head coach.Grant altered his approach slightly, but kept the same general mindset, avoiding picking up his fifth foul in the final minutes. He aided No. 2 Syracuse (12-0) to a 78-62 win over No. 8 Villanova (11-1) on Saturday in a game that was closer than the final score indicated.“You’ve just got to play smarter,” Grant said of having four fouls, “but at the same time you’ve just got to be as aggressive as you’ve been the whole game, because that’s what got us the lead.”He hit 4-of-4 free throws in the waning minutes, upping his total to 7-of-8 on the day. The sophomore forward added a timely layup off a feed from Tyler Ennis to help close out the game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textGrant didn’t have his best mojo early on. There were no ferocious dunks. No posterizing blocks. No thunderous rebounds. Just good, solid defense throughout – particularly with the game on the line.“We wanted to go high-low,” Boeheim said, and I wanted (Grant) to pass it down to (Rakeem Christmas). I knew if he did foul out we were OK. Rak and Baye (Moussa Keita) can play together.”But Grant didn’t foul out. In fact, he came alive when it mattered the most. He slammed both hands against the backboard, altering Daniel Ochefu’s shot. Moments later, after a flustered Ochefu put up a half-hearted attempt, Keita swatted away the shot with authority.Grant’s first pair of free throws gave SU an eight-point lead with 3:41 to go. The second pair on the ensuing possession brought the lead back to seven after a James Bell 3-pointer.Though Grant’s shooting just 68 percent from the stripe on the season and has had 2-for-6 and 4-for-9 performances, he wasn’t worried.“I’m always confident at the free-throw line,” Grant said. “Just because I missed a couple earlier in the season, doesn’t mean I wasn’t confident.” Comments Published on December 28, 2013 at 9:02 pm Contact Trevor: [email protected] | @TrevorHasslast_img

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