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Scoop will hit shots when he needs to
Anytime you lose a game, the next game becomes very important. A win gets you back in the right direction, but another loss sends you further down the wrong path.  After Syracuse won its first 18 games last year, it lost to Pitt and then lost its next three games.  We were all screaming that the sky was falling.  Syracuse did eventually fall out of that rut last year, but it took its toll on the team.  So this is why tonight's game against Cincinnati was so important.  And it would have been easy to lose it: the Orange had just lost at Notre Dame; the middle of the zone was still reeling from losing Fab Melo; Cincy was playing well and hosting a whiteout in its first Big Monday.  In a hard-fought battle, Syracuse beat Cincinnati 60-53.
  • Kris Joseph was your leading scorer for Syracuse (a go-to guy?) with 17 points on 8-11 shooting.  Interestingly, though, Kris shot 0-3 from three, which means that he hit all shots within the arc (including some nice dunks).
  • Other double-digit scorers were Scoop Jardine with 13, and Brandon Triche with 11.
  • Scoop started real slow, but poured it on when it mattered, late in the game when Syracuse was really pulling away.  Scoop was 2-4 from three.
  • In his second start, CJ Fair put in another solid effort with six points and six rebounds (four offensive).
  • Sliding Rakeem Christmas over to cover Fab's spot resulted in nine rebounds from Rak, three blocks, and a solid player in the middle.  I think he's done a lot of growing up over the past few days, and he's gained a pretty good understanding of this 2-3 zone.
  • While Rak was active in the zone, he "held" Yancy Gates to 16 points.  I say that because I really think Gates would have scored a lot more if the middle of the zone were exploitable like it was Saturday against Notre Dame.
  • Cashmere Wright was the leading scorer for the Bearcats with 17, mostly aided from going 5-8 from three.  Cincy started hot, especially from three, which gave us all that "Oh crap here we go again" feeling.  Good thing that didn't last.
  • Comparatively, Syracuse outshot Cincy 46.4% to 34.4%.  Cincy held a slight edge from three, 32% to 25%.  Syracuse edged by on the rebound battle 36-35.
Just as I said it's important to win after a loss, I'll be a bit obvious and say it's important to win after a win.  That's the task this Saturday, as Syracuse hosts West Virginia in the Dome.  Between now and then, Syracuse will be working on continuing to move on without Fab Melo (assuming that's the situation).  Fab Melo will be working on whatever it is he needs to work on so that playing without him is not the situation.  And we'll be working on bringing you all the latest in Syracuse sports.  Maybe even figuring out why Dion Waiters was such a non-factor tonight.

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