Instant Juice: Syracuse 58, Connecticut 55

A quick take on Syracuse’s 58-55 win against Connecticut:

WHAT HAPPENED: The Orange trailed by eight points midway through the second half, but James Southerland hit two big 3-pointers as part of an 8-0 run to give SU a 51-47 lead with 5:01 left. The Huskies rallied and pulled to within three points with 19 seconds left before Southerland hit a pair of free throws to put the game out of reach. With the win, SU snapped the Huskies’ seven-game winning streak at the Big East tournament.

» What did you think of Syracuse’s play today? Discuss.
» Jeff Irvine: Does it matter if Syracuse wins the Big East tourney?

ANALYSIS: The Orange defense was once again the catalyst, holding UConn to 32 percent shooting from the field. Syracuse’s defense was especially potent down the stretch, as  the Orange held UConn scoreless from 8:18 to 2:29 left in the game. But there were several troubling signs for SU. The Orange once again struggled in rebounding, as UConn held a 46-34 advantage, and SU made just 15 of its 23 attempts from the line. They were even worse from beyond the arc, going just 3 of 14.

HERO: Dion Waiters had 18 points to lead SU while Southerland and Kris Joseph each chipped in 10. Although Rakeem Christmas didn’t start for the first time this season, he was effective off the bench, with five rebounds and two blocks in eight minutes. Baye Keita, who normally backs up Fab Melo didn’t play.

ZERO: CJ Fair started in place of Rakeem Christmas and had just two points in 15 minutes, going 0-for-4 from the field. Scoop Jardine had a similar night, with two points on 1-for-6 shooting in 18 minutes.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange will play the winner of the 2 p.m. game between No. 5 Georgetown vs. No. 4 Cincinnati on Friday at 7 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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