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I'm just going to dance like I have my starting center in.

I hope you had a bad feeling about this game like I did as soon as I heard that Arinze Onuaku was not in the starting line up. You knew that this was going to be an uphill battle with half of the inside options this team has gone. Providence wins a tough one over the #15 Orange 100 to 94.

Jonny Flynn had a career high 35 points, with 12 for 22 shooting, four for nine from long range, and seven for seven from the free throw line. I mean this kid played his heart out for Syracuse, and you could tell he was having fun on the floor. He played all 40 minutes of course. One thing for sure is that he did not quit in the game at any point.

Eric Devendorf also played all 40 minutes. He scored 27 points and hit six of 13 three pointers. The big problem with Devendorf was he had nine turnovers. In comparison, the entire Providence team had only 11 turnovers. While the offense was there, he of course made some bad passes and got his pocket picked on a few occasions.

Rick Jackson had 14 points and ten rebounds in a good effort in the low post. He had some nifty moves in the paint and obviously rebounded well. Subsequently Syracuse had one more rebound than Providence. He did well for filling in for the injured Onuaku.

Kristof! made his way back into the starting line up. In his 16 minutes of play he earned six points, four rebounds, one assist, and one steal. He even did a timed play with Flynn in which he slammed the ball down after getting the pass. Niiiice.

Kris Joseph, the freshman, started for the first time, and he played like a freshman. He earned four points in 21 minutes of play. He also earned three rebounds and four fouls.

Paul Harris came off the bench and earned eight points and six rebounds. He played for 30 minutes and actually hit two of two from downtown. Paul played well, but he needs to take a more active role on offense. Than again, which Flynn and Devendorf chucking it up, how many touches could Paul really get?

Arinze Onuaku was obviously in pain on the floor and in 15 minutes of play he only got one rebound. Jim Boeheim at the half said he basically could not jump. Yeah, he probably just should not have played. But this was a big problem because there was not the dominant inside presence that we have had all year.

Syracuse clearly had too many turnovers. They finished with 21 points, while Providence only had 11. Additionally, Providence had 22 assists, while Syracuse had only 14.
One quick thing on the Providence students. A court rush? Really!? I mean, I know Syracuse was ranked #15, but smart Providence fans should realize that they were not playing #15 Syracuse. They were probably playing #35 Syracuse in all reality. With Rautins and Onuaku injured, this is not the powerhouse team that was advertised at #15. A court rush? Beat UConn at home and rush the court. But an injured Syracuse? Not buying it my friends.
Sadly the Syracuse defense was soft and mostly ineffective. Shooters had some open looks, it was easy to pass behind the zone for some easy buckets, and every time Syracuse needed a stop they could not seem to manage it. This team wanted to play more man defense, but with limited bodies it was pretty impossible. I get that part of it, but sadly these players should be better at the 2-3 Zone defense than they are. We are still Syracuse after all.

The good news is Syracuse actually hit their free throws making 16 of 20. Additionally Syracuse shot 48% from long range, making 12 of 25. Syracuse had their offense mostly working in this game. They were in a better rhythm and seemed to capitalize on most possessions. The ones they did not capitalize on, were important down the stretch. They actually closed the game to four points with less than a minute left, but just could not capitalize.

Really, I certainly do not like this loss, but Syracuse was not playing with a full toolbox. Onuaku really could not play, and Andy Rautins did not even make the trip from Syracuse. So I kind of feel good that this team really only playing with 5.5 players put up 94 points. Either way, this is the third loss in a row for the top 25 team, and this is a game that easily could damage their NCAA chances if they are on the bubble. Only time will tell, but at least now Syracuse has a week off to rest and heal before returning to the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome to take on West Virginia. Hopefully we will be ready to go then.
PS - Providence, your mascot is just a dude in a hood.

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