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Heated exchange fires Syracuse in Big East quarters

Mar 12, 2009 - 5:39 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Jonny Flynn and Eric Devendorf both scored 19 points as No. 20 Syracuse used a second-half push to put away Seton Hall, 89-74, in Wednesday's second round of the Big East tournament.

Arinze Onuaku added 15 points, six rebounds and three blocks for the Orange (24-8), who advanced to face fourth-ranked Connecticut in quarterfinals on Thursday.

Winning for the fifth straight time, Syracuse had an early 11-point lead in the contest but was unable to shake pesky Seton Hall (17-15) until an ugly moment.

After Onuaku and the Pirates' John Garcia both received technicals for taunting each other, the Orange's Kristof Ongenaet was hammered on a layup attempt by Brandon Walters with Syracuse leading 46-44 with 15:58 left.

The big hit led to tempers flaring, as Devendorf got into a shoving match with Seton Hall's Eugene Harvey.

Despite the fact that Devendorf was slapped with a technical for his actions, the Orange caught fire, going on an 18-3 run following the hard foul by Walters. Devendorf had eight of his 19 second-half points during the run, including two 3-pointers.

"I think the two altercations really pushed the button for our team to go out there and be aggressive and really stay focused in the game and put it to Seton Hall," Flynn told The Post-Standard.

Devendorf added the fourth of his five 3-pointers with 9:14 to play, giving the Orange a 74-55 cushion.

"I mean, if it's wide open, I'm gonna knock it down," Devendorf told the newspaper. "I have pretty good confidence in myself when I'm wide open."

Syracuse finished 9-of-18 from the arc in beating Seton Hall for the third straight time.

"It wouldn't shock me if they beat a Louisville, a Pittsburgh, a Connecticut," Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez told the paper. "If they make shots, they can beat anybody in this conference."

Flynn also had 11 assists as the Orange finished with 30 on 37 field goals, tying the Big East tournament record for most assists in a game. Georgetown set the record against Connecticut on March 7, 1985.

On the other hand, Syracuse committed 12 turnovers compared to 18 for Seton Hall.

Ongenaet chipped in 12 points and seven assists for the Orange, whose coach Jim Boeheim claimed his 43rd career win - tournament record.

Jeremy Hazell had 27 points for the Pirates, who were coming off a 68-54 victory over South Florida in the opening round - their only win in their last seven Big East tournament games dating back to 2002-03.