Kris Joseph scored 22 points and pulled down seven rebounds in a nice bounce-back from his scoreless effort against Seton Hall as the No.1 Syracuse Orange remained perfect with an 87-68 victory over the DePaul Blue Demons.
C.J. Fair added 16 points on 6-for-6 shooting for the Orange (15-0, 2-0 Big East), who have now won by double figures 12 times this year.
Fab Melo was a force in the middle again. A game removed from blocking ten shots, he swatted six more along with 12 points and five rebounds.
"He’s gotten better,’’ SU coach Jim Boeheim said. "He’s one of the most improved players I’ve seen in a long time.’’
Dion Waiters tallied 13 points while Brandon Triche added ten and Scoop Jardine scored six. Between the three, they also had eight turnovers. The Orange committed 12 in the first half as they tried to break the DePaul fullcourt press.
Holding a 24-18 lead with 8:20 left in the first half, Syracuse went on a 9-0 run to create some distance. James Southerland made a three-pointer and layup to spark the burst, which Waiters capped with a layup for a 33-18 edge with 5:52 to go. The Orange ripped off eight straight points later in the half to gain a 45-24 margin with over a minute left. Syracuse took a 45-26 edge into the half and cruised to victory in the second half.
Syracuse held DePaul to 8-for-26 shooting in the first half and the Demons were a mere 3-of-18 from three-point range.
Baye Moussa Keita suffered a left hip injury that required him to come out after six minutes of play. It also attributed to Rakeem Christmas garnered five fouls, something to keep an eye on. According to SU trainer Brad Pike, Keita will be fine.
Southerland also left the game with an injury, a sprained ankle. That was not considered serious as well.
SU moves to 15-0 for the fourth time in Jim Boeheim's career and now eye the best start in school history, a 19-0 start to the 1999-2000 season. The Providence Friars (11-4, 0-2) are up next on Wednesday.
People might say they're unimpressed with the Orange. That Syracuse hasn't played anyone good or that we keep blowing out teams that it should blow out. But we know better. We know that it's not every season that Syracuse wins every game it plays by 20. We know what it takes to do that every night, regardless of opponent. We know that Syracuse lacks a true superstar and has different heroes every night and doesn't fit the script that so many NCAA basketball experts wrote for this season.
We know better.