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Boeheim inspires Syracuse over USF

SYRACUSE 80, USF 68: Orangemen coach returns from surgery to motivate slumping team.

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 21, 2001

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Coach Jim Boeheim was ailing after prostate surgery. Then he watched his Orangemen lose two straight, and suddenly the operation didn't seem so bad.

So Thursday night, Boeheim, still sore and unable to yell as loudly as he'd like, returned to the bench after missing the first three games of his 26-year coaching career.

The No. 18 Orangemen responded, beating South Florida 80-68.

"I was getting sicker and sicker watching us play," Boeheim said. "I figured I couldn't get any sicker being here. I feel good. I coughed a couple of times, and that's when it hurts. If I didn't cough, I wouldn't have much pain. The doctors gave me a clean bill of health. It's just a matter of taking it slow."

Boeheim was not expected to return until Dec. 29, but losses to North Carolina State and Georgia Tech changed his mind.

"I was really concerned because when I got the Hofstra tape (Dec. 4) it was the day of the operation," Boeheim said. "We were really horrendous, and it just sent a bad message to me."

In those losses, the Orangemen allowed 89 points per game and 51.2 percent shooting and committed 30 turnovers. Thursday, they had 12 steals and five turnovers in the first half, when the game was decided.

"We just made a decision for ourselves to come out and play defense," said Preston Shumpert, who scored 22 and broke Syracuse's career 3-point record. "Whenever we're active and get our hands on balls and are challenging people, we've had good success."

Shumpert hit two 3-pointers to pass Lawrence Moten and become Syracuse's career leader with 198. Kueth Duany had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and DeShaun Williams had 20 points and nine assists.

Altron Jackson led South Florida with 22 points. B.B. Waldon had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Will McDonald 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Syracuse played nearly flawless defense in the first half, held a 14-2 edge on the offensive glass and forced 17 turnovers. Waldon, averaging nearly 16 points, took one shot and scored one point as South Florida fell behind 40-22 at the break.

"We were rushing things on offense and we weren't blocking out on the offensive boards," Waldon said. "That really hurt us in the first half."

After South Florida began the game by hitting 5 of 6 shots, including two 3-pointers by Reggie Kohn and another by Jackson, to take a 14-13 lead, the Orangemen clamped down and held the Bulls scoreless for more than six minutes.

Williams hit two 3-pointers to key a 14-2 run that put Syracuse ahead 27-16 with 6:16 left.

"They shot 44 shots in the first half and we shot 21," South Florida coach Seth Greenberg said. "You're not going to win doing that. We knew we needed to attack the zone. We knew what we wanted to do against it. At times we looked like we knew what we were doing, but at times we looked totally incompetent."

After McDonald hit a jumper to stop the streak, the Orangemen finished the half with a 13-4 spurt.

DOBRAS TO BE HONORED: Radenko Dobras will become the third USF player to have his jersey retired in a halftime ceremony Jan. 2 at the Sun Dome. Dobras, who played point guard and shooting guard from 1988-92, is second on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,935 points and is the all-time assist leader with 534.

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