Monday, November 29, 2010

Orangemen Take Legends Classic Title in Atlantic City

Syracuse University took care of business this weekend down in Atlantic City. Taking on Michigan in the Semi-Final round of the Legends Classic, Syracuse held on for a 53-50 victory lead by Kris Joseph's 22 point effort. Rick Jackson chipped in 10 points and 12 rebounds and Scoop Jardine had 11 points on 2-10 shooting from the floor. Freshman Fab Melo played 4 minutes.

Michigan was able to hang around due in part to tremendous 3-point shooting in the first half. The Wolverines knocked down 8 three-point field goals in the opening half. However, the shots weren't falling for the Wolverines from beyond the arc in the 2nd half, and had Syracuse been able to make foul shots down the stretch of the game (sound familiar?) the final score wouldn't have been as close.

Jordan Morgan and Stu Douglas both dropped 11 points for Michigan. The Wolverines held a 2 point lead at halftime, however Syracuse went on a 9-0 run early in the 2nd half to help the Orangemen pull out the victory.

Michigan faced UTEP in the consolation round of the Legends Classic, and UTEP knocked off the Wolverines Saturday 65-56. It was a tough weekend for Michigan, as they also got stomped out in football against longtime rival Ohio State. Come Saturday night, there were zero Michigan t-shirts and hats on the Boardwalk.

With UTEP playing in the consolation round, that meant that Syracuse would be facing Georgia Tech in the Finals of the Legends Classic. Once again Kris Joseph lead the Orangemen to victory, dropping 19 points on 5-7 shooting from the floor and 7-8 from the foul line. It was the most balanced scoring Syracuse has seen this season, as five players scored in double figures. Syracuse defeated Georgia Tech 80-76, behind 55.6% shooting from the floor.

Rick Jackson had another 10 point night to go along with 14 rebounds and 2 blocks, earning him Legends Classic Tournament MVP honors. Scoop Jardine added 15 points, giving the boys from Philadelphia, which is just under an hour away from Atlantic City, reason to smile.

Freshman Dion Waiters had a tremendous first half and finished with 13 points in 14 minutes, making 5 of his 7 shots from the floor. C.J. Fair had 10 points and Baye Moussa Keita had 4 points and 3 rebounds on the night. It was a 3-pointer by C.J. Fair with 11 seconds left in the first half that gave Syracuse a 38-36 halftime lead. Georgia Tech's Brian Oliver scored a career high 32 points, and mugged Kris Joseph late in the game with a very hard foul under the basket.

Thankfully Kris Joseph only needed a couple minutes to catch his breath on the bench and returned to the game moments later. After the game Jim Boeheim said Joseph hurt his chest, but was fine. Fab Melo followed up his 4 minute stint on the floor Friday night with 10 minutes on Saturday night.

Syracuse emerges from the weekend 6-0 overall this season and with the Legends Classic Trophy. Up next for the Orangemen is Cornell University on Tuesday in the Carrier Dome at 7PM. Cornell is 2-4 this season. Steve Donahue is out as head coach of the Big Red, as he took over the coaching duties for Boston College following Cornell's surprise Sweet 16 appearance. Bill Courtney, former UVA and Virginia Tech assistant coach, is now the head coach of Cornell.

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