Jeremy Hazell scored 28 points, and Jordan Theodore added 19 as Seton Hall routed No. 10 Syracuse 90-68.
The Pirates (9-12, 3-6 Big East), the Big East’s worst shooting team, could do nothing wrong all night, as they shot 54 percent from the field and 10-for-17 from 3-point land. Meanwhile, SU (18-3, 5-3) struggled through one of its worst offensive nights of the season, shooting a season-low 36 percent from the field.
“I’m disappointed at the effort tonight,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “We haven’t played well the last three games. When you lose games, you lose a little confidence.”
Seton Hall jumped out to a 37-23 lead with 4:19 left in the first half after going on a 9-2 run. Hazell started the run with a pair of 3-pointers and Theodore capped it with a 3 of his own.
The Pirates would go into halftime with a 43-30 lead.
“Instead of being in touch, we were 13 behind,” Boeheim said. “We started out missing a layup to start the second half. You just can’t do that.”
The Orange was listless throughout the game and never got back to within single digits. Instead, Seton Hall opened up Syracuse’s biggest deficit of the season after Hazell’s jumper made it a 50-30 contest, as the Pirates opened the half with a 7-0 run.
Many of the fans started heading for the exits midway through the second half.
It was tough to blame them after Hazell’s slam gave Seton Hall a 79-53 lead with 4:11 left. The fans that remained booed the Orange.
“It’s all about pride,” forward Rick Jackson said. “There’s nothing really to be said about defense or offense. We lost three in a row. We’re supposed to be a top 10 team. We’re supposed to be a lot better.”
Kris Joseph led Syracuse with 17 points, although much of it came when the game was already out of reach. The junior forward scored just one point in the first half. Jackson scored 12 points and collected 11 rebounds for his fifth straight double-double, and 14th of the season.
But little else went right for Syracuse.
Up and down the lineup, the Orange struggled. James Southerland, who started in place of Fab Melo — four minutes, two points — played 19 minutes and went 1-for-5 from the field with four points. The three-guard rotation of Brandon Triche, Scoop Jardine and Dion Waiters shot a combined 7-for-25 from the field.
“The offense was bad, defense was bad,” Triche said. “We have to figure out how we’re going to get better as a team. The chemistry is going a little backwards.”
That may have been an understatement. The Orange was bad in every aspect of the game.
It turned the ball over 13 times compared to just 12 assists. The Orange was out-rebounded 40-33. SU shot just 5-for-21 from 3-point land.
To try to awaken his team from the doldrums, Boeheim tried several different things. Syracuse ditched its 2-3 zone and switched to man-to-man defense. The Orange also employed a full-court press for the majority of the second half.
None of it worked.
“We can’t play man-to-man,” Boeheim said. “We don’t have the speed, the quickness to press. Realistically, there’s not two teams in the county that press. Press is what you do when you’re desperate. We were desperate tonight, and we tried but it didn’t work.”
Wesley Cheng is the Editor in Chief for The Juice Online.