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You kinda wish Calhoun was at the helm for this one last game

Syracuse's participation in ESPN's "Rivalry Week" was Wednesday night's game at Connecticut, for the final time ever as Big East opponents. It is a rivalry game, for sure. Most out there, myself included, would rank the Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry as bigger and more heated than Syracuse-UConn. UConn is a close second. There have been a lot of epic games in the past; notable recent games include the 2006 Big East Tournament win by Syracuse over then #1 UConn, and the epic 2009 Six Overtime Big East Tournament win by Syracuse over UConn. Unfortunately, Wednesday night just ended up being another game. Husky fans may see it differently, though, as UConn was clearly the better team out there that night, beating Syracuse 66-58.

  • Michael Carter-Williams was the offensive leader for Syracuse, scoring 15 points on 6-13 shooting, 3-4 from the line, but an 0-for from three. Though he had five rebounds and four steals, MCW only had one assist and turned the ball over four times.
  • James Southerland continued his good shooting from the St. John's game, scoring 14 points off four three-pointers. That was basically the extent of Southie's contribution, stat-wise. From a defensive standpoint, James adds the length on the wing that we unfortunately don't get from Jerami Grant or CJ Fair. Not to say they're not great defensive players, but the zone works the best when it's long and athletic.
  • Speaking of CJ, he had another 10-point game with five rebounds.
  • The rest of the team? Well, big goose egg pretty much. Brandon Triche I think gets the biggest glare from me, shooting 3-15 for a pitiful 20%. He kept on chucking up shots, including seven from 3, and they weren't going in (none of the 3s).
  • The team as a whole shot 35.4% from the floor, and 17.4% from three (23 attempts). The game was marked by a bunch of rushed, ill-advised shots. There were very few attempts to get the ball inside, which boggled my mind since Syracuse was the bigger team on the floor.
  • Officially, SU Athletics says Syracuse scored 26 points in the paint. That's either a flat out lie, or it just didn't seem that way. Either way, the game plan clearly turned into "shoot from the outside" first, instead of "drive the ball inside" first.
  • Ryan Boatright, Omar Calhoun, and Shabazz Napier all played well for UConn. As did the rest of the team, really. We all thought that the absence of suspended center Enosch Wolf would be devastating for UConn, but they rose above it and clearly played better than Syracuse.
  • Rebounds were pretty even (UConn 38, Syracuse 36), and many other categories were either close or tied. I think the key was just the number of times Syracuse had empty possessions. They dug themselves into a hole they couldn't climb out of.
And so, that's pretty much all I want to say about that game. It's sad that things with UConn are over. We won't see them in the Big East Tournament or the NCAA Tournament this year due to their postseason ban. I'm sure they'll end up on Syracuse's non-conference schedule in the future, but it won't be a yearly thing. It's not the same without Jim Calhoun anyway. But who knows, maybe UConn eventually will find itself in the ACC. At any rate, we'll always have our memories, especially 2009.

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