SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Scoop Jardine sparked a game-deciding rally with 3-pointers on consecutive possessions in the closing minutes, and No. 2 Syracuse beat Connecticut 85-67 on Saturday.
Jardine had a season-high 21 points as Syracuse (25-1, 12-1 Big East) earned its fifth consecutive win since suffering its only loss of the season at Notre Dame.
Connnecticut trailed the entire second half but closed to 63-61 on a free throw by Tyler Olander with 6:26 to go.
Jardine, who had six assists and only one turnover, then hit 3-pointers from the right side as the Orange closed the game with a 19-3 surge. Jardine also hit a layup and another 3 from the top of the key to key the rally.
Jeremy Lamb scored 18 points for Connecticut (15-9, 5-7), which has lost six of seven. Ryan Boatright had 14, Andre Drummond 13, and Shabazz Napier finished with 11 points and seven assists before fouling out late.
Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun missed his third straight game since taking an indefinite medical leave due to spinal stenosis, a painful condition in his lower back. Associate head coach George Blaney once again ran the team in his absence.
Dion Waiters scored 18 points for the Orange, and C.J. Fair finished with 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Kris Joseph had 15 points.
The crowd of 33,430 was the largest of the season and fourth largest in Carrier Dome history.
Syracuse was coming off a 64-61 overtime victory over No. 12 Georgetown on Wednesday night and had won three of the past four against the Huskies, the only loss coming in overtime in last year's Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. The Huskies went on to win their third national championship last spring, but Kemba Walker is an NBA rookie now and the Huskies have struggled despite the return of four starters from last year.
Coming off an embarrassing 80-59 loss at Louisville on Monday night, the Huskies gave a game effort against Syracuse.
The Orange shot 59.3 percent and won with the long ball, hitting 10 of 16 from beyond the arc to offset UConn's 8-of-19 effort from long range.
Syracuse also had a spirited effort on the glass, enjoying a 31-29 rebounding edge after coach Jim Boeheim blasted the team following an abysmal showing in the overtime win over the Hoyas. The Orange had been beaten on the glass a combined 170-109 in four of its previous six games — against Pittsburgh (40-28), Notre Dame (38-25), West Virginia (40-21) and Georgetown (52-35).
This one was a game of swings.
After the Huskies closed to 54-52 on Olander's three-point play midway through the second half, the Orange rallied. Fair hit a baseline jumper, Joseph drained a 3, and Waiters fed Fair for a dunk in a span of just over 2 minutes to boost the lead to 61-52.
Napier and Lamb hit 3-pointers to key a 9-2 spurt that kept the Huskies in it.
Napier, who had missed his previous 13 attempts from beyond the arc, got the Huskies started on the right foot. He drained a 3 from the top of the key for the first basket of the game.
The Orange kept pace in the early going behind six points from Fab Melo, all on jumpers away from the basket, his long shot from the top of the key tying it at 14 with 12:17 left in the first half.
Waiters then started Syracuse on an 11-1 run, hitting a scoop shot in the lane and then feeding Joseph for a 3-pointer from the left corner. James Southerland followed with another 3 and Jardine completed the surge with a lob to Fair for a 25-15 lead as the orange-clad crowd erupted.
Connecticut drew within three points twice before the half ended, the second on two free throws by Lamb with 1:41 to go, but a pair of turnovers and a foul in the closing seconds cost the Huskies. Brandon Triche hit from the top of the key, Waiters followed with a steal and layup and Joseph hit two free throws for a 43-34 lead at the break.