MBB : Jardine’s mistakes prove costly in frustrating loss to Golden Eagles

first_imgCLEVELAND — The brash, bumptious attitude was missing. For 34 games this season — 27 wins, seven losses — it was there in front of Scoop Jardine’s locker. Win or lose, always the same display.Sunday, though, was different. Sunday, Jardine sat slumped in front of his locker in a chair. He spoke in a low, muted voice instead of the usual upbeat, animated tone. He had to reflect, not look ahead.‘Just sucks to lose,’ Jardine said. ‘There’s just so much you can say right now. Especially when we had the game won. It’s tough.’In a game full of Syracuse mistakes, point guard Jardine made a select few that proved to be key and helped cost his team a third consecutive trip to the Sweet 16. In SU’s 66-62 season-ending loss to Marquette in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, Jardine finished with just six points and six assists in 36 minutes.More glaring, though, were the three turnovers and the poor shooting night. He shot 2-of-8 from the field, including just 1-of-5 from beyond the 3-point line. And one decision in particular — his decision to shoot a perhaps rushed 3-pointer the possession after Marquette’s Darius Johnson-Odom hit the eventual game-winner — had him questioning his decisions.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘Shot right there that I usually take — and I usually make,’ Jardine said. ‘But at that time, I probably should have tried to get to the rim.’In the first half, Jardine contributed to the Orange’s turnover-happy play after its quick 7-0 start. He forced passes that led to two consecutive giveaways. And in the second, SU’s floor general continued to make the kind of plays that made head coach Jim Boeheim issue his trademark glare from the bench.Midway through the second half, Jardine got the ball at the top of the key on the left side. Driving in, he tiptoed near the out-of-bounds line with nowhere to go. He flailed a pass up in the air for C.J. Fair, but Junior Cadougan of Marquette looked more like the intended target. Cadougan intercepted the pass and went back and forth with Jae Crowder down the court, and Crowder eventually found him underneath for a layup and foul. The free throw tied the game at 46-46.Boeheim stood up on the SU sidelines, hands on his hips.‘Our offense was fine,’ Boeheim said. ‘Except for the turnovers. The turnovers ended up being the difference in the basketball game.’Jardine was a part of the turnover that eventually led to Johnson-Odom’s second huge 3-pointer against the Orange this season, when Dion Waiters’ pass sailed and he dragged his foot backcourt.But what had Jardine and his teammates questioning him the most was his final decision that doomed Syracuse — his final 3-point attempt. Momentum gone but still with plenty of time, Syracuse had possession. Twenty-six seconds to make up a three-point deficit.‘We could have came down and got a better play,’ Waiters said. ‘But at the end of theday, it’s all adrenaline.’It was the same adrenaline Jardine felt when he made two 3s in the final minute of SU’s eventual Big East tournament loss to Connecticut. Those sent the game into overtime.This time, he had the same look as he raced down the court. He was impatient. But he was going to be the hero again.He came off a screen at the top of the key. Crowder backed off the slightest bit. Jardine saw his chance. He pulled up and fired. Off the backboard and out.‘We could have probably got a better shot off a set,’ SU forward Kris Joseph said. ‘But he made the same two shots against UConn, so you can’t really blame him for taking a shot.’The shot banged wildly off the glass with barely any chance for an offensive rebound. Cadougan secured it in his grasp for Marquette. This rebound, he wouldn’t let get away.Jardine raced again — this time helplessly — to the ball and fouled Cadougan with the game firmly in the Golden Eagles’ grasp as well.Through it all — sullen and surly in his chair— he was defiant. Marquette, he reiterated, was not the better team Sunday. Until the final minutes when, he admitted, the Golden Eagles made plays. Plays that defined both sides and eventually defined the outcome.‘We clearly were the better team,’ Jardine said. ‘They just made the better plays down the stretch to win the game.’[email protected] Published on March 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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