Cold Syracuse rolls by even colder DePaul
by Jeff DiVeronica, USA TODAY Sports
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Senior Night at the Carrier Dome included all the usual festivities on Wednesday. Guard Brandon Triche and forward James Southerland were presented their framed Syracuse jerseys before the game and received huge ovations from the crowd of 22,380.
Southerland even started for just the third time ever.
Most important: The night ended with an Orange win. No. 16 Syracuse halted a three-game losing streak by beating DePaul 78-57 in its final home game and the last Big East Conference contest in the Dome. Yet despite the lopsided margin, it wasn’t the confidence-building victory coach Jim Boeheim’s team needed against the last-place Blue Demons (11-19, 2-15), especially in the putting-the-ball-in-the-hoop department.
The Orange shot only 38.8% (26-for-67) and kept clanking from three-point land (2-for-18).
“Offensively, we obviously need to play better,” Boeheim said. “I think the good thing (is) we’ve got a couple days (to practice) and we’ve got a very difficult game with Georgetown that I think is what we need. We need to play that kind of game.”
The Orange (23-7, 11-6), who are leaving the Big East for the ACC, play their regular-season finale at No. 5 Georgetown (23-5, 13-4) at noon Saturday. The Hoyas lost 67-57 at Villanova on Wednesday to fall into a three-way tie for first place with Louisville and Marquette. Georgetown won 57-46 in Syracuse on Feb. 23. Saturday will be the last Big East regular-season game in their storied rivalry.
“We’re going to treat (it) like a Big East tournament game,” said Southerland, who scored 22 points but shot only 5-for-18 overall (1-for-10 on three-pointers).
Triche added 15 points. Forward C.J. Fair had 16 and sophomore point guard Michael Carter-Williams had 10 points, five assists and four steals. Southerland started in place of freshman Jerami Grant, but Boeheim said that wasn’t because it was Senior Night.
“Didn’t even think about that,” he said, explaining that he figured DePaul would play zone defense like Syracuse’s last three foes.
Of course, the Demons started in man-to-man and they led 21-15, as Syracuse came out sleepwalking. But the Orange outscored DePaul 20-5 over the final 10:07 and led 35-26 at halftime.