Written for your enjoyment by: RAFF
The magic of this Syracuse team was clearly on display in the first half at Cincinnati. Certainly it wasn't the best of halves for the Orange. Not as far as this season has gone. But in the end, they end up ahead 32-30 at the break courtesy of an 11-2 run to complete things.
Here are the things I liked:
1) Scoop Jardine, after not scoring until the closing moments earlier in the week against Providence, was a first half key. He scored nine off the bench as Brandon Triche was ineffective early.
2) Kris Joseph just creates incredible nightmare matchups for the opposition, especially when he and Wes Johnson are both in the game. He has shown enough of an outside game to warrant contention from the defense on the perimeter, but his athletic ability and his handle gets him past those bigger defenders on the dribble.
3) Andy Rautins shot it extremely well for the Orange. In fact, the Orange as a team shot it well from distance. Again there was balance both inside and outside.
1) Wes Johnson picked up two early fouls, but the Orange kept him in the game. JB nearly got away with it, but Wesley picked up his third near the end of the half. A fourth foul early in the second half is a major concern.
2) UC has gotten on the offensive glass several times to get second chance points. If the Orange takes those away in the second stanza, it should open up the lead. But as we've seen all season, Syracuse has been vulnerable to the second chance point against teams like UC.
3) I was concerned going in that the Orange could be looking ahead to Wednesday's rivalry showdown with Connecticut. The first half wasn't as bad as it could have been, but UC is still in the game. And if the Bearcats get hot in the second half, it could go there way.