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Syracuse beating Colgate was a big deal?
Just another game? That's what this needed to be, and that's what it was once the ball was tipped shortly after 4pm yesterday. Syracuse went on to dominate the Raiders, who fell to the Orange for the 45th straight time, with a score of 92-47. It was a game that saw some solid bench play from Syracuse, the assistant coaching skills of Gerry McNamara, and not a lot of Kris Joseph.
  • The leading scorer for the Orange was Dion Waiters off the bench, who contributed 16 points in 26 minutes. Those 26 minutes were also a team-high for the game.
  • Speaking of "off the bench," the entire active roster made it into this game. Collectively, the bench scored 60 points.
  • That's right, the Syracuse bench outscored the Colgate TEAM 60-47.
  • In addition to Waiters, the other huge contributor off the bench was James Southerland. Not only did he contribute the following line (14 points, 4 steals, 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks, all in 21 minutes), but he spearheaded one of the most exciting sequences I've ever seen in Syracuse basketball. More on that in the next bullet.
  • The Syracuse defense employed the pressure for much of the game, trying to stay active, catch Colgate off guard, and create turnovers into fastbreak points. At no time was this more evident than just under the 9-minute mark in the first half. Southerland stole the ball and hit a jump shot. On the inbound attempt, CJ Fair stole the ball under the basket and tossed it in for the score. After a timeout by Colgate to regroup, another attempt to inbound under the basket was thwarted by James Southerland, who hit a 3-point jumper. After another inbound, Brandon Triche stole the ball, got it to Southerland, who made a lay-up. Then a foul on Scoop Jardine at the inbound led to another inbound attempt, which was stolen by Southerland who dunked it in. Colgate then called ANOTHER timeout to regroup. The next possession led to a Rakeem Christmas steal, and though he missed the layup, Fair came in for the offensive board and put in, for which he was fouled. By then we hit the under-8 media timeout. But wow. This description doesn't even do it justice. Go back and watch it yourself!
  • In all, 13 Orangemen scored points. That's impressive, no matter who you're playing.
  • The starters' time on the court was limited, with Christmas getting the most at 20 minutes. All starters returned to the floor to start the second half, except Kris Joseph, who we later learned was resting his knee after experiencing some soreness and stiffness. After the game, coach Jim Boeheim insisted Joseph could have played, but felt it was better to get him some rest so he'd be ready for the games Wednesday and Friday at Madison Square Garden.
  • Fair started the 2nd in place of Joseph. CJ had a nice game, with 13 points in 18 minutes, also adding 2 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block. His game on both ends of the floor has been very consistent. He's a go-to player who doesn't create a lot of hype or attention, which I think makes him especially dangerous. It's great to have a player like that on the team.
  • Michael Carter-Williams is also getting some huge playing time in these early contests, playing for 22 minutes in this one. While his stat sheet isn't impressive (3 points, 5 assists), he is active on the floor and is really good at making the opposition know he's out there. I worry sometimes that he plays a little too aggressive, and he can sometimes create some stupid fouls. However, these are, as they say, freshman mistakes. He'll learn, and be all the better for it.
  • Scoop Jardine had a very un-Scoop-like game. In 16 minutes of action, he scored 11 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, had a steal and an assist, and -- this is the weird part -- had zero turnovers. Zero! Who knew that zero could be the hero?
  • Colgate was simply outmatched on every aspect of this game. While their leading scorer Pat Moore had 19 points, it obviously didn't much matter. That's all the Colgate analysis you're getting from me.
  • As we move in to seeing some tougher competition in New York City this week, we should continue to see what permutation of players Boeheim decides to use. Yes, the bench goes deep, and with it, the talent, but Boeheim won't be parading out the likes of Mookie Jones on a regular basis once the cupcakes are out of the way. Waiters, Keita, and Fair are the ones you'd anticipate getting most of the minutes off the bench, but with the way Southerland has been playing in these early games, how can you justify not playing him? We could very easily see a 9- or 10-man rotation deep into the season. And the best thing about it is, God forbid if a starter gets hurt, there's someone just as good on the bench who can step in and play like a starter.
  • I, for one, am grateful that we have that to rely on.
So now, we turn our attention to Wednesday, and a matchup at MSG against the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Hokies. I insist that we all use the full name. Using the full name will divert attention away from having to address the big elephant (empty chair) in the room. So, please indulge us.


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