#7 Syracuse Handles #19 Harvard in NCAA Opener

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Brett Bucktooth scored a career-high seven points as fifth-seeded Syracuse used a six-goal first quarter to take an 11-4 win against Harvard Sunday night in front of 4,511 at the Carrier Dome.

Bucktooth had a hat trick before the midway point of the first period to help the Orange advance to a second-round matchup with Johns Hopkins next Saturday in Stony Brook, N.Y.

"We've been able to play a lot of outstanding teams this year," said Harvard head coach Scott Anderson, "and what Syracuse did tonight was probably the best lacrosse we've seen. We knew what they were doing, they just did it really well and we seemed to be a step behind them."

Harvard, which was making its fifth NCAA tournament appearance, saw its streak of first-round tournament wins end at two. Syracuse, meanwhile, returned to the second round after a one-year hiatus in the Orange's 27th NCAA tournament appearance.

The Crimson wasn't helped by the fact that the team's first look at the Carrier Dome came just hours before the opening faceoff. Syracuse's commencement ceremonies occupied the facility Saturday and Sunday, leaving the Crimson's pregame workouts to take place at a different facility.

"This was a great experience for our team, and the people at Syracuse were great to us in helping us with our arrangements," said Anderson. "But the one thing we weren't able to do was get in the Dome and prepare for the atmosphere, which is unlike any other in college lacrosse. It might not have mattered, but I certainly thought we looked out of sorts at the beginning of the game."

Taking advantage of its home field advantage, the Orange built a five-goal lead after 15 minutes and held an 8-1 advantage at halftime before the schools played an even second half. Harvard actually finished with the edge in shots (42-37) and ground balls (37-30), but the Orange was more efficient with its shots, putting 23 of its 37 attempts on the cage.

Bucktooth opened the scoring when he converted a feed from Patrick Perritt with the Oragne on an extra-man situation. He would give Syracuse a 2-0 lead when he picked off an errant clearing pass and dumped it into an empty cage with 10:05 left in the period.

Kenny Nims found a cutting Bucktooth just two minutes later for the attackman's third goal of the game, giving the Orange a 3-0 lead.

Syracuse broke the game open in the late stages of the first period as Dan Hardy scored from 15 yards out to make it a four goal lead, and the Orange caught the Crimson midfield in a substitution, resulting in Mike Leveille's fast break goal with 3:52 left. Patrick Perritt scored from the crease with 2:45 left to give the hosts a 6-0 lead with 2:45 left in the quarter.

Harvard would get on the board with 19 seconds left in the quarter when a cutting Tom Boylan converted a feed from Steve Cohen with the Crimson on an extra-man situation to make it 6-1 after 15 minutes.

The Orange had the only two goals of the second half as Leveille tucked home a feed from Hardy, and Brian Crockett scored an extra-man goal with 8:52 left in the period, giving Syracuse the 8-1 lead at the break.

Harvard opened the scoring in the second half as defenseman Eric Posner intercepted a Syracuse cross-field pass and broke down the field. Posner found Greg Cohen, who broke in and beat Orange goalie Peter Coluccini at the 11:49 mark to make it 8-2.

The Crimson cut the deficit to five when Brian Mahler found the top right of the cage for his first goal of the year, making it 8-3, but Bucktooth came back on Syracuse's next possession, regaining a six-goal cushion for the Orange when he bounced a shot past goalie Joe Pike. Syracuse made it 10-3 on Bucktooth's fifth goal of the game an extra-man goal that came from a Crocket's feed with 2:57 left in the third quarter.

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