Orange makes short work of Rams

The Syracuse men's basketball team kicks off its regular season with a strong showing against Fordham, winning 78-53.

The No. 5 Syracuse men’s basketball team (1-0) tipped off its season Saturday at the Carrier Dome against the Fordham Rams (0-1), winning 78-53 in front of a crowd of 22,906.

Syracuse forward Kris Joseph and guard Dion Waiters led all scorers with 16 points on 6-of-9 and 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting, respectively. Junior guard Brandon Triche led Syracuse in rebounds with seven.

Photo: Bobby Yarbrough
C.J. Fair (left) and Rakeem Christmas block the Fordham center's shot during the Orange's 78-53 win over the Rams on Saturday.

Syracuse came out of the gate pressing, which led to four turnovers and poor shot selection by the Orange in the first eight minutes of the game. 

The Orange lead was trimmed down to two at that point, but Syracuse buckled down and ended the first half with a 32-19 lead. Syracuse also went on a 21-5 run at one point in the first half.

“It’s game one, and you’re excited for this,” Syracuse guard Scoop Jardine said.

“I watched a lot of college basketball yesterday and was really excited,” Jardine said. “I had to calm myself down. We turned the ball over and got a little shaky in the beginning, but in the second half we only had five turnovers.”
Triche said Syracuse was able to buckle down against Fordham after that shaky start because of the Orange’s aggressiveness.
“It’s about being aggressive and trying to make plays,” Triche said. “We have so many guys that you want to help the team as best as possible. We just made the right plays.”
The second half saw more Orange domination, as Syracuse led the Rams by 30 points with almost four minutes left and put the game away with ease.
Syracuse’s defense played a pivotal role in the team’s destruction of Fordham throughout the game. The Orange held the Rams to 35-percent shooting from the field and 19 percent from 3-point range. Syracuse also managed to hold Fordham forward Chris Gaston to just 4-of-12 shooting.
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said the Orange defense played well against a good Fordham team.
“I thought our defense was good,” Boeheim said. “We played good basketball against a very good team and we didn’t give them a lot of easy looks.”
Waiters also said the key on defense against Fordham was the Orange staying on its feet, keeping a hand in the opponent’s face at all times and not falling for pump fakes. 
Jardine added the length of the Syracuse defense is going to help the team in Big East play and throughout the postseason in March.
Triche also noted Fordham looked uncomfortable against Syracuse’s trademark 2-3 zone because of inexperience against it, but that the Rams did start knocking down shots and getting more comfortable playing the zone.
The Syracuse offense put on a show that featured a shooting percentage of 46 percent from the floor and 33 percent from beyond the arc.
Waiters led the charge offensively. Joseph said Waiters has matured a lot since coming in as a freshman last year.
“[Waiters] has been level-headed; he’s been positive about a lot of things,” Joseph said. “He’s accepted the role that he’ll be coming off the bench, but then tonight you realize that he can come off the bench and do what he did tonight.”
Syracuse looks to continue its strong start to the season Monday at 7 p.m. against Manhattan at the Carrier Dome.


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