tagreena's Blog

Three thoughts from Syracuse vs. South Florida matchup Wednesday

After Wednesday win against the University of South Florida, Syracuse University men's basketball team moves its record to 28-1, clinching a share of the regular season Big East title.

1.   Syracuse likes to play fast.

When the Bulls of University of South Florida slowed the game down in the first 10 minutes of the first half, SU had a hard time scoring, rebounding, playing defense, or doing much else. But when the players sped up the play, they scored... a lot. SU went on a 27-0 tear that spanned 10 minutes and both halves. Still, as soon as they slowed the game down again, USF came back and went on a 9-0 run of their own. Syracuse is a run first team. Dion Waiters said Syracuse is dangerous, because as soon as the players get a tip or a rebound, they already have a guy or two running down the court. When teams like USF slow the pace of the game down, Syracuse struggles getting into the rhythm, because the players have to slow down, too, and watch as everything comes at them. Once Syracuse decided it needed to speed things up, the game was blown open. But as soon as the players took their foot off the gas, the game became a lot closer and almost slipped through the fingers.

2.   Syracuse always has players that will step up when they are losing.

Wednesday night’s game was a terrible shooting performance for the Orange. Kris Joseph shot 29 percent from the floor, only scoring 12 points. Fab Melo shot 25 percent and only made one basket. Brandon Triche didn’t make a field goal and only had three points from the free-throw line. However, players like Scoop Jardine (6-of-10 for 15 points), C.J. Fair (4-of-10 from the field and 5-of-6 from the line for 13 points) and Waiters (3-of-6 for 9 points) allowed Syracuse to regain the lead in the game. Plus, when a player like Joseph or Melo isn’t feeling it on offense, he almost always makes up for it on defense. Joseph had six boards, including two crucial ones late in the second half. Melo had six boards, in addition to six blocks. Coach Jim Boeheim said that although Melo didn’t shoot well, his performance was key because he changed shots and blocked USF from scoring. So no matter who "isn’t feeling it" or who doesn’t have the hot hand, SU’s depth always allows a player to come out and have a fantastic game.

3.   C.J. Fair is a beast.

First of all, Fair scored the first five points of the game for the Orange. The guy can dunk like no other, he can rebound, he can score, and he can steal the ball. Fair had a team-high five steals in Wednesday night’s win to go along with his six rebounds and 13 points. Probably the most important thing we saw tonight from Fair was that he doesn’t give up. When he went down hard and hurt his knee after a dunk, he bounced right back four minutes later, still playing extremely well. Needless to say, the sophomore forward has earned his starting role next season.




No. 2 Syracuse beats Louisville by one point

Orange drops the Cardinals for the first time in the past eight meetings

It was close, a little too close.

It was a back and forth battle between No. 2 Syracuse (26-1, 13-1) and No. 18 Louisville (20-6, 8-4), but the Orange used a 6-0 run in the final minutes to pull off the 52-51 victory over the Cardinals at the KFC Yum! Center. The win snaps a seven-game losing streak for the Orange against the Cardinals, and gives them a two-game lead over Marquette in the Big East.

Sophomore forward C.J. Fair made the go-ahead basket with 2:11 remaining in the game, and the Orange held the Cardinals without a point for the final three minutes in the win. Fair finished the night with a team high of 13 points and five rebounds.

The Orange did not shoot well in the win, especially from long-range. Syracuse was 21-for-61 from the floor (34 percent) and 1-15 from behind the arc (0.7 percent). Surprisingly, Syracuse was only outrebounded 37-39 in the win, something coach Jim Boeheim has tried to correct all season.

Three thoughts:

1. When SU makes threes, they are deadly when they don’t they become a pedestrian team…

In the win against UConn, the Orange made 10-of-16 from 3-point range. That ended up being the difference in the win. However, Syracuse only made one of 17 shots from behind the arc against Louisville, and won by a single point. When Kris Joseph, Brandon Triche, Dion Waiters, Scoop Jardine and even James Southerland hit the three, Syracuse is very hard to stop because they are already a very potent offensive team. But when they miss as many shots as they did against Louisville, they become extremely one-dimensional and very easy to defend. In games where the Orange made at least eight 3-pointers, they are undefeated and have had a winning margin greater than seven points. Sometimes, Syracuse can make up for poor 3-point shooting with exceptional post play and defense, but that has only helped them against teams that are at the bottom of the Big East.

