Senior point guard Scoop Jardine scored 11 of his game-high 17 points in the second half, including a late 3-pointer with 1:12 remaining that cemented a 74-64 road victory over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a Big East Conference men's basketball game at the sold-out Louis Brown Athletic Center.
Jardine did most of his damage for the Orange (27-1, 14-1 Big East) in the first half with his passing, dishing out six of his seven total assists, most of them alley-oops to sophomore C.J. Fair. But Jardine showed his importance in the second half with his clutch shooting. Jardine tallied seven of SU's last 12 points, the most significant being a 3-pointer that pushed a slim four-point lead to seven, 69-62, with about a minute remaining.
However, it was Fair, who tallied 14 of his collegiate-best 21 points in the first half and snagged a team-best eight rebounds off the bench, that was Syracuse's most consistent player throughout a gritty battle with a fired-up Rutgers squad.
Rutgers (12-15, 4-10) was paced by sophomore center Gilvydas Biruta who finished with a team-high 21 points and seven rebounds. Biruta was the key in the Scarlet Knights' scrappy performance that saw Rutgers out-rebound Syracuse 31-26.
If a few more outside shot fell (3-for-18, 16.7 percent), Rutgers might have been able to earn its first victory over a No. 2-ranked program in school history. Instead, the Scarlet Knights have now lost five straight games.
"(This) was probably the most consistent game we played in the last month," said Scarlet Knights head coach Mike Rice.
Meanwhile, Syracuse made 50 percent of its shots in one of its better shooting performances of the year. Senior forward Kris Joseph made 5-of-10 shots, including 2-of-3 from behind the 3-point arc, for 14 points. Sophomore center Fabricio Melo added 10 points, six rebounds and two blocks.
"We won because we made shots. We need to win because we're playing well," said Boeheim, who's team is now 8-1 on the road this season.
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