SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Juwan Howard Jr. did everything he could to forge an upset of No. 3 Syracuse on a memorable night. It just wasn't enough to deprive Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim of his 900th career victory.

Howard scored 18 points -- 14 in the final 6 minutes to key a furious rally that fell short -- and the third-ranked Orange escaped with a 72-68 victory over Detroit in the Gotham Classic.

Boeheim, 68 and in his 37th year at his alma mater, became the third Division I men's coach to reach 900 wins. At 900-304, he joined an elite fraternity. Mike Krzyzewski (936) and Bob Knight (902) are the only other men's Division I coaches to win that many games.

The celebration nearly was delayed. Trailing 65-45 with 6:09 left after two free throws by Syracuse's James Southerland, Howard hit a 3 to get the Titans rolling.

The Orange then committed four turnovers and missed four 3-pointers and Howard became a one-man show, hitting two jumpers, another 3-pointer, and converting four free throws to bring Detroit within 67-63 in the final minute.

Michael Carter-Williams ended that momentum, hitting three of four free throws in the final seconds for the Orange.

Syracuse led 40-21 at halftime and was cruising midway through the second half when the public address announcer in the Carrier Dome invited fans to stick around for the postgame celebration. The Detroit rally started soon after.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Boeheim's college roommate, teammate and fellow Hall of Famer, and Roosevelt Bouie, a star on Boeheim's first team in 1976-77, were in the Carrier Dome crowd of 17,902. Midway through the second half, fans were given placards featuring cardboard cutouts of Boeheim's face with 900 wins printed on the back to celebrate.

Boeheim was presented a jersey encased in glass with 900 emblazoned on it.

"I'm happy. I've stayed around long enough," Boeheim said at center court. "I was a little nervous."

James Southerland had 22 points for Syracuse (10-0), which increased its home winning streak to 30 games, longest in the nation. Detroit (6-5), which lost 77-74 at St. John's in the second game of the season and 74-61 at Pitt earlier this month, had its four-game winning streak snapped.

Carter-Williams finished with 10 assists and 12 points, his sixth straight double-double.

Howard and Doug Anderson both scored 18 points and Nick Minnerath had 13 for Detroit. Ray McCallum Jr., Detroit's leading scorer at 19.4 points per game, finished with nine, while Jason Calliste had seven.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Material may not be redistributed.

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