NEW YORK — A quick take on Syracuse’s Big East Tournament second-round 75-63 victory over Seton Hall Wednesday afternoon at Madison Square Garden, in front of a majority, but rather pedestrian, orange-attired crowd.
WHAT HAPPENED: SU (24-8) moved on to quarterfinals with a hard-fought second-half comeback to beat the pesky Pirates (15-18). Trailing by 10 twice in the first half, SU came back behind James Sutherland’s three-point shooting (17 first half points) to tie the game 34-34 at halftime. The ‘Cuse began pulling away eight minutes into the second-half and led by 11 with 7:30 play on Brandon Triche’s emphatic three-pointer from the top of the key that turned the tide for good. That shot also seemed to get the senior guard in gear, he finished with 17-points on 6-of-9 FG shooting. Michael Carter-Williams dazzled in finding his open teammates, and tied a Big East Tournament record with 14 assists.
ANALYSIS: Jim Boeheim said after the regular season ended that if the shots start falling, his team has a chance to go far in March. SU shot the ball well Wednesday at 56%, overall, 60% from three-point range, and continued to play strong defense, especially in the second-half, to advance.
HERO: Senior sharpshooter James Sutherland makes the Orange that much better when his shot is going down, and he was hitting twine on Wednesday finishing with 20-points on 6-of-9 three-point shooting, and a two-point basket thrown in for good measure.
ZERO: The atmosphere. Maybe too many Orange fans are in a reminiscent mode about this being the last Big East dance, as the crowd was not its usual consistently loud 6th man for “New York’s College Team.” Maybe that changes Thursday afternoon in an underdog role.
WHAT’S NEXT: A date with Pittsburgh in the Big East quarterfinals Thursday. The Panthers, at home on Feb. 2, beat the Orange in the lone regular season meeting 65-55. Approximate time 2:25 EDT. TV: ESPN.Brad Bierman