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In Possible National Title Game Preview, Syracuse Shocks Cal State-LA

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via <a href="http://media.syracuse.com/post-standard/photo/-06aaa29df026de06.jpg">media.syracuse.com</a>
via media.syracuse.com

It was only a exhibition but, then again, so was Ivan Drago vs. Apollo Creed.  There's no easy way out, CSULA. There's no shortcut home.

Syracuse’s defeated Cal State-Los Angeles 97-54 in the Dome yesterday led by one of the more unlikely players, James Sutherland.  The freshman scored 19 and shot 5-5 from three-point range.  The young gunner is already drawing comparisons to Preston Shumpert (Boeheim) and Donte Greene (Jardine).

Your starting five on the floor...Brandon Triche, Andy Rautins, Rick Jackson, Arinze Onuaku and Wesley Johnson.  Four of those five were pretty much set in stone but it's the addition of Triche that most are buzzing about.  Triche did split time with Scoop Jardine all night in what is sure to be the big story as the season progresses...who will step up to fill Jonny Flynn's shoes?  For Scoop's part, he's just gonna try his best regardless of the expectations:

"I think me and Brandon we’re just trying to help our team win. We’re just trying to prep ourselves to get ready; not trying to fill Jonny’s shoes, but trying to take care of the basketball and put our team in the best position to win a game.’’

Brandon and I, Scoop.  Brandon and I.

As Bud Poliquin points out, both of them seemed pretty capable Sunday.  And it might not be a big deal who becomes the starter.

In their combined 39 minutes on the floor during the Orange’s 97-54 rout of the outclassed Golden Eagles, Triche and Jardine scored 18 points, passed out 14 assists and did not commit a turnover. Which was, statistically, rather Jonny-like.

Wes Johnson debuted in an Orange uniform with eight points and eight rebounds.  He also made note of what makes this year's team so much different than the previous one:

"I think we're a lot more athletic," Johnson said. "We're a lot taller. We're a defensive team now, more than a rebounding team. I think last year was more of an offensive team, up-tempo, I'm not saying we didn't play defense last year, but this team is more a defensive team than anything."

Russianator at Three Idiots watched the game and shared some insights. Syracuse will play one more exhibition; against LeMoyne on Tuesday, Nov. 3, before opening the regular season on Monday, Nov. 9 against Albany.