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01/14/2012 9:41 PM EST
Joseph, Waiters help No. 1 Orange top Providence
SYRACUSE 78, PROVIDENCE 55

By JOHN KEKIS
AP Sports Writer

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- On a night when the shots weren't falling
early, top-ranked Syracuse unveiled one of its potent weapons -
the press. Without star point guard Vince Council, Providence
was no match.



Dion Waiters had 12 points, seven coming during a decisive
first-half run spurred by that press, Scoop Jardine added 10
points and nine assists, and Syracuse beat undermanned
Providence 78-55 on Saturday night to remain unbeaten.



"We had a slow first half offensively," said Kris Joseph, who
led Syracuse with 13 points. "But I think the last six or seven
minutes when we threw in the press ... that really turned things
around for us going into halftime."



After two free throws by Henton moved Providence within 17-16
with 5:57 left in the first half, Syracuse put together one of
the spurts that have made the Orange unbeatable this season,
running off 15 straight points as the Friars self-destructed
with six straight turnovers. They've also had a 23-point run and
two 19-point runs.



"It starts with the guards and our intensity and getting our
teammates involved," Jardine said.



Providence had 16 turnovers in the opening period and the Orange
took advantage, scoring 16 points off the giveaways.



"We just try to get after it as much as we can," Waiters said.
"We came out kind of sluggish. Our offense wasn't clicking, our
defense wasn't. We just didn't have no enthusiasm, and when I
came in the game I still didn't pick it up. We had to find
somebody to get it going. I started it off by getting a steal.
Everything else was history from there."



The victory for the Orange (19-0, 6-0 Big East) matches the
school record for wins to start a season, set in 1999-2000.
Syracuse will try to break the mark Monday night at home against
Pittsburgh. The Panthers (11-7, 0-5) are the only winless team
in the Big East after a 62-57 loss on Saturday at No. 25
Marquette - their sixth straight setback - but they've beaten
Syracuse five straight times.



"We're just trying to get ready for the next game," Syracuse
coach Jim Boeheim said after the 875th victory of his career
moved him within one of Adolph Rupp for fourth place all-time in
Division I. "Pitt's a good team. I don't care what their record
is. They'll come in here and play well."



Kadeem Batts led Providence with 13 points, LaDontae Henton had
12 on 5-of-16 shooting and Gerard Coleman 11 on 4-of-14 from the
field.



The Friars (12-7, 1-5) were coming off a surprising 90-59 win
over No. 14 Louisville, but they had to play Syracuse without
junior guard Vince Council, their leading scorer and playmaker.
Head coach Ed Cooley suspended him for the game.



"From an accountability standpoint, if I'm going to build a
program the right way it doesn't matter if you're our
leading-minute guy, I want to build a program based on character
and integrity," Cooley said afterward. "If you can't be a
company guy and do things the right way, it doesn't matter who
you are to me. I want to build a team where it's about trusting
each other, and if you don't do that, you're not going to play."



Without Council, the Friars committed 22 turnovers, nine more
than they had in the first meeting with the Orange - an 87-73
loss 10 days ago.



"We're limited with our personnel. When they pressed us, a lot
of our warts came out - our inability to handle the ball,"
Cooley said. "Let's face it: they're the No. 1 team in the
country for a reason."



Council, who had 15 points and 14 assists against Louisville -
the most assists in a league game this season - has scored 20 or
more points five times and is averaging 16.4 a game. He had 17
points and five assists in Providence's loss to Syracuse.



In that game, Providence stayed with Syracuse for most of the
night and shot 48.9 percent, the second-highest Syracuse has
allowed this season. The Friars also made six 3-pointers but
were unable to overcome the hot-shooting Orange, who hit 19 of
26 (73.1 percent) shots in the second half, including 5 of 7
from beyond the arc.



The Orange didn't resemble that team on Saturday night and
seemed ripe for an upset when they started sluggishly, missing
their first nine 3-point attempts and going more than 5 minutes
between baskets. After Baye Keita, Waiters and James Southerland
missed three straight shots in a flurry under the Providence
basket, the Friars tied it 12-all on Brice Kofane's turnaround
jumper at the shot-clock buzzer.



Joseph started the decisive rush with a pretty no-look,
over-the-shoulder pass to Jardine for a layup and Fair then
stole the ball and fed Jardine for a fast-break layup. Waiters
followed with a pull-up jumper in the lane, his first basket
after two misses from long range, and Fair converted a short
baseline jumper to boost the Syracuse lead to 25-16 with 3:38
left in the opening half.



Waiters then hit a 3 and a fall-away jumper, both from the right
wing, and Joseph's two free throws made it 32-16 with 2:04 to
go. Jardine's 3 at the first-half buzzer off a feed from Waiters
gave Syracuse a commanding 38-21 lead at the break.



If the Friars had any hope of a rally, they had a much steeper
climb than the first meeting, when they trailed 36-34 at
halftime.



Syracuse made that thought moot when it began the second half
with a 15-4 run as Jardine's play-making ability was on full
display. He fed Fab Melo for a pair of slam dunks, passed to
Joseph underneath for a reverse layup, and hit Rakeem Christmas
for another dunk after Christmas made a block at the other end.



"As we came out in the second half, we had the same intensity,"
Joseph said. "This is the best we've done so far keeping the
intensity, starting the second half with high intensity that
we've done all year. I think that was a good step forward for
us."



Syracuse has led every game at halftime. The closest games the
Orange have had were a 69-63 triumph over Stanford at Madison
Square Garden in the NIT Season Tip-off in late November and a
72-68 win over then-No. 10 Florida at home on Dec. 2, five days
after associate head coach Bernie Fine was fired amid
allegations of sexual abuse.

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