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SU Gets Thabeaten Up

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If I told you in December that there would come a point where Syracuse would be held to 60 or less points in three of their last six games, Kristof! would be the best SU player on the court and they would have just gone a month without winning a road game, you probably would have locked at me cockeyed.

I keep telling you to fix your cockeye but you don't listen.  Doesn't change the fact that the above info is true.

#1 UConn 63, #23 Syracuse 49.  Blech.

That's 6 losses in the last games for the Orange (18-7, 6-6).  Their still not through with the gauntlet, with big home games against Georgetown and the Fightin' Scottie Reynolds.  After that...a respite.  We hope. Shockingly, you can still look at the upcoming schedule and foresee the Orange finishing 10-8 in the conference, which is what we were kinda thinking before the whole conference slate started anyway.  So why does it feel so disappointing?

For UConn, it was the Thabeet show:

"They have me credited with only seven blocks," the UConn big man told Price.

"I said to him, that doesn't matter," Price said. "I saw their centers shooting floaters from three feet away. So that tells you how much he changes the game."

For those interested in the raw data, here it is: The 7-foot-3 Thabeet scored eight points. He grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds, 14 of them on the defensive end. And he blocked seven shots in Connecticut's 63-49 win.

Of course, Thabeet might have dominated on the court but that doesn't mean he has to be a prick about it.  Which he was.

That was as classless as it gets, what Thabeet did after clocking Kristof in the face with the ball while trying to save it from going out of bounds. I'm willing to concede that maybe he didn't have enough time to throw the ball lower when trying to save it. But to play to the crowd and smile and laugh so much after you just planted the Spalding logo on a dude's face is pretty low.

Axe also noted that Thabeet got away with throwing more elbows than an Italian chef (Get it?  Elbow pasta?  Throwing them in the air?  Cause that's what you do with pasta, right?)

It didn't help matters that Arinze's knee was still acting up.  Although one wonders how much of a difference a healthy one would have made:

SU's center tandem of Arinze Onuaku and Jackson were a combined 3-of-13 inside. Boeheim said Onuaku's knee trouble has prohibited him from practicing as much as he should, thereby tinkering with his offensive timing. Onuaku took nine shots against Thabeet and made two.

Jonny Flynn led the Orange with 16 points but it was achieved on 5-15 shooting.  His three assists were offset by three turnovers.  Andy Rautins on the other hand was held to 7 points all night and was 1-6 from 3-point range.  Devo added 12 points but he also served up 4 turnovers, inspiring Cuse Country to give Eric with a new nickname.

And then there was Kristof!  His stats, pedestrian (3 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks).  But it was the effort and the fight that KO brought to the game that SU fans can at least appreciate in the loss:

"I did whatever I could do," he said. "I didn't do much scoring, but I worked as hard as I could ... and especially in the first half, it paid off. I mean, you saw it in the score because we were pretty much tied. We weren't playing great, but we were doing a pretty good job, and we were still in the game against the No. 1 team in the country."

Imagine that. There was Ongenaet, who seemed not so long ago to have been a victim of premature burial by his coach, Jim Boeheim. There was Ongenaet, given more floor time (28 minutes) than in any other contest this season. There was Ongenaet, being dusted off and sent onto the court.

And there was Ongenaet, responding to his call by executing that sanitation engineer thing for which he has become famous back in the Carrier Dome.

What is it with UConn basketball coaches yelling at and contacting Syracuse basketball players? First there was GenoTripGate, now there's CalhounHarrisHandSlapGate:

During the second half of Wednesday's basketball game at Connecticut, Harris slammed a pass from Eric Devendorf in transition that tied the game at 35.

As he was running back downcourt, he said he was startled to see Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun barking out words to an official.

Soon thereafter, play stopped, conversations were had and in the end, Calhoun slapped Harris' hand.

It was a bizarre moment of basketball theater.

Calhoun says he was just "joking" with Harris but Harris is pretty sure Calhoun was pissed with something he had done.  Somebody get Calhoun on a radio call-in show so we can find out the truth.

Couple more game-wraps below:

The Orange are back home Sunday Saturday (THANK GOD) and the Georgetown Hoyas are coming to town.  The first time these two teams played, they were both ranked in the Top 15.  When they play this weekend, one will be unranked and the other will be on their way to being unranked.  How fast things can change in the Big East. 

It's the Orange-Out.  If you're going, no excuses.  I will be looking for Syracuse fans who don't wear Orange to the game and I will be castigating them on this website come Monday.  Do not make my list.

It's also the Salvation Army food drive at the game so bring your canned goods as well.  Unlike the shirts, the food doesn't need to be orange.  But I can understand if you just want to bring carrots.