Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Syracuse Defeats Villanova in Philadelphia

On Monday night the #17/20 Syracuse Orangemen basketball team overcame the #14/15 Villanova Wildcats, a trio of incompetent officials and both Corey's for a tremendous 69-64 Big East victory.

Rick Jackson, playing his final game in Philadelphia in a Syracuse uniform, led the Cuse with 18 points 5 rebounds and 4 blocks. His high school teammate Scoop Jardine had one of his better shooting performances in recent memory, going 7 of 11 from the field (2 of 3 from 3-point range) to finish with a team high 20 points. Scoop also committed 5 turnovers, however tried to overcome that mark with 6 assists.

In one of the worst officiating displays of the season, the Orangemen were whistled for two lane violations on back to back free throw misses by Isaiah Armwood. As if that wasn't bizarre enough, the seemingly most mild mannered player on the SU basketball team, Baye Moussa Keita, was called for a technical foul after merely looking confused by the official's shockingly overzealous call.

The Orangemen's first half lead went from seven points to just two points with just 9 seconds coming off the game clock.

Another scary moment came in the first half when C.J. Fair rolled his ankle about 6 minutes into the game. Fair was helped off the floor and went directly into the locker room. Fans feared he may have re-injured the same ankle which kept him out of three games in late December. Thankfully, Fair returned to the court less than four minutes later. He went on to play 30 minutes however he did not record a single rebound, the first time that's happened since January 8th in Seton Hall when he was limited to just 8 minutes of action.

In the second half, Scoop Jardine made some big plays down the stretch and a couple of successful trips to the foul line by Dion Waiters and Rick Jackson in the games final seconds sealed the victory for the Orangemen.

The win for Syracuse was their 6th win of the season over a ranked opponent. Only Texas has as many wins over ranked squads as the Cuse. It also guarantees the Orangemen a winning conference record this season as they improve to 10-6 in Big East play, 23-6 overall.

There are just two games remaining on Syracuse's schedule, a trip to Georgetown on Saturday followed by a full week of rest before hosting DePaul in the regular season finale. And then the fun begins. A trip down to New York City to play in the Big East tournament.

The top 8 teams in the Big East get a 1 game bye, and the top 4 teams receive a double-bye. A win against Georgetown on Saturday will go a long way towards helping Syracuse earn that double-bye.

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