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Everyone knew Maine wasn’t a great team. Everyone also knew that Syracuse was a really, really good basketball team. However, no one could have predicted that Syracuse would play as well as they did both on offense and defense. Syracuse absolutely destroys Maine 101 to 55.

This game was never close. Syracuse started by hitting three pointers and causing Maine turnovers. The Orange transition game was the best we have seen all season, with Syracuse earning a total of 28 assists of 41 field goals made. Additionally the 12 steals that Syracuse had helped spur the transition game as well. 14 blocks do not hurt either.

Syracuse shot an asinine 65.1% from the floor, only their second time shooting over 65% since 1996. Conversely, they held Maine to 26.5%, and held them to only 4 of 31 in the first half, and they only had 12 points at the break. While it is never really comfortable to watch a game like this, you have to be impressed with how well Syracuse plays as a team on both ends of the floor.

Syracuse’s leading scorer was Brandon Triche with 16 points in 16 minutes. He also had two assists and a steal. While he does not seem to be as good of a ball distributor as Jonny Flynn was, he is certainly a scorer of high talent, as he not only seemed to be in the right place at the right time to score easy on the fast break, but he drove to the basket with skill and ease against Maine.

Arinze Onuaku was the other starter in double digits with 12 points. He also had seven rebounds and three blocks. He dominated the Maine defense off the dribble or straight to the rack. He is clearly one of the best true centers in the nation. Also luckily, he only had to attempt one free throw.

Rick Jackson had eight assists and eight points. Similar to Onuaku, he had the moves off the dribble, and clearly in the off season has worked on his sky hook. While not known for creating opportunity for others, this game was the perfect example of how a good interior game will spur on outside shooting opportunity as Jackson would pass the ball to an open shooter when the defense collapsed in on him down low.

Andy Rautins also had eight points in this game and earned nine assists. His passing performance on the day was highlighted by a backwards pass from Triche to Rautins outside the arc and instead of pulling the trigger threw it to Wes Johnson to throw down the easy bucket. Very unselfish play from Rautins yet again.

Wesley Johnson only played 19 minutes in this game, therefore he only earned seven points, but it was a fun seven points to see. He continues to be the most talented player on this team and seems destined for draft day.

Four other players off the bench scored in double figures. Kris Joseph, Mookie Jones, Scoop Jardine, and James “Southie” Southerland scored 14, 12, ten, and ten points respectively. It seems that this is the most talented team Syracuse has seen top to bottom since some faithful year that I do not want to say for fear of jinxies. Needless to say this is a talented bunch, and for the first time since Josh Pace was on the team we have a reliable bench good for many points.

But it was not all sunshine and rainbows for the Syracuse Orange. They had 17 turnovers in this game, the same that Maine had. While this is fine for a blow out of this magnitude it cannot happen against better teams. Of course, that statistic is skewed because of the younger bench players and walk-ons getting in the game for several minutes.

Additionally, Maine had 13 steals, which was one more than Syracuse. Syracuse coughed up the ball an awful lot in that game, but again most of which came in the waning moments of the second half, when the kids were out there just trying to get their name in the box score.

All in all another stellar game and a fine bit of basketball for Syracuse. Now that just leaves Florida, the last truly tough game before the conference slate starts. We’ll see if Syracuse can defend its top ten rating, as well as the honor of the Big East conference. The way UConn is playing it looks like we’ll have to.

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