Thursday, February 3, 2011

Aaaaand We're Back!

Heading into last night's Big East showdown against the #6/#7 UCONN Huskies Jim Boeheim had never lost 5 straight games as head coach of the Syracuse Orangemen. Thankfully, he still hasn't. Syracuse went into Connecticut and walked out with a much needed 66-58 victory. The Orangemen hadn't won on the road against UCONN since the 1999 season.

Syracuse managed to overcome not scoring a single point in the game's opening 5:31 and managed to take their first halftime lead since January 15th against Cinci when Rick Jackson slipped home a shifty hook shot as time expired on the opening frame, giving SU a 26-25 halftime lead.

In the first half Syracuse's defense of Huskie star Kemba Walker was amazing. Walker was held to just 5 points in the first half. Syracuse had allowed opposing teams to score 40+ points in the first half three straight games heading into last night's contest, however UCONN scored just 25 points in the 1st half. Walker finished the game with a season low 8 points, a job well done by the Orangemen's guards at the top of the 2-3 zone.

Coming out of the halftime intermission, it appeared to be the Brandon Triche show. Triche scored the first 7 points for Syracuse in the first 2:17 out of the gate, and helped push Syracuse's lead to 33-27. As Connecticut mounted a valiant comeback, cutting Syracuse's lead which had ballooned to as many as 9 points down to a mere 1 point with 4:56 left to play, Brandon Triche swished a 3-point jumper from the corner to put the Orangemen back up 4 points and provide a much needed cushion against the #6/#7 team in the nation as Syracuse held on for the win.

Baye Moussa Keita played by far his best game in his very young Orangeman career. Despite fouling out (on an absolutely brutal call late in the game) Keita pulled down 11 rebounds, made a season high 6 steals, scored 4 points and added 2 blocks while playing a season high 27 minutes for the Cuse. Keita was changing shots in the lane, using his long arms to swat pass attempts into the center of the zone, and playing like a man possessed to help Syracuse knock off one of the best teams in the nation and putting an end to the Orangemen's 4 game losing streak.

At the complete opposite end of the spectrum, Fab Melo played a mere 3 minutes and his only statistical achievement in the game was his 1 personal foul.

Rick Jackson recorded his 15th double-double of the season, scoring 13 points and pulling down 13 rebounds to lead the Orangemen. Kris Joseph began the game extremely off, however managed to make a few big plays down the stretch. Joseph, the Orangemen's leading scorer on the season, finished 3 of 11 from the floor for 11 points.

Once again Scoop Jardine's shooting woes continued to mount, as he shot 2 of 11 from the field, however Scoop made his foul shots in the final minutes of the game and grabbed a key rebound as the game clock wound down.

Brandon Triche lead Syracuse in scoring with 16 points, while shooting 2 of 7 from 3-point range. He made his shots when it counted though.

Up next for the Orangemen are the USF Bulls on Saturday at 2PM in Tampa, Fl. The game will be televised live on the home of the Big East Network, SNY. With eight games remaining on the Syracuse schedule, there's plenty of hard work left to do.

After a trip down to Tampa, Syracuse will play Georgetown, Louisville, and West Virginia, with the Louisville match up being played on the road. Syracuse (19-4, 6-4 Big East) can not afford to have a let down against the Bulls, as the schedule will not be easing up for the Cuse any time soon.

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