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Syracuse had lost its last two season openers. The Orange wasn't about to make it three in a row.

Led by Hakim Warrick and Gerry McNamara, No. 6 Syracuse scored the first 24 points of the game and cruised to a 104-54 victory over Northern Colorado on Thursday night in the first round of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

Syracuse (1-0) will play Princeton (1-0) in the second round tonight. The Tigers beat Bucknell, 61-48.

"It's good to finally start off on the right track," said Warrick, a preseason All-America who had 19 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four blocks. "Our defensive intensity got our offense going. We got a lot of easy shots."

UB signs three

Coach Reggie Witherspoon began securing his backcourt of the future as three guards signed letters of intent to play at the University at Buffalo.

The recruits include Sean Smiley, of Erie, Pa., who was a two-time All-Metro selection and helped McDowell High School to three straight 20-win seasons. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 165 pounds, Smiley averaged 15.9 points and 4.9 assists as a junior last season.

Also signing to play for the Bulls were Greg Gamble, of Niagara Falls, and Eric Moore, of Morristown, N.J.

Gamble averaged 11.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists in helping Niagara Falls reach the state public high school championship game last season.

Moore averaged 12 points and five assists playing for St. Benedict's Prep last season.

Around the nation

Ontario Harper scored 17 points and No. 12 Mississippi State, playing without preseason All-America Lawrence Roberts, took a 53-49 win over Fairfield. Roberts, a senior forward, sat out because of a one-game suspension from the NCAA over his expenses to attend a tryout before the NBA draft. Deng Gai had 14 points and eight rebounds for Fairfield.

Rodney Carney scored 21 points and No. 24 Memphis had six players finish in double figures in a 102-40 victory over Savannah State.

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