Frontcourt provides the key in the Orange's sloppy win over St. Bonaventure

Powered by a 14-4 run to open the second half and strong frontcourt play, the Orange win 85-72.

 It was not vintage Syracuse. The game was not clean. The team was not crisp. But powered by a 14-4 run to open the second half and strong frontcourt play, the Orange won its ugliest contest of the year over St. Bonaventure, 85-72.


Rick Jackson led the way with 18 points and Kris Joseph added 17 off the bench as the Orange outmuscled the Bonnies on the interior en route to a double digit victory. The trio of Jackson, Joseph and Wes Johnson combined for 52 points on 21 of 31 shooting from the floor. Joseph filled in nicely for injured center, Arinze Onuaku, who left the game in the first half with a right quad injury.

On a frigid day in Syracuse, action inside the Carrier Dome was hot and tense. Bodies flailed and tempers flew in a game that saw an ejection, 35 personal fouls and two of Syracuse’s starters—Arinze Onuaku and Andy Rautins—injured. Rautins was hit in the midsection by Bonnies forward, Andrew Nicholson, who was ejected once referees reviewed the play. 

The Orange overcame 17 turnovers, a 58% clip from the free throw line and poor offensive execution in the half court set in large part because of a 21-4 run that closed out the first half and carried over into the second frame.  

A strong performance from Syracuse’s rugged frontcourt in the first half collapsed St. Bonaventure’s defense in the second, creating open looks for Triche and Rautins. In that second half, Syracuse was more balanced on the offensive end, receiving contributions from a backcourt that had only tallied 9 points in the first frame. Brandon Triche and Andy Rautins each connected with back-to-back three-pointers of their own over a seven minute stretch, and Scoop Jardine added 6 of his 8 points and 4 of his 5 assists in the second half. 

Andrew Nicholson led the Bonnies with 18 points on 9 of 10 shooting. Teammate, Chris Matthews, followed with 17 of his own, but threw away the game from the perimeter, going 4-18 from behind the arc. Matthews was shooting over 50% from long range coming into the game, so credit the active Orange zone for keeping him in check. 

With the win, No. 5 Syracuse improves to 11-0 on the year while the Bonnies slip to 6-4. Next up for the Orange is a home date with Oakland on Tuesday, which should be a good opportunity for the Orange to nurse some ailing bodies before entering the Big East gauntlet one week later at Seton Hall. A win Tuesday and Syracuse could head into conference play undefeated for the first time this decade.

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