It was a season like no other for the Syracuse Basketball team on and off the court, a season that had well documented highs and lows, but a season that came to an end in Boston on Saturday night. The Orange, just as they had all season, stayed resilient right until the very end, but a powerful Ohio State team was able to outlast them 77-70.
The Orange headed back home to Syracuse, while the Buckeyes moved on to New Orleans and the Final Four.
"We fought and I think we left it on the floor," said a very emotional Scoop Jardine through tears, "that's what hurts more, you know the loss hurts, but not playing with these guys no more, I'm hurting right now because don't get to go to practice no more with these guys, and play with these guys. What we fougt for, it's over."
"We've come a long way," says Jardine's fellow senior Kris Joseph, "you look back in a couple weeks or so and you think about the season that we've had, it's been pretty magical. It's been something that was great to be a part of, I just can't believe it's over."
The Orange got into foul trouble in the second half, with Dion Waiters, James Southerland and Rakee m Christmas all earning their forth fouls in the early part of the second frame. On the other side, it was Ohio State's big center Jared Sullinger coming alive in the second half, finishing with 19 points, as the Buckey e s proved to be just to strong in the paint for the Orange to survive. Many of the SU players admitted afterwards that it may have been a different story if Fab Melo had been able to play.
"We could have used Fab," said Brandon Triche, "if we played anybody else it would have been easier, but I think Fab would have given us that edge."
"I feel like Fab would have been a good key," agreed James Southerland, "especially when we got into foul trouble early, I think Sullinger would have had trouble getting shots over him too."
Triche led the Orange with 15 points, while Jardine finished with 14 in what turned out to be his final game with the Orange. Head Coach Jim Boeheim spoke after the game about just how special the senior Jardine and Joseph have been.
"They've really done everything you could ask from them," said Boeheim, "They've just had an unbelievable career, really, these guys.
I don't think you can give them enough credit for what Scoop and Kris have done."