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Basketball can be fun when you keep winning.
Syracuse had been perfect on the road. Cincinnati had been just about perfect at home. Something had to give. And Cincinnati did a nice job of battling Syracuse for 3/4th of the game. But Syracuse was too talented and Cincinnati couldn't resist chucking up bad shots when they started slipping in the score. Syracuse walked away with a handy victory but this game was close for a while. Either way, Syracuse came away with a nice road victory. Syracuse wins over Cincinnati 71 to 54.
This game was back and forth all through the first half. There were several lead changes as Wes Johnson sat for a while on the bench with three fouls. But everyone else helped shoulder the load, including Andy Rautins, who broke out of another mini-slump. Kris Joseph hit a big three in the second half to give Syracuse a slim lead to which they built on. Syracuse limited Cincinnati to exactly 0 field goals in the last eight minutes. Cincy just kept shooting and Cincy just kept missing. Syracuse outscored Cincinnati 39-24 in the second half. They end up winning big and keep their road record perfect.
Andy Rautins was your game leader with 20 points, shooting 6-12, 4-8 from three, and 4-4 from the free throw line. He had the hot hand on the day and continued to want to shoot because he was feeling it. He managed to shock Bearcat fans by getting the friendly roll on a couple of nice shots.
Kris Joseph was excellent off the bench. He finished with 17 points on 6-9 shooting and hit 2-2 from downtown. He continues to be the MVP for this team. He also delivered big when Johnson was not contributing quality minutes. This team beating Cincy without Johnson was all the more impressive.
Rick Jackson led in rebounds with ten big boards, while he also had five points. Scoop Jardine led with six assists coming off the bench and also played well, adding 11 points. Kris Joseph also added three steals to lead in that category.
Syracuse shot below their season average, but still above 50%, shooting 51.1 % from the floor, well above the 41.7% Cincy shot. Syracuse was also 50% (8-16) from behind the arc. Cincy was 26.3% (5-19) from downtown. Rebounds were a wash at 28, but except for offensive rebounds, Syracuse again led every statistical category. Most surprisingly, Syracuse only had seven turnovers in the game, which I believe is a season low. They took care of the ball and when they failed to score on a possession it was simply due to a bad shot and not confounding defense or poor choices. Syracuse needs to do better from the charity stripe however. 57.7% will not do it in tighter games. Kris Joseph was the biggest problem in this game and he is usually much better.
We now focus on the hated boys from Storrs. Connecticut comes in reeling in a Calhoun-less sideline and several bad losses. Will it be fun to beat up on a floundering Connecticut team? Absolutely.

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