SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Even after another milestone victory, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim wasn't happy with the way his No. 11 Orange are performing.
"I just don't think we're playing well. I don't think we've played well all year," Boeheim said Wednesday night after career victory No. 781, an 82-60 win over Canisius. It moved Boeheim into ninth place all-time in Division I, one win ahead of Lute Olson. "In stretches of games, yeah, we've closed some games well. But I just don't think we're playing that well, even in the second half. We've played poorly in the second half, too."
Not this night.
Still, the Orange seemed to be thinking about Cedric Jackson's buzzer-beating shot from beyond halfcourt that gave Cleveland State a 72-69 victory Monday night. The Golden Griffins certainly were. They watched a replay of the game on the trip from Buffalo.
"It gave us a sense that if we could get the game within striking distance we'll have a chance to win," Canisius coach Tom Parrotta said. "I wholeheartedly believed that when I came in here tonight and my team did, too."
But after yet another sluggish start, Syracuse settled down and handed Canisius (3-7) its fourth straight loss.
"Obviously, when you lose that first game, it's always awkward," Boeheim said. "It takes something out of you."
The Golden Griffins led by six points early and the game was tied four times in the first 17 minutes. But after Julius Coles hit a 3 to tie it at 31, Andy Rautins hit a 3-pointer to begin a 12-3 Syracuse run to close the half.
Jackson started the second half with a resounding dunk and a follow hook, and Harris slammed home a dunk as Syracuse scored the first seven points to take a 50-34 lead.
"I feel if I can score against these guys [his teammates] in practice, I can score against anybody," said the 6-foot-9, 240-pound Jackson, who had eight rebounds. "The last loss was a bad loss. When you lose your first game, it's hard to get back, but I think we did a good job."
Jackson played a season-high 21 minutes, more than half of it along with 6-9, 275-pound center Arinze Onuaku as Boeheim did some experimenting with Big East play looming in two weeks. Onuaku finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
"It looked like it went well," Onuaku said. "Ricky's getting a lot better. We're working so that we feel comfortable out there. Ricky played great. He's starting to become a player and that's good for us."
Harris, who leads the Orange with five double-doubles, excelled despite back spasms that nearly kept him from playing. If not for his spark, the outcome might have been much closer.
"We have to somehow find a way to get out of the gate," Harris said. "Got to do it before the Big East."
"I thought Paul was back to himself," Boeheim said. "That was a significant thing. He hasn't been as strong and physical as he was tonight."
If not for free throws, Syracuse would have been staring at another nail-biter at halftime.
Both teams shot 14-for-37 from the field in the first half and both attempted 10 3-pointers, with the Orange making three, one more than the Griffs.
After Rautins hit his 3 with 3:14 left in the first half, Jonny Flynn followed with a baseline drive off the glass, his first basket of the game, for a five-point lead. Two free throws by Onuaku, a three-point play by Flynn, who finished with 12 points, and Onuaku's dunk off a feed from Rautins made it 43-33 with 85 seconds remaining.
A follow slam by Greg Logins off a miss by Turner was the only basket for Canisius in the final 3:50 of the half.
"They showed why they're 11th in the nation," Frazier said. "I think we competed well. I don't think they thought we would come out like that in the beginning of the game."
"We hadn't competed very hard in the past three games," Parrotta added. "I thought at times tonight we really competed. At least I can build off that."
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