NCAA BK

Friars no match for No. 8 Syracuse in 84-59 loss

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP)

Providence coach Ed Cooley didn't have to look at the box score or the videotape.

''Burn the tape and keep it moving,'' Cooley said Wednesday night after his Friars lost 84-59 at No. 8 Syracuse. ''That's as bad as we've played all year. When we played bad before, we were in the game. We were listless today. We looked sluggish.''

Providence's Vincent Council became the Big East's all-time assists leader, breaking the record set by former Syracuse star Sherman Douglas - and he did it on the Orange's home court in the Carrier Dome. Council had 15 points and seven assists to boost his career assist total to 431, five ahead of the mark Douglas set from 1985-89.

It was small consolation on a difficult evening.

''I'm very honored, even though I'd love to have won the game,'' Council said. ''It's definitely kind of special knowing that Sherman Douglas went to Syracuse.''

James Southerland scored 20 points and Michael Carter-Williams had 15 points and 12 assists to pace the Orange, who had a season high in points in league play while holding the Friars to a season low in points.

Carter-Williams notched at least 10 assists for the 10th time this season, but only the second time in a conference game. He ranked second nationally entering the game, averaging eight assists per game. C.J. Fair had 20 points and 10 rebounds, his ninth double-double of the season, and Brandon Triche had 14 points for Syracuse.

The Orange (22-4, 10-3) have won 38 straight home games, the longest active streak in Division I, and moved into a tie with Marquette and No. 11 Georgetown atop the conference standings.

Providence (14-12, 6-8) had won four straight Big East games, including triumphs over then-No. 17 Cincinnati and then-No. 21 Notre Dame on Saturday. The Friars play at Rutgers on Saturday night.

''They broke our winning streak and we're trying to start another one to end the season,'' said LaDontae Henton, who had 15 points and 13 rebounds for Providence. ''We've got to have amnesia about it. They came out hard in the first half. We should have matched their intensity, but we didn't do that.''

Kadeem Batts had 13 points and Big East scoring leader Bryce Cotton had 10, half his season average, on 3-of-10 shooting.

Syracuse had an offensive flurry to close the first half, outscoring the Friars 31-4 over the final 10 minutes to take a 43-16 lead at the break. That matched Providence's lowest first-half total of the season.

''I thought we did a great job on defense,'' Southerland said. ''We had a lot of fast breaks and our forwards were flying.''

The Orange were 4 of 6 on 3-pointers and shot 63 percent (17 of 27) in the first half, notching 12 assists. Carter-Williams assisted on eight baskets, four straight to close the half, and had no turnovers as the Orange scored at will.

''He played one of his better games in a long time,'' Cooley said. ''If he's making assists for other guys, they're really good. When he's not, they don't play well.''

After Council fed Batts for a jumper to tie the score at 12-all, the Orange took off behind Southerland, who scored nine points in a four-minute span and finished the half with 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Southerland also hit two 3-pointers and dunked off a pretty feed from Carter-Williams to boost the lead to 36-16 with 2:09 left.

Carter-Williams, who started the Syracuse rush with a layup, then fed Fair for a 3 from the wing, threaded a nifty bounce pass through traffic to set up Fair for a slam dunk, and finished the half with an assist on a fast-break lay-in by Triche.

The Friars missed all six of their attempts from long range and were 8 of 27 (29.6 percent) from the floor in the first half as Cotton, the Big East's scoring leader at 20.4 points per game, attempted just three shots and scored only two points. Henton's dunk and a fast-break layup by Cotton were the only Providence baskets over the final 10:08 of the period.

''We didn't make a lot of shots,'' Henton said. ''I was trying to pick the guys up. You've got to hold your head up. You can't get mad about not making shots. You've got to make up for it on the defensive end.''

The Friars shot 23 of 66 (34.8 percent) for the game, just 3 of 18 (16.7 percent) on 3-pointers against the conference's top perimeter defense.

''Not many teams are going to beat this team making three 3s,'' Cooley said. ''I thought we had great looks at the basket, unbelievable looks at the basket. They just didn't go in. I mean, how many shots did we miss around the basket? We missed point-blank layups due to their length. We got every shot we wanted, and that zone had zero to do with it.''

This was the Orange's last regular-season Big East game with Providence. Syracuse is moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference after the season.

Tagged: Providence, Syracuse, Vincent Council, James Southerland, C.J. Fair, Bryce Cotton

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