No. 11 SU beats DePaul 85-68

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP)—DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright got a first-hand look at hot-shooting Andy Rautins and his Syracuse teammates, and he could only marvel at what they did to his Blue Demons.

Rautins scored 17 points and Paul Harris added 14 to lead six Syracuse players in double figures in the No. 11 Orange’s 85-68 win on Wednesday night.

“They’re really playing well. They’re very cohesive,” Wainwright said. “When you have outside shooting like Rautins is providing, it really stretches you, makes you make decisions that are tough, especially with a young team.”

Rautins hit five 3-pointers to give him 25 in 44 attempts over the past four games. And he’s still getting the open looks that head coach Jim Boeheim said would disappear once Big East play began.

“We’re playing well together right now,” said Rautins, who also had six of the Orange’s 20 assists. “Maybe it (Boeheim’s comment) was a motivation tactic. In the bigger games, I think teams will have someone face-guarding me all game. Other than that, my teammates are doing a great job setting up screens.”

“We’re going to try to get him the ball whenever we can,” said point guard Jonny Flynn, who had 12 points and eight assists. “There were a couple of times he faked his shot. I told him to shoot the ball, I don’t care if it’s from 30 feet.”

It was the sixth straight victory for Syracuse (15-1, 3-0 Big East) and the third consecutive loss for DePaul (8-8, 0-3).

Dar Tucker led the Blue Demons with 18 points, Will Walker had 13, Mac Koshwal 12, and Devin Hill 10.

Arinze Onuaku had 14 points and 12 rebounds, Eric Devendorf finished with 13 points and Rick Jackson 11 for the Orange.

“When you’ve got a balanced team, you look at the scouting report and it’s like, ‘Who do you guard?’ ” said the 6-foot-9, 275-pound Onuaku, who brought the Carrier Dome crowd to its feet in the final minutes with a court-long rush and thunderous dunk. “It’s great.”

Syracuse hit eight 3-pointers, outrebounded DePaul 48-39 and outscored the Blue Demons 50-34 in the paint. Koshwal, a 59.1 percent shooter, struggled with his inside game against the burly Onuaku and Jackson, shooting 4-for-14.

The Orange used an early 12-2 run to open a double-digit lead as the Blue Demons struggled with costly turnovers and never could recover.

After Syracuse converted three free throws to begin the run, Kris Joseph had a steal and fed ahead to Flynn, who then hit Jackson with a pretty behind-the-back, no-look pass for a resounding dunk.

Rautins followed with a long 3-pointer from the top of the key, and Devendorf hit a nifty left-handed hook while crossing through the lane to put the Orange up 20-10 at 11:07.

Flynn’s three-point play boosted the margin to 29-17 with 7:46 to go, but Koshwal’s bank shot, a follow by Hill and a three-point play by Mario Stula had the Blue Demons back within 31-24 at 6:40.

The Orange outscored DePaul 16-7 to close the half and gain a commanding 47-31 lead at the break. Harris and Flynn each had five points in the surge and Rautins finished it with a steal and layup.

The Orange scored 15 points off DePaul’s 10 turnovers in the period, and Walker’s banked-in 3-pointer from the top of the key with 28 seconds left was the only DePaul basket over the final 3:47.

“The turnovers really hurt us,” Walker said. “That got us in a big slump in the beginning. It was hard to get out of that in the second half, and they’re playing well as a team. It’s real hard to come from behind, especially on their home floor, after making all those turnovers. We just have to keep fighting.”

Syracuse did its best to give the Blue Demons a shot, committing five consecutive turnovers—two by Rautins and one each by Flynn, Devendorf, and Onuaku—to start the second half. But DePaul could only muster a layup by Tucker.

Harris, who missed Friday’s game at South Florida with a bad cut on his right ring finger, celebrated his return to the lineup with nine rebounds and four blocks. His layup with 14:16 to go gave him 1,000 career points.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 DePaul
Devin Hill Devin Hill
4-9,  10 Pts
9 Rebs, 1 Assists
 Syracuse
Andy Rautins Andy Rautins
6-11,  17 Pts
2 Rebs, 6 Assists

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Wednesday, Jan 7