MBB : Points in paint, at free-throw line propel Syracuse in win over South Florida

Home   /   MBB : Points in paint, at free-throw line propel Syracuse in win over South Florida

first_img Published on February 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm Comments One play in the second half summed up not only Syracuse’s offense against South Florida, but also the Orange’s offense over the last few games.C.J. Fair lined up a wide-open 3 from the right wing and fired away. But the shot clanged off the rim. Fortunately for Syracuse, Kris Joseph hauled in the rebound on the baseline. He backed down a defender, maneuvered past him to the rim and finished off the glass with a foul before the help could come.The outside jumper didn’t fall, but Joseph’s work in the paint paid off.‘We want to take the ball inside more than anything instead of taking outside shots,’ Joseph said. ‘We did a good job of that today.’No. 2 Syracuse (28-1, 15-1 Big East) manufactured 28 points in the paint and scored 15 more at the free-throw line to knock off South Florida 56-48 in the Carrier Dome Wednesday. The Orange went just 3-of-9 from beyond the arc and struggled to hit jump shots all night. But after falling behind by 13 in the first half, SU pounded the ball inside to rally past the Bulls (17-11, 10-5 Big East) and hold on for the win.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘We try to drive,’ head coach Jim Boeheim said. ‘We’re not shooting great from the outside. … We’ve got to take it to the basket in those situations.’The Orange’s slow start on the offensive end came largely due to missed jump shots. SU started the game 2-for-14 from the field, allowing South Florida to build an 18-5 lead.After Boeheim called a timeout, Dion Waiters drove into the paint and finished off the glass with his left hand. The Orange’s bucket in the next possession came when Waiters again drove inside and found a wide-open Fair under the basket for an easy dunk.Those two plays started the decisive run of the game in which Syracuse scored 26 straight points to take a 33-20 lead.‘We saw the ball go in for us,’ senior Scoop Jardine said. ‘We made some defensive stops and the crowd got into it. You get confident as you see the ball go in for you.’South Florida did manage to work its way back into the game, but SU’s offense continued to rely on getting the ball into the paint. Jardine said South Florida’s defense was the toughest Syracuse has seen this year, forcing the Orange to work for every bucket.But rather than settling for jumpers, SU continued to punch the ball into the paint.‘When the game’s close, you don’t want to just keep shooting jump shots,’ Fair said. ‘You want to get into the thick of the defense.’Joseph’s three-point play after Fair’s missed jumper gave the Orange a 12-point lead, but South Florida managed to cut that margin down to one with 6:29 left. SU failed to score on its next two possessions when Joseph missed a 3-pointer and Waiters forced up a fadeaway jumper from the free-throw line.But the next time Syracuse got the ball, Jardine extended the lead by driving to the hoop. He blew past USF big man Augustus Gilchrist after a pick from center Fab Melo and finished off the glass with a foul. He converted the free throw to put SU up 50-46.Joseph then followed Jardine’s example and muscled his way to the rim on the Orange’s next two possessions. He couldn’t convert on his first shot either time, but he grabbed his own rebounds and capitalized on the second chance to give Syracuse a six-point lead with less than three minutes to play. South Florida didn’t score the rest of the way.It wasn’t a pretty offensive night, as the Orange shot just 34.5 percent from the field. But by getting the ball inside, Syracuse did just enough to pull out the win.‘We want to take it how it comes,’ Jardine said. ‘Today, it was inside.’zjbrown@syr.educenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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