2. C.J. Fair offers a unique presence for the Orange…

The 6-foot-8-inch forward had his second straight strong performance for Syracuse. Coming off the bench, Fair was great on offense and defense, scoring a team high of 13 points and adding five rebounds. Against Connecticut, Fair had 14 points and 12 rebounds. Fair had his ups and downs during the season, but has been a big factor in Syracuse’s recent success in the Big East. He is a unique player in the post because he is a great defender, a great rebounder and a great scorer. It will be interesting to see how much Syracuse uses Fair in the future after these last two strong performances.

3. Waiters may be getting a little too bigheaded…

In the last three games, Waiters has been marginally productive. Not only that, but he seems to be taking shots when the game is on the line. Tonight, he had the ball with under a minute remaining and missed a basket that would have given the Orange a three-point lead. Against Georgetown, he also was the man to shoot the last shot before overtime, a shot that he also missed. Waiters has been pretty dominant in his sophomore season, but has not been as great as he was earlier in the season.

Three thoughts from SU vs. Georgetown

Kris Joseph was SU's best player on the court Wednesday

1. SU needs senior Scoop, not sophomore Scoop

Scoop Jardine had a horrible game in the first half. He couldn’t score, couldn’t pass and couldn’t find anyone to pass to. The fifth-year senior was making mistakes that he hadn’t made since his sophomore year. While Jardine finished with eight assists and three points, he was almost a non-factor in the first half, and a big reason why the Orange were down most of the game. Scoop is extremely vital for Syracuse’s success this year. When he plays well, the team plays well. When he doesn’t play well, the team struggles, as it did Wednesday night. Give him credit, he was able to turn it around in the second half and find guys  who could score, but his first half performance was something that Syracuse cannot continue to take lightly, as he is critical to the success of the team this season.

2. Kris Joseph is SU’s best player, not Dion Waiters

This may come as a shock to everyone, but Kris Joseph is a much better player than Dion Waiters. While Waiters is way more explosive than Joseph and can blow up at any point in the game, he cannot match the consistency and leadership ability that Joseph has had all season. Now, that’s not to say that Waiters may not develop into that type of player (depending on how long he remains on the team), but right now, Joseph should be “the guy” for Syracuse. Joseph finished the night with a career-high 29 points, while Waiters only had nine points. Joseph had six 3-pointers, while Waiters had one. Joseph averages 14 points per game, while Waiters averages 12 points per game. Although Waiters is only two points behind Joseph’s season average, he has been able to average so many points because of break-out performances, such as against Villanova and Pittsburgh. Both players are great for the Orange, but this season, Joseph is better because of his consistency and leadership ability.

3. Syracuse can’t rebound

Against Georgetown, Syracuse was outrebounded 52-35. This was such a pitiful performance on the boards, coach Boeheim almost refused to acknowledge this was his 880th career win. He was so disappointed in his team’s performance on the boards he called the game a disaster despite the win. Many times during the game, Fab Melo or C.J. Fair were the only Orange players who went up for the ball. Yes, Waiters had five rebounds, but as a team, Syracuse did not go for the boards. This hurts them on two accounts: 1.) they allowed second chance opportunities, and 2.) they ended SU possessions. Going forward, this lack of rebounding ability by the Orange will haunt Boeheim’s dreams as he prepares for his upcoming games. 

Three recruits to watch out for

Watch out for these players next year

1. Ron Thompson, TE, 6-4/215

Thompson is arguably one of Syracuse’s top recruits. The 6-foot-4-inch tight end from Southfield High School in Michigan is the one the Orange’s three 4-star recruits, and he is a matchup nightmare waiting to happen. Thompson is a massive receiving tight end with tremendous hands and ball skills. However, Thompson needs to improve his blocking and strength if he wants to become a true tight end. This should be no problem for Thompson, who weighs a good 215 pounds. Since Thompson has only been playing football for a little over a year, it will be interesting to see how he learns and develops his raw skills.

