Anchorage, AK -
Preston Shumpert scored a career-high 36 points and Syracuse held off a furious second-half rally to down No. 21 DePaul 92-84 in the opening round of the Great Alaska Shootout on Thursday night.
DeShaun Williams had 25 points and Damone Brown 16 for the Orangemen (2-0). Lance Williams led DePaul (1-1) with 18 points, and Bobby Simmons had 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Syracuse led 69-52 with 10:35 left in the game, but the Orangemen's frontcourt got into foul trouble and created an opportunity for DePaul to mount a comeback.
The Blue Demons whittled the lead to 80-73 on Williams' jump hook with about 4:25 left. But Shumpert drained a 3-pointer to stifle the comeback temporarily.
After Orangemen centers Billy Celuck and Jeremy McNeil fouled out, a 3-pointer by DePaul's Rashon Burno cut the margin to 86-80 with 1:05 left. But Damone Brown hit five free throws and Allen Griffin one in the final 44 seconds to hold DePaul at bay.
The Blue Demons had trouble penetrating Syracuse's zone in the first half as the 7-foot Celuck blocked two shots and disrupted attempts to pound the ball inside. DePaul turned the ball over 11 times in the first 20 minutes as Syracuse led by as many as 16.
DePaul got 10 points from reserve Steve Hunter and the Blue Demons made 13 of 17 free throws in the first half.
Syracuse faces Ohio State and Missouri takes on Valparaiso in the semifinals on Friday. Rhode Island takes on Alaska-Anchorage and DePaul will face Florida State in the consolation bracket.