NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Fresh off being named Big East Player of the Year, Hakim Warrick showed he was worth every vote.
Warrick scored 17 of his 23 points in the first half and became the fifth player in school history to reach 2,000, leading No. 18 Syracuse to an 81-57 victory over Rutgers in the quarterfinals of the Big East Conference tournament.
The Orange (25-6), who have not won the tournament crown since 1992, will face defending champion Connecticut in Friday's semifinals.
Warrick, who also grabbed 13 rebounds, has averaged nearly 30 points over his past four games and joined Lawrence Moten, Derrick Coleman, John Wallace and Sherman Douglas in the 2,000-point club.
After scoring 10 of Syracuse's first 14 points, Warrick reached the milestone when he followed up a miss by Josh Pace with 4:26 to go in the first half. The follow was part of an 18-3 run that gave the Orange a 47-22 lead at the break.
"You definitely want to go out there and be aggressive right from the start," Warrick said. "(You) don't want them to get any confidence. They had nothing to lose and they were going to come out and take a lot of outside shots. I thought if we could jump on them early, put that pressure on them, it would really benefit us."
Syracuse had a much easier time against Rutgers compared to their earlier meeting on January 24, when the Orange trailed by 18 points at halftime before resorting to fullcourt pressure to spark an 86-84 comeback victory.
"We had such a tough game down (at) Rutgers the first time that I thought we learned a lot from that," Orange coach Jim Boeheim said. "(We) did a much better job inside against an inside screen. Then we got out on their shooters and made them take it a step back further out."
The Scarlet Knights made just three of their first 15 shots and ended the half shooting 23 percent (7-of-30) from the floor. Quincy Douby, who had been averaging 15 points, was 2-of-11 in the first 20 minutes.
Gerry McNamara made 6-of-8 3-pointers, four in the second half, and finished with 25 points for Syracuse, which had a 43-32 rebounding edge to help give Boeheim his 701st victory in 29 seasons.
"When I got open looks, I had good rhythm and I just knocked them down," McNamara said. "That's what I'm going to have to do tomorrow, get those same type of looks and have my good legs."
"There (are) teams that dedicate guys just to Gerry," Boeheim said. "And he's not going to get a lot of good looks in those situations. Gerry has gotten much better this year at penetrating, finding people, making plays."
Douby was the only Rutgers player in double figures with 14 points, as the Scarlet Knights ended a disappointing season with a 10-19 mark. They were 20-13 last season and reached the final of the National Invitation Tournament.
"Syracuse dominated us out there on the boards," Rutgers coach Gary Waters said. "It was very difficult for us to handle them inside. We have to get better in that area if we're going to be a strong competitor in the Big East."