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Boeheim looked like this a bit, but he smiled in the end.
Syracuse was still atop the Big East and #2 in the nation when they entered the RAC on Sunday for a tilt against Rutgers. They left with the same status. While Rutgers is a tough team at home, having defeated the last three top 10 opponents to enter, Syracuse was the better team and prevailed. Syracuse earned another victory and another experience that can only help when tournament time rolls around very soon.
This game was close throughout the entire game except for just over the last minute. Syracuse was up at the half 40-34, but Rutgers continued to play well despite not making three point buckets. Rutgers kept the game close, always between one to three possessions. Rutgers even closed the game to just two points with 3:08 remaining, but Syracuse continued to score. Scoop Jardine hit the dagger three from the top of the key with 1:11 remaining to put the game out of reach at 69-62. Syracuse went on to win 74-64, the biggest lead Syracuse had all day.
  • CJ Fair was the leading scorer off the bench with 21 points. He had some big dunks, put backs, layups, and one massive reverse slam off a lob from Jardine that was just FILTHY. Next in line was Jardine with 17, including 2-4 from three point range. Fair was 6-8 from the floor, 1-1 from three, and a perfect 8-8 from the charity stripe. 21 points is his career high.
  • Fair was also the leading rebounder with eight. Fab Melo was next with six.
  • Jardine led in assists with seven.
  • Syracuse again led in turnovers, having only 10 to Rutgers' 12.
  • Syracuse finished on the day shooting 50% from the floor, 5-12 (41.7%) from three, and 21-31 (67.7%) from the free throw line.
  • Rutgers was 41.9%, 3-18 (16.7% [woof!]), abd 9-11 (81.8%) respectively.
  • Syracuse was outrebounded by Rutgers 31 to 26. They also had more assists than Syracuse 15 to 11.
  • CJ Fair had a fantastic game obviously. But he has been the most consistent player all season, and interesting, Syracuse's best rebounder. His only bad game has really been the loss at Notre Dame.
  • Mike Rice is probably more intense on the sideline than Frank Martin at Kansas State. He may be the most intense coach in the nation.
  • Syracuse has now beaten Rutgers 12 consecutive games.
  • Jim Burr is seriously awful. Seriously. Blatantly blew an out of bounds call really badly. Also, how has goaltending become the call referees mess up the most all of a sudden?
  • Syracuse snaps Rutgers' three game winning streak over top 10 opponents at the RAC. However, Rutgers is now 0-7 all time versus #2.
Syracuse will now return to the Carrier Dome to take on a surprisingly good 10 Big East win team in South Florida, who needs a resume win in trying to punch their NCAA ticket. Syracuse is also breaking out the gray... i mean "platinum" uniforms so there's that. Syracuse Lacrosse also started their season on Sunday and beat Albany 12 to 7, moving to 1-0 again to start a season. John Desko has never lost an opening game. We're busy with other things in the home office, but once March hits we'll be giving full attention to lacrosse again, including more coverage from me over at College Crosse as well.

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