Big East battle pits Orange against desperate Pirates

The sixth-ranked Syracuse Orange hope to keep pace in the top-heavy Big East, as they take on the Seton Hall Pirates in conference action from the Prudential Center on Saturday.

The Orange did themselves no favors with Wednesday's 66-58 loss at Connecticut. With the setback, Jim Boeheim's squad is now 8-3 in conference play, good for second place behind Georgetown and tied with Marquette, while sitting just a half game ahead of Louisville, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh. The loss to the Huskies was the third in the last five games for Syracuse, which is just 4-3 in true road games this season.

Kevin Willard's Pirates have certainly had their ups and downs this season, with the result being a 13-12 overall record. Wins have been few and far between in conference play though, with Seton Hall sitting one game out of the conference cellar with a mere 2-10 record. The Pirates enter this contest with an ugly six-game losing streak in tow, including a 57-55 loss at Rutgers on Tuesday.

This marks the 63rd all-time meeting between these two teams, with Syracuse holding a huge 46-16 all-time advantage. The Orange have won six of the last seven meetings.

Sophomore Michael Carter-Williams led the way with 15 points, while James Southerland added 14, but it wasn't enough in a tough loss to UConn this week. Syracuse also got 10 points from C.J. Fair, but the team as a whole struggled to find its range, converting just 35.4 percent from the floor, weighed down by a 17.4 percent effort from behind the arc (4-of-23).

Offense has been much easier to come by on the year for Syracuse, which is averaging 74.8 ppg on .448 shooting. Scoring depth comes in the form of four players in double figures, led by Brandon Triche's 14.3 ppg. Fair is a close second at 13.8 ppg and leads the team in rebounding (7.1 rpg). Southerland missed a few games, but the team certainly welcomes back his 13.6 ppg off the bench. Carter-Williams can fill up the basket as well at 12.5 ppg, but he is at his best when distributing. The young point guard ranks second in the nation in assists at 8.2 per game.

The Pirates fought back from a double-digit deficit in the second half, but could not overcome the Scarlet Knights in a two-point loss on Tuesday. Fuquan Edwin led the way in defeat with 18 points. Eugene Teague and Brandon Mobley made solid contributions as well, with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Edwin has been one of the conference's most explosive scorers this season, netting a team-high 17.0 ppg (fifth in the conference). Aaron Cosby and Teague are also boasting of double-digit scoring averages at 12.0 and 11.2 ppg, respectively. Teague leads the team and ranks sixth in the Big East in rebounding at 7.4 rpg.