Published on February 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm HARTFORD, Conn. –– Left, right. Left, right. Left, right…Showering down on Baye Moussa Keita was the same chant the Connecticut student section unleashes on every player of the opposing team who has fouled out. With 3:10 remaining in No. 17 Syracuse’s 66-58 win over UConn, the student section traced every Moussa Keita step with a yelp in unison. Each one. From the time the freshman center secured his fifth foul when guarding Connecticut center Alex Oriakhi to the instant he found a seat on the Syracuse bench. Roughly 30 seconds.The energetic chant was, of course, meant to poke fun. To badger. To heckle a freshman.But after Moussa Keita bullied Oriakhi and UConn’s other bigs in the best game of his college career, the Connecticut students were effectively serenading a rookie after a breakout performance.With their own choreographed energy, the students showcased exactly what SU junior small forward Kris Joseph feels Moussa Keita brings every night. Certainly what he brought Wednesday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘Energy,’ Joseph said. ‘That is what he has been bringing since the beginning of the year. He brought heart, and he brought energy. It’s tough when you are demanding all that from a freshman.’In 27 near-flawless minutes, Moussa Keita flanked the dependable Rick Jackson by hauling in 11 rebounds. He added an astounding six steals and two blocks, scoring four points on 2-of-4 shooting.What he brought to the table for SU was, arguably, the most valuable player at the XL Center on Wednesday. In what is becoming not only a reoccurring but mind-numbing part of SU games, head coach Jim Boeheim started Moussa Keita’s fellow freshman center Fab Melo, only to pull Melo for Moussa Keita after three minutes.Melo once again did nothing for SU. Moussa Keita spelled him. He played 27 of the next 36 minutes.All Boeheim could do postgame was laud the Senegal native.‘He was great,’ Boeheim said of Moussa Keita. ‘Blocking shots, rebounding. He was tremendous, I thought. Tremendous. Tremendous in the middle.’Tremendous because of awareness. Through 23 games, Boeheim has vented about Melo’s uselessness if he is lost defensively. Wednesday, he was again. But Moussa Keita was the glue in the middle of SU’s 2-3 zone. A lanky 6-10 magnet that corralled seemingly every loose ball.To Joseph, Moussa Keita left the XL Center court the furthest thing from a rookie.Said Joseph: ‘I don’t consider him a freshman anymore.’Waiters, Southerland return to floorFor two Syracuse regulars who missed the Orange’s last game at Marquette, Wednesday represented two different paths. For one, redemption and solidification in the SU lineup. For the other, more time likely spent on the bench.The former: freshman guard Dion Waiters. The latter: James Southerland.Keeping things in perspective like he has done all season with Waiters, SU head coach Jim Boeheim said his young guard still has much to learn. Still, Boeheim said Waiters was a major factor in SU’s win Wednesday.‘I thought Dion stepped up big time today,’ Boeheim said.Waiters shined in his first contest back from a one-game stint on the bench after he didn’t play last Saturday at Marquette. On Wednesday, he played 18 valuable minutes off Boeheim’s bench, scoring nine points and grabbing four rebounds. He also helped form the first line of defense at the top of the SU zone against Connecticut guard Kemba Walker.It all came a game after rumors stating he was benched due to an exchange of choice words on the SU sideline with Boeheim during the Orange’s 22-point home loss to Seton Hall on Jan. 25.‘We were in a little slump,’ Waiters said. ‘We all were. Just to come out and get this win on the road at UConn, it was big. I’m happy, man.’Also returning to the floor Wednesday was Southerland. Southerland got on the floor for only a minute before missing a 3-pointer and committing a foul. By that point, Boeheim saw enough. That explained why Southerland did not see playing time both Wednesday and at Marquette.‘He had a great opportunity in three games and had one rebound,’ Boeheim said. ‘So he played his way out.’For Waiters, though, this game reaffirmed his status as one of the regulars in Boeheim’s rotation. And it reaffirmed the self-confidence he’s never afraid to display.‘I just went out there like I had to make something happen for my team,’ Waiters said, ‘and we’re going to win this game.’[email protected]@syr.edu Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments
Manchester United manager David Moyes has been handed a first match in charge at Swansea as the full 2013-14 football fixtures are announced.Jose Mourinho starts his second spell at Chelsea with a home game against newly promoted Hull on 17 August.Manuel Pellegrini’s first game in charge of Manchester City is against Newcastle at the Etihad Stadium.Following their promotion from the Championship, Cardiff travel to West Ham and Crystal Palace host Tottenham.Relegated QPR start life in the Championship with a home game against Sheffield Wednesday on 3 August.In Scotland, Celtic begin their defence of their SPL title with a home game against Ross County. Rangers begin life in the Scottish Second Division at home to Brechin.Meanwhile, the FA Cup final has returned to its place at the end of the domestic season, with the match scheduled for May 17, a week after the end of the Premier League season. The 2010 season was the last time the match took this slot.New Everton boss Roberto Martinez takes his team to Norwich on the opening weekend, while Liverpool host Mark Hughes’ Stoke at Anfield.Arsenal start with a home game against Aston Villa, Sunderland host Fulham and Southampton travel to West Brom.Moyes’s first five league games17 August: Swansea (away)24 August: Chelsea (home)31 August: Liverpool (away)14 September: Crystal Palace (home) 21 September: Manchester City (away)After the game at Swansea, Moyes’s United host Chelsea at Old Trafford before the former Everton manager returns to Merseyside to face Liverpool the following weekend.City host United in the first Manchester derby of the season on the weekend of 21 September and they travel to Old Trafford for the return game on the weekend of 1 March.Cardiff’s first Premier League derby against Swansea takes place at the Cardiff City Stadium on 2 November and the Welsh sides meet again at the Liberty Stadium on 8 February.On Boxing Day, Chelsea host Swansea, Manchester United head to Hull and Manchester City face Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium. Arsenal entertain Cardiff on New Year’s Day, Manchester United face Tottenham at Old Trafford, Pellegrini’s City travel to Swansea and Chelsea head to Southampton.The season ends on 11 May, with Manchester United travelling to Southampton, Chelsea at Cardiff and Arsenal at Norwich, while Manchester City host West Ham.Club-by-club fixtures for the new season:Premier League: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Cardiff City, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton, Fulham, Hull City, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Norwich City, Southampton, Stoke City, Sunderland, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich Albion, West Ham United.