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Prepping for a free throw? No, giving God a high five.

When asked a question about 22,000 fans still coming out for the game despite the weather (and, I was there, and the actual number was a lot less), Jim Boeheim remarked that it was a beautiful day in Syracuse. It's a great presser, check it out. Despite the questionable weather, and Syracuse's seeming inability to clean its streets, one could honestly say it was a beautiful day in Syracuse. After a nine-day layoff, Syracuse showed no signs of rust, played great offense, mostly good defense, and by and large dominated a team in Florida State which was pretty evenly matched. The 42-39 score at halftime wasn't representative of how a Syracuse victory was never seriously in doubt; the Orange beat the Seminoles 85-72.

  • Great offense can be defined a few different ways: four players in double-digit scoring (with two others one & two points away, respectively); shooting 62% from the field; shooting 47.1% from three; doing all that while committing 20 turnovers. Yeah, that last part is shocking, and led to 28 FSU points off turnovers. And Syracuse still won by 13.
  • This game was classic badass Michael Gbinije -- he played without a care in the world, he was just going to do his thing and nobody was gonna stop him. I mean, the rim may have blocked a dunk attempt or two, but otherwise, he just did what he wanted. And he had 22 points to show for it.
  • DaJuan Coleman's stat line doesn't jump out at you like he had a great game, but his eight points and three rebounds in 21 minutes were huge. He was active on defense, and seemed really confident with the ball. Once, he drove from the top of the key and put the ball in the hoop. He also had an assist. I repeat: DaJuan Coleman had an assist. And it was super pretty. I may have stood up and cheered for it.
  • Tyler Lydon showed a lot more poise and maturity out there, and it showed in the stats: 15 points on 5-7 shooting (1-2 from three) along with ten rebounds for a double double in 21 minutes. If there was ever a perfect balance to get the most out of Coleman & Lydon in the same game, this was it.
  • Malachi Richardson continues to play smarter than a freshman. He was the offensive spark early in the game, and ended with 17 points on 6-10 shooting. We all held our breath when Mali went down at the baseline with an apparent leg injury, but he ultimately walked off the court on his own power, reentered the game a bit later, and was back to his normal self. Hopefully nothing to worry about going forward.
  • Say what you will about the Seminoles, but they wouldn't give up in this game. Late in the first half when the Syracuse defense let up a little bit (complacency?) FSU took full advantage and closed the gap to that 3-point halftime margin. Unfortunately for them, they couldn't keep it that way after the break.
  • Florida State has a player named Dwayne Bacon. I'm sure you've heard of him. He's a pretty good player, and played pretty well against Syracuse. And, to my credit, I only made one bacon joke:

At any rate, this was an impressive win for Syracuse. Yes, you need to win the toss up games at home, but to do it this way, this team just looked downright good. This should bide well going into Chestnut Hill on Sunday, where just a few days ago North Carolina struggled to beat BC. But UNC is just struggling right now, period. BC sucks and always will, but Syracuse can't beat themselves.

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