Curry lifts Providence past slumping Syracuse

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Providence coach Keno Davis knew his 3-point shooters would eventually force struggling Syracuse to come out of its usually steady zone defense.

Sharaud Curry scored a season-high 22 points to lead six players in double figures, carrying Providence to a 100-94 victory over the 15th-ranked Orange on Wednesday night.

"When you're a 3-point shooting team and you can put three, four players on the court that can shoot from the outside, then you can get them to extend and get the ball inside more," Davis said after his Friars shot 67 percent from the floor in the second half.

Marshon Brooks scored 17 points and Geoff McDermott and Jonathan Kale each had 15 for Providence (14-6, 6-2 Big East), which won for the seventh time in nine games and matched its best Big East start since 2000-01. Randall Hanke and Weyinmi Efejuku had 12 points apiece for the Friars.

Curry thought his team had a good idea how to attack Syracuse.

"We've played zone for a few years so we knew where we could get our shots against them," Curry said.

Jonny Flynn led Syracuse (17-5, 5-4) with a career-high 35 points and Eric Devendorf had 27. The Orange lost their fourth in five games.

"I told Jonny and Eric before the game that they were going to have to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-30 points for us to win," Orange coach Jim Boeheim said, expecting that Providence's offense would be tough to contain. "I knew it was going to be a high-scoring game. They get up and down the floor and have good perimeter guys. They shoot the ball well."

Providence opened a 14-point lead after consecutive 3s by Curry and Brooks 22 seconds apart midway into the second half and Syracuse never got closer than five points the rest of the way.

"If we don't stop anybody and we don't play better D, we can't be the team we want to be," Flynn said. "It was just a lot of things that killed us this game."

The Providence students stormed the court when the game ended despite many requests from the public address announcer to stay off "for their safety."

Providence scored 10 straight points and 16 of 19 during a four-minute stretch early in the second half, opening a 63-51 lead on Hanke's layup with 14:24 to play.

The Orange closed to 73-65 on Flynn's three-point play, but Curry and Brooks hit their consecutive 3s to spark a 10-4 run that made it 83-69 with 6:47 to go.

The Friars came out shooting in the second half, hitting 15 of their first 20 shots from the floor. Many came on short jumpers in the middle of Syracuse's zone.

In the first half, the Friars also didn't have any trouble solving the Orange's zone, getting the ball inside for several easy baskets, while Syracuse relied on Devendorf's outside shooting and Flynn's transition game to keep it tight.

The Orange scored 11 of 17 points to take a 27-21 edge on Flynn's breakaway layup, but Providence started combining strong outside shooting with its inside game to pull to 44-all at halftime.

Flynn had 17 points and Devendorf, who showed little effect from a sore hip that's been bothering him for nearly three weeks, had 13 in the opening half.

Syracuse center and leading rebounder Arinze Onuaku didn't start but entered early in the first half. He was very ineffective, grabbing just one rebound without taking a shot in 15 minutes after missing practice the past two days due to swelling of both knees.

"I was glad to see him trying, but he was sore and couldn't jump," Boeheim said. "It might have been better to have left him home."

Orange guard Andy Rautins didn't make the trip because of a sprained right ankle.


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