SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Rick Jackson had just been called for a technical after a scuffle under the Providence basket and the Friars seemed poised to hand Syracuse its first loss of the season.
Scoop Jardine had other ideas.
After Marshon Brooks hit one of two free throws to move Providence within 51-47 with 13:31 left, Jardine scored nine points to key an 11-2 run and No. 5 Syracuse held off Providence 81-74 on Tuesday night in the Big East opener for both teams.
"I just took what the defense gave me," said Jardine, who scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half. "Coach told us we'd be able to get in the lane with our penetration, and that's what I tried to do."
Kris Joseph had a career-high 27 points, eclipsing the 25 he had in the previous game against Drexel, and Brandon Triche finished with 15 points for the Orange (14-0). Jackson had nine points, a career-high five assists, 17 rebounds and two blocks to become the 10th player in program history to surpass 200.
Brooks finished with 27 points, his eighth straight game with at least 25, Gerard Coleman had 12 points, Bilal Dixon had 11 points and nine rebounds, and Vincent Council had 10 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Providence.
The game-changing run began when the Friars inbounded the ball after the technical. Syracuse forced one of Providence's 10 turnovers, and that got the crowd energized.
Jardine started the spurt with a fast-break layup and a 3 from the left wing and finished it with a pair of free throws to put the Orange up 62-49 with 9:39 to go.
"They're a very knowledgeable crowd, so when they need to get on the officials, or when they need to get their team going, or when they need to just fire them up when they make a spectacular play, it's an amazing place to play," Providence coach Keno Davis said. "I think the crowd was a big difference, and I credit our team for fighting back. It looked like a stretch there where it could have been a 20- or 30-point game, and all of a sudden we're right back into it."
The Friars (11-3) never got closer than four the remainder of the game, but they made it tense.
Triche's 3 off a feed from Jardine boosted the lead to 16 at 9:11, but Council and Brooks each hit 3s, and Coleman had another and converted a three-point play as Providence closed to 68-63 at 4:54.
"They didn't give up at all," said Joseph, who had a career-high four 3-pointers. "They kept on fighting. We didn't think it was over when we got up by 16 and they definitely kept fighting back. We have to fight back as well."
Brooks missed a wide-open 3 from the corner with Syracuse leading 71-67 with under 2 minutes left as the Providence bench groaned.
"Oh my gosh! I felt it," Brooks said. "It's human nature when the clock starts clicking lower, you start playing a little bit harder. I think we started playing a little bit harder. It's tough to score on their zone because they're very, very big. But when you get stops, you can run, we can play our game."
Coleman then missed a pair from beyond the arc before Duke Mondy drained a 3 from the left corner with 32 seconds left to move Providence within 78-74.
"To beat a team that's fifth in the country, you need that shot [Brooks' 3] to fall," Davis said. "You need Syracuse to shoot their average from 3 or the free throw line. When Syracuse shoots better from 3 than they have on average, better from the free throw line, you're not going to beat the fifth-rated team in their building. But it wasn't for lack of effort. The bounce of the ball didn't quite go our way in the last couple minutes."
Joseph, who played every minute for the first time in his career, and Jardine made three of four free throws in the final 30 seconds to secure the victory.
"When we have teams on the ropes, we have to put them away," Jardine said. "We know we can win these types of games because our defense tightens up. We have experience in close games, and every game in the Big East is going to be a close game."
The Friars shot 8 of 30 from beyond the arc, while the Orange were 9 of 22. Providence shot 39.7 percent (25 of 63) for the game, well below the Friars' 45.6 percent average.
Boeheim kept freshmen centers on the bench for most of the game. Fab Melo played only five minutes and Baye Moussa Keita logged 11 and neither scored. Freshman guard Dion Waiters had one point in nine minutes.