Some Syracuse basketball fans paid good money for noise bleeds Saturday, but the end result was money well spent and a 85-67 victory over the Connecticut Huskies in a Big East Conference men's basketball game at the Carrier Dome. In front of the fourth-largest crowd in Dome history, 33,430, the Orange (25-1, 12-1 Big East) earned their fifth straight victory and extended their home winning streak to 20 games.
Senior point guard Scoop Jardine scored a season-high and game-best 21 points including two huge 3-pointers on back-to-back possession to push SU's lead from two points to eight, 69-61, with 5:07 remaining in the game. Jardine added six assists, while sophomore forward C.J. Fair chipped in with 14 points and a collegiate-best 12 rebounds.
"I think offensively this is the best we've played all year," said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim after the victory.
The Orange, who have been outrebonded by double digits in four of their last six contests, snagged more boards than their opponent, 31-29, and shot better than 50-percent (59.3) for the second time since Jan. 4, a victory at Providence.
"We made a lot of shots," said Boeheim, who's team also made 62.5-percent (6-for-10) of their 3-point attempts, "when you make a lot of shots the game is a lot easier."
"If we shot a normal percentage we would have been beaten. We can't play much better offense then we did."
Trailing at halftime 43-34, Huskies wouldn't be shewed away by SU, as they trailed just 63-61 after sophomore forward Tyler Olander made a free throw with 6:26 to play.
However, Jardine's consecutive 3s pushed Syracuse's lead to eight points and forced a UConn timeout. From there, sophomore guard Dion Watiers took over netting nine of his 18 points in the next six minutes to help SU cement the victory.
The Orange's senior forward Kris Joseph also finished in double-digits,15 points, on 3 of 4 shooting from behind the 3-point line.
"This is as good as team as I've seen Jim have," said UConn assistant head coach George Blaney, who's filling in for head coach Jim Calhoun who's dealing with back issues (spinal stenosis). Blaney has coached at UConn for 11 seasons.
"I have not seen one of his teams be deeper then they are. We they get in trouble they can isolate so many different people that can just beat you."
Sophomore guard Jeremy Lamb scored a team-best 18 points for UConn, which finished the contest 8-for-19 from long range but is 1-6 in their last seven games.
UConn's freshman center, Andre Drummond, finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in probably his most aggressive effort of the season. Freshman guard Ryan Boatright chipped in with 14 points and dished out five assists.
Syracuse sophomore center Fab Melo tallied all eight of his points in the first half, which featured UConn jumping out to a 10-5 advantage only to trail 25-15 with 8:25 to go because of a 15-3 SU run.
For more post-game Syracuse vs. UConn info, check back to this StoryStream.
Check out, the SB Nation's blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician to discuss everything on the Orange, while the The UConn Blog is all about, well, UConn. Make sure to follow along on Twitter at SBNationNY or JaredSmithCNY, as we live blogged from the Carrier Dome.