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Orange top DePaul to clinch double-bye

By SU ATHLETICS

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Senior Rick Jackson scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in his final game in the Carrier Dome to lead No. 12/12 Syracuse to a 107-59 victory against DePaul on Saturday, March 5. With the victory, the Orange clinched the fourth seed in next week’s BIG EAST Championship and a double-bye to the quarterfinals.

The Orange’s 48-point win against the Blue Demons (7-23, 1-17) is the largest margin of victory in BIG EAST history, breaking the previous record of 45 (Louisville 99, DePaul 54). Syracuse (25-6, 12-6) endedthe regular season on a five-game winning streak for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign. 

The Orange enjoyed its most productive game of the season, recording season highs in points (107) and field goals made (45). Syracuse’s 71.4 field goal percentage (45-for-63) was the highest of the season and tied for the third-highest mark in program history.It also tied for the top percentage in a BIG EAST Conference game. In addition, the Orange shot a season-best 77.8 percent (7-of-9) from three-point range. That figure ranked fourth on Syracuse’s single-game record list.

Jackson shared leading scorer honors with junior Scoop Jardine, who added 14 points to go along with eight assists. Freshman Dion Waiters came off the bench to contribute 12 points, while fellow freshman C.J. Fair finished with 11 points. Freshman Fab Melo rounded out the double-digit scorers with a career-best 10 points.

After DePaul scored the first basket of the game, the Orange reeled off 11 unanswered points to take a nine-point lead at the 14:40 mark. Jardine had seven points during the run. The Blue Demons cut the lead to 11-6 before Jackson sparked another Syracuse offensive outburst as Syracuse outscored DePaul, 14-2, to open up a 27-8 lead with 9:04 remaining. Jackson had six points during the run, which was capped off by Brandon Triche’s three-point play. Fair and Waiters combined for Syracuse’s next 11 points as SU led, 38-12, with 6:11 remaining. The Orange continued to build its lead, and a free throw by Waiters with 30 seconds on the clock gave SU its largest lead of the half, 57-25. DePaul’s Mario Stula hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to cut the Orange’s advantage to 57-28 at intermission.

The Orange was 24-for-34 (.706) from the field and 4-for-5 (.800) from three-point range on its way to a season-high 57 first-half points.

The second half featured more Orange offense as it continued to add to its advantage. Every player on the roster saw time in the game as Syracuse’s bench accounted for 55 of the team’s 107 points. Sophomore Mookie Jones tied his season high with nine points, while sophomore James Southerland finished with seven points.

The Orange outrebounded DePaul, 39-22, and outscored the Blue Demons, 66-34, in the paint. Syracuse recorded 13 steals and 12 blocked shots. The Orange limited DePaul to just three three-point field goals, all in the first half.

Syracuse will play in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship on Thursday at 2 p.m. in Madison Square Garden.

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