SLICED IN SYRACUSE
No. 2 Orange pull away from UConn at the Carrier Dome
Published: Sunday, February 12, 2012
Updated: Sunday, February 12, 2012 22:02
SYRACUSE N.Y.- The UConn men's basketball team hung around with No. 2 Syracuse, but in the end, the Orange were too much for the Huskies. Syracuse beat UConn 85-67 on Saturday at the Carrier Dome.
The loss dropped the Huskies to 15-9 and 5-7 in the Big East. The win moved the Orange to 25-1 overall and 12-1 in conference play. Jeremy Lamb scored 18 points, Ryan Boatright had 14, Andre Drummond scored 13 and Shabazz Napier added 11. For Syracuse, Scoop Jardine poured in 21 points and had six assists, while C.J. Fair had 14 points and 12 rebounds. Dion Waiters scored 18 points off the bench.
UConn was poised to pull off the upset in the second half. Lamb hit a 3-pointer and then dunked it to cut the score to 63-60. After UConn stopped the Orange, Tyler Olander made one of two free throws to quiet the Carrier Dome and make the deficit two points.
"We got it to 63-61 and we got a little careless both offensively and defensively," said associate head coach George Blaney.
Jardine killed the comeback for the Huskies with two daggers. Jardine hit back to back 3-pointers and increased the lead to eight points for Syracuse with 4:57 left. UConn wouldn't get closer than seven in the final five minutes. Syracuse pulled away and finished the game on a 16-5 run to blow out the Huskies.
Drummond injured his ankle in the second half and went into the locker room. He returned to the bench with 10:39 left and came in the game.
"We had the momentum going and that kind of slowed us down a little bit," Drummond said.
An Olander dunk cut the deficit to 54-52 with over 12 minutes left in the game. Although the Huskies lost, some of the players touched on the team effort. Last Monday night, UConn showed little fight in an 80-59 loss at Louisville. On Saturday at Syracuse, it was different.
"I think we definitely fought," Lamb said. "In the last two minutes they stretched it out, but the game wasn't as bad as the score says."
Drummond said his ankle was feeling better after the game. He also thought the entire team bought in to fighting prior to the game.
"I'm proud of my teammates," Drummond said. "We played great as a team. We gutted it out and we fought throughout the whole game."
UConn went on a 10-5 run to start the game. The Orange got control back and Syracuse took a 25-15 lead on a C.J. Fair alley oop dunk. With 5:35 left in the first half, Kris Joseph hit a 3-pointer to make the score 30-21. A Boatright 3-pointer followed by an Alex Oriakhi dunk cut the deficit to four points. The Huskies were down 37-34, but Syracuse went on a 6-0 run to close out the half.
"I think we feel better about how we played," Boatright said. "We're going to see them again."
UConn will play the Orange Feb. 25 at Gampel Pavilion. But before that, the Huskies return to action on Wednesday night against DePaul.