Southerland, Orange steal win from Princeton

Syracuse tames the Tigers with strong, balanced defensive effort to remain undefeated on the year

If you’re missing the secret ingredient for that perfect stuffing recipe, blame Syracuse senior forward James Southerland, because he probably stole it.

Southerland had five of sixth-ranked Syracuse’s 19 steals and scored career high 22 points to lead a balanced Orange squad to a 73-53 win over the Princeton Tigers Wednesday night at the Carrier Dome. Southerland led an active Syracuse defense that clogged the passing lanes of Princeton’s patented motion offense all night long, resulting in 24 turnovers for the Tigers.

“I expect James to do that, because he comes hard every day at practice”
DaJuan Coleman

“Our veterans played very well defensively,” said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. “You force Princeton into 24 turnovers. They probably won’t have 24 turnovers in two games the rest of this year.”

Michael Carter-Williams continued his improved play at point guard, finishing with 10 points and 9 assists. C.J. Fair added 12 points, and Rakeem Christmas and Brandon Triche each chipped in with 10, but it was Southerland who provided a real spark for the Orange on a night when the offensive effort was uneven at times.

“James played great tonight,” said Carter-Williams. “He was knocking down open shots, playing good defense, running the floor. He’s a great asset to our team, and he’s going to be very important for us.”

“I expect James to do that, because he comes hard every day at practice,” said freshman forward DaJuan Coleman. “For him to play that good in a game, I expect that out of him because he’s a real team leader.”

Clay Wilson led the Tigers with 15 points on 5-9 shooting from 3-point range.

After Syracuse jumped out to a 36-25 halftime lead, Princeton slowed the tempo in the second half, climbing back to within 6 after Wilson’s corner three with 13:43 remaining. Syracuse shifted momentum for good after Christmas blocked what looked to be an uncontested alley-oop to the Tigers’ Ian Hummer, pinning the ball to the backboard and starting a fast break that culminated in a three-point play by Southerland.

Carter-Williams penetrated the Tiger defense over and over again, kicking the ball out for an open three or finding a man inside for an easy layup.

“He knows his personnel very well, and he knows where you are before you even get there,” said Southerland. “It’s great to have a guy with a high IQ like Mike.” 

Syracuse consistently exploited their superior athleticism in the post, outscoring Princeton 42-12 in the paint and adding 20 second-chance points.

The Orange won their Carrier Dome record-tying 24th consecutive home game. The schools met for the first time since 2004 and 34th time overall, with Syracuse holding a 25-9 advantage.

The game comes on the heels of Syracuse’s announcement of the 2013 early signing period recruiting class. The class, ranked seventh in the nation according to ESPN, is highlighted by forward Tyler Roberson and point guard Tyler Ennis. Guard Ron Patterson, forward B.J. Johnson and Center Chinonso Obokoh also signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Orange next season.

The Orange play host to Central New York rival Colgate Sunday at 1 p.m.

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