2. Wayne Morgan, DB, 5-11/190

Hailing from Brooklyn, N.Y., Morgan will bring some physicality to the Orange secondary that has been lacking in recent years. While the hard-hitting safety from Erasmus Hall High School is smaller for his position at 5-foot-11-inches, his nose for the ball and strength makes Morgan Syracuse’s most dynamic and impactful recruit. Morgan was split 50/50 between SU and UConn, but eventually chose Syracuse.

3. Markus Pierce-Brewster, DE, 6-4, 235

With the departure of Chandler Jones to the NFL Draft, Syracuse was left with a void to fill at defensive end. Enter Pierce-Brewster, the 6-foot-4-inch lineman from National City, CA, who is a junior college transfer from The City College of San Francisco. While Pierce-Brewster also played wide receiver and returned kicks while at junor college, he also earned the California Defensive Player of the Year award. According to Scout.com's John Garcia Jr. Pierce-Brewster is "a versatile speed rusher with the ability to play linebacker as well…”

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown High School
Ben Barrett OL 6'5'' 255 Manlius, NY Christian Brother Academy
Ashton Broyld QB 6'4'' 229 Henrietta, NY Rush Henrietta*
Marcus Coleman DT 6'3'' 275 Voorhees, NJ Camden Catholic
Alvin Cornelius WR 6'2'' 190 Staten Island, NY Tottenville
Myles Davis FB 6'2'' 232 Verona, Pa. Penn Hills*
Jason Emerich OL 6'4'' 275 New Ringgold, Pa. Blue Mountain
Dontez Ford DB 6'2'' 190 McKees Rock, Pa. Sto-Rox
Myles Hilliard DE 6'5'' 250 Oakwood Village, Ohio Bedford
Zian Jones DT 6'5'' 310 Los Angeles, Calif. West Los Angeles CC**
Kyle Knapp OL 6'4'' 265 Kalamazoo, Mich. Portage Central
Ben Lewis WR 6'3'' 194 Middletown, Md. Middletown
Josh Manley DE 6'3'' 245 College Park, Ga. Milton
Devante McFarlane ATH 6'1'' 190 Wheatley Heights, NY Half Hollow Hills West
Wayne Morgan DB 5'11'' 191 Brooklyn, NY Erasmus Hall Campus
George Morris RB 6'1'' 192 Lawrenceville, Ga. Central Gwinnet
Ryan Norton K 5'11'' 170 Garden City, NY Garden City
Omari Palmer OL 6'3'' 300 Coram, NY Longwood
Josh Parris TE 6'3'' 240 Stone Mountain, Ga. Stephenson
Markus Pierce-Brewster DE 6'3'' 230 National City, Calif. City College of San Fran.**
Ron Thompson TE 6'4'' 225 Southfiel, Mich. Southfield
James Washingotn LB 6'3'' 225 Winter Park, Fla. Winter Park
Julian Whigham CB 6'1'' 175 Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. William T. Dwyer

*Student is currently enrolled at SU and spent the past semester at the Milford Academy

** Junior college transfer

Orange get new uniforms

Nike unveils new basketball jerseys in New York City

Nike released new uniforms Monday morning in New York City for the nine programs that won NCAA National Championships with Nike gear. The Syracuse University men’s basketball team was among these schools selected to wear the new uniform, which was unveiled as part of the Nike Hyper Elite Platinum Series. The Orange will don the uniforms when they host USF on Feb. 22, 2012.

In addition to Syracuse, Arizona, Duke, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Connecticut were chosen, as well as the Baylor and Connecticut women's team.

According to Nike, the Hyper Elite Platinum uniforms are designed to be an intersection of sustainability and performance. Using laser perforations in the shorts, Nike says they have increased breathability as well as created a lightweight design. Both the shorts and jersey are five percent lighter than the previous Nike Hyper Elite uniform, Nike said. A bonded hem detailing on the shorts and the bonded back seam near the neckline of the jersey have also enhanced both comfort and style, according to Nike.

Not only are the new uniforms lightweight and breathable, but they are also designed for lower environment impact. According to Nike, the shorts are made from 100 percent recycled polyester and the jersey fabric is made from at least 96 percent recycled polyester.

