for this game

Providence uses hot shooting, balance for rare win over Syracuse

Jan 29, 2009 - 7:03 AM PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (Ticker) -- Sharaud Curry and Providence started off a rough stretch with a sizzling effort.

Curry led six players in double figures with 22 points as Providence picked up a rare win against No. 15 Syracuse with Wednesday's 100-94 victory.

Marshon Brooks scored 17 points off the bench and Geoff McDermott added 15 and six rebounds for the Friars (14-6, 6-2 Big East), who beat the Orange at home for the first time since February 7, 2004 - a span of three games.

Overall, the win was just Providence's sixth in 26 all-time meetings with Syracuse at home as it got off to its best start in league play since 2000-01.

The Friars shot 54 percent (36-of-67) from the field, including 10-of-26 on 3-pointers, in reaching 100 points for the third time this season.

The infrequent win over the Orange may turn out to be a much-needed one for the Friars, who are entering the teeth of their Big East schedule, with matchups with No. 2 Connecticut, No. 21 Villanova and West Virginia awaiting.

Providence will face the Huskies on Saturday, a surprisingly favorable matchup as the Friars have won their last four road games in the series.

Jonny Flynn had a career-high 35 points and Eric Devendorf added 27 for the Orange (17-5, 5-4), who lost for the fourth time in their last five games.

"I told Jonny and Eric before the game that they were going to have to be in the neighborhood of 25 to 30 apiece for us to have a chance to win," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim told The Post-Standard.

"It was going to be a high-scoring game. Without Arinze (Onuaku) or Andy (Rautins), we're not going to get very many points from the other guys that are out there. They couldn't have played any better than they played."

As expected, Flynn did not think too highly of his new career best.

"All that doesn't mean nothing if you don't win," he told The Post-Standard. "At the end of the day, people look at whether you won the game or not."

After an entertaining first half that included a combined 88 points, Providence created its separation with an early 16-2 run, pulling ahead 63-51 on Randall Hanke's layup with 14:24 to play.

A questionable foul started the burst for the Friars, as Devendorf was called for an intentional one on a fast-break layup attempt by Efejuku despite the fact that the Orange junior clearly swiped at the ball.

Efejuku split the two free throws to tie the score at 48-48, and McDermott was fouled on the ensuing possession, also going 1-of-2 from the stripe.

After Devendorf missed a 3-point attempt on the other end, Curry alertly saw that the shot clock was winding down before burying a desperation 30-foot heave that ignited the Friars' run.

To compound its poor luck after the pray by Curry, Syracuse's Kristof Ongenaet committed an ill-advised inbounds pass that was stolen by McDermott before fouling the Providence player as he completed a layup.

McDermott, who finished 6-of-9 from the field with two steals, completed the three-point play, giving the Friars a 55-48 advantage with 17:22 remaining.

With momentum clearly against them, the Orange continued to get buried, as a turnover by Flynn was turned into a fast-break layup by Curry that gave Providence a 57-48 lead - its biggest at home this season at that point.

"We made five or six bad turnovers that were, I thought, the difference in the game," Boeheim told The Post-Standard. "We couldn't stop them and they couldn't stop us. It was a matter really of looking at the game, just five or six real bad transition turnovers."

That cushion would eventually balloon to 79-65 with 8:22 left after Brooks completed the second of back-to-back 3-pointer with Curry.

Syracuse did close within 89-84 on Devendorf's 3-pointer with 1:51 left but the shorthanded club could get no closer as Providence converted 11-of-18 free throws down the stretch.

Flynn and Devendorf combined for 10-of-22 on 3-pointers and handed out eight assists.

"I might feel differently after watching the game and dissecting tape but I feel they just made some outstanding plays," Providence coach Keno Davis told the newspaper.

"They had some open shots, but for the most part they made some great basketball plays."

The Orange were forced to open the game without two starters, as junior guard Rautins was sidelined with a ankle injury and junior center Onuaku came off the bench due to a bad left knee. He finished with 15 ineffective minutes, failing to attempt a shot and grabbing just one rebound.

"I think that hurt us a lot," Syracuse sophomore forward Rick Jackson told the newspaper. "We've never played without them two. We weren't sure if Arinze was going to play and we knew (Rautins) wasn't going to play. We went in there and really relied on Jonny (Rautins) and E (Onuaku) to score points for us."

Jackson chipped in 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Orange, who finished 51 percent (33-of-65) from the field and ended up with a 33-32 edge on the boards.