No. 13 Syracuse beats Seton Hall 100-76
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP)—Eric Devendorf and Andy Rautins watched the last Big East season from the Syracuse bench recovering from knee injuries. Seton Hall found out firsthand what a difference they can make when they’re healthy.
Both Devendorf and Rautins hit three 3-pointers in a six-minute span to key a stirring first-half surge, and the 13th-ranked Orange beat the Pirates 100-76 on Tuesday night in the conference opener for both teams.
It was the fourth straight win for Syracuse (13-1) since a last-second loss to Cleveland State two weeks ago, and the Orange’s accuracy from long distance was the backbreaker for the Pirates (9-4).
Rautins, who tied a school record with nine 3-pointers and scored a career-high 29 points in the Orange’s previous game against Coppin State, was 7-for-10 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points. Devendorf, 3-for-6 from long range, finished with 20 points.
Syracuse finished 12-for-22 from beyond the arc and Seton Hall was just 2-for-27.
“When you shoot the ball well from the outside and other team doesn’t, it isn’t an indication of the teams,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “We just made four or five in a row. That’s going to break anybody’s back. When you shoot that well, it just changes the game.”
In the past five games, the Orange have shot 40-for-91 on 3-pointers, nearly 44 percent.
Devendorf, who returned to the team after missing the previous two games due to a suspension from school, and Rautins put on their shooting clinic midway through the first half. After Robert Mitchell’s tip brought the Pirates within 20-19 at 10:40, Devendorf and Rautins keyed a 25-8 Orange run.
“The basket is feeling pretty big,” Rautins said. “We were really flowing offensively tonight. The guys were really being unselfish.”
Jeremy Hazell led Seton Hall with 23 points, while Mitchell had 22 and Eugene Harvey 13.
The Pirates had rallied to win three times after trailing at halftime, but the Orange’s 54-35 lead on their highest first-half total of the season was too much. Seton Hall never got closer than 14 points in the second half.
Syracuse was 9-for-14 on 3-pointers in the opening half, with Rautins hitting five, while Seton Hall missed all 11 tries from beyond the arc as the partisan home crowd of 23,152, the largest of the season in the Carrier Dome, roared its approval.
“They really got their crowd into it and took it from there,” Hazell said.
Devendorf, shaky when he first entered the game to a loud ovation, hit from the top of the key and Rautins bounced one in off the front of the rim to give Syracuse a 26-21 lead at 8:58.
After Arinze Onuaku converted a spinning layup in the lane, Devendorf hit again from the top of the key, Rautins followed with a 3 from the left corner, and Devendorf connected from right wing to boost the lead to 37-25 with 6:30 left.
Devendorf then stole an inbounds pass and raced in for a layup and Rautins hit his final 3 of the period from left wing to give the Orange a 43-27 lead at 4:23.
Devendorf’s suspension was for his role in an off-campus altercation with a female student in November. He had to complete 40 hours of community service to get reinstated by the university, and though he didn’t start, was elated just to be back.
“I was nervous going into the game, but I’m nervous every game,” said Devendorf, who did his community service by cooking and serving food at a local rescue mission. “I try not to think about it (the suspension), but I had a lot of support from my teammates, from the community, and I appreciate (it).”
Jonny Flynn and Rick Jackson both scored 14 points and Onuaku had 11 for Syracuse.
Syracuse’s Paul Harris cut his right ring finger late in the first half and spent the second half on the bench.
The Pirates were without head coach Bobby Gonzalez, who was serving a one-game suspension for his behavior in the final game of the 2007-08 regular season against Rutgers. Seton Hall assistant coach Dermon Player substituted for Gonzalez.
“It was a good learning experience,” Player said. “I got a chance to try to lead the team to a good game. I’m disappointed with the outcome, but at least the kids continued to try.”