MBB : PLAYING FOR KEEPS: Behind Jardine’s big game, SU edges rival Hoyas on road

first_imgWASHINGTON — Because he’s known Scoop Jardine since the seventh grade, Rick Jackson sees what Jardine refers to as ‘playground shots’ often. Playground shots like the 15-foot turnaround high-arch that swooshed into the basket Saturday or the gutsy 3-pointer right in the face of Georgetown’s Julian Vaughn.‘I think he just got comfortable,’ Jackson said. ‘He found a rhythm. When a guy finds a rhythm, it’s hard to stop him. That’s what happened today.’After leading Syracuse’s potent transition attack to near perfection in the first half, Jardine turned the Verizon Center court into his playground late in the second half as well. He had 17 points and seven assists orchestrating the SU offense, and his three late clutch shots helped the Orange (24-6, 11-6 Big East) hold on to a 58-51 win against No. 11 Georgetown (21-8, 10-7) in front of 20,276. The crowd was the largest ever for a Georgetown game in the Verizon Center.The win was No. 17 Syracuse’s fourth straight and second consecutive on the road against a ranked team. And it inched the Orange closer to a potential top-four spot in the Big East and double-bye in the conference tournament.And it couldn’t have happened without Jardine’s heroics.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘He made some big shots,’ Georgetown head coach John Thompson III said. ‘We made a run, and he hit one or two 3s. Those were big shots for them.’Those baskets came on the heels of a very different scene a couple of minutes earlier. A scene that featured Austin Freeman high-stepping his way down the court at the end of a seismic shift that gave Georgetown a two-point second-half lead over Syracuse.One possession earlier, Georgetown forward Nate Lubick tied the score with a backdoor cut in the Hoyas’ bread-and-butter Princeton offense. Lubick gave his team a lead for the first time since the 19:11 mark of the first half.A lot had changed since Jackson’s emphatic dunk at the 17:30 mark of the second half gave the Orange a commanding 12-point advantage.‘We just had to keep our composure,’ said SU forward James Southerland, who had nine points on the day. ‘No one getting down. Keep attacking. Keep going hard.’And on the very next possession, Syracuse got back to its own bread and butter with its transition offense, led by Jardine and freshman guard Dion Waiters. Waiters grabbed a rebound off a Markel Starks’ missed 3-pointer and streaked up the floor. Jardine ran right alongside. And Waiters found Jardine streaking on the left. He pulled up for a jumper to tie the game back up at 45-45.From there, Jardine took over. He scored seven of his 17 points in the crucial end-of-game stretch to pull the Orange back ahead.After SU took a 47-45 lead on a Jackson layup, Jardine arched a shot over a Georgetown defender to put the Orange up three. On the next possession, he started out in transition. Dribbling up, he stopped at the top of the key and nailed a 3-pointer.‘They were rhythm shots,’ Jardine said. ‘They were playground shots I knew we needed at that time. And I took it upon myself to take them.’Those playground shots shifted the balance from the first 13 minutes of the half, when the Hoyas took control and crept back from a double-digit deficit. They did so by stopping an SU transition attack that led the Orange to a 33-23 halftime lead. The Orange scored 14 of its 33 first-half points on the fast break.But in the second half, Georgetown made shots. The Hoyas shot 5-of-13 from beyond the arc in the second half, compared to just 2-of-12 (16.7 percent) in the first. And Syracuse couldn’t create turnovers or get out to quick possession starts off rebounds.‘In the first half, they were more conservative,’ SU guard Brandon Triche said. ‘In the second half, they knew they needed to shoot. So they started shooting them, and their guys made them. But we made plays when we needed to win.’The two biggest of those plays, SU head coach Jim Boeheim said, came from his point guard Jardine. And for Jackson, Jardine is the person the Orange looks to in tough situations.‘You look for your point guard to get into those gaps and find guys that are open,’ Jackson said. ‘I think he did a great job of that. … Guys tend to step off him, and that opens up the midrange for him to get those shots. And he made them.’[email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentscenter_img Published on February 25, 2011 at 12:00 pmlast_img read more