I know, we're not supposed to play such a tight game against a 13-12 Rutgers team.
I know, I know, we're not supposed to go to overtime with them.
And yes, I know, we're not supposed to barely beat them at home.
But seriously, look around the Big East and what's going on. Cincy beats Louisville. DePaul almost beating Villanova. St. John's beats Pitt. UConn, Georgetown, Louisville and Notre Dame all take turns beating one another. And this is just in the past couple weeks.
It's already a cliche to say anyone can beat anyone else on any given night in the Big East, but...it is what it is. You do not scoff at Big East victories. Not anymore. You can complain about our play and deficiencies, but as far as winning the game goes, you tip your hat to Rutgers (and to yourself) and you move on. Big East Win No. 9.
So yeah, we beat Rutgers 84-80 in overtime.
Kris Joseph added 21 points and eight boards for the Orange (22-6, 9-6 Big East), who have won two in a row since a two-game skid.
Once again we saw something of a line-up shift in play. While Baye Moussa Keita started, C.J. Fair played the all-too-familiar role of sixth starter and logged 37 minutes to Keita's 11. That was also made possible by the fact that Dion Waiters played a scant 3 minutes, James Southerland played 5 and Fab Melo wasn't even in the game long enough to capture one minute (logged four seconds to be exact). The ever-fluid Syracuse rotation continues to evolve.
Stopping to discuss the Fab issue for a moment, what's the deal Jim? If you want to play him, play him, but if you don't think he's ready, don't. Boeheim understands the concern, and he heard about it from the crowd. So he clarified afterward:
"I know people want to see Fab succeed," said the Orange boss when asked about the boos. "I want to see him succeed. So, I get it. But I just didn’t think he was ready to play, and it had nothing to do with how long he was out there. I have to make that judgment, and that’s the judgment I made.
"The thing is, it was my mistake. But the mistake wasn’t pulling him out of the game; it was putting him into it. I shouldn’t have put Fab in that situation. But I had a hunch that maybe he’d be able to help us, but he just wasn’t ready. I shouldn’t have done it. It's my fault. That’s the bottom line."
So that brings us to the part of the show when we mention Scoop Jardine, everyone begins to have flashbacks to Scoop's worst moments from the game and then we all go sit in a corner and shiver. It's a disturbing notion that when Scoop injured his hand diving for a loose ball early on, many of us in Cuse Nation were secretly (or not-so-secretly) excited. It meant no more turnovers, no more silly mistakes and more opportunities for the rest of the team to produce. Alas, Scoop gutted it out.
"I’m fine,’’ Jardine said with a smile. "It’s cool. I played the whole game.’’
Yeah, that' what we were afraid of, Scoop. Plenty of Scoop being Scoop in this one, including a 4-for-10 shooting night and 0-for-3 mark at the free-throw line. They're going to set up therapy clinics after this season for Syracuse fans affected by Scoop Jardine's erratic play.
Speaking of free-throws, for once the Orange were on the beneficial end of the refs' whistle. The Orange attempted 47 free-throws, making 34, compared to the mere 14 attempts the Knights had. It's great to have so many charity stripe opportunities, though making just a couple more of them could have prevented this game from going to OT.
On the flip side, Rick Jackson somehow made it through the game after picking up his fourth foul with seven minutes left in the 2nd half. He even blocked three shots afterward en route to a career-best seven blocks.
Brandon Triche had 17 on the night and some of those points were scored with one-eye. Kinda. Triche lost one of his contacts with about four minutes left and was unable to replace it. Of course, considering he was 3-of-15 on the day from the field, maybe he lost it a little sooner than he's admitting. Triche did make his final four free throws with just one contact lens. A true warrior, survivor and legend.
"I don’t know when the last time I dunked was," Joseph said. "It felt good. And that’s always an exciting play for an individual, for a team."
- Syracuse defeats Rutgers in overtime behind 34 made free throws...Daily Orange
- SU defense frustrates Rutgers' Coburn and Mitchell in win over Scarlet Knights...Daily Orange
- Inconsistent again, but a big win in the Big East...The Juice Online
- Rutgers falls to Syracuse in overtime heartbreaker...On The Banks
- Syracuse Needs Overtime, But Collects 84-80 Victory Over Rutgers...SB Nation NY