The Scoop Jardine that many of us had grown accustomed to watching last season finally reappeared in a Syracuse uniform after disappearing for much of January and February. Playing in front of 20,276 fans in the Verizon Center (the most ever for a Georgetown game), Scoop Jardine led the Orangemen to a 58-51 victory with 17 points and 7 assists, while turning the ball over just once in 34 minutes on the floor, spoiling "senior day" for the Georgetown seniors.
The Orangemen pushed their first half lead from 3 points to 10 points at the break behind unbelievable play from sophomore James Southerland. Southerland scored seven of Syracuse's final nine points of the half. James hadn't scored a single point since February 5th at South Florida, when he chipped in 2 points in one minute.
Southerland received 21 minutes, more than he's played in the last eight games combined (three of which he did not play a single minute), largely due to the fact C.J. Fair was limited to just 11 minutes of action. Fair, who has played more than 25 minutes in each of the last six games, rolled his ankle in first half action against Villanova on Monday night. Although he did return to the game and go on to play 30 minutes that night, it was very clear that Fair was still feeling the effects of that injury. C.J. Fair finished with 4 rebounds and zero points.
This was the first time this season that C.J. Fair appeared in a game and did not score a single point. Southerland, who scored 9 points in the first half, did not score in the second half.
Considering C.J. Fair's lack of availability, the Orangemen's defense looked in control much of the game, minus Georgetown's surge when they went on a 20-6 run to take their first lead of the game since 2-0. With the score 45-43 with ten minutes remaining in the game, Scoop Jardine played his best minutes down the stretch of any game in literally weeks, making clutch shots and knocking down a HUGE 3-pointer shot with 4:53 remaining to put Syracuse back up six points.
Rick Jackson, who will be playing in his final game in the Carrier Dome this coming Saturday, finished with 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting from the field and grabbed 7 rebounds. Fab Melo played his first significant minutes since missing practice prior to the Louisville game on February 12th. Melo played 7 minutes (more than his previous five games combined) and finished with 2 points and 1 rebound.
Kris Joseph was limited to just 4 points on 2 of 7 shooting in 31 minutes and pulled down only 2 rebounds. This was his lowest offensive output since scoring 2 points in 10 minutes against Cincinnati before leaving with a head injury in the first half.
The Syracuse Orangemen as a unit are peaking at exactly the right time of the year. After suffering four straight losses and losing six of eight games between January 17th and February 12th, Jim Boeheim's Orangemen have won 4 straight games. The last two victories coming in Philadelphia against #14/15 Villanova and in Washington D.C. against #11 Georgetown.
Next up on the schedule is Rick Jackson Night, the final home game of the season against the 7-21 (1-15 in Big East) DePaul Blue Demons on Saturday March 5th at 4:00PM. It's Senior Day in the Carrier Dome, and the Orangemen faithful will be paying homage to their lone upperclassman, Rick Jackson.
photo courtesy of syracuse.com