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No. 3 Syracuse bounces back, tops Cincy

Jan 24, 2012 - 4:21 AM Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Two days after allowing Notre Dame to make half its shots and suffering their first loss of the season, the Syracuse Orange got back on track with a stifling defensive effort.

Gone, though, was their place atop the rankings.

Syracuse, No. 3 in the poll released Monday, held Cincinnati to 34 percent shooting and recorded a 60-53 victory.

Kris Joseph posted 17 points to lead the Orange (21-1, 8-1 Big East), while Scoop Jardine added 13 points and six assists. They played their second consecutive game without rebounding and shot-blocking center Fab Melo, who was not with Syracuse for the road trip for unreleased reasons.

"I told the players this was as good a regular-season bounce-back win that I can remember at Syracuse," said head coach Jim Boeheim. "We were just so woeful Saturday night. But coming here in that atmosphere (and) the way they started the game, to play the way we did -- I thought was tremendous."

Cashmere Wright scored 17 points to lead the Bearcats (15-6, 5-3), who were coming off Saturday's overtime loss at West Virginia. Yancy Gates had 16 points and 10 boards.

Syracuse started to gain some distance in a tight second half just past the midway point, when Jardine and Brandon Triche drilled back-to-back threes. Joseph added a dunk to make it a 48-42 contest.

The Orange continued to lead by multiple possessions, and the game hit a critical juncture after Triche's layup gave Syracuse a 56-48 advantage with just more than three minutes left.

The Bearcats needed points but missed three consecutive shots, all on the same possession. Jardine then connected on a long-distance attempt for an 11-point lead. While the Orange missed 6-of-7 free throws in the final minute, the Bearcats didn't get closer than six.

Cincinnati threatened to take control early, getting out to a 15-6 lead less than five minutes into the game. Wright connected on three shots from beyond the arc during the stretch.

But the Bearcats stopped hitting so many shots and, in fact, made just one more non-layup field goal for the rest of the half.

"They kind of pushed the zone up more. It was harder to get those shots off that we got in the beginning of the game," said Wright.

Meanwhile, Syracuse climbed back in the game with a 9-0 run and Rakeem Christmas' layup with 12 minutes to go tied the game at 15. The Orange fell behind again when Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick followed with a layup, but Syracuse scored the final three baskets of the half to carry a 28-25 edge into the break.

Game Notes

Syracuse shot 46.4 percent...The Orange went 5-of-15 from the line, while the Bearcats sank 3-of-9 foul shots...Syracuse held a 36-24 advantage in points in the paint.