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Big East Conference Roundup: Syracuse, Seton Hall Win Openers

If the Providence Friars are any indication of how tough the Big East Conference college hoops seasons is going to be for the Syracuse Orange, well, let me pass on some advice.

Take your extra holiday money or gift cards and invest in a jug full of acid reducers because it's going to be a long, ulcer-forming season.

Despite shooting 48 percent from the field, 40.1 percent from three-point land, Syracuse (14-0, 1-0 Big East) had to grind out their first Big East victory, 81-74, against the Friars Tuesday at the Carrier Dome.

Providence guard Marshon Brooks showed that his non-conference play was no fluke, tallying a game-best 27 points and helping the Friars climb within four points with less than four minutes to go in the game.

Brooks is a confident, talented scorer who is going to cause fits for Big East squads throughout the season.

FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2010 - Marshon Brooks 14 33.8 8.4 16.5 50.6 2.1 5.9 34.9 4.6 5.9 78.0 2.7 6.0 8.7 2.3 3.0 1.9 1.4 1.8 23.4

But I can't overstate how good Orange forward Kris Joseph, who scored a collegiate-best in points (27) for the second straight game, and Syracuse were. Providence just hung tough against the No. 5 team in the nation.

"Every game is tough and you just got to get ready every game," said Boeheim after the game. "Anything can happen any night and you just got to make sure you’re ready every night. They’re all going to be like this. I told the players it’s not going to be many easy nights. I don’t think in this league. If you have one maybe, I not even sure if you really have one. If we didn’t shoot the ball well tonight we wouldn’t have won the game. We made nine threes."

Once again, starting forward Rick Jackson, who snagged 17 rebounds, played mostly in the middle and was a monster on the glass. Jackson has been just bigger and faster than any other big man he has matched up with this season.

Point guard Scoop Jardine continues to put up awkward 3-point shots at weird times but in the end he comes through. Jardine netted 21 points, including nine points during a 14-2 run that gave SU its biggest lead, 65-49, in the second half.

It seems as SU has the making of a quality "Big Three". The question is, who's going to step up if one of the three get injured or has an off night?

Seton Hall downs South Florida, 64-55

Seton Hall forward Herb Pope collected a double-double, 12 points and 13 rebounds, to help the Pirates (7-6, 1-0) beat South Florida (6-8, 0-1).

Early-season play indicates that these two squads will battle for last place in the 16-team conference, the Pirates earned an edge Tuesday.

Seton Hall senior forward Jeff Robinson scored a game-best 17 points.

FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2010 - Jeff Robinson 13 29.5 5.0 10.2 48.9 1.0 3.1 32.5 1.6 2.0 80.8 1.8 4.4 6.2 0.5 1.7 0.8 0.6 2.6 12.6

Rutgers falls to North Carolina, 78-55, at Madison Square Garden

The only pretty aspect of Tuesday night's game for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights was seeing the big-red "R" in the middle of the floor at the world's most famous arena.

After that, it was just ugliness for Rutgers (9-3), which had a six-game wining streak snapped by UNC (9-4).

Rutgers' senior forward Jonathan Mitchell scored a game-best 20 points bit his teammates combined to shoot 20-for-59 (33.9 percent).

FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2010 - Jonathan Mitchell 12 28.1 4.8 10.5 45.2 1.6 3.6 44.2 1.6 2.2 73.1 2.1 3.9 6.0 0.8 1.3 1.0 0.7 1.6 12.7

The Tar Heels shot 56.7 percent in the games' first 20 minutes and took a 20-point advantage, 42-22, into halftime.

On Sunday, Rutgers opens Big East play at No. 8 ranked Villanova (1 p.m. on ESPNU).