Syracuse forward Kris Joseph called his performance “terrible” as the Orange edged South Florida 56-48 on Wednesday night.
Joseph finished with 12 points on nine rebounds, but had an off-shooting night, going 5-for-17 from the field. He also went 0-for-2 from downtown and 2-for-5 from the free throw line.
“I played a terrible game,” Joseph said. “But I was able to get some things done in the final stretch.”
Joseph was referring to a pair of hard earned baskets with under five minutes left and the Orange trying to hold off a feisty USF comeback.
With Syracuse leading 50-44 with 4:41 remaining, Kris Joseph got in the lane, and missed a layup with Toarlyn Fitzpatrick guarding the hoop. But Joseph corralled his own miss and stuck in the putback to give the Orange an eight point lead.
On SU’s ensuing possession, Joseph again rebounded and tipped in his own miss, dashing any hopes for a Bulls’ upset.
“I thought the game came down to Kris making two unbelievable rebounding efforts, physical rebounds inside to get the ball back on his drives,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “He made the two plays of the game right there.”
On a team with multiple go-to players, Joseph is certainly in the short list of players to take the critical shot.
“That’s why we go to him when the game is on the line, because he’s going to deliver for us,” guard Scoop Jardine said. “That’s what he’s here for. I’ll call his number anytime and I know he’s going to deliver for us. Today, he did.”
Corey Mallonee contributed to this story with reporting from Syracuse.Wesley Cheng