James Southerland tied a school-record with nine 3-pointers while scoring a career-high 35 points as Syracuse downed Arkansas 91-82 in the SEC/Big East Challenge before a season-high 19,259 fans at Bud Walton Arena.
Razorback head coach Mike Anderson was disappointed that he couldn't send the throwback crowd – which included a whopping 4,139 students and was the most in the building since March 1, 2009 against Georgia – home with a win.
"First I want to commend Syracuse," Anderson said. "They are a great basketball team and well-coached under Jim Boehiem, who is a Hall of Fame coach and he had his guys prepared.
"It was an awesome, awesome environment with the whiteout," Anderson added of a crowd all dressed in white. "We had over 4,000 students here and I want to say that we are certainly happy that our fans not only show up, but they show out. We had over 19,000 fans and everyone of them was treated to what I thought was a tremendous ballgame.
"Unfortunately we came up on the short end of it, but it wasn't because of lack of effort," Anderson continued. "Our guys gave maximum effort, but you can only play defense for so long. You have got to be able to make shots and make plays, but we didn't."
Syracuse (5-0) offset that with balanced scoring with senior guard Brandon Triche adding 17 points and sophomore point guard Michael Carter-Williams barely missing a triple double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists.
"He (Carter-Williams) almost had a triple double and I am yelling at him for not doing things so he must be pretty good," Boeheim said.
C.J. Fair added 12 points for the Orange, who shot 61.3 percent in the second half after shooting just 37.8 percent in the opening half.
"This is one of the toughest buildings to play in that I have seen a few," noted Boeheim, who has been the Syracuse head coach for 37 years. "My guys are about as spent as they can be. Mike's guys, they get after it and they did an unbelievable job of pressuring us.
"You have to attack it and you are going to get some open shots and it is just a matter of whether you make them or not," Boeheim added. "James was right there all night. Michael and Brandon and C.J. did a great job of breaking the pressure and getting into situations where they could get him the ball and he is going to make those shots."
"Offensively I thought we played as well as you could offensively in a tough environment," Boeheim continued.
Southerland – a senior who is the team's leading scorer despite coming off the bench - hit his first five 3-pointers and was 9-of-13 on the night from beyond the arc and 12-of-17 overall from the field.
"I thought their experience really showed," Anderson said. "You look at the guys that really carried them. Southerland, this guy was shooting from the Hog's snout. I only know of one other guy who could that – two possibly. That's Al Dillard and Scotty Thurman. A lot of those plays that he made broke our back."
Arkansas was shot 38.7 percent from the field for the game and was just 5-of-24 from 3-point range.
The Razorbacks did force 19 turnovers, competed hard on the boards with the much taller Orange to the of a 43-35 disadvantage and made 19-of-26 free throws while the visitors were 14-of-24 from the free throw line.
"People don't usually shoot that many free throws against us, but we didn't do a good job of keeping them in front of us," Boeheim said.
It was the most points given up by Syracuse by far this season with the previous high being 57.
"We know they are not a good shooting team, but we didn't do a good job of keeping them on the perimeter," Boeheim said. "We didn't do good in that phase of the game."
Young – who was 10-of-23 from the field - was a force in the first half with 19 points while Powell – 5-of-10 from the field and 9-of-10 from the free throw line - scored 15 of his 19 after halftime.
"BJ gave us all he had, but he has to do a better job of channeling his emotions," Anderson said.
Boeheim said his team had to slow Young down.
"We did a better job on Young in the second half, but this is a tough place and I thought our guys, you have to play 40 minutes and you have to play every minute because if you make a mistake they are going to take it away from you," Boeheim said.
Southerland actually picked up his fourth foul midway through the second half and Arkansas got within 61-56 with 11:18 left.
But Triche buried his only two 3-pointers to quickly boost that lead back to 12.
"I thought the big key was Brandon, who is a career 35 percent 3-point shooter and he was probably 2-of-20 going into those two that he made," Boeheim said. "He's got to make those shots for us to be effective."
Arkansas did get its best effort of the year from freshman point guard Dee Wagner, who had six points, three assists and no turnovers in a season-high 23 minutes of action.
Coty Clarke added 9 points and 7 rebounds for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas got up 10-7 only to be hit by a Syracuse run that saw it go up 30-15 on Southerland's 3-pointer.
The Razorbacks cut that deficit to 43-38 by halftime and got within 43-41 on a free throw by Powell less than a minute into the second half.
But the Orange raced away with another run – a 14-1 spree that put them up 57-42 on Fair's lay-up with 17:12 left in the game.
The closest Arkansas got after that was six points twice – the last time coming on Powell's free throws with 25 seconds left that made it 88-82.
"You are going to get 90 points against them," Boeheim said. "You just got to keep them from getting 100."
The Razorbacks continue a tough non-conference slate with a Tuesday night home game against Oklahoma before traveling to play at No. 3 Michigan next Saturday.
All photos by Marc F. Henning
Arkansas forward Marshawn Powell battles inside for two of his 19 points on the night as James Southerland (43) - who had a career-high 35 points- defends.
This BJ Young dunk cut Syracuse's lead to 41-36 in the first half and he was assessed a technical for hanging on the rim even though a player is clearly underneath him.
Coty Clarke and Rashad Madden put pressure on Syracuse guard Brandon Triche.
Clarke came off the bench to score nine points and grab seven rebounds in 24 minutes and gets this two against Michael Carter-Williams, who had 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Orange.
Arkansas freshman point guard saw his most extensive action of the season while scoring six points, dishing out three assists and not having a turnover in 23 minutes.
Hunter Mickelson had four of his team's first 10 points and a block in the early, but ended up playing only 11 minutes and finishing with five points, three rebounds and that swat.
Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson joined in on the whiteout Friday night with white shirt and white tie combo.
These five students were among the 4,139 students on hand in what was the largest student crowd in recent history.