Syracuse outlasts Providence

Although the Friars led at halftime, the Orange came back in the second half to secure its third Big East victory, 72-66.

When the Syracuse Orange men's basketball team has close games, CJ Fair shines. That remained true in Wednesday nights' 72-66 victory over Providence College.

The junior led the No. 7 Orange (15-1, 3-0 Big East) with 23 points and 11 rebounds. He was 9-for-10 from the line and also added four blocks.

The Friars (8-7, 0-3 Big East) were led by Bryce Cotton, whose stellar three-point shooting led to 17 first half points. Cotton finished the game with a game-high 24 points, but was mostly shut down in the second half. He was 5-for-5 from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes, but missed his last three three-pointers.

Three games into conference play, the Orange and head coach Jim Boeheim seem to be settling into the way they will run their games. Although he still leads the nation in assists, sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams saw his assists-per-game average drop from above 13 to just under 10. Carter-Williams is scoring more though, as many Big East teams are employing the tactic Providence used Wednesday night, covering everyone else, and forcing him to make shots.

Carter-Williams still had a team-high six assists, along with five rebounds, so his type of play has not changed too dramatically. He was second on the team with 17 points.

Starting center DaJuan Coleman played the first two minutes, but sat on the bench for the rest of the game, replaced by senior forward James Southerland. The other members of the so-called second unit, Baye Moussa Kieta, Jerami Grant and Trevor Cooney, each got in only two or three minutes of playing time a piece. With the entirety of the game held within 10 points, there was not much of a desire for Boeheim to use them.

The Orange's usual sub-par free throw shooting was not an issue in Wednesday's tilt, as the team went 17-for-18 from the stripe. However, the percentage from behind the arc was a dismal 3-for-21, including 1-for-8 shooting from Southerland, who still managed 13 points.

Sophomore Rakeem Christmas added a career-high 15 points for the Orange.

Next, the Orange take on the Villanova Wildcats on Saturday January 12 at noon at the Carrier Dome. 

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