NCAA BK

Tue, Mar 3, 2009 - 9:00 PM ET
Game Recap
 

No. 25 Syracuse rides Rautins over Rutgers

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP)

Syracuse was struggling mightily until Andy Rautins found his mark. After the 25th-ranked Orange were held to a season-low 19 points in the first half by a dogged Rutgers defense, Rautins hit three 3-pointers in a 3-minute span and Syracuse scored 51 points in the second half to beat the Scarlet Knights 70-40 on Tuesday night. "We're playing well," Rautins said. "We decided at halftime to play the way we have the last few games. We forced some turnovers and the turnovers led to offense. It was a fun game for us in the second half, but we can't come out like we did tonight against Marquette (on Saturday)." The victory moved Syracuse (22-8, 10-7 Big East) into a tie for sixth in the conference with Providence and clinched a first-round bye in the Big East tournament. The Scarlet Knights (10-20, 1-16), whose only victory in the conference this season came against last-place DePaul, lost its eighth straight. Paul Harris had 18 points, Rautins finished with 11, and senior Kristof Ongenaet had six rebounds and a season-high 10 points in his final home game for the Orange. Mike Rosario led Rutgers with 16 points. Syracuse, which won for the first time in the seven Big East games it has trailed at halftime this season, had appeared to be peaking after convincing victories over St. John's and Cincinnati. But it took the Orange a long time to get going in this one. Rutgers controlled the tempo on the first half and controlled the game. Syracuse trailed by nine early and did not score its second basket of the game until Ongenaet's follow with 11:27 left in the first half. "In the first half, we executed, we controlled the tempo," Rutgers coach Fred Hill said. "They're an outstanding team when they run and they get out in transition. If you can keep them in a half-court game, which is very difficult to do, they're not as effective. That's what we did in the first half. We gave up only four points in transition." The Orange slowly clawed their way back despite committing 10 turnovers in the period, but the first half was about as ugly as it gets. The Scarlet Knights were 3-for-12 on 3-pointers, shot 26.9 percent and still led 20-19 at the break. Syracuse shot 30.4 percent (7-for-23) in its lowest scoring first half of the season. The previous two times Syracuse was held under 20 in an opening half came in losses to Connecticut. The Orange scored 19 in a 73-50 road loss three years ago and 18 in a 71-50 loss at Madison Square Garden in the 1999 Big East tournament. Syracuse scored the first basket of the game - a 3 by Eric Devendorf just over a minute in - but that was its lone lead of the first half. Arinze Onuaku's follow to start the second period put Syracuse ahead 21-20 and the Orange never relinquished the lead. After Hamady Ndiaye's follow moved Rutgers within 29-28 with 15:32 left, Onuaku hit a hook in the lane and Rautins followed with a 3 from left wing, his first basket of the game, to give the Orange a 34-28 lead. Less than a minute later, Jonny Flynn hit a 3 from the right corner and Rautins added two more in a 49-second span to boost the lead to 43-28 at 11:27 as the Orange got their running game in gear and ran away with the game. Syracuse had 18 fast-break points in the second half. "When they got going and started to get out and run, it just snowballed," Hill said. "It's something that you can't stop. That's kind of been their team from what we saw on film this year. When they get it going and they get rolling, I think they're as talented as anybody in this league physically, with the exception of UConn." Rutgers shot 25.4 percent for the game and went 4-for-24 from beyond the arc. Syracuse outscored the Scarlet Knights 51-20 in the second half despite only three points from Flynn and none from Devendorf, the team's top two scorers. "That was as bad a shooting night as I've seen in years," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who coached his 1,079th game to move into 12th place on the career Division I list. "That was coming off two easy games when everything goes right. When it doesn't go right, you start thinking about it. The significant thing for me, Jonny and Eric, those two guys got 10 points and for us to win by 30."
Tagged: Rutgers, Syracuse

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