SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) – Rick Jackson had 14 points, seven rebounds and four blocks, making sure his final game in the Carrier Dome was one he would never forget as No. 12 Syracuse overwhelmed DePaul 107-59 on Saturday.It was the fifth straight win for Syracuse (25-6, 12-6 Big East) after a midseason swoon in which the Orange lost four straight and six of eight after an 18-0 start. Syracuse also clinched a double-bye in next week’s Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden.
DePaul (7-23, 1-17) has won only two regular-season conference games in the past three years, and its chances of adding another were dim at best without standout freshman forward Cleveland Melvin, the team’s leading scorer with a 17.4 average in Big East play. Melvin’s season ended with sprained left thumb suffered against St. John’s 11 days ago.
Even with Melvin, it probably wouldn’t have mattered much. Syracuse shot 70.6 percent (24 of 34) in the first half, hitting 4 of 5 from beyond the arc, and held the undermanned Blue Demons to 12 of 30 shooting, 3 of 11 from 3-point range.
Scoop Jardine had 14 points and eight assists, Dion Waiters had 12 points, C.J. Fair had 11 points, and 7-foot freshman center Fab Melo had a 10 points, a season high, and six rebounds.
Tony Freeland led DePaul with 25 points and six rebounds, and Moses Morgan had 16 points.
After Krys Faber hit a hook in the lane to give DePaul a 2-0 lead, Syracuse responded with an 11-0 run sparked by Jardine and Jackson, the lone senior on the Orange. Jardine started it with a 3-pointer from the wing, fed Jackson for a hook, and finished it with a pull-up jumper.
DePaul didn’t get its second basket until Faber hit another hook at 14:20, and after Freeland’s floater in the lane moved the Blue Demons within 21-10 with 9:56 left in the half, James Southerland swished a 3 after a timeout to start a 17-2 spurt that put the Orange in complete command.
The smaller Blue Demons found few openings in the Syracuse zone, and when they did get the ball inside there usually was no place to turn. Their frustration peaked when Freeland threw Dion Waiters to the floor while DePaul was pressing with just over 5 minutes left. Seconds later, Mookie Jones fed Fab Melo for a lay-in and a 42-15 lead.
When the Orange retreated to the locker room at halftime, they led 57-28 and all 10 players who saw action had scored.
Even the reserves stoked the crowd of 28,086 in the waning minutes of the game as former walk-on Brandon Reese, playing in just his ninth game this season, set up Southerland for pretty alley-oop dunk and seconds later hit Fair in full stride for another dunk that Fair converted into a three-point play with 3:35 left for a 101-51 lead.
Three seconds later, Jackson, one of just five players in program history to record 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, and 200 blocks, departed to a standing ovation, giving head coach Jim Boeheim a big hug as he went to the bench.
Syracuse finished 45 of 63 from the floor, a season-best 71.4 percent, outrebounded DePaul 39-22, and scored 41 fast-break points.