Back at full strength, Syracuse looks for revenge against Pittsburgh in Big East quarterfinals

first_imgNEW YORK — Syracuse has its chance to show Pittsburgh what it can do at full strength. With a deeper bench and a knockdown shooter waiting to wreak havoc on the arc, the Orange takes on a different appearance, one the Panthers haven’t seen yet.No. 19 Syracuse plays Pittsburgh in the third round of the Big East tournament on Thursday at 2 p.m. at Madison Square Garden. The Panthers, who earned a double-bye with their fourth-place regular-season finish, beat the Orange 65-55 on Feb. 2 in front of a raucous Petersen Events Center crowd. Some of Syracuse’s biggest deficiencies bubbled to the surface in that game, but they can’t reappear for the Orange to earn revenge against Pittsburgh.“Pittsburgh, they beat us pretty good. They got on the glass on us,” Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams said. “They just bullied us, really. We’re going to have to come to play.Back on Feb. 2, the Panthers crashed the boards for a 39-24 rebounding advantage. They shot 48 percent from the field, and managed to hold the Orange to only 36.7-percent shooting. Pittsburgh also played 10 players, and outscored Syracuse 31-3 in bench points.At the time, the Orange’s roster was thin. DaJuan Coleman was still out after having knee surgery in late January. Syracuse’s biggest loss at the time, though, was James Southerland, who was ineligible due to an academic issue.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSU played seven players, with Baye Moussa Keita and Trevor Cooney off the bench. Cooney played 17 minutes and never attempted a single shot. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, had four different players score at least six points each off the bench.Now Syracuse hopes having Southerland back in the lineup leads to a different result Thursday. If his performance on Wednesday is any indication, it will. Southerland scored 20 points against Seton Hall, and went 6-of-9 from the arc.Against a gritty Pittsburgh team, he could be key for Syracuse.“They make you fight for every point,” SU forward C.J. Fair said. “This time we’ve got James in our lineup and James, he stretches the floor so that’s going to be big for getting their bigs away from the basket so it can make it easier for us to get offensive rebounds and stuff.”Pittsburgh, which has won seven of its last 10 games, is an extremely physical defensive team. The Panthers are second in the Big East in scoring margin at plus-14.7, and are first in the league in rebounding defense at 28.3 boards per game.Only one Pittsburgh player, Tray Woodall, averages double-digit points per game, but the Panthers’ defense makes up for it.Syracuse played eight players on Wednesday, but Jerami Grant and Trevor Cooney played a total of six minutes. The Orange didn’t need much more than that in the slow-paced game against the Pirates.Syracuse is going to need its bench against the physical Panthers, though. At full strength, the Orange could be a different team this time around.“Pittsburgh tomorrow will be more physical, man to man,” Boeheim said. “We’ll play more people tomorrow.” Comments Related Stories MARCHING BACK: Syracuse returns to form, gets offense humming in 75-63 Big East tournament win over Seton HallCarter-Williams ties Big East tournament assist record, paces Syracuse in win over Seton Hall Published on March 13, 2013 at 8:12 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_isemancenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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