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Syracuse 87 - St. Rose 69: Introducing Michael Carter-Williams

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Despite the fact that it looked at times like the Syracuse Orange were playing a collection of small children, Tuesday night's exhibition game against College of St. Rose seemed a very close call.

Shades of LeMoyne dance in our heads until SU remembered they were SU and St. Rose was St. Rose before pulling away for the 87-69 victory.

Leading the charge defensively were the Orange backup guards, Michael Carter-Williams and Dion Waiters.

Carter-Williams checked in for Jardine after the senior point guard tried an ill-advised alley-oop attempt, and helped provide intensity in the backcourt both offensively and defensively.

By the way, congrats for the first sentence of the year that includes "Scoop Jardine" and "ill-advised." It truly is college hoops season.

Statistically, this one was fairly ugly. Syracuse was out-rebounded 38-33 by a team with no one bigger than 6'7". The game was basically neck-and-neck until about the 15:00 mark of the second half.

Still, it was nice to see the young guys react and step up when needed. The full court press proved too much for the Golden Knights to overcome and emerged as a secret weapon in the Orange arsenal:

"We pressed them and we saw that it worked,’’ Joseph said. "So we kept that going for a little bit. We got a lot of steals and we got points off of those turnovers. That’s what changed the game for us.’

"It’s definitely a bad thing,’’ Jardine said. "No disrespect to St. Rose, but it’s definitely a bad thing to use it when we should’ve easily beat them by 20 points without it. But I want to give St. Rose some credit, a lot of credit.’’

Michael Carter-Williams especially made his mark in this one.After a so-so outing in the first exhibition hame, MWC calmed down and showed off his multi-talent abilities:

Carter-Williams said he "felt a lot more comfortable" in the flow of Tuesday’s game. He is adjusting to the annual freshman anguish about the speed and physicality of college athletes. And in the second half, he offered tantalizing glimpses of the player who scored 2,260 career points at St. Andrews.

For starters, he took three 3-pointers and made all of them.

And then he demonstrated some solid point guard skills.

Kris Joseph led the Orange with 12 points and Michael Carter-Williams followed closely with 11. Fab Melo, Dion Waiters and C.J. Fair all added eight points as well. Baye Moussa Keita led the Orange with 7 rebounds while Scoop Jardine recorded five steals (Full boxscore).

At the end of the day, we didn't lose any exhibition games this year and that's a win. The season begins for reals this Saturday against Fordham with tipoff set for 4:00 p.m. If you haven't already, make sure you read Orange Tip-Off to get up to speed and be ready.