The Syracuse Orange men's basketball team continues its 2K Classic play Sunday, as the Hampton Pirates visit the Carrier Dome for a non-conference match up (4 p.m. on ESPNU). This will be the first ever meeting between these two programs.
The Orange (1-0), ranked No. 23 in the AP Poll and No. 24 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, are coming off a dominating 82-49 victory over Kennesaw State on Friday. Meanwhile, the Pirates (0-1) were beaten easily by the Iowa Hawkeyes, 90-56.
SU, which is looking to extended its non-conference home winning streak to 53 games, is looking to ride the inside play of senior forward Rakeem Christmas, who netted a collegiate-best 21 points in his team's victory over the Owls. Christmas' starting front court mate, freshman Chris McCullough, compiled a double double–16 points and 11 rebounds–in his college debut.
Off the bench, sophomore forward B.J. Johnson provided a big spark netting a career-best 19 points. The relief effort helped replace the absence of junior Michael Gbinije, who missed the season opener as punishment from breaking team rules. Gbinije is expected to make his 2014-15 debut today.
|Syracuse Orange (projected starting lineup)||Class||Ht.||Wt.||PPG||RPG|
|Trevor Cooney"]" style="padding: 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Trevor Cooney||Jr.||6'4"||195||12.0||2.0|
|Tyler Roberson"]" style="padding: 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Tyler Roberson||So.||6'8"||212||10.0||10.0|
As for the Pirates, they are looking for the program's second victory against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent. In its history, Hampton is 1-13 against ACC foes, the lone win coming in the 2001-02 season at the North Carolina Tar Heels.
The Pirates roster is filled with a bunch of players, six to be exact, that saw a lot of playing minutes in 2013-14. Guard Deron Powers is a former MEAC Rookie of the Year, while junior Dwight Meikle serves as the team's inside presence. Junior guard Brian Darden will come off the bench and knockdown 3-pointers. Last season, the former Radford transfer was third in the team in scoring.
Two newcomers to the roster are senior Quinton Chievous and junior guard Reginald Johnson. Chievous is a former transfer from Tennessee, while Johnson formerly played for Miami (OH).
Overall, Hampton was projected to finish second in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference by the preseason head coach's poll. Last season, the Pirates won 18 games, finishing second in the MEAC with a record of 13-3. Six-year head coach Edward Joyner is looking to take Hampton to its fifth trip the NCAA Tournament, its last coming in 2006, when it fell to Monmouth, 71-49.
|Hampton Pirates (projected starting lineup)||Class||Ht.||Wt.||PPG||RPG|
|Jervon Pressley"]" style="padding: 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Jervon Pressley||Jr.||6'8"||250||2.0||3.0|
Game Time: 4 pm.
TV: ESPNU–Bob Picozzi (play-by-play), Tim Welch (color).
Radio: IMG Syracuse Radio Network
Up Next: The Orange will have a few days off before heading to Madison Square Garden to take on the California Bears on Thursday (9 p.m.) The winner of the game will advance to the 2K Classic Championship to play either the Iowa or Texas Longhorns.