“Nike is committed to producing top-of-the-line performance attire with reduced sacrifice to the environment,” said Phil Cook, Nike’s Brand Manager for Basketball. “With our Nike Hyper Elite Platinum design, Nike is maintaining its long-standing obligations to our fans to not only produce the best on-court looks but also a design that makes use of the resources we already have.”

For all of the uniforms, the dominant color is a silver-gray, a very atypical choice considering the majority of schools that will be wearing the uniforms have no gray in their school colors. However, Syracuse will still have orange in their uniforms, it just won’t be as prominent as usual. The numbers and school name are outlined by orange, and the sides of the jersey and shorts are orange. Also, a large watermark “S” is visible on the back of the jersey.

While the new uniforms are very stylish and sleek, the fact that they focus more on the gray than any other color will have Syracuse fans a little disappointed.  Either way, all of the programs participating will only wear the new uniforms for one game this season.

More pictures of the uniforms can be found here.


Syracuse back on top

No. 4 Orange rebound with a win two days after its first loss

On the heels of their first loss of the season, No. 4 Syracuse (21-1, 8-1) was able to outlast Cincinnati (15-6, 5-3) Monday night at Fifth Third Arena 60-53 in SU coach Jim Boeheim’s 877th career victory. With the win, Boeheim passes Adolph Rupp for the fourth most wins by a NCAA Division 1 coach.

Senior forward Kris Joseph led the Orange in the victory, scoring 17 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. Senior guard Scoop Jardine added 13 points and 6 assists, while junior guard Brandon Triche recorded 11 points and 4 steals. Syracuse was without starting center Fab Melo for the second game in a row, but Rakeem Christmas played well in his place. The freshman center recorded a career-high 9 rebounds, scored four points, and blocked three shots.

Cincinnati exploited the Syracuse zone in the same way Notre Dame did early on, hitting 4-of-5 from behind the arc in the first four minutes of the game to go up 15-6. However, C.J. Fair, James Southerland, and Christmas sparked a 9-0 run that tied the game up at 15-15.

With 40 seconds remaining in the half, Joseph gave Syracuse its first lead of the game with a dunk. Dion Waiters followed up with basket at the buzzer to put the Orange up 28-25 at halftime.

Cincinnati came out in the second half just as they did the first, going on a 9-2 run to go up 34-30.

It wasn’t until the 9:30 mark that Syracuse finally began hitting their stride from behind the arc. Before back-to-back 3-pointers by Jardine and Triche, the Orange were 0-8 from 3-point range. Those shots were part of a 12-2 run capped off by a Joseph bucket that gave Syracuse a 52-44 lead with 6:08 remaining in the game.

The run ended up being too much for the Bearcats, who could only come within six points of the Orange before Jardine hit a long-range three that would give SU a 59-48 lead with under two minutes remaining in the game.

Cashmere Wright and Yancy Gates were the top scorers for the Bearcats, scoring 17 and 16 points, respectively.

No. 1 Syracuse continues unbeaten streak

For the second straight year the Orange basketball team has started its season with sixteen straight victories.

Six SU players scored in double-figures as the No. 1 Syracuse (16-0, 3-0) pulled away in the second half to defeat Providence (11-5, 0-3) by a score of 87-73 Wednesday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.  It was the seventh straight game the Orange won by a double-digit margin, also marking SU’s sixteenth straight victory and third straight against Big East opponents.

Brandon Triche led the Orange in scoring with 16 points, 11 of which came in the second half. Kris Joseph also had a solid game, tallying 13 points, while reserves C.J. Fair and Dion Waiters contributed with 12 and 13 points, respectively. Fab Melo (11 points) and Scoop Jardine (10 points) rounded out the balanced scoring effort.           

One of the key stats of the night came from Jardine, who helped the offense flow in more ways than one. The fifth-year senior guard not only had double-digit points, but Jardine also had 11 assists to give him a double-double for the night.

In the first half, the game was a little closer than the Orange would have liked, as Syracuse only led 36-34 at halftime. However, a 9-0 SU run capped off by two Triche 3-pointers allowed the Orange to pull away from the Friars.

Throughout the entire season, SU coach Jim Boeheim boasted of his team’s incredible depth. In most games this year, the Orange proved this to be true, as their bench consistently performed better than the opposing team’s. Tonight was no exception as SU solidified itself as one of the deepest teams in college basketball this year. The Orange bench outscored the Friar’s by a margin of 35-1.

