A quick take on Syracuse’s 74-64 win against Rutgers:
WHAT HAPPENED: With Syracuse clinging to a 66-62 lead with 1:12 left, Scoop Jardine took a contested 3 at the top of the key with the shot clock winding down and buried it. It was part of a 9-2 run after Rutgers had closed to within two points with 3:09 left. Although the Orange led throughout the second half, it was a tight game, with SU not taking a double digit lead until the final minute of the game.
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ANALYSIS: The Orange struggled to defend the interior. Although Rutgers was 3-for-18 from downtown, they shot 23 for 44 from inside the arc. Gilvydas Biruta did most of the damage inside, abusing Fab Melo on a rare off-day defensively for the Syracuse big man. But the Orange stayed in the game by getting the ball inside, going to the line 31 times to Rutgers’ 11. SU also tightened up its interior defense in the second half, and Biruta was mostly quiet after his torrid start. Still, the Orange struggled from the free throw line, missing 10 free throws.
HERO: CJ Fair and Biruta each had a career high 21 points to lead their respective teams. Jardine had 17 points and seven assists, and Kris Joseph chipped in 14 points for SU. Mike Poole had 10 points off the bench for the Scarlet Knights.
ZERO: Eli Carter had seven points on 3-for-12 shooting, and Kadeem Jack had three points on 1-for-7 shooting for the Scarlet Knights. Dion Waiters missed all three of his 3s, and finished with seven points on 2-for-7 shooting.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange will don their Nike “Platinum” alternate jerseys as they look to remain unbeaten at home this season, hosting vastly improved South Florida on Wed. Feb. 22 at 7:00 p.m. TV: Big East Network, TWC, SNY, MASN, Brighthouse Sports, ESPN Full Court. Online: ESPN3.