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Princeton & Colgate Postgame Reactions

My swank view for the Colgate game

The students had left campus, people had gone home to their families, but the Syracuse basketball team had some business to take care of the night before Thanksgiving. This Wednesday night showdown in the Carrier Dome featured the Princeton Tigers facing off against the Syracuse Orange, which typically is a rivalry lacrosse matchup instead of basketball non-conference game. Still, Syracuse did what it does against the Tigers, played consistent ball, and won 73-53.
  • If there's a good way to work "hot hand" into a cool nickname for James Southerland, we need to do it. The guy's been shooting lights out this season, and Wednesday night against Princeton was no exception. He led the Orange in points with 22 on 7-11 shooting, including 4-6 from beyond the arc and 4-4 at the foul line.
  • James was one of five Orangemen in double digit scoring, along with CJ Fair (12), and Rakeem Christmas, Brandon Triche, and Michael Carter-Williams each with 10.
  • Overall, Syracuse shot 47.4% from the field, including 31.3% from three. A rather pedestrian effort that ends up being overwhelming against an inferior opponent.
  • While the Orange has experience and depth, its freshman showed how tough the college game can be. DaJuan Coleman often times looked lost on the court. In 16 minutes he scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds, but he often times found himself out of position, not understanding how the play was developing. I don't mention this to be unfairly critical -- it's clear he has a lot of talent and will be a great college player. He just has a lot to learn. A lot of experience to get, which obviously will only come with playing more. He'll get there.
  • He's probably got Fab Melo talent & ability, if not better. Considering he's leagues ahead of where Fab was when Fab was a freshman, I think it's safe to say that I don't be commenting on Coleman's greenness for too long.
  • Trevor Cooney, another freshman (albeit redshirt) had a bad night. The praise we heaped on him last week isn't here now; Trevor had an 0-for night with no points. Though his only stat in nine minutes was one steal, I can still say I like him defensively at the top of the zone. Let's just hope that shooting performances like this are few and far between.
  • Syracuse failed to reach the vaunted 75-point Taco Time, but really, who cares as long as the W goes in the record books?
  • Princeton's Clay Wilson had the hot hand for the Tigers. Off the bench he scored 15 points -- all on 3-pointers.
  • Aside from the lack of points, what really hurt the Tigers was their turnovers. 24 to be exact. And in a game where Syracuse has only 13, you can probably guess who won the game.
  • Credit also needs to go to the Syracuse defense, which not only created those 24 turnovers, but also had 19 steals and five blocks. Solid effort.
  • A lot has already been written about this elsewhere, but let me say a few things about Jim Boeheim's postgame comments on conference realignment. Obviously for the people who characterized it as Boeheim "going off on conference realignment" don't get Jim Boeheim: the dry humor, the sarcasm, the blase attitude. But was there some truth to what he said? Of course. Everyone will be better off the sooner this is all settled. Syracuse agreed to jump to the ACC because that was seen as a stable conference. Instability and uncertainty is what causes schools to jump; so when everyone knows this will all end up with 16-team conferences, the sooner that can happen the better off everyone will be.
After taming the Tigers and enjoying Thanksgiving, the Syracuse Orange then faced a Sunday afternoon game against long-time rival Colgate. In a series that dates back to 1902 and is without a Colgate victory since 1962, the Orange had to do what they've been doing: beat the Raiders. The game started slow, with Colgate sticking with Syracuse to an early 11-11 tie. But then Syracuse turned up the intensity, really started hitting shots, and pulled away big time in the second half, ultimately ending with an 87-51 victory.
  • James Southerland. See also, above. How can you not like how he's playing? I've always liked his shot, but the confidence he has behind it this season is just stunning. James is largely responsible for Syracuse pulling away from that 11-11 tie, and it was his outside shooting that did it.
  • For the day, James was 7-12 for 18 points, including 4-9 from three. He's clearly positioning himself as the team's 6th man, and could win awards at the end of the season if this continues.
  • Before moving on to more scoring stats, let's look at how this team scored. Chance are, if a basket was made, Michael Carter-Williams had his hand in making it happen. MCW had 13 of Syracuse's 18 assists. Quite an impressive and unselfish performance from your guard. It did come at the sacrifice of points, as Michael only had eight. But hey, make it easy for your teammates to score, and I'll take an eight-point performance any day.
  • In addition to Southerland, MCW helped get Brandon Triche (15), DaJuan Coleman (12) and Rakeem Christmas (10) into double digit scoring.
  • Though Brandon has had his ups and downs in games this season, his overall game numbers are staying rather consistent. I've mentioned in other posts that his consistency on the floor is what will make him a team leader, and as long as he's staying consistent in his contributions, this team will do great things. So please, Brandon, please keep proving me right.
  • Christmas was virtually a non-factor in the first part of this game, so it was nice to see him step it up and end with 10 points and a rebound short of a double-double.
  • Solid effort from Coleman, as he's improving with each game. 12 points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes is nice. He seemed a little hesitant early on, but gained some confidence and really started asserting himself, especially when he could get the ball inside. Lots of credit to MCW on that.
  • Trevor Cooney with another bad shooting game. No made three-pointers on seven attempts, only five points, and two steals.
  • I'm not too worried about Cooney, though. This team's not relying on him for offense, so if it's just that he's in a slump right now, he'll bust out whenever he busts out and the team will be fine. He can be a good spark off the bench. But it's the defense I like. Once he can consistently get things going on both ends of the court, he'll be a force to be reckoned with.
  • Colgate had no players in double-digit scoring. However, they did have some good shooters. As a team they made nine three-pointers, many from NBA-range or deeper. A couple shots impressed me, and I'm dressed in orange!
  • A solid rebounding effort by the Orange, winning the battle 43-32. That's a little shocking to me, considering they seemed to be employing a swat first, grab second mentality. Many times I found myself asking why they don't just grab the ball off a missed shot, especially when they had the size advantage. What do I know though? I'm just a 5'11.5" white guy.
The students and student-athletes are now back to class, and the basketball team will be preparing for its next game. Not at the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome, but a rare non-conference road game in Arkansas on Friday for the Big East/SEC challenge. The Razorbacks aren't what anyone should consider a "good" team, but this is nonetheless a road game for the Orange and a chance to once again prove that it can win in November in places not covered in Teflon.

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