Behind another stellar performance from C.J. Fair, who scored a team-best 23 points, collected 11 rebounds and blocked four shots, the No. 7-ranked Syracuse Orange earned their second straight Big East Conference road victory Wednesday defeating the Providence Friars, 72-66, at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
Just like Sunday's win over USF, the Orange (15-1, 3-0 Big East) started slow, but somehow found a way to collect their fifth straight win.
Michael Carter-Williams tallied 17 points, six assists and committed just one turnover in his homecoming, while Rakeem Christmas scored a career-high 15 points, snagged eight rebounds and blocked three shots in his best performance of the season.
However, as good as MCW and Rak were it was Fair who nearly single-handily propelled SU to the win. Since Big East play began, the junior forward is averaging 16 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3 blocks and is shooting 80-percent from the charity stripe.
Overall, the Orange struggled from behind the 3-point line finishing a concerning 3-for-21, but made up for the struggles at the free-throw line, making 17 of 18 attempts - Fair was 9-for-10 (I know! I know!) - and on the boards, out-rebounding the Friars (41-27).
After the game, for the second straight contest, Jim Boeheim did not speak fondly about his team's offensive performance.
"It’s the worst shooting night we’ve had,’’ Boeheim said. "I’ve never seen James and Brandon get the kind of looks they got all night and just couldn’t make anything. I think to their credit they hung in there and got back in the game with their defense and rebounding.’’
"The thing I like about my team is they made that shot (by Council), everybody got up,’’ Boeheim said. "It was a 1-point game. We came right down and attacked it and scored. That’s pretty good.’’
In the end, this was Syracuse's final trip to Providence before departing to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season, and according to coach Boeheim this creates a big problem (via The Post Standard).
"Every one of these games is a little bit of sadness for me,’’ Boeheim said. "I know where all the good restaurants are now. Now I got to go down to Clemson, South Carolina. I’m sure there’s a couple Denny’s down there. They’ll like me a lot now in Clemson. I like to make friends before I get down there.
"We’ll miss Siena. Capriccio’s. You don’t get places like that,’’ he continued. "When you go on these trips, you’ve got to have at least one moment of enjoyment. It’s nice to be able to find a place like that and go have something good for an hour because these games tend to wear on you a little bit after 37 years. I’ll miss the league and I’ll miss coming to places like this.’’
If anybody has restaurant suggestions for Boeheim in Clemson or Columbia, please, be sure to share and we'll try to forward it along to coach.
The Orange's next game will be Saturday at the Carrier Dome against the visiting Villanova Wildcats (Noon ET on Big East Network/SNY/Time Warner Cable).