South Florida gets a ticket to the Wes Johnson show

Syracuse dominates offensively and defensively to defeat the South Florida Bulls, 82-65

It was a one-man game for the University of South Florida in their fight against the Orange on Sunday afternoon in the Carrier Dome. However, Dominic Jones’ game-high 30 points were not enough to stop Syracuse from controlling the game. Wes Johnson led the team to an 82-65 victory, with 19 points and 13 rebounds. 

From the start, SU’s zone was nearly impenetrable by the Bulls. Jones was only one of two players to score in double figures, and one of few to even score. South Florida struggled on offense, passing around the exterior and attempting to shoot from outside, but Jones was the only player to land a 3-pointer. They gained most of their points on the fast breaks by outrunning Syracuse back to the basket, but the lengthy guards and smooth inside rotation kept the Orange defense strong.

Cuse was in control on offense as well. Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku dominated under the basket, breaking through South Florida defenders to score 15 and 12 points, respectively. Andy Rautins, Scoop Jardine, and Brandon Triche led their offense very effectively, setting up shots, driving the ball in, and passing to the giant Jackson/Onuaku duo in the paint.

Before twisting his ankle and sitting out the rest of the game, Kris Joseph scored two points for Syracuse. Mookie Jones came in to score two 3-pointers in the first half. Rautins did not have as many baskets as usual, scoring eight points in the game, but was an effective team player on defense and with his seven assists. Jardine, also with eight points, had four assists and three rebounds, and Triche had 10 points and six rebounds.

After the first five minutes of the game, Syracuse took the lead and maintained it from there on out. South Florida started to creep up on them with a 4-0 run at 19-17, but Onuaku did not let them get any further. Onuaku fought off three guards for the basket, the foul, and the successful free throw. That started off their 6-0 run to 26-17. SU took had their greatest lead in the half at 33-19, with less than five minutes to go. They persisted through the last few minutes, going into halftime up 40-28.

The Orange kept up the pace in the second half. Five minutes in, Rautins got the ball off a turnover and passed to Triche for the basket, putting the score at 53-34. Triche and Jardine were playing especially well, compensating for Onuaku who was on the bench after his 4th foul earlier in the half. They both passed and scored extremely well, and could effectively disrupt the flow of the offense on the other end.

Still on fire, Syracuse took their largest lead of the game, 57-36, in a 15-4 run. However, the boys started to get lazy towards the middle of the half, and South Florida went on an 11-2 run. The crowd was losing momentum, but as soon at Rautins hit a 3-pointer, the energy started to come back. Johnson continued to dominate both ends of the court, demonstrating immense skill and athleticism. Although it seemed the Bulls could have come back at several points in the half, the Orange never let up finishing strong with a final score of 82-65.

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