Last time they played: Syracuse 95, California 73
Nov. 19, 2009, Madison Square Garden
Scoop Jardine’s hot streak reached a whole new level.
The sophomore point guard came into the matchup against California with a 12-point, 5-of-7 shooting performance and a nine-assist game under his belt to start the season.
His impressive start continued Thursday night at Madison Square Garden when he scorched the Golden Bears (2-1) for 22 points, six assists and six rebounds. Jardine’s then-career-high point total ignited the No. 24 Orange (3-0) to a 95-73 beatdown over No. 13 California in the semifinals of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. Syracuse shut down Cal’s dangerous 3-point attack and used a balanced effort led by Jardine to come away with the win.
“I think Scoop is getting better,” Jim Boeheim told reporters after the game. “He has really done a lot of good things. I want him to be better. All young point guards … they hear it the most from me. He has been really solid.”
After a sluggish start, Syracuse embarked on a 9-0 run and eventually claimed a commanding 30-16 lead. California flirted with a comeback multiple times, but Syracuse was too explosive and talented in the long run.
Wes Johnson added 17 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high six blocks while Arinze Onuaku chipped in with 12 points. Syracuse had eight players score eight or more points, and connected on more than 57 percent of its shots as a team.
California came into the game shooting better than 41 percent from beyond the arc, but Syracuse held the Golden Bears in check, limiting them to 6-of-20 shooting from 3-point range. Patrick Christopher finished 0-of-7 from 3 and never got into a rhythm offensively.
Boeheim credited his team’s suffocating defense, quickly shooing away the notion of California having an off night.
“I don’t think anybody has an off night,” Boeheim said. “I think you have to force people to have off nights.”
Jerome Randle didn’t have an off night for the Golden Bears. The 5-foot-10 guard kept his team within striking distance, scoring 25 points and drilling five 3-pointers. Randle was the only California player who found his stroke on a night where the team struggled mightily from the field.
In the end, the Syracuse offense was too unpredictable and balanced for the outmatched Golden Bears to contain. After a 3 by Randle cut the deficit to nine late in the second half, the Orange crushed any hope Cal had of climbing back into the game.
Jardine – who shot 8-of-13 from the field – scored Syracuse’s last four points of the half, as the Orange took a 44-33 advantage into the break. The second half was all Syracuse. SU used an 8-2 run to go up by 20 with less than nine minutes to play and went on to close the game out effectively.
The win marked the 802nd of Boeheim’s career, placing him just two behind Eddie Sutton for seventh all-time among Division-I coaches.
Said Boeheim: “I think we are getting better … we are still a long way from where we need to be.”
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