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The Associated Press Syracuse's C.J. Fair, right, grabs a rebound in front of South Florida's Anthony Collins during the first half of Sunday's game in Tampa, Fla.

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Syracuse overcomes slow start

Monday, January 07, 2013 - Updated: 5:51 PM

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- No. 7 Syracuse played pretty well in delivering the victory that moved Jim Boeheim into second place on college basketball's career wins list, so naturally the coach was hoping there would be some carry-over in the team's Big East road opener against South Florida.

The Orange overcame a slow start and cold shooting to beat the Bulls 55-44 on Sunday, however Boeheim hardly was impressed with what he described as one of the worst offensive performances he's seen.

"Offense was really bad. That's all I can tell you. Really, really bad," Boeheim said.

"If you can't score on a 4-on-1 fast break, there's something wrong with what we're doing. We came off probably 20, 25 minutes of the best basketball we played all year against Rutgers the other day," he added. "There's just no possible explanation for the way we played today."

Brandon Triche had 20 points and James Southerland scored 12 of his 17 in the second half. C.J. Fair contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Orange (14-1, 2-0), who won for the fourth straight time following their only loss of the season to Temple.

South Florida (9-4, 0-1) trimmed what had been an 11-point deficit to 47-42 with six minutes remaining, however the Bulls were held to one basket the rest of the way.

"After the first part of the game we played great defense," said Boeheim, who picked up career win No. 904 in what was Syracuse's last scheduled trip to the Sun Dome as a member of the Big East.

An announced season-high crowd of 10,024 -- a sizeable portion Orange-clad Syracuse fans -- nearly filled the renovated on-campus facility that reopened this season.

"We had 3,000, 4,000 people here. You look around up there, they were all orange shirts. We get great support down here," Boeheim said. "They've done an unbelievable job with this arena. I mean, it's a beautiful arena. It's as good as any of the places in the league. They did an unbelievable job fixing this up."

Southerland's long 3-pointer put Syracuse up 50-42 and Triche followed with a driving layup and a pair of free throws to push the lead back to double-digits.

Victor Rudd led USF with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Jawanza Poland finished with 12 points for the Bulls, who led by 10 before Syracuse asserted themselves defensively.

     

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