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Cats-A-Mounted: Syracuse 79, Vermont 56

DaShonte Riley's first play in the Syracuse-Vermont game was letting a pass slip through his hands and go out-of-bounds.  Shortly thereafter he was scolded by the ref for not tucking in his shirt.  After that, DaShonte settled in and played 12 minutes of good-enough basketball.  It's all SU fans could ask for from the young big man.  He didn't score and grabbed two rebounds, but SU didn't need anything further from him in their 79-56 pasting of Vermont on Friday.

Wes Johnson's 18 points were at the head of a balanced and thorough attack, as top-seeded Syracuse easily advanced with a 79-56 rout of Vermont in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Scoop Jardine added 14 points, Rick Jackson 12 and Andy Rautins contributed 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists as Syracuse buried 54.5 percent of its shots, and without fifth-year senior starting swingnman Arinze Onuaku.

No Arinze?  No problem.  Rick Jackson maintained control of the paint, grabbing 8 boards and staying out of foul trouble (only 1).  Wes and Kris got nasty with a couple strong dunks.  And of course, Andy and Triche came out firing on all cylinders in the 2nd half from three-point range.  And Scoop was the spark the Orange needed from the sixth man. (Full boxscore)

Ultimately, this one was out of danger by the middle of the 2nd half and the bench began to clear.  James Southerland, Brandon Reese and Nick Revesy all logged a couple minutes.  Only Reese joined Club Trillion, everyone else was able to log some sort of statistic.  Oh well.

The win was exactly what I had a feeling it would be...way too easy.  The worst part of this game was the week leading up to it.  SU fans had way too much time to talk themselves into thinking this might be a toughie.  They had a week to listen to people talk about how they didn't think SU would go far and a week to fret over AO's injury.   Now that it's all over, it seems a little silly that we were so concerned.

Not to say Vermont didn't make a run for a little while.  The Orange only led by 12 at the half after taking their foot off the gas and leting the Cats make a run.  Still, a 20-2 'Cuse run in the second half made it null and void.

Next up for Syracuse...a 12:10pm EST Sunday date with 8-seed Gonzaga.  The Zags held off Florida State late for a 67-60 win.  We'll get to know them a little better tomorrow.  In the meantime, check out Slipper Still Fits for all your Zag needs.

Links and notes after the jump...

  • Syracuse cruises past Vermont, into second round...Mike Waters
  • Vermont Loses But Blakely Soars To The Top...Vermont Sports Network
  • Pat Manley & Big Boeheim Head on the news (but sadly not at the game)...Twitvid
  • Syracuse avenges '05 tourney loss to Vermont...Mike Waters
  • Memory erased? Not so fast...Auburn Citizen
  • HIT THE GROUND RUNNING: Syracuse bulls over Vermont in 1st round of NCAA Tournament...Daily Orange
  • Little Joseph brother beats big Joseph brother as Syracuse defeats Vermont...Donna Ditota
  • "maurice joseph class act. he just went into the syracuse locker room when everyone left to tell boeheim good luck on the rest of the season."...Ryan Miller