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I love it when the walk ons come in. I get to sit here and look awesome.
Merry Christmas Eve! Three more non-conference games are in the books, each one with their own pros and cons. In "East Tennessee State" we saw a huge margin of victory, but we lost our most senior leader on the team for the year with an ACL tear. In "Colgate" we saw Donte Greene take over the game and respond to Devo being out, but we saw the bench only contribute sparingly. In “Cornell” we saw a team come out with their guns blazing, but the second half was lackluster and lacking a lot of effort. So where does this leave us, besides with a cool Amazing Race reference? With one more non-conference opponent, there have been some interesting developments since I last penned a game recap.

First we look at the East Tennessee State. After scoring 125 points, you have to feel good. Donte Green contributed 1/5 of the scoring and Onuaku and Devendorf added 19 each. Paul Harris also had a nice day with 12 points and nine rebounds. Rick Jackson had the best game off the bench by adding 13 points and nine rebounds in 27 minutes. Also, we saw the glimpse of walk on Mike Williams, who in only six minutes of playing earned seven points, shooting three for three. More on him later.

The team lit it up from long range during this game. They shot 60% from the floor for three, hitting 15 of 25. Green and Devendorf hit five each. Overall, they shot 47-62, which translates to 75.8%. Simply amazing. When I am making bets with friends at the under 12 time out putting the over/under at 125 points, it is a fun game. They almost burned down the Dome because the nets were on freaking fire.

The other big component and really the only negative was the 26 turnovers committed by Syracuse. Everyone had a piece of the fun. While in this game it mattered little because ETSU also had 21 of their own, and we scored so many points, this could matter down the line.

While there was not much that was too exciting on the court, the real story of this game was the fact that Eric Devendorf tore his ACL like a CEO tearing secret memo after indictments are handed down. This was a potentially devastating blow for the season. The question was if the bench, already fairly thin, could respond well to being without their experienced leader? The answer was, at least against an inferior foe, a resounding yes.

The last time Colgate beat Syracuse was over 30 years ago. Colgate was not even close to beating Syracuse this time around either. Greene again was the leading scorer with 26 points. Onuaku also had an excellent game with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Scoop Jardine started in place of the injured Devendorf. He did not have a breakout game but did contribute five assists.

The team was shooting well again, making 31-57 for 54.4% on field goals. Unfortunately though, the team only made 19 of 32 free throws, which translates to 59.4%. In the Big East, free throws are an important component to every game down the stretch. This is also a big concern of mine, but I suppose it would not be Syracuse if free throws were not always a concern, at least in the back of your mind.

Blocked shots were also a stat worth noting in this game. The team had 11, with Rick Jackson leading the charge off the bench with three. Kristof Ongenaet also contributed two off the bench. More on him in a moment.

For the second game in a row the team committed more turnovers than the other team. Syracuse committed 21, while Colgate committed 20. Jonny Flynn was the biggest offender with six. He is young, so it appears we will have to take the good with the bad. Overall this was not a factor in the game, but it is still concerning because after about a third of the season over with, they are still turning the ball over quite often. When possessions become more important in the Big East, against teams like Pittsburgh and Georgetown, this could become a major issue.

This game was also another one for Mike Williams. You may remember him from such games a Louisville, West Virginia, and Cincinnati. Football games that is. Yes, that Mike Williams, which currently has the longest and active streak of consecutive games with a touchdown, stepped onto the hardwood. Although he only played for a minute, and did nothing but commit a foul, it was still pretty cool and exciting to see. I hope he can positively contribute to the team.

Finally, it was the Big Red of Cornell visiting this past Saturday. Jonny Flynn led the charge during the game. He had 21 points, leading all scorers in the game. He also again had six turnovers. Typical Jonny Flynn these days.

Onuaku also had a great game with 21 points. He looked good as they basically could pass inside down low any time they wanted, and Onuaku reaped the benefits. See the video below. It was great to see a center that has some finesse and has a hook shot.

Harris also had ten points and seven rebounds, and Greene, who had a poor day from afar, had 11 points and ten rebounds. Sadly he only shot one for six from long range. He was also only four for 16 overall. Still, the starting five had a nice day.

The big story of the game was Kristof Ongenaet, coming off the bench and playing his heart out. Much like the Cornell Hangovers, the name is funny, but the substance is there (The Hangovers are the all male a cappella group at the university). In 22 minutes he earned nine points, ten rebounds and two blocked shots. He was diving on the floor, scrapping for balls, fighting for rebounds, and played like we were down by ten points the entire time he was in. He played like a certain gentlemen that wore the number three.

Speaking of number three, Gerry MacNamara was on hand with his lovely wife Katie, and his brother Tim. He got a rousing standing ovation from the crowd and then was proceeded to be mobbed by the masses. It was good to see Gerry looking well and happy. I guess playing about two games and earning $200,000 for it looks good on anyone.

The bench played well, and Josh Thomas, while not a real legitimate scoring threat at this time, can seem to handle the ball well. It seems like the bench has responded well overall, which is good considering it was not that deep at the onset of this season.

There were again more turnovers for the Orange than Cornell, however it was a non-factor again. Really, the only concern I had was the play of the second half. It seemed like the team gave up and was just coasting. Against a better team this could have come and haunted the Orange. However, I feel like if the team was playing a competitive foe this would not have been the case. So please, do not panic Orange Nation. Syracuse always seems to rise to the competition.

Overall, these last three games have been great for the Orange. I think they have been a nice primer for the start of the Big East schedule coming on January 2nd. We have one more non-conference game in Northeastern on the 30th at 1:00pm in the Dome. The clear impression is that, at least average teams, the bench can respond and do well. Greene, Flynn, and Onuaku have looked good, and Ongenaet has impressed off the bench. Overall, we shall see how the team responds to the elite teams in the Big East soon enough.

I’m taking the next couple days off, much like everyone in the Blogosphere. Don’t expect any Nunes::44 or Orange::44/Magician tomorrow, but we will be back soon. Until then, have a safe and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Lay off excess Nog, and have a wonderful time with your families. I’ll be back after Christmas with some new and provocative content.


2 Responses to “ETSU/Colgate/Cornell v. Syracuse Postgame Reactions OR SUperblog Roundup”

  1. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Nice catch up. But it was Mike Williams not Sean Williams who made his debut against ETSU and scored 7 points, the ESPN box score has this wrong. Sean Williams (who is not a walk on) made his debut in the following game against Colgate.  

  2. # Anonymous Anonymous

    I don't know what upsets me more, the huge hole that is created by the loss of Eric Devendorf. Or that Eric Devendorf is considered a huge loss.  

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