C.J. Fair scored 17 points and No. 2 Syracuse used a 16-0 run to pull away in the second half and beat Virginia Tech 72-52 on Tuesday night.
Tyler Ennis added 13 points, Jerami Grant 12 points and 10 rebounds and Trevor Cooney scored 11 points for the Orange (15-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who were making their first visit to Cassell Coliseum since Jan. 30, 1978.
C.J. Barksdale led Virginia Tech (8-6, 1-1) with 12 points and four rebounds. Ben Emelogu and Adam Smith had nine each. The Hokies were outrebounded 41-25 and shot 36.7 percent (18 of 49) to the Orange's 46.7 percent (28 of 60).
Syracuse went on its run just after five straight points by the Hokies pulled them within 44-40, giving a sparse crowd on a frigid evening hope that Virginia Tech might have something big in store.
But Ennis hit a 3-pointer to spark the surge, and the Hokies went scoreless for 8 1-2 minutes. Grant and Fair scored four points each in the run and Ennis added another 3. When Joey van Zegeren finally ended the drought with a putback dunk with 6:16 to play, the Orange lead was 60-42 and the suspense was over.
Second-year Hokies coach James Johnson got some help in the way of returning players: Smith returned after missing two games and three of the last five with a strained left calf, and Barksdale and Marshall Wood both played a day after Johnson said he thought they were questionable with flu symptoms.
A 3-pointer by Jarell Eddie and Emelogu's short jumper pulled the Hokies within 44-40 with 14:44 to play, but the Orange quickly extended the margin. A three-point play by Grant and Fair's runner in the lane made it 55-40 with 8:24 to go.
The Orange used a 22-7 to open a 27-15 lead. Cooney and Michael Gbinije hit 3-pointers in the run, and Fair made two jumpers. The Hokies outscored Syracuse 14-8 the rest of the half.
Virginia Tech hosts Boston College on Saturday afternoon at Cassell Coliseum.