The Orange bounce back against Memphis

The Orange finished off its non-conference schedule on Wednesday night with a crucial midseason battle against the Memphis Tigers


After suffering its first loss of the season, the Orange pulled off a 74-57 win against the Memphis Tigers. Wes Johnson had a game high 19 points and 7 rebounds while Kris Joseph added 15 points and 7 rebounds for the number seven ranked Orange.

Memphis raced out to an early 12-5 lead as Syracuse struggled to adjust to Memphis’ zone defense. A Scoop Jardine three-pointer and quick steal that led to an Andy Rautins trey gave the Orange some much needed momentum. Memphis continued to keep the game close in the first half thanks to their 7 three-point field goals. Syracuse didn’t help its cause with an uncharacteristic 10 first half turnovers. Another Andy Rautins three tied the game at 32 going into halftime. 

In the second half, the orange jumped out to a 50-45 lead thanks to a pair of threes from Rautins and Brandon Triche and a dunk by Johnson. The turning point of the game came when Rautins threw an errant that led to a Memphis fast break. Tiger guard Elliot Williams dribbled down the court alone, ready to cut the deficit to one, but he decided to get fancy and missed a two handed dunk. Williams could only watch as the ball sailed above the backboard and into the hands of Kris Joseph. Syracuse proceeded to score 9 of the next 10 points and never looked back. The Tigers never got within 8 points during the rest of the game. 

The highlight of the night came off of a fast break that led to a thunderous Kris Joseph dunk.  Joseph is emerging as one of the nation’s top reserves and if Johnson bolts for the NBA draft, this could very likely be Joseph’s team next year. Big men Arinze Onuako and Rick Jackson are going to be the key to Syracuse’s success this season and must find a way to improve upon their struggles from the line as the bulk of the big-east schedule approaches. Onuaku and Jackson shot a combined 6-16 from the foul line against Memphis.

This game was a great test to see how the Orange would bounce back after their first loss of the season, and even though they started slow, Syracuse got a quality win against a solid Memphis team. This was Syracuse’s last regular season non-conference game. The Orange face the University of South Florida on Sunday at the dome before going on the road for the next three games.


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