MBB : Finish line: Joseph, Jardine take the Carrier Dome floor for the last time in their careers

first_img Published on March 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Mark: [email protected] | @mark_cooperjr Facebook Twitter Google+ They try not to think about it. But amid the most successful regular season in Syracuse history, Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph are on the verge of completing their SU careers.‘I haven’t really thought about it, I don’t like to too much,’ Joseph said Feb. 20. ‘I love Syracuse, and I’m definitely going to miss it, but I don’t really think about it too often.’There’s only one home game left. Syracuse (29-1, 16-1 Big East) completes its regular season Saturday with a matchup against Louisville (22-8, 10-7 Big East) at 4 p.m. in the Carrier Dome. The No. 2 Orange has flown through its conference slate without a ton of adversity, winning nine in a row since its only loss of the season to date. But Saturday has meaning in a historic sense for both Jardine and Joseph: This game is the culmination of their careers in front of a home crowd.Joseph tied the mark for most wins by a player at Syracuse with the Orange’s victory over Connecticut last weekend. His 113 wins match the most of anyone in an SU career, tying Sherman Douglas, Derrick Coleman and Stevie Thompson.‘I’m sure I’ve made a lot of people proud,’ Joseph said. ‘My parents, my family and that’s what’s most important to me.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textTwo seasons ago, Joseph and Jardine were the first two off the bench on an Orange squad that held the best regular-season wins mark until this year. Jardine backed up Brandon Triche at point guard, but actually played more minutes than Triche and averaged 9.1 points per game.Joseph was the wing off the bench and was third on SU in scoring with 10.8 points per game.This year, on a Syracuse team that has eclipsed the regular-season success of that squad — and will likely earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament — they are the leaders. Dion Waiters and C.J. Fair fill the role Jardine and Joseph once held.And Jardine has established himself as a trustworthy floor general. He is third among all Big East players in assist-to-turnover ratio in conference play.‘He’s the only leader on this team — he is the leader of this team,’ head coach Jim Boeheim said after Syracuse defeated Pittsburgh Jan. 16. ‘He is the only vocal leader. He is a guy who will make plays and is not afraid to make plays — good plays.The one knock on this Syracuse team all year has been the lack of a go-to guy in clutch moments. The 2002-03 Orangemen who won the national title had Carmelo Anthony. The 2009-10 team was balanced, but Wes Johnson was the unquestioned best player.But the two SU seniors have shown the ability to carry this team in clutch moments.In Syracuse’s biggest early-season test, against Florida Dec. 2, Jardine finished with 16 points and seven assists to help the Orange to a four-point win. He scored seven of the team’s nine points in a crucial stretch late in the second half that extended Syracuse’s lead from three to eight.Joseph has quietly put together a steady season, leading Syracuse in points and minutes. He stood out against Georgetown by scoring 29 points and nailing the game-winning 3-pointer in overtime.And he scored a team-high 21 points against UConn last Saturday. With the game tied at 63 late, Joseph sliced through the center of the lane, laying the ball in over Huskies center Andre Drummond to help SU regain the lead.‘They make all the key plays for us, usually,’ Boeheim said of the pair after the UConn win.Jardine and Joseph will play in front of what should be a raucous crowd against the Cardinals. More than 30,000 tickets have been sold as of Tuesday. It will be the sixth game with an audience of 30,000-plus in the Dome during Joseph’s career and the fifth for Jardine.The only other game this season that eclipsed the 30,000 attendance mark was Feb. 11 against UConn. After that 85-67 win over UConn, Jardine said he’s just trying to cherish these moments as his career winds down.-‘I’m just playing basketball with confidence, and it’s really sad that it’s about to be over for me,’ Jardine said. ‘I appreciate everything I got here at Syracuse, from the fans perspective, even from you all.‘This is it for me, so I want to play and leave everything on the floor, on Jim Boeheim Court. Every game I play here, I’m going to do that.’[email protected]center_img Commentslast_img

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