The Orange have played two games since I last checked in here. That's two more wins for the #5 Syracuse Orange. The team continues to roll as they now will enter Big East play at 12-0. But before that, we will see how they got there.
Syracuse was clearly off when they played St. Bonaventure last Saturday. However, that only lasted for one half, as Syracuse rolled in the second. Syracuse only had a four point lead at the half, but with big three point shots from Brandon Triche and Andy Rautins prevented Bonaventure from getting any momentum in the second half. They won 85 to 72.
Rick Jackson was the leading scorer, earning 18 points on 8-11 shooting. He also earned 10 rebounds. He had several good post plays down low against the smaller Bonaventure team throughout the game. However he did have five turnovers as he failed to pass to an open player when he was double or even triple teamed. He lead the team in that category. He also tied Wes Johnson with ten rebounds for the most on the team.
Both Kris Joseph and Johnson had 17 points in the game. Joseph was excellent off the bench and added a real spark and lift to the team when Bonaventure pushed to close the gap in the second half. Johnson also had a double-double.
The reason for Bonaventure's early success is the 17 total turnovers Syracuse had in this game. Bona only had 13. Syracuse's success in the second half shooting however, overcame their offensive troubles in the first half. They finished 40% from long range, while Bonaventure only had 22.2% success.
Not to be missed in this recap is the fact that Andy Rautins got smacked in the cash and prizes by Andrew Nicholson, the leading scorer of Bonaventure. He was subsequently ejected from the game by Tim Higgins. Andy not surprisingly missed his two free throws immediately after this incident. We forgive you Andy. Every dude knows how much that sucks. Moving on.
This past Tuesday Syracuse then faced their final non-conference foe before traveling to New Jersey to start the conference. This game was never in doubt. Syracuse put the money in the bucket early and often. They won over Oakland 92 to 60.
Brandon Triche had a career high 27 points as he led the Orange, hitting 6-6 from behind the arc and 9-11 from the floor. Even while on occasion he was out of control driving through the lane the ball somehow managed to find the bottom of the bucket. He was unstoppable in this game.
Johnson also played well again. He earned another double-double, making 19 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. He was 8-12 from the floor. He is a superstar.
Syracuse shot very well from the floor, shooting 55.4% from the floor and 45.5% from three point range. What really helped Syracuse win by 32 was both their defense and Oakland only shooting a dismal 9.1% (2-22) from long range, effectively shooting them right out of this game early and often. While Syracuse caused 16 turnovers, they had 15 themselves, which is still too much and sloppy. However, this is skewed because the second and third string players were in with about eight minutes to go. Either way, it is simply too many turnovers, but when you win by 32 in the grand scheme it is a moot point. This time.
This team is absolutely rolling and shouldn't be stopped anytime soon. This team will enjoy a nice Christmas and a few days rest, but will be hitting the road heading to New Jersey on Tuesday to take on The Hall. We'll see who will lead the team in scoring that night, as on any given night it could be anyone. That is one of the reasons why this team is so fun to watch. Unselfishness always makes for more entertaining basketball.