Seton Hall Vs. No. 9 Syracuse: Upset Brewing In The Carrier Dome

GAME NOTES: The suddenly slumping Syracuse Orange welcome the Seton Hall Pirates to the Carrier Dome this evening for a Big East Conference clash.

Not much has gone right for Seton Hall recently, as the team has lost its last three games and six of the last seven to fall to 8-12 overall and 2-6 in conference. On Saturday, the Pirates dropped a 66-60 decision to Rutgers.

As for Syracuse, it has suffered back-to-back losses after opening the season with 18 consecutive victories. To the defense of the Orange, however, the two setbacks have come to Pittsburgh and Villanova, two of the nation's best teams. Saturday's 83-72 setback to the Wildcats dropped Syracuse to 5-2 in Big East play, a mark that still renders the Orange a league title contender. As a result of the two setbacks, the Orange fell to No. 9 in this week's AP poll.

Syracuse owns a commanding 44-15 series lead over Seton Hall, which includes an 80-73 decision over the Pirates last season.

Jeremy Hazell missed significant time for Seton Hall this season due to injury, but he is back in the lineup, as are his 19.1 ppg. Jeff Robinson brings 12.1 ppg and 6.6 rpg to the court for the Pirates, who are getting 11.4 ppg from Jordan Theodore while receiving 10.2 ppg and 9.3 rpg from Herb Pope. The Pirates are generating 67.1 ppg while surrendering 65.4 ppg to opponents. In the six-point loss to Rutgers last time out, Pope tallied 15 points and ripped down 16 rebounds, but he shot just 5-of-14 from the floor. Hazell also scored 15 points, but his 6-of-21 field goal efficiency was even worse. Robinson added 12 points in the setback, while Theodore tallied 11 points for Seton Hall, which shot a meager 32 percent from the floor in the first half. Unfortunately, the team improved just mildly to 34.9 percent after the break. Seton Hall scored just eight points from the foul line and finished with a mere nine assists.

Many wondered if Kris Joseph would be healthy enough to play against Villanova on Saturday, but the Syracuse standout fought through injury and racked up 23 points on the strength of a 4-of-7 effort from three-point range. Rick Jackson came through with 16 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks, while Brandon Triche tallied 14 points. Despite the efforts of those three players, the Orange shot a lackluster 43.5 percent from the floor and were outscored 22-8 from the foul line. Also, 15 turnovers hurt the cause. Through 20 games, Syracuse is averaging a respectable 74.9 ppg while limiting opponents to 61.3 ppg on 37.9 percent shooting from the floor. The Orange are outrebounding those same foes by 5.4 rpg, and the club is blocking 6.5 shots per tilt as well. Joseph is generating 15.0 ppg, while Jackson checks in with 13.2 ppg and 11.9 rpg. Scoop Jardine, who was quiet against Villanova, brings 13.0 ppg and 5.8 apg to the court.

There is no doubt that Syracuse is eager to get back to action, and there is no chance that the Orange lose a third consecutive game this evening.

GAME NOTES: The suddenly slumping Syracuse Orange welcome the Seton Hall Pirates to the Carrier Dome this evening for a Big East Conference clash.

FACTS & STATS: Site: Carrier Dome (33,000) -- Syracuse, New York. Television: MASN, Big East Network. Home Record: Seton Hall 5-5, Syracuse 13-1. Away Record: Seton Hall 2-4, Syracuse 2-1. Neutral Record: Seton Hall 1-3, Syracuse 3-0. Conference Record: Seton Hall 2-6, Syracuse 5-2. Series Record: Syracuse leads, 44-15.

Syracuse 74, Seton Hall 61

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