Syracuse-Seton Hall Preview
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
(AP) -- Syracuse is relieved to get back on the court after turning in one of its worst shooting performances of the season.
The fact that the Orange are facing spiraling Seton Hall may provide added comfort.
No. 6 Syracuse looks to end its longest road losing streak in four years by trying to continue its success against the Pirates in the final scheduled Big East matchup between these programs on Saturday night.
The Orange (20-4, 8-3) have lost three in a row as the visitor for the first time since a five-game slide from Jan. 14-Feb. 11, 2009. The current skid includes averaging 61.3 points while shooting 35.0 percent - including 23.5 from beyond the arc. Those are all well below their season marks of 74.8 points per game, 44.8 percent shooting and 32.0 from long range.
Syracuse's road woes continued Wednesday with a 66-58 loss at Connecticut. The Orange shot 35.4 percent while going 4 for 23 (17.4 percent) from 3-point range, and are eager to putt that performance behind them.
"It's always good to play a game close after a loss," forward C.J. Fair said. "Seton Hall, they're a tough team. They're coming off a loss as well, so they're going to be eager to beat us, so we just have to come and play."
Seton Hall (13-12, 2-10) isn't just coming off a loss, it's coming off six in a row and 10 in 11 games.
The Orange also haven't had much trouble with the Pirates, winning 12 of the past 15 meetings, including five of six on the road.
Senior Brandon Triche had 15 points in a 61-56 victory in the Orange's most recent visit to Prudential Center on Jan. 8, 2011, and Syracuse coasted to a 75-49 win in the latest overall meeting, Dec. 28, 2011.
Triche, who averages a team-high 14.3 points, struggled greatly Wednesday, however, scoring nine on 3 for 15 from the floor while missing all seven attempts from beyond the arc.
"Good players have bad nights," coach Jim Boeheim said. "He'll bounce back."
James Southerland certainly has after sitting out six games with an academic issue. The senior forward has hit 7 of 16 from 3-point range while totaling 27 points in two games since his return.
His scoring average of 13.6 doubles his 6.8 from last season.
"I feel like I've made a lot of progress coming from last year to now, especially being a leader," Southerland said. "It was tough not being there with my team. I wanted to be out there, especially for those tough road games like (losses at) Villanova and Pittsburgh. I'm there for them now."
Seton Hall, winless in five matchups with ranked teams this season, is staring at a potential seven-game losing streak for the first time since Feb. 12-March 6, 2002.
Despite being at home, the Pirates aren't inspiring much confidence with a 1-4 conference record there, while averaging 58.8 points.
Seton Hall's latest defeat came on the road Tuesday, falling 57-55 at Rutgers while making 6 of 21 from long range. The team is converting just 28.7 percent of its 3-point attempts over the past five games, and Fuquan Edwin isn't helping.
The junior swingman leads the team with 17.0 points per game while sinking 41.7 percent from behind the arc, but he's hit just 10 of 36 (27.8 percent) of his 3-pointers during the skid.
It may not get better versus the Orange since he missed all 11 attempts from the field while finishing with three points in the most recent matchup.
Updated February 15, 2013