SU puts the full-court press on Eastern Michigan

No. 4 Syracuse forces 24 turnovers to counter a slow start against the Eagles and remain undefeated on the year.

Syracuse started out a bit flat against Eastern Michigan at the Carrier Dome on Monday, but forced many turnovers throughout the game and cruised to an 84-48 victory. The rout was on after coach Jim Boeheim switched to a full-court press in the first half.

“We got off to a slow start, which is not unusual after you play an emotional game before the weekend,” said Boeheim. “We did a pretty good job in the press to create some turnovers.”

DaJuan Coleman, Michael Carter-Williams and Trevor Cooney celebrate after Syracuse's 84-48 win over Eastern Michigan.

Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche combined for six steals on the night, helping spark the Orange in a 25-5 run to close out the first half. Carter-Williams had a double-double with 11 points and 11 assists and pitched in seven rebounds. Triche took over some of the scoring duties with efficient shooting, ending the night with 12 points.

“We all feel a little bit of responsibility to score as a group,” said Triche. “We may try to force or rush a shot but I think if we play together on defense, the offense is going to come easy.”

The offense did not come easy at first. Poor shooting was part of the problem for the Orange early on, as SU shot 10 percent from three-point range in the first half. Eastern Michigan's 2-3 zone, led by former SU assistant coach Rob Murphy, tightened up when the Orange failed to make outside shots. Syracuse hung in the game due to the great energy from freshman Jerami Grant. Grant crashed the boards, forced turnovers and hit some big shots to keep the Orange fighting in the first half. He would end up finishing the game with 11 points, two blocks, two steals and two offensive rebounds.

The Orange couldn’t take advantage inside, as missed opportunities and the imposing figure of Eagles center Da’Shonte Riley were too much to bear. Riley would finish the game with six blocks.

“They were jumping for everything,” said DaJuan Coleman, concerning the Eagles’ big men. “I think our point guards did a great job in the second half of penetrating the lane and giving the big guys some easy buckets.”

Coleman took advantage of those easy baskets in the second half, adding 10 of his 14 points after the break. Getting the ball closer to the basket gave him an ability to show off some new post moves, he said.

SU's efficiency was far better in the second half, as the Orange shot 51 percent from the field. The efficiency and better shooting performance can be largely attributed to the effectiveness of the full-court press, which gave the Orange easy looks and opened up its three-point game, said Boeheim.

“We really have used the press lately to create turnovers," said Boeheim. "I think that’s the strength of this team, right now.”

Turnovers were still the staple mark of the game for both teams, as the Orange had 18 and the Eagles had 24. The Eagles' play could have been attributed to the tough full-court press of the Orange. Boeheim felt as though SU's high turnover number could be a good thing, as it showed that the performance wasn’t as dominating as it appeared and gives the team something to work on during practice.

In addition, Trevor Cooney seemed to work his way out of a shooting slump. The redshirt freshman scored 11 points, including two threes late in the game.

The Orange will face Long Beach State at home on Thursday night.


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