Senior forward Rick Jackson's stat-stuffing performance of 18 points, 12 rebounds and a collegiate-best seven blocks Saturday helped the Syracuse basketball program beat the scrappy Rutgers Scarlet Knights in overtime, 84-80, in a Big East Conference contest at the Carrier Dome. Junior forward Kris Joseph scored six of his team-best 21 points in OT for the Orange (No. 17 in the AP poll and No. 20 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll), who earned their second consecutive win. The Scarlet Knights (13-13, 4-10 Big East) are 1-5 in their last six games.
The Orange (22-6, 9-6) outscored Rutgers 14-10 in the extra five minutes to earn their second win of the week. The Scarlet Knights, who led 44-43 at halftime, battled hard but couldn't stop SU's Jackson late in the contest. Jackson (a 49.5 percent free-throw shooter this season) made 10 of 17 shots from the charity stripe to help collect his 17th double-double of the season. All together, SU made 34-for-47 (72.3 percent) from the charity stripe. Rutgers shot just 9 of 14 (64.3) from the free-throw line.
Rutgers trailed 62-55 with 9:33 to go in regulation, but used a 11-2 run to take a 66-64 advantage with 2:30 to play. With 24.9 seconds to go, senior guard Mike Coburn, who scored a team-best 18 points, made two free throws to give the Scarlet Knights a 70-69 lead. After an SU timeout, Jackson was fouled inside and made one-of-two free throws to tie the game at 70 with 9.9 seconds remaining. The Scarlet Knights had a chance to win the game, but senior guard James Beatty missed a long-distance 3-pointer as time expired.
SU finished the game 22-of-51 (43.1) from the floor and 6-of-10 (31.6) from 3-point land. Freshman forward C.J. Fair scored 17 points and collected eight rebounds off the bench. Sophomore guard Brandon Triche finished with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists, while teammate senior point guard Scoop Jardine had just nine points and four assists.
Rutgers went 31-of-68 (45.6) on field goals and 9-of-23 from behind the 3-point arc. Freshman center Gilvydas Biruta finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, but fouled out of the game with 3:38 to go in OT. Senior forward Jonathan Mitchell netted 13 points and collected seven rebounds.
The Syracuse basketball schedule features the Orange traveling to the Villanova Wildcats Monday night (7 p.m.). Next Saturday, SU is at the Georgetown Hoyas (noon). Syracuse finished its regular season play by host the DePaul Blue Demons, March 5 (4 p.m.).