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Do I have "Awesome" written here? I should. You've seen my wife.
Well one thing is for sure, this Richmond was no D2 school. Syracuse found out the hard way, by trailing for way too long in this game. Other than the exhibition games, this was my first viewing of the Syracuse Orange 2008-2009 Basketball Team, and I will be honest… I was not thrilled. However, a win is a win, so can you really be too upset.

Your leading scorer was Jonny Flynn. He is one shy of his career high of 28 points with 27. Flynn is still a master of slicing through the lane and the dribble and dish. Flynn continues to remain an elite player in my mind and the minds of many fans and professionals. An excellent performance, especially in the later portion of the second half.

Eric Devendorf was clearly the BMOC of this game. He took over the second half of this game and went 4-5 from long range. He finished with 22 points. In typical Devo fashion he had seven turnovers, but I’ll cut him a break as he missed most of last season. Much like Vick Mackey, I’m sure Devendorf has much to confess. That will have to wait for another day. Just make smarter choices with the ball next time huh Eric?

Arinze Onuaku had an aggressive 17 points. I am under the full belief that Onuaku has emerged as an elite center in the Big East. He can create space, can elevate when necessary, and is mobile and light on his feet. A combination that can not be undervalued. He will be the biggest asset to this team, if they use him like they should. Chucking up bad 3 pointers will not help. Feeding the big man and letting him do what he does best will create wins, even against the toughest teams. He was 8-11 on field goals in 30 minutes of play. He also had 11 total rebounds.

Paul Harris had a nice game, but it was not anything special. He finished with seven points, including going 1-1 from long range. He also had six total rebounds. Paul has really developed his long range shot, however he missed a fairly easy mid-range jumper in the second half. I am still waiting for Paul to really establish his ability on the base line this season as well. He had a game that was just fine though.

Kristof! had a fine game in terms of intangibles and rebounding. He had zero points and some stupid fouls, but he did end up with nine rebounds and a steal. He had an excellent look at the basket in the second half, but overshot it. He did have a simply amazing block though, which got the Dome rocking.

Rick Jackson was a big disappointment in this game and you can see his role on the team slipping away to Kris Joseph. He only played nine minutes, missed a bucket, and got four total rebounds.

Speaking of Joseph, he finished with two points but had an excellent game with three assists, four rebounds, and a steal in 12 minutes of play.

The biggest disappointment in this game was Andy Rautins, who was 0-5 from behind the arc. He was 0-7 in total field goals. I’m hoping this was because he burned a lot in that Le Moyne game and will be back in top form in the next game.

The team was clearly lacking intensity and defensive prowess. Overall, they allowed too many shots from long range to go uncontested in their man-to-man defense. The zone looked good, and even against a team that shot the three well, they played it well. Again, the man defense looked too unorganized and lazy to really impress me. I am hoping this will change as the non-conference season progresses.

The team shot 28-56 (50%) from the floor overall. I’ll take 50% any day, but of course they could have done better, especially subtracting the 0’fer that Rautins turned in. Also, going 8-20 (40%) from long range is good. I would also take 40% from that line as well. So the shooting was good, but the team took too many unnecessary shots instead of taking that one extra pass or giving the ball to Onuaku.

The free throws are still not good. 12-19 (63.2%) will not win a game in the Big East. I just made a purchase for tickets to the UConn game tonight and if we lose that down the stretch from missed free throws I will throw a brick through the UConn Co-Op window.

All in all, a good game for the Orange. They have some clear areas to improve on and they better get on it if they want to be ready to play Florida. Syracuse will have one more tune up on Friday November 21 at 7:00pm against Oakland before they take on Florida in the Sprint Center next week. We will see if Syracuse can tune up their man defense in time to take on a serious non-conference opponent. I’m going to go and re-watch tonight’s episode of The Shield again so I will talk to you later.

Also, just as a hilarious aside, a good friend who recently started his one Syracuse blog asked me a legal question that was easily the craziest I’ve been asked in a while; would there be any legal issues with me posting an image of an SU basketball player's vanity license plate? Amazing.


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