Syracuse needed this kind of performance from its senior leader, Scoop Jardine.
Syracuse will need this kind of performance from Jardine if they want to make a deep run come March and April.
On the night when Jardine surpassed 1,000 points in his SU career, he did a little bit of everything in his 16-point, seven-assist, four-rebound and four-steal performance. Thanks to Jardine, the Orange edged Florida, 72-68, in its first true test of this young season.
“Scoop,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said, “won the game.”
To clarify, Scoop won the game for SU in the second half, because midway through the game, Jardine had just four points, two assists and three turnovers.
But Jardine took over in the second half when the Orange lost a lead it had held for most of the second period.
With SU down 49-46 with 9:20 left, Jardine found Brandon Triche for a game typing 3-pointer. Seconds later, Jardine stripped Bradley Beal and fed Kris Joseph for a thunderous slam to give SU a lead that it would never relinquish.
That would key a 16-4 run that gave Syracuse a 62-53 lead with 2:34 left. Jardine would score half of those 16 points, including a 3-point dagger with just under four minutes left that put Syracuse in complete control.
“He did what he was supposed to do,” Triche said.
For tonight, that is, because it’s been an otherwise tough season for Jardine so far.
Coming into the game, he had been averaging 18.4 minutes, 7.0 points and 4.1 assists. He hasn’t had numbers that low since his freshman year and they’re roughly half of his output from last year.
Part of that is attributed to the depth of the Orange team, which runs 10 deep, and has four guards that could start on most Division I teams.
But Jardine has been struggling, to the point where he was benched in crunch time in Syracuse’s wins over Stanford and Virginia Tech last week. Instead, his cousin, Dion Waiters, played when it mattered most.
“Scoop cheered the whole time, they played great, and we won both nights,” Boeheim said. “Scoop never said anything to me, he never even came to see me, and he came to practice and worked.”
Perhaps, in the past, Jardine would’ve said something. Perhaps, in the past, Jardine would’ve went to see his coach.
But he never did.
And that is a testiment to Jardine’s maturity, something that has blossomed over his five years at SU.
“When you are trying to win championships, we are going to need guys that make sacrifices and leave egos at the door,” Jardine said, “If I can do it, I’ve been here five years, anyone can do it.”
But not everyone can do what Jardine does on the court.
And if Syracuse wants a shot at winning a championship, it will need Jardine having more nights like the kind he had on Friday.