In the paint, the Orange was also dominant. Syracuse held a 43-28 point advantage in the paint.

The Friars were led by Gerard Coleman and Vincent Council, who scored 17 points a piece for Providence. LaDontae Henton also added 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Syracuse returns to the Carrier Dome this Saturday Jan. 7 to play No. 20 Marquette. It will mark the first time the two teams have met since the Golden Eagles knocked the Orange out of the 2011 NCAA basketball tournament. The game is set to tip off at 4:00 p.m.



Syracuse drops DePaul for fifteenth straight victory

Senior forward Kris Joseph led the Orange past the Blue Demons

No. 1 Syracuse (15-0, 2-0) remains undefeated after senior forward Kris Joseph led the Orange to an 87-68 victory over DePaul (9-4, 0-1) Sunday night.

Joseph, who finished the night with a season-high 22 points, led the Orange to their fifteenth straight victory and second straight against Big East opponents. With his performance, Joseph passed Ryan Blackwell for 42nd on the SU’s career scoring list with 1,190 career points. He also finished the night with a team-high 7 rebounds.

Joseph was also among the five SU players who scored in double-figures. Fellow forward C.J. Fair had a season-high 16 points off the bench, while also hailing in five rebounds. Guards Dion Waiters and Brandon Triche netted 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Sophomore center Fab Melo added 12 points, but his most dominating performance came on defense, where the 7-foot big man blocked six shots and grabbed five rebounds.

Three minutes into the game, Triche ignited a 15-2 Syracuse run which lasted until 12:54 mark. From then on, the Orange controlled the game, never leading by less than 16 points. After twenty minutes, Syracuse was leading the Blue Demons 45-26.

SU would increase that lead in the second half to as much as 28 points after a Scoop Jardine fast break lay-up made the score 85-57. At that point the game was already over, and an 11-2 DePaul run would end the game with SU on top.

The Orange shot an outstanding 59 percent for the game on 34 of 58 shooting, while the Blue Demons shot 40 percent on 25 of 62 shooting.

Syracuse dominated in the paint and on the fast break, outscoring DePaul 58-34 and 16-4, respectively. The Orange also outrebounded the Blue Demons 35-32.

The Orange look to remain unbeaten as they travel to play Providence on Jan. 4 at 9 p.m.


Syracuse drops Bucknell to remain unbeaten

Freshman Rakeem Christmas has career night for No. 1 Orange.

Bucknell’s Joe Willman hit an early jumper to give his team a two-point lead over No. 1 Syracuse (12-0) Tuesday night in the Carrier Dome. But that was the only lead the Bison (7-5) would see for the rest of the game as the Orange rolled to an easy 80-61 victory. Three SU starters scored in double digits to help the Orange cruise to their twelfth straight win of the season.

Willman’s tally broke a scoreless stalemate, but Syracuse freshman Rakeem Christmas quickly answered, scoring the first seven points for the Orange. Christmas finished the night with a career-high 10 points.

From then on, the Orange kept pouring on the points and the Bison were never able to recover. Every time Bucknell made a shot, Syracuse answered with a few baskets of their own. With 8:43 left in the first half, senior captain Kris Joseph capped off an 8-0 SU run to put the Orange up 21-8. Joseph finished the night with a game-high 17 points, reaching the double-digit mark for the ninth time this season.

The Orange’s largest lead came when Joseph hit two free throws to give the Orange a 47-24 lead with about 17 minutes left in the game. Bucknell would go on to trail by 13 points or more for the rest of the night and would eventually fall to the number one team in the nation.

The rest of the SU starters also had very good nights. Fifth-year senior Scoop Jardine was the third Orange player to score double-digit points, finishing with 14 points, 12 of which came in the second half. Jardine also tallied four assists and three steals. Sophomore center Fab Melo also had a solid night on the boards, matching a career-high with nine rebounds to go along with eight points.  Junior guard Brandon Triche had six points off of two three-point conversions.

Freshman guard Michael Carter-Williams saw extended minutes in the second-half, leading to a career night for him in points with six points. He also added four assists and three rebounds to his performance.

