A quick take on Syracuse’s 56-48 win against South Florida:
WHAT HAPPENED: Things couldn’t have started worse for the Orange, as they scored just five points in the first 10:22 of the first half. When Anthony Collins hit a jumper, the Bulls extended to a 20-7 lead. From there, SU went on a 26-0 run, and USF didn’t get a basket until 17:25 in the second half. By then, Syracuse had taken a 33-20 lead. But that was not the end for the Bulls. An 11-0 run would pull them to within 47-46 with 6:29 left. SU would respond immediately with its seniors. Scoop Jardine hit a layup plus a foul, and then on the ensuing possession, Kris Joseph rebounded his own miss to give SU a 52-46 lead with 3:54 left, and the Orange led by at least four the rest of the way. With the win, SU clinched a share of the Big East regular season title and a double-bye in the Big East Tournament.
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ANALYSIS: One game after shooting 50 percent from the field against Rutgers, the Orange went completely cold. Syracuse shot 34 percent from the field as USF clogged the middle and forced some difficult looks on drives, especially in the early going. But SU got back in the game how they always have this season—with defense. The Orange forced 18 turnovers, including eight from Bulls point guard Anthony Collins, which led to 14 points. Syracuse also made the most of their 11 offensive rebounds, as they had 13 second chance points compared to four for USF. Still, the Orange was outrebounded 41-31 and had trouble closing the game out despite the big run.
HERO: Jardine led the way with 15 points and four assists while Joseph had 12 points and nine rebounds, though he shot 5-for-17 from the field. For USF, Collins had 12 points, and 10 assists (and eight turnovers) for USF.
ZERO: USF’s Victor Rudd and Ron Anderson Jr. combined for 2-for-14 shooting from the field for five points. For SU, Brandon Triche continued his struggles, with 0-for-6 shooting from the field and had only three points.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse travels to Storrs, CT to play the Huskies on Sat. Feb. 25 at 9:00 p.m. TV: ESPN.