Senior point guard Scoop Jardine scored 12 of his game-best 15 points during a impressive 26-0 run that helped the No. 2 Syracuse Orange down the South Florida Bulls, 56-48, in a Big East Conference men's basketball game at the Carrier Dome.
Jardine also added four assists, two steals and converted a old-fashioned 3-point play late in the contest that helped Syracuse (28-1, 15-1 Big East) hold off a gritty USF (17-11, 10-5) that became the 21st straight team to lose on the Orange's home court.
Freshman guard Anthony Collins tallied a team-best 12 points and dished out 10 assists for USF, which trailed 54-48 with 1:01 remaining in the game. However, a set-play off a timeout led to a missed 3-pointer by Collins, and the Orange closed out the Bulls despite missing four of their final six free throws.
The victory also drops the Orange's magic number to clinch the program's 10th regular-season conference crown to just one game. The Orange have already clinched a double-bye in the upcoming Big East Tournament, March 6-10.
The Bulls opened the game by playing an almost flawless first 11 minutes, as they jumped out to a 20-9 lead thanks to 60-percent shooting and out-rebounding Syracuse 14-4.
However, Syracuse's used one of its patented blow-out runs and a stifling defensive effort that held USF scoreless for about the next 12 1/2 minutes (about 30 minutes real time) to take a 33-20 lead 2:03 into the second half.
USF rallied with two 9-0 runs to close within three late in the game, but was unable to make an outside shot (4-for-16 from behind the 3-point arc) to pull off the upset.
Overall, Syracuse was out-rebounded 41-30, but forced 18 turnovers and collected 11 steals.
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