Seeing red

Syracuse stomped instate foe Cornell by 20 points Tuesday night, but SU head coach Jim Boeheim was not happy with his team despite the big win.

Jim Boeheim has seen his share of good and bad basketball during his 35 years as coach of the Orange. Tuesday, Syracuse beat Cornell by 20 points, outrebounded the Big Red by 21 and held the visitors to 34 percent shooting. Following that performance, Boeheim was less than impressed.

Photo: Aaron Katchen
"You can’t play bad basketball and win games against good teams.” -Jim Boeheim

“You can’t look at this game, you can’t look at who we’re beating or who we’ve won against,” the coach said. “That’s just foolishness, that’s just nonsense. It’s how you play, it’s not who you play or how you beat this team, that’s got nothing to do with anything. You can’t play bad basketball and win games against good teams.”

In what was easily their best start of the season, the Orange jumped out to a 20 point lead on their instate foes. After losing eight players from a team that went to the Sweet 16 last season, the Big Red had little answer for the size advantage the Orange had in the post.

Fab Melo scored on the first possession of the game on an alley-oop pass from Rick Jackson, and Syracuse dominated the paint from there. The Orange finished with a 24 point advantage in the paint and pulled down 15 offensive rebounds. Jackson, who had a game-high 17 points and 13 rebounds, led the way for SU.

“I’m looking to score a little bit, but I’m more looking to rebound. I think that’s going to help us more than anything, me rebounding the ball,” Jackson said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that can score the ball, but you’ve got to want the rebound and you’ve just got to have the att (itude) for it. I think I’m the guy on the team that can just go and get 13 or 14 rebounds a game.”

Aided by a stifling defense and a good transition offense, the Orange led by as many as 23. Cornell didn’t help its cause any, as the Big Red struggled to knock down even open shots. The visitors shot just 24 percent in the first half, and had droughts from the field of 5:22 and 7:17.

Meanwhile, the Orange looked like they were auditioning for Sportcenter’s Top Ten plays, as they got dunk after dunk. Heading into the locker room, Syracuse looked well on it’s way to a blowout win leading 38-17.

“I thought the first half we came out and were pretty good with the basketball,” Boeheim said. “We did a good job on the boards, we shot the ball well, we made good decisions.”

As good as the first 20 minutes were, it was the final half that left SU’s head man in such a chipper mood. The Orange were noticeably nonchalant as they turned down the intensity on defense, became sloppier on offense, and let the Big Red open with half with an 18-8 run that cut the Cuse lead to 11.

“We just can’t seem to put consistent efforts together on the offensive and the defensive end really,” Boeheim said. “We were good defensively in the first half, the second half, we really had very little effort defensively at all. When you don’t have good effort, people are going to be able to score against you.”

However, even with the poor effort in the second half, Cornell would get no closer. Following a timeout, freshman Dion Waiters knocked down his third 3-pointer of the game to extend the lead back to 15. Fellow freshman C.J. Fair finished off any thoughts the Big Red had of a comeback a few minutes later, with a monstrous one-handed slam over Cornell’s Drew Ferry.

Waiters finished with 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting (3-of-4 from 3-point range), and he also chipped in four assists and three steals.

“(We need to) play hard every play. Just because we’re up 20, don’t give up and stop playing, just keep playing hard,” Waiters said. “(What we need next is) 40 minutes of solid basketball. Getting everybody involved, unselfish plays, hit the open guy, and rebound.”

The Orange will have an opportunity to put that full game together Saturday when they host North Carolina State. Junior guard Scoop Jardine said he expects Boeheim to have his team ready for that challenge.

“He’s been around a long time, and he knows what’s a good team and he knows what’s not,” Jardine said. “Right now we’re not playing the type of ball that we can play, but he’s going to get us there.”


Dion Waiters dribbles the ball up court during SU's win against Cornell Tuesday night in the Carrier Dome. (Photo: Aaron Katchen)

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