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UConn - Syracuse Postgame Reactions OR Season Sweep

The seniors get a win at Gampel

Leading up to Saturday night's game, there was a lot of hype that Syracuse had never won at Gampel Pavilion. Granted, the sample set was only four games, but winless is winless.  Or, rather, was winless.  Syracuse played one of its bast halves of basketball in the first -- complete with scoring, rebounding, defense, creating turnovers -- and carrying a 43-29 lead into halftime.  And then, the second half.  The Huskies clawed their way back into the game, eventually tying it 63-63 with 4:18 left to play.  Syracuse wouldn't let UConn grab the lead.  A rebound put-back by Fab Melo with 31 seconds to go put the Orange ahead 71-69, and the Syracuse defense shut it down on the other end to preserve the victory.  Put it in the books, 71-69!
  • Kris Joseph had a great game offensively (despite being hurt) and was the team's leading scorer with 21 points on 8-15 shooting, including 3-7 from three.  He was actually shooting with some confidence, which is nice to see in any game, let alone the hostile environment of Gampel.
  • Scoop also played very well.  While he wasn't outstanding from a scoring standpoint (seven points on 3-10 shooting, 0-3 from three), his presence was definitely felt (and necessary) out there on the floor. Scoop had five rebounds, six assists, and three steals.  Those are solid numbers that compliment an offense working very efficiently, as Syracuse was especially in the first half.
  • Scoop was a disappointing 1-2 from the line, though the team was 10-14 in the game.
  • The effort of Fab Melo in this game cannot be understated.  11 points, nine rebounds (five offensive), and three blocks.  All this while only fouling three times.  Granted, there were times (especially in the second half) when Fab fell asleep on defense and gave up position at the back of the zone but, as the final score indicates, it didn't matter in the end.
  • Prior to the game, head coach Jim Boeheim noted that he expected to get his bench some more playing time in this game, particularly James Southerland and Michael Carter-Williams.  He followed through on that expectation.  Southy logged 15 minutes, with seven points and a big block.  Carter Williams played seven minutes, hit a three, and dished a couple of assists.
  • CJ Fair, Mr. Consistency, scored six points, grabbed seven rebounds, and had three blocks -- the most important of which prevented UConn from taking a potential game-tying buzzer shot.  I think his mere presence on the court makes this team better.
  • Rakeem Christmas started.  Played four minutes.  Had a couple rebounds.
  • UConn put together a pretty good team effort, something that could make them potentially dangerous here in the crucial final week of the regular season, and into conference and NCAA tournament time.  Saturday night, they had four players in double-digit scoring.  Jeremy Lamb put up 19 points, Andre Drummond 17, Ryan Boatright 14, and Roscoe Smith 11.
  • UConn's savior from the Villanova game, Shabazz Napier, didn't start but came off the bench and got starter's minutes with 32.  Unfortunately for him, he didn't get starter's stats: no points, seven assists, one rebound, three turnovers.  So, that was good for Syracuse.
  • Syracuse outshot UConn 43.8% to 40.3%, though those numbers looked much better at halftime (51.4% to 36.7%).
  • Syracuse outrebounded UConn 41-37.
  • Though UConn had one more offensive rebound than Syracuse, the Orange had more second-chance points, 16-14.
  • Jim Burr was on the floor, a night after officiating the game in Morgantown between West Virginia and Marquette.  He was his usual self, but can't say he actually played a role in the outcome of the game, one way or the other.  So that was a welcomed change.
  • With this win, Jim Boeheim earned his 400th Big East win.
  • Coming into the game, Syracuse knew it had clinched a share of the Big East regular season title and, with the tie breaker, a guaranteed #1 seed in the Big East Tournament.  With the win, Syracuse wins the Big East regular season outright.  T-shirts are out already, of course.
Syracuse gets a week of practice before it plays its last game of the regular season.  Senior night is Saturday at 4pm against Louisville.  The Orange was able to go into the Yum! Center to win a couple weeks ago, so they're looking for the season sweep of them as well.  Get there early, as the Dome promises to be packed with fans, and you'll also want to see the pregame Senior Ceremony honoring Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph, Brandon Reese, Matt Tomaszewski, and Nick Resavy.

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