Syracuse won last night, beating Coppin State 82-71. The outcome was never really in doubt...even in the 2nd half when the score was way closer than it should have been, you knew that the Orange would eventually pull away. No Cleveland State nonsense here. But still, the Orange didn't exactly dominate this team that had only one win all season. The Orange instead reinforced the notion that they are going to play up to better opponents or down to infoerior ones all season long.
The Orange are 12-1 but at times it's been a frustrating 12-1. Other times its been fantastic, for sure. The only thing the Orange really haven't showcased this season is a killer instinct. An ability to step on an opponent's neck and demoralize them. Maybe that's the way it's gonna be. We'll be really good but we'll never feel safe. It's the ultimate Bud Poliquin-approved season...lots of drama and lots of wins.
It was the Andy Rautins Show last night as Rauts tied Gerry McNamara's record for 3-point shots in a game. On 9-16 shooting from beyond the arc, Andy scored a career-high 29 points. Rautins himself couldn't believe the kind of looks he was getting all night long:
"They were playing a pretty passive zone defense," Rautins said. "I knew they were playing off me. They continued to play off me. I'm not sure why they did that, but they left me open and guys like Jonny (Flynn) and Rick (Jackson) and Kris (Joseph) were able to kick out for me and I was able to knock down shots."
Paul Harris did Paul Harris things en route to a 15 & 9 performance and Arinze Onukau was right behind with 12 & 10. Rick Jackson continues to make his presence felt, adding 10 points, 6 boards and 2 blocks.
Jonny Flynn scored a nice double-double with 10 points and 10 assists. Flynn wasn't the pitbull he was against Memphis and a lot of it had to do with the fact that he was still drained from that emotional win:
"He put so much into Saturday's game," SU coach Jim Boeheim said. "Forty minutes against Memphis, I don't know how he did it. He didn't have his legs tonight like he usually does."
Issues aside, Paul Harris couldn't be happier with a 12-1 start:
"If anybody would have said from the start that we'd be 12-1 before the Christmas break," Harris declared in front of his locker, "I would have told them I'd take that on any given day."
And even Boeheim did his curmudgeony best to sound enthused with the way things have turned out:
"We've come through this first part of our season, obviously, as well as could be expected," he admitted. "Actually, it could have been a little bit better now as it turns out. But to come through and put ourselves in this position in the non-conference season is pretty good."
Brent Axe is glad the Orange have gotten prepared and won the games they needed to because Big East play will provide few respites from here on out:
The key stretch will come early. After facing the four worst teams in the conference last season from Dec 30-Jan 10 (Seton Hall, South Florida, Depaul, and Rutgers), Syracuse gets a stretch from Jan 14-25 that includes a game at Georgetown (Jan 14), home to Notre Dame (Jan 17), at Pitt (Jan 19), and home to Louisville (Jan 25).
The Orange now prepare for the first Big East game on the year in Seton Hall on December 30th.