New York – On a night when Syracuse overtook its former Big East rival on its former conference campus, nothing symbolized the changing places of the two college sports teams as a pair of powerful kicks from Syracuse forward Matthew Moyer .
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UConn (6-3), for so many years the home of the best tire bouncers and protectors of the country, was dominated by Naranja (7-1), one of the youngest teams in the country, which showed physical gifts that the Huskies could not match.
Oshae Brissett shot down 10 rebounds high. Moyer dropped eight more, better than any UConn player. During most of the 72-63 triumph at Syracuse on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, Orange caught more of their fouls than the Huskies, which led to an overwhelming 17-4 lead at the second-chance points.
"Two freshmen us tonight," UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. "Brissett was absolutely great, we talked about all the practices and we kept him off the board, two freshmen beat us, they have two really good students, but they are not that good."
Syracuse took a 10-0 lead in second-chance points in the first half, when he accumulated a double-digit lead he would never give up. Moyer provided the most memorable moments of the game with a pair of high-flying rebounds turned into dunks. And when Orange needed a key cube to avoid UConn's momentum late, he came in with 4:21 remaining, on an offensive rebound from Marek Dolezaj, who found Brissett for a second-chance dunk, pushing the SU advantage to 65-54. .
Even on a night when center substitute Bourama Sidibe slowed down with a sprained ankle and Dolezaj was forced in the middle, Orange finished with a 37-26 lead on the boards.
All that meant the game, at least this version, took the appearance of what is now on paper, a very close non-conferencing game between a solid ACC program and its counterpart of the American Athletic Conference, a source of constant dismay for the Huskies that were left out of the conference realignment.
"It was a great rivalry, great games," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. "But when you're in a league, you're in a league, and that's what's important, that's right, but it was fun to come here, they had a big group of fans, we had a big group of fans … I do not think two schools are going to put more fans in the garden, that's pretty impressive, I thought. "
This meeting was a change from what these teams usually are. The Huskies are not a strong team of rebounds this season, while Boeheim believes he could have one of the best of his career.
Orange continued to fail from the 3-point range, but it also continues to make points and possessions at an impressive rate.
"We have not rebounded at this level since Derrick Coleman, probably," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, referring to the former No. 1 Draft pick who played from 1986 to 1990 and averaged 10.8 rebounds in his career. "That was a long time ago, most people probably do not know who it is."
But most of those who think of UConn as a rival do so.
What made it especially surprising that Orange was so physically dominant against the Huskies, a program that produced Emeka Okafor and Hasheem Thabeet and Josh Boone and Hilton Armstrong, but could not put a player taller than 6 feet 9 on the floor to get the Orange.
Brissett and Moyer are practically the same height, but they are much more athletic than the centers of UConn Mamadou Diarra, Eric Cobb and David Onuorah. Paschal Chukwu dominates everyone.
UConn's leading rebounder this season, Terry Larrier, is a slender 6-foot-8 and, as a power forward, he fought to match the strength of Brissett and Moyer. He collected only two rebounds against Orange.
"The only thing that impressed me about this team is its rebound," Boeheim said.
Brissett said that Orange did nothing different to take advantage of the Huskies & # 39; lack of size They just did what they did throughout the season, tirelessly chasing every defensive rebound, while choosing their positions on the offensive boards.
"I do not think we go to meetings more or less," said Brissett. "You always try to choose your places."
Few teams in the country meet them as often as Orange.
Entering Tuesday night, Orange ranked second in the nation in Ken Pomeroy's offensive rebounding percentage, behind a Duke team loaded with five-star athleticism and future size of the NBA.
The young players of Syracuse have even turned the defensive rebound, an annual hurdle to overcome due to the 2-3 zone of Syracuse, into a real fortress.
El Naranja ranked 61st in the country in last night's game. It has not ended better than the 137th since Pomeroy started keeping statistics in 2002.
"They do not have players that measure 7 feet or anything like that, so that makes it easier," Dolezaj said. "But I do not do anything different if they are or not, I try to run fast and get the ball, that's what we do."
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