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Amid clouds of controversy, Syracuse wins again

By John Kekis

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 6 2011 7:36 p.m. MST

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim talks with Fab Melo during a timeout during the first half against Marshall in an NCAA college basketball game in Syracuse, N.Y., Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011.

Kevin Rivoli, Associated Press

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Dion Waiters had 15 points and Kris Joseph had 11 and eight rebounds, as No. 3 Syracuse on Tuesday continued to win amid a federal investigation, this time outlasting Marshall, 62-56, at the Carrier Dome.

It was the third game for the Orange (9-0) since former associate head coach Bernie Fine was fired after allegations by three men that he sexually molested them as minors. Two of the three men were former Syracuse ballboys. Fine has maintained his innocence and no charges have been filed.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim figured the Thundering Herd (5-2), which beat Cincinnati of the Big East in overtime on the road, would offer a tough challenge for the Orange.

He was right.

But Scoop Jardine helped down the stretch, finishing with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists as the Orange became the first Big East team to get to nine wins. Jardine also had three steals.

Dennis Tinnon had 17 points and 15 rebounds to lead Marshall. Damier Pitts scored 10, and DeAndre Kane finished with nine, to go along with 10 rebounds.

The Herd's 73-69 win over the Bearcats was its first over a BCS conference team since a 69-66 triumph over Texas A&M in December 1989, and may just spark the program into a solid season in Conference USA.

But against the No. 3 team in the nation, the Herd simply ran out of gas. Marshall, in fact, couldn't recover from 12 turnovers in the opening half and finished with 19, never getting any rhythm against the famous Syracuse zone.

Syracuse used a 22-6 spurt in the first half to take charge and held on at the end when Tinnon converted a three-point play and Shaquille Johnson hit a pair of 3s — all in the final 65 seconds.

Waiters started the surge with a steal and dunk to break a 6-all tie, Joseph followed with a 3 from the left wing off a nice feed from C. J. Fair, and Jardine's pullup jumper from the right side made it 18-10.

Brandon Triche then scored twice on layups off Marshall turnovers, and grabbed another mishandled ball by Johnson and fed Waiters for a one-handed slam dunk and a 26-12 lead with 5: 40 to go in the half.

The Herd rallied briefly with six straight points, with Goff's basket closing the gap to 28-18 before James Southerland's 3 from the right wing gave the Orange a 31-18 halftime lead.

Boeheim was given rousing ovations when he made his way onto the court that bears his name the previous two games. On this night, though, nobody seemed to notice as he quietly made his way to greet Marshall coach Tom Herrion.

After initially vilifying the two former ballboys when they went public with their claims, a drawn-looking Boeheim apologized in a halting voice after Friday night's 72-68 win over Florida.

Boeheim said he'd campaign against child abuse, even though he knows his motives will be questioned.

"We believed in helping kids long before this. I'm sure people are always going to question why you do something, but we're going to do this and continue to do it," said Boeheim, who last week toured a local center with his wife, Juli, that's dedicated to ending child abuse.

"We don't do it for what people might say."

A few people had called on Boeheim to resign or be fired when the accusations first surfaced, and he was criticized as callous for saying the accusations by former ballboys Bobby Davis and Mike Lang were lies motivated by money.

In a letter published Monday in The Post-Standard of Syracuse, Yeshiva University law professor Marci A. Hamilton became the latest to call for Syracuse University to terminate Boeheim's contract.

The allegations have rattled the Syracuse community, especially so soon after the Penn State child sex abuse case in which former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is accused in a grand jury indictment of sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period. But the aftermath of the Hall of Fame coach's emotional press conference on Friday has had an effect here.

"It seems much better," 51-year-old Mark Stevens said before the game. "It's calmed down for a bit, definitely. But you're always wondering."

Meanwhile, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick has scheduled a press conference for Tuesday morning to address the investigation into Fine.

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