The first half told the tale as #1 Syracuse kept their record spotless by defeating Bucknell at the Carrier Dome Tuesday night, 80-61. The Orange (12-0) held the Bison (7-5) to 28.6 percent field goal shooting in the opening half en route taking a comfortable lead by the intermission and never looked back. The SU offense also clicked all night, as the team made over 50 percent of their shots in each half, as well as a collective 8-of-17 from behind the three-point line.
Syracuse gave up the opening basket of the night, but responded to quickly gain control with an 11-2 run to take a seven-point lead just over six minutes into the action. The Orange surrounded the middle of the opening half with a string of eight unanswered points to take a 21-8 lead with under nine minutes on the clock. The Bison stayed in the same range until late in the half when SU hung up a 7-0 run to take their largest lead to that point at 39-19. Bucknell got a three with 11 seconds left to clip the halftime margin to 17 points.
The Orange got a couple early three-pointers to trigger an 8-2 start to the second half and extended their lead to its biggest point of the night at 47-24. A 9-1 run by Bucknell shaved the lead to 50-36 just under six minutes into the half. Syracuse replied with five quick points to go back up by 19. The margin never got smaller than 13 points for the remainder of the game as SU cruised from there.
Kris Joseph paced the Orange with 17 points while Scoop Jardine chipped in with 14, including a dozen after the break. Rakeem Christmas added 10 points, the best output of his brief career, including seven points on the board for SU. Fab Melo used his superior size to grab nine rebounds and block three shots, as well as contribute eight points. C.J. Fair also had eight points for the Orange.
TEAM NOTE: Scoop Jardine and Brandon Triche were listed among the 65 candidates for the 2012 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.