Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
With Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez back in the hotel serving a one-game suspension, No. 11 Syracuse blew out Seton Hall, 100-76, tonight in the Big East Opener for both teams.
The Orange (13-1) converted 12 of 22 from beyond the arc and got 26 points from Andy Rautins and 20 from Eric Devendorf, who came back after completing 40 hours of community service for allegedly striking a female student in the face. Those two combined to go 10 of 13 from 3. Seton Hall made just 2 of 27 from beyond the arc.
“It is obvious that when you shoot the ball well from the outside and the other team does not shoot the ball well, it is really not an indication of the teams,” Orange coach Jim Boeheim said. “We made shots. It was a very close game, and then we just made four or five in a row, and that is going to break anybody’s back.”
Jonny Flynn and Rick Jackson added 14 apiece for the Orange, and Arinze Onuaku added 11 points and 7 rebounds.
Syracuse entered the games with quality road wins over Florida, Kansas and Memphis.
Jeremy Hazell paced the Pirates (9-4) with 23 points on 8-of-21 shooting and Robert Mitchell added 20 points on 9 of 19 and 12 rebounds.
Seton Hall was led by assistant coach Dermon Player and played with just seven scholarship players because senior forward John Garcia missed his fourth straight game with a knee problem. Gonzalez said he hopes to have the big guy back for the home opener against West Virginia Saturday.
“We feel very confident that he’ll be in uniform come Saturday against West Virginia unless we have a setback, which hopefully we don’t,” Gonzalez said before the game on WABC-770. “He’s looking better and better every day. We thought it was a little bit of a risk. Today was just at two weeks exactly today. We didn’t want to risk it on the road…John gets out there, he may try to go all out 100 percent. He hasn’t gotten used to playing with the brace yet. We want him to go five-on-five live in practice first. The good thing is after tonight we don’t play again until Saturday.”
Prior to the game, Gonzalez apologized to the Seton Hall administration and fans on WABC-770 for the suspension, which was triggered by his comments about a referee in the Big East finale last season against Rutgers.
“The circumstances happened,” he said. “I’ve taken full responsibility. It’s something that I regret and I’m certainly not proud of it. And it’s something that will never happen again during my coaching career and coaching lifetime at Seton Hall.
“It was the frustration at the end of last year. Poor judgment on my part. I’ve got to take it like a man. It’s going to be frustrating, it’s going to be hard. I’ve been a head coach for 10 years, and believe it or not…I’ve only been kicked out of one game in my lifetime. And that was with 55 seconds to go in my first year at Louisville on Senior Day.”
***For more on what’s ahead for Seton Hall, Rutgers and St. John’s, read my story from Monday.
**For the video preview of the Big East, go here.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.