Sunday, December 17, 2017

Orange back to playing its game

CINCINNATI — Two days after its first loss, Syracuse played like a top team again.

Kris Joseph scored 17 Monday night, repeatedly driving past defenders for layups, and No. 3 Syracuse recovered from its first loss of the season by beating Cincinnati 60-53 with an offense that attacked inside and a defense that had its way.

"We had to come into this game with a lot of focus," said Joseph, who scored 11 in the second half. "What's done is done. It was a tough night (at Notre Dame) for everybody. You can't let a loss lead to another loss."

The Orange (21-1, 8-1 Big East) used a late 12-2 run to pull away from the Bearcats, who tried to use the energy of their first home sellout to get a signature win.

Instead, coach Jim Boeheim came away with career victory No. 877 to pass Adolph Rupp for sole possession of fourth place among Division I coaches.

He'll remember this one more for his team's grit.

"I told our players this was probably as good a regular-season bounceback win that I can remember at Syracuse," said Boeheim, in his 36th season. "We were just so woeful (Saturday) night. To come in here with that atmosphere to start the game and play the way we did I thought was tremendous."

Syracuse was coming off a 67-58 loss at Notre Dame that ended the best start in school history and cost the Orange its No. 1 ranking.

"You have to go over bumps," guard Brandon Triche said. "When we played against Notre Dame, it was a bump. We didn't want to go over more of them."

That loss stuck with Boeheim, who couldn't believe his team had played so badly at Notre Dame and wondered how it would react two days later.

"I don't think I've ever had a game where not one guy did anything," Boeheim said. "If we'd have played that way here (Monday), we would have gotten beat by 30 points."

NO. 5 KANSAS 64, TEXAS A&M 54: Thomas Robinson scored 16 of his 18 in the second half to lead the host Jayhawks (17-3, 7-0 Big 12).

NO. 7 UNC: Coach Roy Williams said sophomore Reggie Bullock probably will replace injured guard Dexter Strickland in the starting lineup Thursday.

NO. 11 MURRAY ST.: Forward Ivan Aska said he was cleared to return after missing six games with a broken right hand.

AP POLL: Florida State moved back into the poll at No. 23. Wisconsin returned at No. 25, and Illinois and Louisville fell out. Kentucky, which was ranked No. 1 for two weeks earlier this season, returned to the top spot.


NO. 2 NOTRE DAME 72, NO. 7 TENNESSEE 44: Skylar Diggins matched a season high with 27 points, and the host Irish (20-1) held the Volunteers (14-5) to the fewest points in school history.

NO. 10 MIAMI 79, VA. TECH 48: Stefanie Yderstrom scored 22 for the host Hurricanes (17-1, 6-1 ACC), who opened the game with a 15-1 run within 4:10.

NO. 13 PURDUE 67, MICHIGAN ST. 49: Alex Guyton and Chelsea Jones scored 12 each as the host Boilermakers (17-3, 7-0) won their 10th straight and remained alone atop the Big Ten.

AP POLL: BYU entered tied at No. 23, its first appearance since Nov. 27, 2006. Gonzaga returned at No. 22, giving the West Coast Conference two ranked teams for the first time. Kansas State and Vanderbilt fell out. Baylor remained the unanimous No. 1.

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