PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Jonny Flynn didn’t change directions on his way to the basket. By doing so, he changed the direction of the game.
Flynn’s emphatic second-half slam over Rutgers guard Michael Rosario awoke Syracuse (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) from its lethargy as the Orange defeated Rutgers, 82-66. Flynn finished with 15 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and zero turnovers, playing all 40 minutes.
“That was a play that got us excited,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “He was really good tonight.”
Syracuse (16-1, 4-0 Big East) fell behind 27-20 with 9:03 left in the first half as Rutgers (9-8, 0-4) found the soft spots in the Syracuse zone. The Scarlet Knights shot 50 percent in the first half, with Rosario leading the way on 5-of-11 shooting from the field.
“In the first half we didn’t rebound,” Boeheim said. “Rosario, (Corey) Chandler, and (Anthony) Farmer can all shoot it.”
But the Orange extended its zone to challenge the Rutgers’ shooters, and rallied to grab a 39-38 lead heading into the break.
Then, Flynn took over.
With 12:34 remaining and SU clinging to a four-point lead, Flynn crossed over Farmer at the 3-point line and barreled down the lane. The 6-foot-3 Rosario met Flynn on a switch, but instead of dribbling around him or attempting a soft layup, the 6-foot Flynn soared over Rosario, and threw down a vicious tomahawk, which ignited a surprisingly pro-Syracuse crowd.
Rosario, who attempted to draw a charge, ended up on his back, looking up at Flynn. Flynn flexed his muscles and glared at the Rutgers student section, which had taunted him for much of the game.
“As you can see,” Rosario said, “[Flynn] is a great player.”
Rutgers coach Fred Hill then called timeout to complain to the referee, and was promptly hit with a technical foul.
“It’s a block or a charge, so blow the whistle,” Hill said. “I was upset that there was no call there. I’d have to watch the film, but I thought it was a charge and that’s a big play.”
Syracuse guard Eric Devendorf (15 points) made one of the free throws, and then on the ensuing Orange possession, Devendorf swooped into the lane for a layup to make it 57-48.
Rutgers was cleared effected by the play, specifically Rosario, who came in third in the nation among freshmen in scoring at 17.6 points per game. After his solid first half, Rosario would shoot just 1-for-11 in the second half, to finish with 15 points.
Flynn’s dunk was the first of many nifty plays for the sophomore guard. Flynn also scored on a pretty spin move and was fouled to give the Orange a 63-53 lead. He then hit Paul Harris (26 points, six rebounds) with a no look drop pass for a layup as Syracuse extended to a 69-57 lead.
Harris finished with 26 points and six rebounds.
“If Paul plays like he did tonight, he’s really going to be a tremendous player,” Boeheim said. “When they left him open, he was able to hit a couple 15 footers. When they pressed up on him he was able to drive by them and make plays.”
But Flynn was clearly the star of the game, and with the dunk, continues to establish himself as one of the top point guards in the country.
Said Boeheim of Flynn: “He made some really good passes, some great decisions and no turnovers.”
This article was originally published at: http://syracuse.scout.com/2/829345.html