We were only graced with one Syracuse basketball game this past week, but what a game it was. It may sound strange, but Syracuse actually left the cozy confines of New York state for the first time since 1946, and travelled all the way down to North Carolina to face off against NC State. The Orange were initially startled by the sight of basketball being played in such distant lands, but quickly rebounded, and returned home with a 'W'.
It appears that the Boeheimeter was quite pleased with what it saw from the Orange on Saturday evening. Let's take a look:
PG Scoop Jardine - 16 Pts, 7-9 FG, 2-4 3PT, 3 Ast, 4 TO, 4 Reb, 1 Stl
The only certifiable "bad Scoop" play I can think of was a pass across court in the direction of no one in particular, which sailed out of bounds. Otherwise, Scoop played a pretty nice game. He shot the ball very efficiently, he rebounded well, and he knew when to attack the basket, and when to defer to the hot hands of Dion Waiters and Kris Joseph. You never like to see the turnovers be higher than the assists, but Scoop played a very good game.
SG Brandon Triche - 1 Pt, 0-3 FG, 0-2 3PT, 4 Ast, 1 TO, 1 Reb, 2 Stl
Apparently Brandon is nursing an injury, which leads the Boeheimeter to be a little easier on him for a poor game, but obviously you want your starting shooting guard to score more than one point. Luckily, Dion was on fire all day, so we could afford for Brandon to have a bad night. The one good sign was the 4-1 assist-to-turnover statistic.
SF Kris Joseph - 21 Pts, 7-14 FG, 3-6 3PT, 5 Reb, 1 Blk
Kris' statline in and of itself was very impressive, but it is the manner in which he scored many of his 21 points that makes the Boeheimeter so happy. Kris was often a catalyst in both ending NC State runs, as well as starting Syracuse runs, and we didn't see a lot of the over-dribbling that plagues Kris quite often. He was decisive with the ball, and he made great decisions.
PF Rakeem Christmas - 2,000,000,000,000
Rakeem's day will come...just not right now.
C Fab Melo - 4 Pts, 2-5 FG, 1 TO, 5 Reb
This wasn't Fab's best game statistically, but the difference in the defense when he was in versus when Baye was manning the five spot was quite noticeable. Fab might not put up monster numbers, but his presence is definitely a factor, at least on the defensive end. I can't wait to see some of those jumpers fall on a consistent basis; it's going to happen.
G Dion Waiters - 22 Pts, 9-14 FG, 3-6 3PT, 3 Ast, 2 TO, 1 Reb, 1 Blk, 1 Stl
This is Dion's world, and we're all just watching him retweet it. Not much needs to be added about what Dion did on Saturday. We're watching a superstar in the making.
F C.J. Fair - 11 Pts, 5-9 FG, 0-1 3PT, 3 Reb
CJ's been struggling on the boards as of late, which is strange for him, but he hit a number of big shots and put backs for Syracuse on Saturday, especially when NC State came all the way back in the beginning of the second half to make it a game again.
F James Southerland - 11 Pts, 4-7 FG, 3-6 3PT, 3 Reb, 1 Stl
On Saturday, James displayed a confidence that we haven't really seen from him aside from a few games against division II opponents and out of conference also-rans. The best part of watching him score, was that not all of his looks were wide open. If I remember correctly, two of the three three-pointers he hit were with a hand in his face. If he's shooting that well, very few teams can beat us.
C Baye Keita - 2 Pts, 1-1 FG, 2 Reb, 2 Blk
Baye's definitely slumping. It's unfortunate, but we're just not getting the production out of him that we did last year. He was a tremendous rebounder, and now he really hasn't done much on the boards all season. He blocks shots well, and he converts most of the time when he looks to score, but we need Baye to rebound and give us energy, and the team just doesn't play that well when he's out there instead of Fab.
G Michael Carter-Williams - 0/2 FT
This just wasn't a game where MCW was going to have a big impact, so he will just get the requisite "meh" score here. I liked him driving to the hoop and drawing the foul, I hated watching him completely brick two free throws. I still love the potential that he brings, but when Dion and Scoop are playing so well together, it is hard to give him minutes against a legitimate opponent.