SYRACUSE -- The way the Syracuse Orange were missing one shot after another, Scoop Jardine considered them fortunate to be ahead at halftime.
And once South Florida rallied to close within a point, Jardine put his head down to make sure the second-ranked Orange wouldn't have to mount another comeback.
Jardine scored 15 points to lead Syracuse to a 56-48 win over the Bulls, with his most important basket coming with 4:41 left. With the Orange clinging to a 47-46 lead, Jardine drove to the right post, was fouled on the way up, scored and then completed the three-point play
"That play, I rejected the screen and knew I had [Augustus] Gilchrist on an angle where I could go try to get fouled," Jardine said. "When I got fouled, I was still in control to make the shot. And the biggest thing I was worried about was making the free throw, and I made it."
The Orange (28-1, 15-1 Big East) overcame an ice-cold start in which they missed 12 of their first 14 shots, and overcame a 13-point deficit for their eighth straight win. Syracuse matched school records for most regular-season and conference victories -- both set in 2009-10.
Kris Joseph scored four of his 12 points over the final 4 minutes, with them coming on putbacks of his own misses. He added nine rebounds. C.J. Fair had 13 points for Syracuse.
"Offensively, it's been a struggle shooting the basketball, and tonight was one of those nights," coach Jim Boeheim said. "But we've been in games like this all year. Our veteran guys have made plays all year down the stretch. That's how you win these games."
Anthony Collins scored 16 points for the Bulls, who endured a 12:33 stretch without a point spanning halftime. South Florida (17-11, 10-5) had a four-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 1-9 against Syracuse.
As hot as the Bulls were in opening the game by hitting eight of their first 11 attempts to open a 20-7 lead, their offense evaporated just as quickly.
"I loved the way we started out. We couldn't have written a better script," South Florida coach Stan Heath said. "But you knew. They're so good, they were going to make a run. You just hoped it wasn't as long."
Long might be an understatement.
While the Bulls missed 13 straight shots, the Orange took control with a 26-0 run that began when Dion Waiters drove the lane and fed Fair, who finished the play with a dunk, cutting the lead to 20-9 with 8:27 left in the first half.
Around the nation
*Keith Appling and Brandon Wood both scored 13 points to key No. 6 Michigan State's 66-61 victory over Minnesota (17-11, 5-10), helping the Spartans keep their hold on first place in the Big Ten. Draymond Green had 17 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals for the Spartans (23-5, 12-3).
*Jerian Grant scored 20 points and No. 20 Notre Dame extended its winning streak to nine games with a 71-44 rout of West Virginia (17-11, 7-8 Big East). The Irish (20-8, 12-3) have not lost since Jan. 16 at Rutgers.
*Ramone Moore scored five of his 18 points in overtime to help No. 22 Temple beat La Salle, 80-79, the Owls' 11th straight win. Khalif Wyatt scored 25 points and Michael Eric had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Temple (22-5, 11-2 Atlantic 10).