“It was good to get Michael Carter-Williams an opportunity to make some good plays as well,” SU coach Jim Boeheim said after the game.

While the Orange dominated the offensive side of the ball, Boeheim was concerned about his usually stout defensive unit.

“Our defense wasn’t as active as it has been,” Boeheim said. “We didn’t force many turnovers and that’s how we get going on offense.”

The Orange, who lead the nation in steals, finished with 10 on the night, but only accumulated nine fast-break points.

However, Syracuse’s ability to make shots allowed them to defeat a much weaker Bucknell team. The Orange shot 53 percent from the floor on 23 of 53 shooting. Syracuse also had a decent night from behind the arc, making 47 percent of their shots on 8 of 17 shooting.

Syracuse plays host to Tulane (11-1) Thursday Dec. 22 at the Carrier Dome at 7:00 p.m.

MBB: Orange prepare for a visit from the Gators

The Syracuse University men's basketball team readies itself for its first matchup against a ranked opponent this season with the Florida Gators coming to the Carrier Dome Friday.

It has been two years since the No. 3 Syracuse University men’s basketball team (7-0, 5-0 home) has faced the No. 9 Florida Gators (5-1, 2-1 road), and in those two years, a lot has changed for both programs. Syracuse has an entirely new frontcourt with the additions of sophomore centers Fab Melo and Baye Moussa Keita, as well as freshman center Rakeem Christmas. For Florida, only senior guard Erving Walker, junior forward Erik Murphy and junior guard Kenny Boynton remain from the last meeting in 2009. 

The one consistent between the two teams is the head coach. SU’s Jim Boeheim has been with the SU for 36 years, while Florida’s Billy Donavan has coached at Florida for 15. 

Syracuse is coming off an 84-48 runaway victory over the Eastern Michigan Eagles Tuesday night at the Carrier Dome. The Orange are averaging 83.1 points per game, good for 15th in the nation.

Basketball isn’t the only thing that's been in the news for Syracuse basketball in recent weeks, as long-time assistant coach Bernie Fine was fired Sunday amid new developments regarding allegations that he sexual abused three men during his 35-year career as an assistant coach at SU. 

In a press conference after SU’s win on Tuesday night, Boeheim made it known that the players are not focused on the recent scandal. 

“The players will not be distracted,” Boeheim said. “If we lose a game it’s not going to be because they’re distracted. We will keep them focused.”

Senior forward Kris Joseph confirmed Boeheim’s remarks, claiming that the team will remain focused despite all the off-court issues surrounding the program.

“I don’t listen to anything that anyone really says,” Joseph said. “I don’t think any of us do just because we are that focused.”

As soon as the EMU game ended, the SU players began talking about how they were going to play against a very tough Florida team.

Junior guard Brandon Triche said that Florida was very quick and tries to get teams to turn the ball over. Defensively, Triche said that the Orange going to return to their zone defense. 

Joseph, who has been on the team the last two times the Orange played Florida, is looking forward to his third match-up against the Gators.

“So far since I’ve been here we’ve played them twice and won both those match-ups,” Joseph said. “They are a tough team. Coached by a great coach. It’s going to be a good one I’m looking forward to it.”

Florida is coming off a 96-70 victory against Stetson in which coach Donavan won his 400th game with the program. 

“It’s hard to believe,” Donovan said, courtesy of the University of Florida Athletic Association, Monday night after the game. “It’s certainly a reflection that time is moving on.”   

The Gators have won three straight since falling to No. 2 Ohio State on Nov. 15, and look to get their first victory against a top-10 opponent. 

For Syracuse, it will be their first game against a ranked opponent this season, something junior forward James Southerland sees as a great opportunity for the team to show its skills.

“Its our first really big challenge of the year,” Southerland said. “We gotta make sure we bring our A-game.”

The three players SU has seen before, Walker, Murphy and Boyton, will give the Orange the most trouble Friday. Walker and Murphy average 13.7 and 10.0 points-per-game this season, respectively, while Boyton leads the team with 18.5 points-per-game.

The game tips off at 7 p.m. Friday in the Carrier Dome and will air on ESPN3.com. The game is part of the annual Big East-SEC Challenge between the two program's respective conferences.