HARTFORD, Conn. – In an intense back-and-forth battle between #6/7 Syracuse (20-4, 8-3) and Connecticut (17-6, 7-4), the Orange failed to emerge triumphant, dropping a tough 66-58 decision on the road against the Huskies at the XL Center.
Sophomore Michael Carter-Williams led the offense with 15 points and four steals, while senior James Southerland tallied 14 points.
Syracuse and Connecticut traded the lead throughout the entire first half, as neither club produced more than a three-point advantage in the opening frame. With SU trailing by three at 8-5, Syracuse used a small six-point spurt to get back on top at 11-8 with 12:00 remaining in the first half.
SU found itself trailing by three at 24-21, before freshman Jerami Grant tipped in a layup and added a free throw to tie the score at 24-24 with less than a minute remaining. The Huskies responded with a jumper from Omar Calhoun and a three-pointer from Ryan Boatright to send the Orange into the intermission trailing 29-24 at halftime.
Looking for a comeback in the second half, SU hit six unanswered points for a one-point advantage at 30-29 following the break, but a pair of consecutive three-pointers from Boatright lifted the Huskies back on top. Rebounding, SU tied the score for the seventh time at 35-35 after a bucket from Carter-Williams. From there, the Huskies took off as Calhoun hit a three to send UConn ahead for good at 52-44 with 6:49 remaining.
As time expired, SU attempted to chisel away at another nine-point Huskie advantage that eventually grew to 10 points at 59-49 after a pair of free throws from Niles Gifey at 3:43. The Orange managed to get within five points of the lead with 25 seconds remaining, but SU couldn't regain control, ultimately falling to UConn 66-58.
Boatright paced the Huskies, tallying 17 points after shooting 3-of-4 from the three-point line.
Syracuse will remain on the road, traveling to Seton Hall to take on the Pirates Saturday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – No. 6/7 Syracuse tries to stay atop the BIG EAST standings when it takes on Connecticut at the XL Center in Hartford on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. The Orange enters the contest with a 20-3 overall mark and an 8-2 record in league play, while the Huskies are 16-6 overall, 6-4 in BIG EAST action.
The game will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN3. Fans can listen to the action on the Syracuse IMG Radio Network and its flagship TK99 (99.5 FM). Live audio will be available on Orange All Access on SUathletics.com. Subscriptions to Orange All Access are available at daily, monthly and yearly rates.
ORANGE IN THE NCAA RANKINGS
Syracuse ranks in the top 10 in six categories in the latest national statistics released by the NCAA. The Orange is seventh in win-loss percentage (.870) and fifth in scoring margin (16.7). SU's defense has limited its opponents to a shooting percentage of 36.6 percent, which ranks fourth in the nation, and a 28.1 percentage from three-point range, which is eighth in the country. In addition, Syracuse ranks fifth in blocked shots per game (6.7) and seventh in steals per game (10.0).
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE ORANGE
Four players reached double figures in scoring in Syracuse's 77-58 victory against St. John's on Sunday, Feb. 10 in the Carrier Dome.
The Orange never trailed in the contest and led by as many as 15 points in the first half. Senior Brandon Triche's three-pointer with nine seconds left on the clock gave SU a 37-24 halftime lead. Triche and junior C.J. Fair led the Orange with 10 points each in the first half.
St. John's opened the second half strong and used a 7-0 scoring run to cut the lead to 48-43 with 11:25 remaining. Fair hit a jumper at the 11:25 mark to end the Red Storm's streak as the Orange tallied seven unanswered points to extend its lead back to 12 points with 9:36 to play. SU maintained a double digit lead for the majority of the remainder of the game as sophomore Michael Carter-Williams' three-pointer with eights second on the clock gave Syracuse its largest lead of the game of 19.
Triche and Fair finished with 17 points each, while Carter-Williams had 16 points. Senior James Southerland added 13 points off the bench.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES
Connecticut has won four of its last five contests, which has improved its record to 16-6. The Huskies have been tough to beat on their home court, posting a 10-1 record at home this year.
UConn has four players that are averaging more than 10 points a game. Junior guard Shabazz Napier leads the offense and ranks fifth in the BIG EAST in scoring, averaging 17.2 points a game, followed by Ryan Boatright (15.8), Omar Calhoun (11.1) and DeAndre Daniels (10.7). Daniels and Napier also lead the team in rebounding, averaging 4.8 and 4.3 per game, respectively.
The Huskies are led by Kevin Ollie, who is in his first year as head coach for Connecticut. Ollie served as assistant coach for the Huskies for the past two seasons before being named the head coach on Sept. 13, 2012. He was a four-year starter for Connecticut.
The Orange leads the all-time series against the Huskies, 54-36. Syracuse defeated Connecticut three times last season, which included a 58-55 victory during the BIG EAST Tournament. The Orange has captured six of the last seven meetings between the pair.
Syracuse plays its second consecutive road game on Saturday, Feb. 16 when it plays at Seton Hall. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.
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