Forward Rick Jackson netted 17 points, collected 16 rebounds and led Syracuse (No. 7 ESPN/USA-Today, No. 8 AP) to an impressive 72-58 victory over Michigan State (No. 8/7) Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden in the nightcap of the Jimmy V Classic.
Jackson, who seemed to score and rebound at will, was the game's standout, but it was the Orange's 2-3 zone that kept the Spartans' offense at bay in the second half and aided SU to its ninth straight victory to open the season.
Syracuse (9-0) held Michigan State (6-3) to 21 of 54 (38.9 percent) shooting from the field and forced 16 turnovers.
The Orange's offense shot 58 percent in the first half and allowed SU to gain a large enough halftime advantage, 38-29, to hang on for a victory. Point guard Scoop Jardine went 7-for-9 from the floor and scored a team-high 19 points.
Syracuse jumped out to an early 27-16 first-half lead helped by three Jackson dunks.
Michigan State rallied early in the second half and closed within three points, 50-47, with about 12 minutes to go.
SU responded with six straight points -- a 3-pointer by freshman Dion Waters and a layup and free throw by Jardine -- to increase its lead to 56-47 with 8:58 to go.
From there, the Orange's defense held on.
Syracuse will play four more non-conference games before beginning Big East Conference play against visiting Providence, Dec. 28.
Earlier in the evening at MSG, No. 4 Kansas earned a 81-68 victory against Memphis (No. 14/13).