As MegV44 put it, "Welcome to the rotation, James Southerland."
Sure, the way this game went you'd pretty much be disappointed if Southerland hadn't set a career-high with eighteen points (12 of which were on three-pointers). Still, couple that with his five rebounds and you'd be remiss not to appreciate what Southerland did during his audition for a spot in the Big East rotation in 12-0 Syracuse's 97-55 romp over Morgan State (4-5).
For Southerland, it's a huge confidence boost to a guy that Boeheim practically ran out of the gym a few weeks back.
"I just needed to get some shots up and see the ball go in the basket,’’ Southerland said, recalling last month’s late-night shoot-around at the Melo Center. "It’s all about being more relaxed out there, not thinking about much and just knowing that my shot will fall.’’
It wasn't just Southerland who made a surprise impact on the game.
Fab Melo, Syracuse’s freshman center who has been struggling all season and came into the game nursing a calf injury, scored a career-high nine points for the Orange.
Melo’s backup at center; fellow freshman Baye Moussa Keita, also played well. Keita scored a career-best eight points and also hauled down four rebounds.
Rick Jackson had his usual extremely-solid evening with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Would have been nice to see him get another double-double but I suppose beggars can't be choosers.
One Orange who's got some 'splainin' to do is Kris Joseph. Two day removed from a 21-point performance, KrisJo looked abysmal. He shot 2-of-8 from the field, scored five points and committed four turnovers. Consistency is no friend of KJ and it continues to be a troubling sign as we inch closer to Big East play.
In all, sixteen Orange played on the night. Every last walk-on got some PT, some of whom even scored. Matt Tomaszewski had now proven himself to be the deadliest garbage-time player in the nation.
It was a night the entire team could enjoy (for the most part). From here on out it gets dicey. A good Drexel squad visits the Dome in two days and we get that much closer to Big East action. At 12-0, the Orange are doing well. But well might not cut it much longer.