New York—The Syracuse Orange came into their "second home", Madison Square Garden, continuing their rejuvenated play by easily beating Seton Hall 89-74.
The game wasn't even as close as it appeared. The Orange had leads of over 20 points late in the second half. The Pirates played a decent first half, however, and found themselves trailing by only five, 31-36, at the break.
The tide of the game turned when Seton Hall's Brandon Walters was called for an intentional foul after smacking Orange player Kristof Ogenaut in the head to prevent a dunk on a breakaway.
Both teams got in the middle of the ensuing scrum and Orange guard Eric Devendorf along with Pirate guard Eugene Harvey were assessed technicals.
The Orange found themselves up 46-44 before the technicals, and decided enough was enough. Over the next several minutes they went on an 18-3 run and stretched the lead to 64-47.
They would continue to pound the Pirates. They stretched their lead to 23 points with just over five minutes left to play, 81-58.
The Orange were led by sophomore PG Jonny Flynn. Flynn put on a performance reminiscent of former Syracuse legend Sherman Douglas.
Flynn was clearly in the zone, seeing the entire court and finding open teammates for shots. He also drove the lane, seemingly spliting Pirate defenders at will, with a dizzying array of crossovers that left bodies littered all over the court.
Flynn finished another masterpiece with 19 points and 11 assists. Jonny also took care of the ball extremely well, finishing with only a single turnover, in 35 minutes of play.
Syracuse also got a great performance from SG Eric Devendorf, who finished 5-9 from the three point line, scoring 19 points.
Arinze Onuaku and Kristof Ongenaet also had solid games. Onuaku scored 15 points, blocked three shots, and hauled down seven rebounds. Ongenaet scored a season high 12 points. He had three rebounds, five assists, and two blocks coming off the bench.
Seton Hall was led by SG Jeremy Hazel, who had a game high 27 points, as well as three rebounds.
The only other player the Pirates got a meaningful contribution from was PF Robert Mitchell, who scored 15 points and hauled in 12 rebounds.
Seton Hall struggled to shoot over the Oranges' 2-3 zone, finishing a cool 9-27 from behind the three point line. In contrast, Syracuse ended up shooting 9-18 from deep range.
WSTM channel 3 in Syracuse, New York caught up with Orange PG Jonny Flynn at Madison Square Garden and asked him the all important question on everyone's mind. Flynn had this to say, "As of right now I am coming back next year."
I would take it with a grain of salt. Hopefully the Orange still have a lot of basketball to play this year, and anything can happen. Although, it's a lot better than him saying that of as of right now he is going to the NBA.
As I said in my last article, after the huge signing of DaShonte Riley, the 6'11" center from Michigan, the Orange don't actually have an extra scholarship to give him.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that someone has already informed the coaches of their decision to leave early. With Flynn, at least right now saying he is coming back for his junior year, it only solidifies my opinion that this mystery player who is leaving is SG Eric Devendorf.
To further this thought, in an interview by the Syracuse Post Standard, Orange coach Jim Boehiem reported that Eric was planning on leaving after last season before he injured himself, and ended up red-shirting.
Devendorf is going to graduate in May and is also a recent father. It looks like he may give the NBA a shot, or go over-seas to earn a living.
Up next for the Orange are the Connecticut Huskies, who are the three seed, and ranked fourth in the country. Back on February 11, the Huskies defeated the Orange 64-49 on their home court.
The crowd for tommorrow's game should be decidedly orange colored, due to the large alumni fan base in New York City, and it's proximity to Syracuse.
With their victory over Seton Hall the Orange have now won five games in a row, and seven out-of-their last eight.
Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. Thursday night, and should make for an interesting re-match between the two teams.