7:00 PM ET, December 2, 2011
Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
Despite the distractions surrounding the Syracuse basketball program off the court, its players have not skipped a beat on it.The fourth-ranked Orange will need to maintain their focus when they host No. 10 Florida on Friday night at the Carrier Dome.Amid the current investigation of former assistant coach Bernie Fine, accused by three men of molesting them as minors, Syracuse players remain firmly focused on basketball. The Orange (7-0) are undefeated through seven games for a fourth straight season and are coming off an 84-48 rout of Eastern Michigan on Tuesday."We don't know what's going on," said guard Scoop Jardine, who had eight points and seven assists. "For us, it's like a motivation thing where we just want to go out and play basketball and be hungry and continue with our season. It's all about us; it's all about our season."Key reserve James Southerland matched a career high with 19 points and while Brandon Triche added 12 and Kris Joseph 11 as the Orange went 32 of 64 from the field and forced 17 turnovers."(It's) not hard for us," said Joseph, averaging a team-high 14.7 points. "We go through our daily routines. It's what we've been doing. There's no distractions at all. We're just here to play basketball."Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim is also doing his best to prepare his team while trying not to let his own status become a distraction. Some sex abuse victims' advocates have said Boeheim should resign or be fired after he verbally disparaged the accusers.For the moment, the university is behind the 67-year-old Boeheim, who has guided Syracuse to three Final Four appearances and the 2003 national title."I have not heard anything but complete support for Coach Boeheim," trustee Michael Wohl said. "Coach Boeheim hasn't done anything wrong. At this point, we're completely behind the coach."Boeheim's immediate concern is making sure his veteran squad is ready to face its first ranked opponent.Syracuse has won its first seven games by an average margin of 26.1 points, with its only real tests coming in the final two games of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden last week. The Orange trailed both Virginia Tech and Stanford at halftime before beating the Hokies by 11 and the Cardinal by six to win the title.Despite winning four straight since losing 81-74 at then-No. 3 Ohio State on Nov. 15, Florida (5-1) knows it might be in for its biggest challenge Friday."They're athletic and a great team and going on the road is a challenge for us," forward Will Yeguete said. "Those are the type of games that we call 'want to play in.' We just want to prepare and be ready for the challenge."Hopefully we'll come out with a win."Syracuse has won the last two meetings with Florida after dropping the initial matchup in 2005. Joseph had 12 points and 10 rebounds in the Orange's 85-73 win over the Gators on Dec. 10, 2009.Florida's Kenny Boynton had 20 points and seven assists while Erving Walker scored 14 in that contest.Walker scored 21 points while freshman Bradley Beal had 22 and 10 rebounds Monday as Florida gave coach Billy Donovan his 400th career win, 96-70 over Stetson."It's definitely a reflection that time is moving on and you're getting older," said Donovan, the youngest active coach to reach that milestone.Yeguete had 10 points and 11 boards for the Gators, who have averaged 93.0 points and shot 49.0 percent during their four-game winning streak against some mediocre competition.Boynton averages a team-leading 18.5 points and Beal 17.0.
|Avg Points Allowed||66.0||60.4|
Syracuse -7, O/U: 152.5
|» Dec 2, 2011||@SYR 72, FLA 68||Recap|