Rick Jackson was the leading scorer for the 'Cuse. He had some nifty moves in the post including some scoop shots when Gavin Edwards was defending him well. Jackson earned 15 points on 6-10 from the floor and 3-5 from the free throw line. He also pulled down seven rebounds and had three blocks. He was the player of the game without really making it obvious.
What was obvious was again the key play of Kris Joseph off the bench. He had 14 points on only 4-11 shooting, but he was a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line. The free throws were key as somehow no team has figured out the old "home run ball" inbound play.
Wes Johnson had a decent game overall with 13 points and nine rebounds, but it was really the rebounding that was good in this game as his offense was not in prime form. He was 4-12 from the field. The nine rebounds tie for a team lead with Arinze Onuaku, who also added seven points in only 21 minutes of action. He did however have a game high six blocks from the floor. That is four more blocks in the game than conference leading blocker Gavin Edwards. Syracuse led in blocks with 12, while Connecticut, a team that has dominated the conference in blocks the last several years, had three. Syracuse also surprisingly led in rebounding by one with 38.
Andy Rautins and Scoop Jardine distributed the ball well in this game. They each had five assists for Syracuse, while Rautins added eight and Jardine added seven points. Syracuse finished with 17 assists versus UConn's 13. Rautins and Jardine also combined for only five turnovers. Syracuse finished with 20, which was part of the reason UConn almost won this game and came back from a big deficit. Connecticut had 15, while also earning 13 steals.
Syracuse shot their lowest field goal percentage of the season with 42.6% (23-54) from the floor. It does make sense as the league's best defense started shutting down Syracuse in the second half. They did shoot better than Connecticut however, probably putting Syracuse head of UConn in field goal defense. They shot 38.8% (26-67) from the floor. It was basically a wash in three point baskets however. Syracuse was 3-13 (23.1%), while UConn got 4-16(25%). Syracuse really shot their free throws well in this one however, far better than against Cincinnati. They made 23-28 (82.1%), while Connecticut made only 11-17 (64.7%).
Now onto the controversy. The applicable NCAA rules are as follows: Rule 5, Section 10, Art. 4 states: “The game clock and shot clock, if running, shall be stopped when an official grants a coach’s or player’s visual or oral request for a time out." Rule 5, Section 12, Art. 1 adds: “No timeouts shall be granted unless there is a player control by the requesting team." Also Rule 5, Section 13, Art. 1 says: “A timeout shall be granted and charged after a player or head coach makes a visual or oral request and when a player of that team is in control of the ball." In summary, it basically says that if the clock is moving the official stops it by granting a time out if a coach or player verbally or physically signals for one and that the team calling the time out has to possess the ball. Simple stuff that any college basketball fan is probably aware of. After studying the tape (because in person I had no clue how a timeout was called) it clearly shows that Jim Boeheim signals for a time out when the ball is possessed by Jardine before making his move to the basket in the lane. Referee John Cahill then signals for the time out to be granted, however this was after Jardine made the move to the basketball and subsequently lost the ball. This is irrelevant however if Boeheim signaled for the time out and Cahill grants it, be it when Jardine actually had the ball or not. It is very similar to the situation in football that happens quite frequently when a coach on a sideline calls a time out before the snap, but because the referee has to signal and run in to stop the play, sometimes the other team snaps the ball first. The time out is still valid and that time is then put back on the clock. The exact same thing happened here. Cahill and the other referees looked at the tape, determined when Boeheim actually called the time out, and adjusted the time accordingly. Despite the fact that Cahill was, for one reason or another, delayed in actually granting the time out, he still knew that Boeheim had called it when Jardine possessed the ball, making it a valid time out, and further supporting this by adding the time back on the clock. Additionally, if you notice in watching the tape, Cahill waves his arms in the "no shot" motion. Meaning that the time out was called before the ball left his hand and before his "shot" at the hoop. Hopefully this should put your mind at ease because despite all of that, UConn would have lost anyway. Jerome Dyson missed a three pointer that Kris Joseph rebounded and was subsequently fouled. Additionally, the inexperienced Majok caused an intentional foul by shoving rather than making it look like he was trying to strip the ball. Syracuse would have won either way, but the time out was also proper.
Despite how tight this was at the end this was another win for Syracuse, making it even sweeter that it was over rival UConn. Sadly Jim Calhoun wasn't there, but I guess you cannot have everything in life. Syracuse will take this one, streak alive, home court defended, and look to do the same as Louisville comes to town on Valentine's Day. Hopefully next time however, they do not squander a big lead, giving me unnecessary stress at the end of another big game. Despite the fact that UConn is floundering this year does not mean I want to dismantle them any less. I can never stand losing to Connecticut.
As for our little t-shirt contest, the teams combined for a total score of 139 points. Guesser "Mike" hit this perfectly on the head. Then there were two guesses of 138, however one guessed closer to Andy Rautins point total, therefore our second and final winner of this round is "OrangemenNotOrange". Would you too kindly e-mail me via the address on the sidebar to claim your prize. Sizes will be granted based on first come, first serve. Congratulations to the winners! If you didn't win this round, don't fret. We'll have another set of shirts to give away next week.
PS - Jerome Dyson and Kemba Walker are slightly underrated. Stanley Robinson is probably correctly rated. Gavin Edwards... substantially overrated.