A quick take on Syracuse’s 72-68 win against Florida:
WHAT HAPPENED: After Kenny Boynton’s 3-pointer gave Florida a 49-46 lead with 9:20 left Brandon Triche responded immediately with a 3-pointer of his own. That sparked a 16-4 over the seven minutes, capped by a Scoop Jardine free throw, giving Syracuse a 62-53 lead with 2:34 left. Jardine was at the center of that run, with eight points during that stretch. Florida could only get to within four points after that. Syracuse’s defense, which came in forcing 20.9 turnovers a game, was dominant once again, forcing 20 Gator turnovers. It allowed SU to overcome a poor offensive night. The Orange was only 3-for-17 from downtown, with Kris Joseph shooting 1-for-5. For the game, the Orange shot just 40.6 percent from the field.
ANALYSIS: Defensively, Syracuse hasn’t played a better game all season. Florida came in as the No. 3 scoring team in the nation, averaging 90.3 points per game. But the Gators couldn’t figure out the Syracuse zone the whole night. The Orange extended the zone out to guard shooters Erving Walker (17 points) and Boynton (22) in favor of leaving the free throw line open. Florida couldn’t figure out how to exploit the soft part of the zone, and the Orange forced several turnovers when they tried.
It was also Jardine’s best game of the season. The senior had struggled in the games leading up to Friday, and had been left out of crunch time down at Madison Square Garden last week when SU played Virginia Tech and Stanford. But it was Jardine—who surpassed the 1,000 point total for his career—coming up with all of the big plays down to the stretch for Syracuse on both ends of the court.
HERO: Triche led Syracuse in scoring with 20 points, hitting all nine of his free throws. CJ Fair started the second half again for Syracuse and had nine points and 11 rebounds.
ZERO: Bradley Beal, who came in averaging 17 points a game, had only seven points on 2-for-9 shooting from the field. He also missed all five of his 3-point attempts. Dion Waiters had his first off game of the season, scoring just two points on 1-for-8 shooting. James Southerland also continued his struggles against more formidable teams, missing all three of his shots.