Rutgers guard Jerome Seagears had Scoop Jardine right where he wanted him.
With 1:12 left and Rutgers only trailing 66-62, Seagears was draped all over Jardine with the shot clock winding down. With four seconds left to shoot, Jardine yo-yoed the ball before launching a 3 with the 6-foot-1 guard right in his face.
Seagears had done everything right and forced a difficult shot.
But none of it mattered, as Jardine’s 3 was pure.
The shot from beyond the arc scuttled any chance of a Scarlet Knight upset as SU went on to win 74-64. Just one play before, Jardine had put in a dazzling display of footwork to open himself for a long jumper that he also nailed.
“Scoop makes some plays down the stretch,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “That’s what we would hope for from a senior guard. He has been doing that all year.”
It was a nice rebound performance from Jardine, who had one of his worst games of the season in a 52-51 win over Louisville on Monday. Jardine went scoreless on 0-for-8 shooting from the field.
But Jardine quickly put that game in the back of his mind, as he finished with 17 points on an efficient 7-for-13 from the field and seven assists. Several of those passes went to CJ Fair, who had a career-high 21 points off the bench.
“Scoop is what you want in your point guard,” Fair said. “He sees the floor, he hits the open man and he’s an unselfish player.”
He also knows when to keep the ball for himself.
Jardine’s personal five-point run was part of an overall 7-0 that helped put away a pesky Rutgers team in a hostile environment. The last three ranked teams to come to the RAC were sent home with losses.
Not on Sunday.
“(Coach Boeheim) puts trust in us to make plays, especially guards,” Jardine said. “When coach gives you confidence like that to go make plays, you feel like you can take on anyone.”
So far, it seems to have worked, as the Orange improved to 27-1 (14-1 Big East).
Brad Bierman contributed to this story with reporting from Piscataway, NJ.