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Cuse Dominate Paint, Stroke It From Deep
Advance to Sweet 16

The trip to Miami was a tremendous success, as the Orange came away with two relatively easy wins and advanced to play in the Sweet 16. After playing poorly and beating Stephen F. Austin by 15 on Friday, Syracuse rebounded and played a superb all around basketball game. They pounded it inside to Ricky Jackson and Onuaku early and often, as it was evident Arizona State didn’t have any bodies that could matchup with the Syracuse bigs.

As the defense started to sag, Eric Devendorf and Andy Rautins began what started to feel like a 3 point shoot out. The Orange jumped out to a 16 point lead as Jonny Flynn was penetrating and smiling, while the Junior shooters were coming up wet. It was a complete clinic and the Orange looked dominant in the first half. James Harden was held without a field goal in the first session, and the future lottery pick, looked like he had a better chance of winning 649 than minutes on an NBA roster.

The second half wasn’t much different, though Harden decided to upgrade to his “C” game. Arizona State didn’t attack the gaps of the zone, and relied on big shooting from Rihards Kuksiks (don’t worry, I can’t pronounce it either), who had 20 points, on 6-13 from 3 point land. If Kuksiks didn’t shoot the eyes out of it, this might have gotten embarrasing. Harden showed what he’s made of on the big stage, grading out somewhere between Pau Gasol in the NBA Finals last summer, and Chris Anderson in the 2005 Slam Dunk Competition. NBA Scouts who were on hand were down in the tunnel after the game, asking the Arizona State staff for reinbursment for their airfare. I mean this guy was putrid. Arizona State’s other big name, Jeff Pendergraph, managed just 9 points and 2 rebounds in a foul plagued 24 minutes. More importantly, he looked like a SunBelt Conference 2-guard standing behind Arinze. The bigs were the story in this one, completely out muscling the Pac-10 standout.

Next up for the Cuse, is the almighty Blake Griffin and his #2 Oklahoma Sooners.

Nolan Shulman
nolan@flagrantfouls.com

Posted 1 week, 1 day ago at 6:25 PM.

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