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One of many for Rak

A lot of the talk among Orange fans since the self-imposed postseason ban was announced has centered around the need for Syracuse to pick up a marquee win -- a win over a ranked opponent. Obviously, a win last Saturday with Duke visiting the Dome would have undoubtedly fit the bill. Unfortunately, as we all know, that effort fell short. So, the next opportunity was Wednesday night, with Rick Pitino's 10th-ranked Louisville Cardinals coming to town. While the Cards held a halftime lead, the Syracuse defense clamped down in the second half, and Rakeem Christmas simply took over, and led Syracuse to a 69-59 victory.

  • The aforementioned Rakeem Christmas not only led his team to the marquee win it was looking for, but had probably the marquee game of his career. The way he just dominated in the second half, after having been used and abused by several big men down low over the last several games, was simply stunning. And he has the stat line to back it up: 9-10 from the floor and 11-13 from the foul line for 29 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks.
  • Michael Gbinije had another great game we've come to expect from him at this point: 5-10 (including 3-6 from three) for 18 points, which also includes an impressive 5-6 from the foul line. That improvement alone is worth a gold star. Running a large portion of the game from the point, Gbinije also dished out six assists.
  • While Tyler Roberson had another solid game with thirteen points, Trevor Cooney, well, didn't. Boeheim called it possibly his worst shooting performance since he's been here, mainly because most of the shots he missed were wide open. Cooney was 1-10 from the field -- one made three, one missed runner, and eight missed threes. So, not good.
  • How many points from the bench? Why, none, of course. Ron Patterson wasted 12 minutes on the floor. His defense sucks, he can't hit a shot, and he can't penetrate. He's just not ready for big time action.
  • Boeheim credits the stronger defensive effort in the second half, but you can't argue with the better offense as well: 39.29% in the first half, to 57.89% in the second. On the other hand, Louisville was 53.85% in the first, and 32.14% in the second. So, a little bit of column A, a little bit of column B.
  • For as dominating Wayne Blackshear has been for Louisville for so long, here's the game he had against Syracuse: 0 points, 0 rebounds, two turnovers, and a five-foul disqualification in 19 minutes. Thanks for coming.
So this ended up being a great game and a great experience. It was my Dad's first SU basketball game. And it was a great birthday present for me (reminded me of 2006 when Syracuse beat Louisville in the Dome for College Gameday). And now, a couple days off for the team until welcoming Pittsburgh back to the Dome. Hopefully there's no let down.

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