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Syracuse 78, DePaul 57

The SportsXchange

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Syracuse said goodbye to Big East basketball in the Carrier Dome on Wednesday night with a 78-57 romp over DePaul.

Senior forward James Southerland paced the 17th-ranked Orange (23-7, 11-6 Big East) with 22 points and 10 rebounds, and guard C.J. Fair added 16 points. Cleveland Melvin topped DePaul (11-19, 2-15) with 15 points and eight rebounds.

With Syracuse moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season, the Orange's final regular-season game at home also marked the end of an era on its storied court. The game lacked style points, but since it snapped Syracuse's three-game losing streak, the Orange had no complaints.

The Orange went 6 minutes, 10 seconds without a field goal in the second half but actually managed to pull away from the frosty-shooting Blue Demons during that span.

Both teams had cold shooting touches. Syracuse canned just 38.8 percent of its shots from the floor and 11.1 percent from 3-point territory (2-for-18), while the Blue Demons were at 37.7 percent overall and 27.8 percent from beyond the arc (5-for-18). DePaul also hurt its cause by missing half of its 24 free throws.

Southerland sank two foul shots to lift the Orange to a 50-39 lead with 9:18 remaining, and Brandon Triche tossed in three on Syracuse's next two possessions.

Brandon Young rolled in a layup with 8:08 left to cut DePaul's deficit to 53-41, but Fair then hammered home a dunk off a feed from Michael Carter-Williams to put the Orange in front 55-41. That field goal was Syracuse's first since the six-minute mark of the second half.

Southerland followed with a sideline drive and dunk with 7:21 left, a bucket that the Blue Demon' Moses Morgan countered with a foul shot.

Rakeem Christmas then had Syracuse's third straight slam, off an alley-oop pass from Triche, expanding the Orange's lead to 59-42.

Syracuse sprinted off on a 15-2 run in the final 5:37 of the first half to earn a 35-26 edge at the break.

With Syracuse trailing 24-20, Christmas bounced a shot off the rim that dropped through the net, and Fair, who scored 11 in the first half, threw down a dunk off a feed from Carter-Williams to knot the game at 24.

Southerland pushed Syracuse ahead with 4:21 left in the half when he put back a second chance of his own shot, drew a foul and completed a three-point play. Triche then shook free with a hesitation move that set him up for a left-handed runner, and he added a foul shot that gave the Orange a 30-24 cushion with 3:27 remaining.

Fair had a rebound basket and then a three-pointer with 1:14 remaining to give Syracuse a 35-24 lead.

The Blue Demons' Donnavan Kirk stopped the run with a dunk that was the final hoop of the half.

NOTES: Triche, a senior playing in his final home game, made his 137th career start for the Orange, breaking a tie with Craig Forth for second place on the school's all-time list. ... Besides Triche, Southerland was honored as a senior playing in his last home game before the contest. ... Syracuse has won at least 20 games in a season 35 times in Jim Boeheim's 37 years as head coach. ... Melvin blocked one shot. He needs one more block to become the 100th player in program history with 100 career rejections. ... Young needs two 3-pointers to become the fourth DePaul player in school history with at least 1,200 career points, 300 assists and 100 treys. He went 1-for-2 from long distance Wednesday, and he finished with 12 points and six assists.
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