- 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.
- 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.
* Georgia is my new #1. A reasonable pick I think. I have Alabama at #2. Notre Dame #3. I still like Alabama more than Notre Dame. I have Alabama below Georgia because they lost earlier and to a higher ranked team.
* Somehow I had Michigan State still on my ballot. Corrected. Also Rutgers and Okey State drop out. Now on the board are Northern Illinois, Utah State, and Kent State.
* I think the Top Ten is actually really solid. 11-20 was much harder to pick.
Leave a comment if anything seems too crazy.
- The above-pictured multi-talented Brandon Triche was the most outstanding offensive player for Syracuse. His stat line: 8-14 shooting (1-5 from 3) for 21 total points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two turnovers. His 29 minutes also tied with Michael Carter-Williams for team high on the day, and it was his consistency on offense that earned him the time on the floor.
- Brandon needs to have games like this, where his steady consistency can motivate the rest of the team, as it did here, because the rest of the team followed suit.
- MCW also had a clutch game. In his 29 minutes, he was 2-7 shooting and a couple foul shots for six points. But he was active on the boards (six rebounds) and had two blocks and three steals. When the top of the zone is active like that, well, you know that good things happen for this team.
- Speaking of which, how about the game play of Trevor Cooney? The redshirt freshman is not only living up to the hype of being the best 3-point shooter on the team (he was 2-5 on Sunday) but this kid can play some defense! His six steals makes that point. Remember how Andy Rautins used to play at the top of that zone? Cooney has the talent to be considered the next coming of Andy Rautins. Maybe a third iteration of Leo Rautins?
- Having Cooney redshirt last year was one of the best coaching decisions Boeheim made last season. With the depth the team had at guard, it made little sense to have him on the active roster and get little to no meaningful playing time. By redshirting him, he practices with the team, learns the offense, learns the zone, and is in a much better position to hit the court full-force this season compared to the incoming true freshmen.
- My evidence on this point is DaJuan Coleman. The kid's big, is a great presence down low, and has a ton of natural talent. But there were several times on Sunday when he just looked lost. I mention this not to be critical, but just to state that this is where he is in his development; he'll get there, and it'll be sooner than, say, Fab Melo got there, since Coleman's been playing the game longer than since high school. Still though, he needs to put in the work to get there.
- I would be remiss if this recap didn't heap a ton of praise onto Baye Moussa Keita and James Southerland. Keita was 6-6 shooting for a career-high 15 points. He also had five rebounds and two blocks. All of this in only 13 minutes on the floor. Southerland, for his part, was 6-9 shooting for 15 points, three blocks, and a steal, in 22 minutes. I think they both fed off the leading-by-example performance turned in by Brandon Triche.
- On the Wagner side of things, two players were in double-digit scoring: Jonathon Williams (14 points) and Kenneth Ortiz (11). Otherwise, the shooting was pretty poor. 32.8% as a team for the game.
- Wagner also lost the rebounding edge 49-36, and committed 23 turnovers.
- While Syracuse shot 50% for the game, it was the tale of two halves: 36.11% vs. 67.86%. Offensive output naturally followed, 36 and 52, respectively.
- It's a good game when, with a little more than a minute left, there's a complete line change and your lineup is purely walk-ons. Unfortunately, none of them logged a point; just a rebound, turnover, or steal here or there.
Syracuse wasn't a brilliant defense, and really they didn't stop Missouri from scoring in critical situations. However they did limit Missouri in the 3rd quarter from scoring at all and managed to only allow a field goal on the final scoring drive of Mizzou. They did just enough yet again. Despite allowing 25 first downs they did limit Missouri to 4-13 on third downs. A good effort, but not a great effort. But that was enough as they put the game within reach for the offense in the final two minutes.
Ross Krautman hit the one field goal he was tasked to from 44 yards out. In general, field position on punt and kick returns were good. Jeremiah Kobena bobbled the ball on a kick return once, but recovered and managed to get to the 19 yard line to start the final scoring drive for Syracuse. In general, an adequate day.
Syracuse had a 4th and ten late in the game and decided to go for it. It was the right call. A field goal attempt to tie the game would have been over 50 yards and into the wind. No way it would have gone through the uprights. Despite the fact that Syracuse still can't stop screen plays (see Mizzou's first touchdown), Syracuse has continued to not have penalties that kill drives, the call to switch Lemon into a bunch formation on the final scoring play was brilliant as he was able to go undetected on the field to score. Gutsy but correct call, then great play calling. It put Syracuse in a position to win. Well done.
While Syracuse shouldn't have had this game so close, Syracuse won the game and earned a bowl birth for the second time in three years. I thought they had the ability to play well enough on the road with the momentum built from last weekend and get to that 6 game plateau. They did, and if you hate Doug Marrone sorry. Win or lose at least this team is exciting to watch. Unlike five years ago.
