Jardine hit three 3-pointers and a layup in the closing minutes
to break open a tense game, finishing with a season-high 21 points
to lift the second-ranked Orange to an 85-67 victory over slumping Connecticut on Saturday.
Jardine managed just three points on 1-of-7 shooting during a
64-61 overtime victory against Georgetown on Wednesday. But the
senior guard came up big against the Huskies, making 3-pointers on
consecutive possessions to stop a Connecticut charge in the second
"I was in the right position to make a shot and I did,"
Jardine said. "And then the second one, I was confident because I
just made one. That kind of took them out of what they wanted to
Jardine's long-range prowess sent the Orange (25-1, 12-1 Big
East) on a 19-3 spurt as they earned their fifth consecutive win
since losing at Notre Dame. The victory also whipped the crowd of
33,430 -- the largest of the season and fourth largest in Carrier
Dome history -- into a frenzy.
"We shot the ball with confidence, and also shot the right
shots," Jardine said. "There's times when we had the right shots,
but we might rush it because we're getting into it with the crowd.
We were settled in with the big crowd because we had one on
Wednesday, so we knew what it was."
Jardine was 8 for 9 from the field and had six assists against
only one turnover.
Syracuse shot 59.3 percent and hit 10 of 16 from beyond the arc
to offset UConn's 8-of-19 effort from long range.
"I think offensively, this is the best we've played all year,"
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "We made a lot of shots. When you
make a lot of shots, the game gets a lot easier. If we had shot a
normal percentage, we would've gotten beat."
Connnecticut trailed the entire second half but closed to 63-61
on a free throw by Tyler Olander with 6:26 to go before the Orange
went on one of their signature runs. They had a 23-point spurt at
North Carolina State and two 19-0 surges this season.
The atmosphere wasn't quite the same because Connecticut coach
Jim Calhoun was missing. He sat out his third straight game since
taking an indefinite medical leave due to spinal stenosis, a
painful condition in his lower back. Associate head coach George
Blaney once again ran the team in his absence.
It was Blaney's turn to shake his head afterward.
"It's certainly (Boeheim's) deepest team," Blaney said.
"Whether or not it's his best team, the rest of the season will
tell you that. I have not seen one of his teams be deeper than they
are. When they get in trouble, they can isolate so many different
people that can just beat you.
"We got it to 63-61 and we got a little careless both
offensively and defensively," Blaney said. "And then it got away.
You can't have a lapse for a couple of minutes."
Jeremy Lamb scored 18 points for Connecticut (15-9, 5-7), which
has lost six of seven. Ryan Boatright had 14, Andre Drummond 13,
and Shabazz Napier finished with 11 points and seven assists before
fouling out late.
Syracuse has won four of five against Connecticut, the only loss
coming in overtime in last year's Big East tournament at Madison
Square Garden. The Huskies went on to win their third national
championship last spring, but Kemba Walker is an NBA rookie now and
the team has struggled despite the return of four starters from
Coming off an embarrassing 80-59 loss at Louisville on Monday
night, the Huskies gave a game effort against Syracuse.
"We definitely fought this game," said Lamb, who was 2 of 10
on 3-pointers. "There were plenty of times they hit us and we hit
back. Then in the last 2 minutes they stepped it out, but the game
wasn't as bad as the score says."
Syracuse also had a spirited effort on the glass, enjoying a
31-29 rebounding edge after Boeheim blasted the team following an
abysmal showing against the Hoyas. The Orange had been beaten on
the glass a combined 170-109 in four of its previous six games -
against Pittsburgh (40-28), Notre Dame (38-25), West Virginia
(40-21) and Georgetown (52-35).
This one was a game of swings.
After the Huskies closed to 54-52 on Olander's three-point play
midway through the second half, the Orange rallied. Fair hit a
baseline jumper, Joseph drained a 3, and Waiters fed Fair for a
dunk in a span of just over 2 minutes to boost the lead to 61-52.
Napier and Lamb hit 3-pointers to key a 9-2 spurt that kept the
Huskies in it after trailing 43-34 at halftime.
Syracuse finishes its own version of rivalry week on Monday
night at Louisville, which has beaten the Orange seven straight
"This is an extremely tough 10-day period," Boeheim said. "We
had to go down to New York (to play St. John's), play Georgetown,
play Connecticut and now play Louisville. It'll be a great game
down there on Monday."