By BRETT MARSHALL

bmarshall@gctelegram.com

SYRACUSE Given the fact Syracuse scored the first nine points of the game in just a minute, perhaps Cimarron coach Doug Minneman didn't feel too bad when the game was over.

Despite his team WAS spanked 70-44 Friday in Hi-Plains League play, the Bluejays still found some things to hang their hat on heading into the league tournament which begins Monday in Elkhart.

"We fought all the way to the end," Minneman said. "Syracuse is a good team and you just can't let them get out and get on top of you like they did."

The win was just the tonic that a struggling Syracuse team needed as they return to defend its league title from a year ago. The Bulldogs had lost two of its last three games, including a 48-45 setback a week ago on the road at Wichita County, when the Bulldogs made just 9-of-26 free throws.

Friday night, it was much improved as they made 12 of their 13 shots at the line and were a red-hot 27-of 41 from the field (66 percent) and committed just 13 turnovers.

"We wanted to get out much faster and be more explosive," Syracuse coach Bill Peeper said. "We got a few things going and got some confidence and that is what we needed. We had been struggling with that and this is something we can build on."

The Bulldogs were led by point guard Andrew Brown. The 6-foot-2 senior scored a game-high 23 points on 10-of-12 field goals and 3-of-3 at the free throw line.

"Andrew's play all around was just exceptional," Peeper said. "He defended well, he passed the ball and he hit his free throws."

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Syracuse 70, Cimarron 44

CIMARRON (3-6) Martinez 3-4 0-0 6, Slaven 4-8 1-1 9, Franzitta 0-4 1-2 1, Hoskinson 0-1 0-0 0, Blattner 3-10 7-8 13, Bryant 3-5 2-2 8, Wehkamp 2-3 0-2 4, Garcia 0-1 0-0 0, Siek 1-1 0-0 2, Sharp 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 16-38 12-17 44.

SYRACUSE (6-2) Howell 3-4 0-0 6, Parks 2-2 0-0 6, Brown 10-14 3-3 23, DeVries 0-0 3-4 3, B. Simon 1-5 0-0 2, Housholder 3-5 0-0 6, Petersen 3-3 0-0 6, Sibley 0-0 2-2 2, D. Simon 1-1 2-2 4, Burkett 0-1 0-0 0, McAllister 3-5 2-2 9, Garcia 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-41 12-13 70.

Cimarron 9 13 9 13 -- 44

Syracuse 22 16 1 21 -- 70

3-point goals Cimarron 0-2 (Martinez 0-1, Bryant 0-1), Syracuse 4-7 (Parks 2-2, Brown 0-2, B. Simon 0-1, Stultz 1-1). Rebounds Cimarron 13 (Slaven 3, Blattner 3), Syracuse 25 (Housholder 7). Turnovers Cimarron 13, Syracuse 13. Fouls Cimarron 15, Syracuse 14. Fouled out none.