Georgetown guard Jason Clark was the picture of frustration.
Clark had just done his job, and done it very well. With the shot clock running down, Scoop Jardine dribbled left with Clark flanking him the whole way. Then, with both of Clark’s arms extended and hands in Jardine’s face, Clark forced Jardine into launching a high arching, fade-away shot from 15 feet away.
It was a shot that any coach on defense would love to see. The only problem was, the shot somehow found its way through the net.
All Clark could do was throw his hands up in disgust.
Ironically, SU coach Jim Boeheim was about to do the same thing.
It was a “No, no, no, yes!” play, Boeheim said.
On the ensuing Syracuse possession, Clark found himself in a similar position.
Again, with the shot clock winding down, Clark stood between Jardine and the basket as Fab Melo came out to set the screen. Jardine declined to drive, and put up a contested 3.
Once again, Jardine nailed the shot, much to the dismay of Clark.
Jardine’s back-to-back baskets were part of an 11-1 run in the second half that put Syracuse up 54-46 with 3:58 left. The Orange would go on to defeat Georgetown 58-51, thanks to Jardine’s big plays.
“Today, I came up big for my basketball club,” Jardine said. “It’s giving coach more confidence in me.”
Boeheim wouldn’t exactly say that.
When asked if Jardine had the green light to take those kinds of difficult shots, Boeheim changed his thought midstream.
“He does if… it depends,” Boeheim said. “It depends.”
Mostly, it depends on hindsight.
“Once he makes it, I say, ‘Wow that’s a tough shot,'” Rick Jackson said. “As long as it’s going in, I’m happy. You can’t complain about that at all.”
There was little to complain about with Jardine’s performance on Saturday. He led the team in scoring with 17 points and seven assists.
More importantly, Jardine — who averages 3.0 turnovers a game — limited his mistakes, committing only one turnover.
This came one game after Jardine scored 20 points to go along with six assists in a 69-64 win over Villanova on Monday.
The Orange has now won four straight games, and has a chance of securing a double-bye with a win over DePaul on Saturday at the Carrier Dome.
“You want to get better come March going into the NCAA Tournament,” Jardine said. “We’re getting better at the right time.”
That is especially true for Jardine, who during SU’s four game losing streak at the end of January, shot just 14-for-43 from the field.
“I don’t like to lose four in a row, but that helped this basketball club,” Jardine said. “It helped to see who we were and see what we needed to do to become better.”
Brad Bierman contributed to this report.
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