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After a couple of humdrum performances, Syracuse Basketball was determined to go into the new year with some pride. The first 13 or 14 minutes of Monday's game against Central Connecticut wasn't pretty, but then the old Orange that we know and love came back to life and played good basketball. Syracuse ends 2012 on a high note and blows out the Blue Devils 96-62.

  • I'm not sure who to give top billing to, because a lot of Orange players had a good game.
  • I'll start with the statistical genius of Michael Carter-Williams. MCW was one rebound short of a triple double: 18 points on 6-10 shooting, 13 assists, and nine rebounds. It was great seeing him back in his stride, and it certainly helped the team pull away from CConn in the last few minutes of the first half. MCW must have known he was one rebound away from the triple double, as his last minutes on the floor were spent trying to grab that rebound; his teammates did everything they could to prevent him from grabbing one.
  • For a while, it seemed MCW was trying to get his triple double via turnovers. The box score credits him with six, and while I wasn't counting, it sure seemed like he had more than that. I'm too lazy to look it up, but he probably leads the team in turnovers, which is a dubious distinction for your starting guard.
  • Also pulling in a double double was CJ Fair, who has been the consistent quiet threat for the Orange this season. 13 points on 6-11 shooting, ten rebounds, and a steal in 26 minutes of play. Just another solid effort from CJ. He'll seldom "wow" you, but he doesn't seem to get frustrated out there and he just does his thing game in and game out. The other, more emotional players out on the court could learn a thing or two from CJ.
  • Falling just short of double doubles themselves were Rakeem Christmas (nine points, ten rebounds), and Dajuan Coleman (13 points, nine rebounds). These big guys (including Baye Moussa Keita) had a much better game this go around. Not perfect by any means, but this is the positive direction you want this group moving in as Big East play begins.
  • Brandon Triche and James Southerland also put in solid efforts in this one, with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
  • With Syracuse never looking back after gaining a 47-26 lead, Jim Boeheim took the opportunity to go with a few different lineups in the second half. Jerami Grant (20 minutes) and Trevor Cooney (19) got some good playing time.
  • Boeheim also stuck with his starting five late into the game, I assume to get them as much playing time together heading into the Big East.
  • CConn has some good shooters, including Kyle Vinales and Adonis Burbage, who consistently shot the ball from 3-4 feet beyond the arc. In all, the Blue Devils combined for nine threes on 35 attempts.
  • Syracuse really went to work on the glass, and this must have been a point of emphasis for the Orange in practice. 57 rebounds is a fantastic performance no matter who you're playing.
  • Syracuse only got to the free throw line 13 times (not a heck of a lot of fouls in this one, evident by the quick game time) and hit eight of them for 61.5%. That should probably be a point of emphasis in practice.
The win pushes #7 Syracuse to a 12-1 record to close out the non-conference portion of the schedule. The win was also a milestone for Jim Boeheim, who is now tied with Bob Knight for 2nd on the all-time Division I wins list with 902. The first attempt at 903 and sole possession of 2nd place comes Wednesday night in the Carrier Dome against Rutgers. The entire Orange::44 crew (yeah, all two of us) will be on hand for that potentially momentous affair, so stay tuned to this blog and our respective twitters for wall to wall coverage. Or something like that.

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