Bearcats Get Orange Crushed At Syracuse

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Rick Jackson had 15 points and 11 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season and fourth-ranked Syracuse remained unbeaten with a 67-52 victory over No. 25 Cincinnati on Saturday.

Syracuse (18-0, 5-0 Big East), one of four unbeatens left in Division I, is one win from matching the best start in program history. The Orange play at No. 5 Pittsburgh on Monday night.

Syracuse broke open a tight game with a 16-0 run to start the second half. Freshman center Fab Melo had four points and Brandon Triche and James Southerland each hit 3-pointers to key the game-changing charge.

Cincinnati hit 9 of 19 3-pointers in the first half to rally from an early 15-point deficit but missed its first seven shots of the second to fall behind by 20 points with 14:07 left.

Scoop Jardine and Triche both scored 11 points and Melo had six points and four blocks after picking up three early fouls. Syracuse outrebounded Cincinnati 41-28 and outscored the Bearcats 30-10 in the paint.

Dion Dixon led Cincinnati (16-2, 3-2) with 18 points, all on 3-pointers, and Sean Kilpatrick had 11.

Syracuse lost leading scorer Kris Joseph when he crashed to the floor on a drive and the back of his head slammed into the hardwood with 6:27 left in the first half. He went to the locker room for evaluation after scoring just two points and did not return. Coach Jim Boeheim said it was too early to say whether Joseph would play Monday night.

Leading by only four points, Syracuse began the second half with a vengeance as the Bearcats missed their first seven shots and made only 2 of their first 20 as the Orange defenders closed the openings Cincinnati had found in the first half.

Triche started the surge with a jumper from the wing, James Southerland hit a baseline jumper, and Jackson fed Melo for a resounding slam dunk. Jackson then inbounded the ball to Triche, who drained a 3 from the right corner after a give-and-go with Jackson.

Southerland followed with a 3 from the wing, Jackson shoved his way through the lane for a layup, and Melo, who was called for three fouls in the first 3:44 of the game, followed a miss by Triche to give Syracuse a 51-31 lead at 14:07.

Cincinnati, which had what was rated as one of the easiest nonconference schedules in Division I, started the season with 15 straight wins before losing at Villanova a week ago. The Bearcats couldn't get anything going offensively in that one. During one stretch they went more than 8 minutes without a field goal, finished the first half with a season-low 23 points, and shot 2 of 20 from 3-point range for the game.

Against the Orange, Cincinnati was just 2 of 11 shooting in the first eight minutes of the game as Syracuse built a 15-point lead. Jackson had six points and Jardine matched that with a pair of 3-pointers before the Bearcats began to find their range from the outside.

Kilpatrick hit a pair of 3s and Larry Davis added another to close the gap to 20-12 with 9:28 remaining in the half.

The Bearcats continued to fire from outside - they made only one basket inside in the period - and the strategy worked. Cashmere Wright hit two 3s and Dixon had three in the final 7:03 to narrow Syracuse's lead to 35-31 at halftime.

Cincinnati finished the half 9 of 19 (47.4 percent) from beyond the arc against the team that led the conference in 3-point field goal percentage defense at 27.3 percent.

Cincinnati entered the game leading the Big East with a plus-5.47 turnover margin and had forced more turnovers than assists allowed in every game, the best active streak in Division I. That ended in this one as Syracuse registered 16 assists against 13 turnovers.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)