Syracuse, N.Y. - During the past two weeks, Providence had defeated two ranked teams: then-No. 17 Cincinnati on Feb. 6, and then-No. 21 Notre Dame on Saturday.
That streak came to a crashing halt Wednesday night, when No. 8 Syracuse walloped the Friars 84-59 in the final regular-season game between the two charter members of the Big East Conference before 23,717 fans at the Carrier Dome.
Syracuse's James Southerland scored 14 points during a 31-4 run that closed the first half and ended the Friars' upset dreams. Providence hasn't defeated a ranked team on the road in 26 tries since a 66-56 victory over UConn on Jan. 24, 2004.
C.J. Fair paced the Orange with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Michael Carter-Williams added 15 points and 12 assists. Southerland finished with 20 points and Brandon Triche chipped in with 14.
The Orange improved to 22-4 and 10-3 in the Big East. Syracuse is tied for first place in the conference with No. 11 Georgetown and No. 17 Marquette. The Orange will face the Hoyas twice and Golden Eagles once in its final five games of the regular season.
Syracuse also stretched its home winning streak to 38, which is the longest in the nation and extends a Carrier Dome record. The Orange, which defeated the Friars 72-66 on Jan. 9 at Providence, has a seven-game winning streak against the Friars and leads the all-time series against Providence 48-10.
The loss snapped the Friars' four-game winning streak -- their first four-game streak in the Big East since 2004. At 14-12 and 6-8 in the Big East, Providence will need to win its final four regular-season games and one or two Big East Tournament games to have a shot for its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2004.
LaDontae Henton had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Friars, and Vincent Council had 13 points and seven assists. Bryce Cotton, who entered the game as the Big East's leading scorer at 20.4 points per game, had only 10.
The Orange led 43-16 at halftime. The score was tied at 12 midway through the first half, but Syracuse finished the half on a dynamic 31-4 run.
Southerland scored 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting during the run, nearly matching the Friars' first-half scoring output. Fair had nine points during the spurt, while backup guard Trevor Cooney, who did not play in the Orange's last game against Seton Hall, added two baskets.
Fair finished with 11 first-half points, and point guard Carter-Williams notched eight assists before intermission.
The Friars shot just 29.6 percent in the first half (8-for-27). Cotton, had just two first-half points on 1-for-3 shooting.
NOTES: Providence senior point guard Vincent Council, who recently passed Ernie DiGregorio to become the Friars' all-time assists leader, captured the Big East record for career assists during the first half Wednesday. Council's third assist of the game was the 427th of his Big East career, breaking the mark set by Syracuse's Sherman Douglas from 1985-89. ... Syracuse has sold 35,012 tickets to Saturday's game against Georgetown at the Carrier Dome and has announced that the game is officially sold out. The attendance total will set a record -- the previous Dome record for a basketball game was 34,616 on Feb. 27, 2010, against Villanova. With the Orange headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season, it's the last time the longtime rivals will face each other as Big East opponents at the Dome. ... Providence senior forward Kadeem Batts (44 points, 12 rebounds in two games) and Triche (a career-high 29 points vs. Seton Hall) were named to the Big East Honor Roll for their performances in last week's games. ... Former Orange standout Kris Joseph, who was recently released by the NBA's Boston Celtics, worked out at Syracuse while waiting to join his new D-League team in Springfield, Mass.