Syracuse and St. Bonaventure have a long history of head-to-head basketball meetings that dates back to 1923-24. The two teams have played one another 26 times, with SU owning a 23-3 overall advantage, including 13 consecutive victories.
In the Carrier Dome Saturday evening the no. 5-ranked Orange, knowing that every game they play can be a compelling challenge, got one from the Bonnies, who did not appear to be overmatched by 10-0 Syracuse.
Only in the second half did SU reassert its dominance, posting a 15-4 run that made the primary difference in a hard-fought 85-72 win.
The Orange's recipe for success in front 20, 568 fans was a pair of clutch 3-pointers by Andy Rautins and Brandon Triche in the midst of that 15-4 run. In addition, Syracuse held the Bonnies to 22.2 percent (6-for-27) shooting from beyond the arc.
SU displayed balanced scoring, with four players reaching double figures. Rick Jackson led all scorers, delivering his seventh double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Jackson was 8-for-11 from the field, adding three blocks and three steals.
Kris Joseph contributed a season-high 17 points and seven rebounds. Wesley Johnson pitched in with 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Rautins, who had a major role in the outcome, added 11 points and five assists. This came despite just scoring five points in the first 30 minutes of the contest. A persistent Rautins eventually broke out of his shooting slump.
"If you miss a couple of shots it's not going to stop you from taking a couple more open looks," Rautins said.
In the first half, it was tightly contested battle, despite SU getting a 20-13 lead at one point. The Orange established a dominant interior presence in the paint, with Jackson and Joseph scoring 14 out of the 20 points.