Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
In the lane:
Senior on mark all night
NWA Media/MICHAEL WOODS -- 11/30/2012 -- Syracuse forward James Southerland (43) scored a career-high 35 points Friday at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Syracuse forward James Southerland doesn’t start, but he was hot off the bench Friday.
The 6-8 senior made his first five three-point attempts and finished with a career high 35 points on 9-of-13 three-point shooting in the No. 7 Orange’s 91-82 victory at Arkansas.
“He was our answer throughout the game,” Syracuse guard Brandon Triche said.
“He’s as good a shooter as I’ve seen,” Syracuse assistant coach Gerry McNamara said.
Arkansas led 10-9 when Southerland made a three pointer from the right wing, then followed with a 20-footer from the top of the circle 34 seconds later.
“I wasn’t expecting to be that open, but I was open, so just knock it down when you’re open, right?” Southerland said.
“That guy was shooting from the Hog’s snout, and he’s a 6-8 guy,” said Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson, who compared Southerland’s shot to former Razorbacks Scotty Thurman and Al Dillard.
Two more threes by Southerland gave Syracuse a 25-13 lead, and his fifth made it 30-15 at the 10:44 mark of the first half, giving Arkansas an uphill battle the rest of the way.
“The way they were pressuring Mike and Brandon, especially coming up and trying to double-team them, when we spread the floor it was hard for them to get to our shooters,” Southerland said.
Syracuse used its considerable height advantage to out rebound Arkansas 43-35. The Orange rebounded well out of their 2-3 zone defense, grabbing 32 defensive rebounds to Arkansas’ nine offensive boards.
After Arkansas’ BJ Young scored 19 points in the first half, Syracuse guards Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche huddled up.
“I went to Brandon and said, ‘We’ve got to stop BJ in this half so we can spread this game open,” Carter-Williams said. “That’s what we did. We made him take tough shots, and we just forced him to have some turnovers.” Stray treys
Arkansas had to shoot well from the outside against Syracuse’s 2-3 zone to have a chance, but it didn’t happen.
BJ Young made the Razorbacks’ only three pointer in the first half with 5:30 remaining to cut the Orange’s lead to 33-28, and Arkansas went 1 of 10 from three-point range in the half.
DeQuavious Wagner made two three-pointers and Coty Clarke hit one as the Razorbacks tried to battle into contention during the second half. Anthlon Bell became the fourth Arkansas player to hit a three-pointer when he connected from the left corner with 46 seconds remaining, but the Hogs shot just 5 of 24 (20.8 percent) from three-point range compared to 11 of 26 (.423) for Syracuse.
The Big East swept all four games in the Big East/SEC Challenge on Friday to improve to 6-2 on the season. Georgetown and South Florida defeated Tennessee and Georgia, respectively, at home, and DePaul took down Auburn 80-76 on the road.
The conferences split four games Thursday, with Notre Dame and St. John’s defeating Kentucky and South Carolina and the SEC’s Florida and LSU beating Marquette and Seton Hall.
Arkansas dropped to 1-3 in Big East Challenge games, losing 96-66 to Louisville three years ago, defeating Seton Hall 71-62 two seasons ago and falling to Connecticut 75-62 last year.
Syrcause Coach Jim Boeheim pulled to within five victories 900 for his career, improving to 895-304.
The Orange have won 47 consecutive nonconference regular-season games.
Former All-Big East guard Gerry McNamara, who helped lead the Orange to the 2003 national championship as a freshman, serves as an assistant coach for the team.
Syracuse was the first nonconference top-10 team to play in Fayetteville since No. 2 Texas beat the Razorbacks 96-85 during the 2008-2009 season.
Sports, Pages 24 on 12/01/2012