A pattern has emerged.
If all you check is the boxscore at the end of a game, the Syracuse Orange basketball team will make it seem like they cruised to victory all night long. It's only when you look closer that you realize they merely dominated one half of the game. As for the first half, well, that's when they work out all their crap. That's how the Northern Iowa win went and that's how today's 86-67 win over Canisius went as well.
Syracuse used a 19-8 run to start the second half and cruised to an 86-67 victory in front of 20,454 fans. The Orange led by as many as 24 points in the second half before Canisius closed the gap in the final minutes.
Rick Jackson, the senior forward, led the Orange with 17 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. Syracuse’s starting backcourt of Scoop Jardine and Brandon Triche scored 13 and 16 points, respectively. Syracuse native Elton Frazier led Canisius with 16 points and 12 boards.
SU’s starting guards, who struggled to finish much of anything in the Orange men’s opener Friday in the Dome, were effective and efficient Sunday against the Golden Griffs. Jardine scored 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting that included 2-of-3 from 3-point range. He recorded eight assists and just one turnover.
Triche scored 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting. He sank half of the eight 3-pointers he attempted. He also had three assists and a single turnover.
Those concerned with Fab Melo and his ability to stay out of foul trouble will not be breathing easy anytime soon. Fab fouled out for the second time in a row, this one after 13 minutes of action and while scoring only two points. Thankfully, Baye Moussa Keita is picking up the slack. He grabbed fifteen rebounds to lead the Orange on the night and has emerged as a legitimate contender for playing time. Melo on the other hand has only proven that he's far from the go-to phenom that many were hoping he'd be. At least for now.
How good does Boeheim think Baye played? According to Jim, without him, the Orange are 1-1 right now.
"We don’t win tonight without him," Boeheim said. "That’s how important he is. He made a couple good plays in the first half when we really needed baskets. We were struggling to get a basket and he made two. He was just really good. I said in the preseason he’s been the biggest surprise on our team. He’s still got a long way to go. But he’s an active player."
Speaking of Boeheim, you can imagine he's not pleased with all this first-half nonsense. After all, he spent all summer talking about how good Fab Melo, Kris Joseph and Dion Waiters looked. He talked about how good this team was going to be. And now that Boeheim successfully built all of them up, he's ready to tear them back down...
"We need to get realistic,’’ Boeheim said. "Right now, we’re the most overrated team that I’ve ever had. Right now. And I’m a little shocked that everybody’s bought into this whole thing. We’ve got a long ways to go. We are not a good basketball team.’’
Okay, fine Jim. Our apologies. Here's the thing though, the only reason this team is "overrated" is BECAUSE YOU WERE THE ONE TELLING US HOW GOOD THEY WERE.
I will say...I love that, now that he's properly pissed, Jimmy lets all of the pretense slide away and starts calling it like he sees it. So much for "TEAM WE ARE PLAYING is a very good team."
"You’re playing at home and you’re playing a team (in) Northern Iowa that lost the three major players on their team,’’ Boeheim said. "I mean major players. Leading scorer, best shooter, best inside player. And you’re up three at halftime?
"We’re playing a team today that’s a good, solid team,’’ Boeheim said, referring to Canisius. "They lost 17 games last year. They don’t have anybody over 6-6. We’ve got a long ways to go. We’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m telling you because I just told those guys that. Everybody needs to get realistic here and understand where we’re going. We’ve got a long ways to go.’’
He makes points. Then again, Jimmy's been around long enough to know this kind of start to a season happens. This is more psychology than anything.
All the same, it's probably isn't the best time to wish Jimmy congrats for becoming the sole possessor of fifth-place on the all-time wins list. I don't think that's high on his priority list at the moment.
|Syracuse vs. Canisius: Coach Boeheim|
|Syracuse vs. Canisius Basketball: Orange Locker Room|