Freshman Lead Orange over UTEP

It was the young guy's turn at the Dome Wednesday night. Syracuse freshmen Erik Devendorf and Arinze Onuaku combined for 21 points and 10 rebounds in Syracuse's 69-56 victory over UTEP.

Devendorf started the game hot, hitting his first three shots from outside the three-point line. He finished the game up with 16 points going four-for-five from the outside.

"Eric did a good job tonight as he has done," Coach Jim Boeheim said. "He got into the lane for us a little bit and hit some early shots."

The tune Boeheim sang after Wednesday's game was an altogether different one from the hymn he let out after Syracuse's overtime win against Manhattan on Nov. 30, when he called Devendorf "lost in college basketball."

"That was ten years ago," Boeheim said. "It's obvious he's playing pretty good basketball now."

Although Boeheim was reluctant to talk about what the difference from then to now is, Devendorf was more than willing.

"It's about knowing my role and being comfortable out there," Devendorf said. "I feel more comfortable playing and I'm definitely ready for the Big East."

Devendorf could have had an even better game than he did. He got into foul trouble early in the second half picking up his fourth foul with 13:31 left in the game. The game was never in question late, so Devendorf did not return.

Fellow freshman Arinze Onuaku also played fourteen valuable minutes in the game. He finished with five points and seven rebounds. Five of his boards came on the offensive glass.

On a night when Boeheim expressed his disappointment with the teams rebounding as a whole, he had nothing but praise for his freshman center.

"Seven rebounds, that's pretty special. 14 minutes, seven rebounds," Boeheim said. "The other center on our team (Daryll Watkins) had one in 25 minutes."

Onuaku was not available for comment after the game, but his teammate and fellow big man, junior Terrence Roberts, was not shy about his contribution.

"Arinze did a great job of coming in there tonight," Roberts said. "Mookie (Watkins) was in foul trouble, and I wasn't moving around that well."

Roberts said his leg has been bothering him, but it's nothing serious. The Orange heads into Big East competition Sunday where the team may need Onuaku's rebounding prowess. The Orange hosts South Florida at 1:00 P.M.

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