SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP)—Jim Boeheim just stared at the Carrier Dome court that bears his name. Another game was slipping away from his Syracuse Orange and he was out of answers.
Jeremy Hazell led a long-range Seton Hall barrage with 28 points and the suddenly hot-shooting Pirates stunned No. 9 Syracuse 90-68 on Tuesday night, the Orange’s third straight loss.
“We have not played well the last three games,” Boeheim said. “I think when you lose a couple of games, you lose a little confidence.”
Hazell, who was 5 of 10 from beyond the arc, set the tone early by swishing a 3 from the right wing on Seton Hall’s first possession of the game. The Pirates (9-12, 3-6 Big East), who had lost three straight, torched Syracuse’s zone defense for seven 3s in the first half, four by Hazell, and built a 13-point halftime lead.
“Jeremy gave us a lot of confidence,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. “He hit a couple of deep ones early and really loosened everything up. That was a big part of everyone else getting some confidence.”
Jordan Theodore, who missed all seven 3s he attempted in a five-point loss to Syracuse 17 days ago, was 3 for 3 from long range and had 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting while Fuquan Edwin had 13 points, Jeff Robinson 12 and Herb Pope 10.
A week ago, Pittsburgh sliced through the heart of the Orange’s 2-3 zone and handed Syracuse (18-3, 5-3) its first loss of the season. On Saturday, Villanova shot over it, hitting eight 3-pointers in the first half and won by 11.
The Pirates followed the Wildcats’ lead, hitting 10 of 17 from beyond the arc and dominating the entire game. Syracuse, which fell behind Pitt 19-0, rallied right back with a 17-point surge before fading at the end, and the Orange closed within four points late against Villanova after trailing by as many as 14. Against Seton Hall, Syracuse never scored more than five straight points, trailed 43-30 at halftime, and never had a chance after missing its first six shots of the second half.
“You’re going to run into somebody,” Boeheim said. “We know Hazell can shoot. A couple of shots he made were extremely difficult, very contested. But our problem was our offense was not good. Instead of being in touch, we were 13 behind. We missed a layup to start the second half. You just can’t do that.”
Seton Hall, the worst shooting team in the Big East, shot 54.1 percent for the game while holding Syracuse to 5 of 21 from long range and a season-low 36.1 percent from the field.
Kris Joseph led Syracuse with 17 points, all but one coming long after the game was decided, and Rick Jackson had 12 points and 11 rebounds, his 14th double-double of the season. Scoop Jardine and Brandon Triche each had 11 points.
After their first meeting 17 days ago, a sloppy 61-56 Syracuse victory, Boeheim winced at the stat sheet. The Pirates missed all 17 3-point attempts in the first half.
It was a much different story on Tuesday, and Boeheim was wincing again. Seton Hall hit its first three from beyond the arc, two by Hazell, and led 26-15 on Theodore’s 3 from the right wing with 12:07 left.
And they weren’t through. In the final 6 minutes of the half, Seton Hall slowed the pace to a crawl and the strategy paid big dividends. Hazell drained two 3s from the wing, the second at the shot clock buzzer, and Theodore followed with another—all three in a span of less than 2 minutes—to put the Pirates up 37-23 with 3:49 left.
The Orange missed their first six 3s, three by James Southerland, before Mookie Jones, playing for the first time since last month, hit from the wing with 2:02 left.
The Pirates extended the lead to 50-30 on Hazell’s steal and layup early in the second half before Jardine finally hit a 3 from the wing at 15:31, the Orange’s second in 11 tries from beyond the arc.
Joseph, the Orange’s leading scorer, missed all four shots in the first half and didn’t get his first basket of the game until he hit a 3 from the left corner with 8:32 left. By then Syracuse trailed 63-46.
“I always believed we could come back,” Joseph said. “We needed stops, but we couldn’t get them.”
Seton Hall never allowed the Orange to get closer than 17 in the final 12 minutes as the Orange faithful began leaving early, a rarity in the Carrier Dome.
“That was unacceptable to the fans. There’s no way we’re supposed to lose like that,” Jardine said. “That’s not a way to go out. We didn’t fight at all after coming off a loss. We’ve got to do some searching within ourselves. We’ve got to find it fast.”
So, is the Syracuse defense going to get tweaked after all this damage?
Not a chance.
“We cannot play man-to-man. We have to play zone,” Boeheim said. “We have to work on our defense. It is our defense. Most teams have a dominant defense, and that’s the one they use. That’s our defense. We’ve got to do a better job with it.”
Southerland made his second career start for Syracuse as Boeheim elected not to insert 7-foot freshman Fab Melo into the starting lineup for the first time this season. Southerland, who started at Pitt and had eight points, four assists, and two blocks in 38 minutes, finished with four points in 19 minutes.