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No. 2 Syracuse tops USF for 8th straight win

Feb 23, 2012 - 4:12 AM Syracuse, NY (Sports Network) - Scoop Jardine scored 15 points, C.J. Fair had 13 and No. 2 Syracuse had to overcome a slow start, then hold on to beat South Florida, 56-48, on Wednesday night.

Kris Joseph added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Orange (28-1, 15-1 Big East), who trailed 20-7 in the first half but came back to win their eighth straight since falling to Notre Dame last month.

The Bulls (17-11, 10-5) had a four-game win streak snapped and were officially eliminated from a chance to win the regular-season conference title. They were led by Anthony Collins' 12 points and 11 from Toarlyn Fitzpatrick.

South Florida took its 20-7 lead on Collins' floater in the lane, but went nearly nine minutes without another point in the first half.

Syracuse finished the half on a 17-0 run led by Jardine to take a 24-20 lead at the break. Jardine hit two threes and scored eight points in the burst and Dion Waiters capped it with a three-point play.

"Obviously we didn't get off to a good start. They took control of the game," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. "We really did not play great for that period of time. Then we really establish the lead, came out in the second half and got off to a great start."

The Bulls used a 9-1 run, capped by Jawanza Poland's fast-break dunk, to pull within 36-31 in the second half. Fair played stopper for Syracuse with a one- handed runner on the left side, but the game remained close.

Fair said it was more frustrating letting the Bulls come back in the second half than it was spotting them a big lead in the first.

"To me, that was frustrating because we had them, and there were a couple of stops and I think we would have had them for good," said Fair.

It took a 5-0 Syracuse spurt to create some distance after South Florida had pulled within 47-46. Joseph's second-chance bucket in the lane capped it and he had a tip-in later that made it 54-48 inside three minutes.

Game Notes

Syracuse improved to 18-0 at the Carrier Dome this season...The Orange lead the all-time series with USF, 9-1, and have won four in a row. They are 6-0 against the Bulls at home...Syracuse has two remaining regular season games: at Connecticut on Saturday and versus Louisville on March 3. USF has three games left against Cincinnati, Louisville and West Virginia.