Syracuse now will finish their year heading down to Temple the day after Thanksgiving. A team that Syracuse is very capable of beating at this point. Syracuse could have another eight win season if all things go according to plan. It starts by finishing up the regular season with one more win.
Labels: Smiling child
- This game for Syracuse was all about CJ Fair. CJ was 7-15 shooting (17 points total), including the only 3-pointer hit by Syracuse, and also grabbed 10 rebounds.
- I think it's Fair to say (no pun intended, at least initially) that CJ Fair is the leader of this team. Maybe not so much a vocal leader, but more so a steady, lead-by-example type of guy.
- Also with 17 points was Michael Carter-Williams, so was also quite steady on the court. He was also 7-15 from the floor, and grabbed 4 rebounds. Also of note for MCW was the 5 steals he had.
- Speaking of the steals, Syracuse had 12 total, which is a good indication of how active their defense was. Playing the Jim Boeheim patented 2-3 zone, SDSU fell into the normal made against the zone: shoot the ball, lots of 3s. But what might work in a gym doesn't quite work on the deck of an aircraft carrier in windy weather. Despite facing the wind early and seeing its effect on 3-point shots, the Aztecs failed to adjust the game plan and kept chucking up the ball. Oh well, their loss.
- Brandon Triche had 15 points on 6-11 shooting, but unfortunately turned over the ball five times -- not a stat you'd like to see from your senior point guard. It's early (you know, game 1) but Brandon needs to improve on this for Syracuse to be successful, especially against tougher opponents.
- Not to say SDSU wasn't a tough opponent. Ranked #20 in the country coming into this game, I think the elements just got the best of them. This probably would have been a much closer game inside, but, I guess we'll never know.
- As previously mentioned, the Aztecs' offense was quite anemic, scoring a Big 10-esque 49 points. Their leading scorer -- and the only one in double digits -- was Jamaal Franklin, who scored 11 points on an abysmal 3-12 shooting. And so it goes for SDSU, who as a team was 17-63 from the floor (27%).
- Syracuse won the rebounding battle 45-44.
- SDSU was 1-18 from the 3, or, for those of you who prefer percentages, 5.6%. Ouch. Congratulations to James Rahon.
- Both teams wore specially-designed camouflage jerseys. Syracuse's was a version of the road orange jerseys. In the biggest upset of the day, I was actually not upset with how they looked.
Syracuse stopped Louisville several times, forcing them to punt or kick a field goal. Most of the time it was forcing them to punt, or the defense wasn't on the field yet. Syracuse did allow 23 first downs and 472 total yards. However, Louisville was only 6-12 on third down conversions and only gained 48 rushing yards. There was much improvement on the run stop, putting it all on the shoulders of Teddy Bridgewater. And while he gained 424 yards, he also committed an INT, was pressured most of the day, and was generally ineffective in finding the end zone for his team. It also helped their leading rusher was injured and out the rest of the game on the first drive, but hey... them's the breaks.
Ross Krautman was perfect with his foot, hitting 1/1 on field goals and 6/6 on extra points. Syracuse also blocked a Louisville extra point and recovered a muffed L'ville punt. They also earned some good kick and punt return yards and covered well when they had to kick or punt. Their best special teams performance of the year.
When you when like this, you earn the credit for it. Syracuse came out attacking on offense and trying to pressure Bridgewater on defense. Syracuse stayed with their up tempo offensive attack and continued putting offensive pressure on Louisville until the middle of the fourth quarter. Louisville never had a chance to get back in this game and that was the right way to play it. Great job all around.
It's been 10 years since Syracuse earned a top 10 win. This is the biggest win for Doug Marrone, other than the Pinstripe Bowl win in 2010. It was a pleasure to sit and watch it from start to finish. No super dumb, drive killing mistakes. No turnovers. No nonsense. It was just a complete football win. Every phase, every play, against a superior opponent. We've been waiting for this team to show up this season. Good to see they finally did.
Syracuse next faces Missouri at Missouri. More importantly, with two games left on the schedule they have two chances to get one win and advance to another bowl game. Two games that are definitely winable if they play like they did on Saturday. With basketball season here, and an impressive first win for them, it's still good to see Syracuse still relevant in the bowl picture instead of completely writing off football for the basketball season.
Labels: Smiling child
* West Virginia has dropped out. Michigan State has also dropped out.
* Toledo and Texas Tech make an appearance.
* Notre Dame drops a couple spots despite winning because they needed 3 OTs and Pittsburgh's ineptness to win.
* I think think Oregon is the solid #2 team in the country. KState is great, but I think Oregon could beat them head to head.
Anything funky? Did someone lose and I forgot to drop them down? Leave a comment.