MBB : First response: After 1st loss, SU looks to rebound in much-anticipated rematch with Villanova

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Sitting inside the visitor’s locker room of the Petersen Events Center Monday, Brandon Triche was ready to get back out on the floor. Ready for some redemption. Ready to prove that Syracuse’s first loss of the season was more of a slight aberration than a statement about this year’s Orange.After going more than two months without a loss, the sophomore guard and his teammates are steadfast in their approach to not let Monday’s 74-66 loss to Pittsburgh become a habit.‘We need to bounce back from this,’ Triche said. ‘We can’t afford back-to-back losses in the Big East.’With the Carrier Dome set to host what could potentially be another record-setting crowd, No. 3 Syracuse (18-1, 5-1 Big East) will host No. 7 Villanova (16-2, 4-1) at noon. The contest should be an even more intense scene than what SU saw in Pittsburgh’s Oakland Zoo. But this time, it’s the Orange that has the home-court advantage.A home-court advantage that helped guide it to a convincing 95-77 win over Villanova last season on Feb. 27 in front of 34,616 — the largest crowd ever to see an on-campus game in college basketball.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSU might get some much-needed reinforcement that wasn’t in the lineup Monday. That would come in the form of star small forward Kris Joseph, who shot around in practice Thursday and could return to his normal starting spot against Villanova.Last year, SU’s 13-game winning streak to open the season was also halted by Pitt in an 82-72 loss. Four days later, SU pounded Memphis by 17 points inside the Dome, beginning an 11-game winning streak and leading to a No. 1 national ranking. Two years ago, after its first Big East loss of the season, the Orange crushed then-No. 12 Notre Dame by 19 inside the Dome.Syracuse is looking to respond once again, this time against yet another Top 10 Big East opponent. And that starts with a different approach.‘We just have to be much tougher,’ Triche said. ‘Coach said (Pitt) was a game where we had to be tough, and we weren’t.’More than 33,000 tickets have been sold for the game as of Wednesday. The game has brought another round of hype to the Syracuse-Villanova matchup.But all that is irrelevant to the Orange players and coaches now, especially coming off a loss.‘In the Big East, every game is a battle,’ point guard Scoop Jardine said. ‘So we can’t dwell on one game. We have to go out the next time and try to get a win.’Villanova is also coming off its first conference defeat, a 61-59 loss at No. 8 Connecticut Monday. Last year’s meeting was a de facto matchup for the Big East regular-season title. This year’s game could have a similar amount of significance, as a loss Saturday will set the loser two games back from Pittsburgh in the conference standings.With the conference slate starting to grow tougher, back-to-back losses could strike a catastrophic blow to the Orange. But Rick Jackson thinks the fixes are easy. It’s a matter of getting back to the basics.‘We did a lot of things where we just killed ourselves,’ Jackson said. ‘We missed point-blank layups and forced tough shots. We let them get the ball inside too much. Those are basic things that we didn’t do.’And Joseph could return to the lineup after missing Monday’s game following a hard fall last Saturday against Cincinnati. Joseph was shooting around during Thursday’s practice.But regardless of whether Joseph plays or not, players will likely have a vivid memory of Monday’s loss in their minds when they take the court against Villanova. After all, without its leading scorer, Syracuse still managed to fight its way back from what appeared to be a 19-0 death blow early in a very intense atmosphere.After that, Jardine is certain this squad can overcome just about anything. Certain this squad can get back on the right track.‘We didn’t have one of our best players,’ Jardine said. ‘Not taking anything away from Pitt, but we didn’t have one of our best players, and we fought. C.J. (Fair) played a great game. James (Southerland) helped us. We just fought.’[email protected]center_img Published on January 19, 2011 at 12:00 pmlast_img