SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Gerry McNamara was counting the days until
Syracuse played Seton Hall.
It was worth the wait.
McNamara scored 23 points and the Syracuse defense clamped down
on the Pirates' top scorers, leading the Orange (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today; No. 6 AP) to a
75-50 victory Saturday night.
McNamara was injured in last year's game against Seton Hall and
struggled through a 2-for-10 shooting night, scoring a season-low
six points in a 74-67 loss. Even worse, McNamara pulled a groin
muscle, the injury degenerated into a stress fracture of his pelvic
bone, and he was never healthy the rest of the year.
On this night, he exacted a measure of revenge early, going
4-for-6 and scoring 13 points in the first half as Syracuse
methodically took charge.
"Playing down there was tough last year. I've been waiting a
full year to play these guys again," said McNamara, who finished
7-for-11 and hit four 3-pointers. "We really got embarrassed down
there. It wasn't a good game for me."
This one was. McNamara, who hit five 3-pointers in a 79-65 win
over St. John's on Wednesday, seems to have settled into a nice
pattern after some up-and-down play in the nonconference portion of
"I thought I had really good shots tonight," said McNamara,
whose steal and feed to Billy Edelin for a fast-break layup late in
the first half left both smiling and the Carrier Dome crowd
roaring. "I actually thought I could have put a lot more on the
board. Every shot I took was a good look.
"I thought I did a good job coming off screens. I thought I
took as good a looks as I've had this year, and that's why they
went down. I was in rhythm."
Syracuse (15-1, 2-0 Big East) improved to 11-0 at home and 20-3
all-time against Seton Hall (8-5, 0-2) in the Carrier Dome.
Kelly Whitney, the team's leading scorer at 14.1 points per game
and usually a tough matchup for Syracuse -- he scored 21 points in
last year's game -- played only 23 minutes and finished with 10
points and Donald Copeland had nine.
Andre Sweet had eight points and John Allen seven, all in the
first half, and freshman point guard Justin Cerasoli went 0-for-8
and finished with one point. J.R. Morris, averaging 11 points, was
0-for-6 and did not score.
The Pirates, coming off a tough one-point loss at home to Notre
Dame, had trouble penetrating the Syracuse zone and had more
trouble hitting from outside, going 4-for-17 from 3-point range.
"Our defense was good, and they were trying to get it to
Whitney," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "Even when we had the
lead, we were active. We did a good job on defense."
Seton Hall started poorly, committing six turnovers and managing
only one shot in its first seven possessions. And yet when Jamar
Nutter hit a 3-pointer from the right wing just over three minutes
later, the Pirates trailed only 10-7.
"We really wasted a good defensive effort early," said Seton
Hall coach Louis Orr, a former star for Syracuse under Boeheim.
"You've gotta play, go out there and compete. I thought we didn't
play with enough courage. This is a tough place to play. When you
don't make shots and turn the ball over, it's tough. We've got a
lot of maturing to do."
McNamara hit a reverse layup off a nice feed from the top of the
key from Terrence Roberts and Warrick scored seven straight points,
his 3 from the top of the key making it 30-19 with 3:58 left in the
Whitney watched most of it after picking up two early fouls.
"We had a rough start," Whitney said afterward in a silent
locker room. "I only played eight minutes in the first half. They
packed it in on me because they know I get a lot of buckets inside,
but we got to make outside shots, too, to ease it up for me."
Syracuse led 36-22 at the break and McNamara continued his hot
shooting in the second. He drained a 3 from the left corner and hit
another from the top of the key off a screen by Forth to make it
42-24 at 16:24.
Whitney hit a mid-range jumper at 15:03 for Seton Hall's first
basket of the half, but McNamara fed Forth for a two-hand slam dunk
and hit two free throws after a steal to give Syracuse a 48-26 edge
with 13:27 left.