SU rolls into basketball regular season with win over Ryerson

The Orange are still ironing out all the wrinkles, but continued a balanced attack in SU's 81-46 victory.

In its final tune-up before the start of the regular season, the Syracuse Orange defeated the Ryerson Rams 81-46 Tuesday in the team’s second and final exhibition game. The Orange boasted an extremely balanced attack, with 11 players seeing time on the court and all but one of them playing at least ten minutes. Just like Friday’s win over Holy Family, every player on the court scored, led by C.J. Fair, who finished with 18 points.

Photo: Ziniu Chen
Tyler Roberson hits a jumper in the 81-46 Syracuse win against Ryerson.

Ryerson had trouble getting anything going offensively, shooting 30.8 percent from the field and 26.1 percent from three-point range. Adika Peter-McNeilly and Aaron Best, who each scored 11 points, led the Rams.

Fair asserted himself early and often, mixing drives to the basket with mid-range jumpers and the occasional three-pointer, where he shot 1-for-4. He did most of his damage in the first half, pouring in 15 points before the intermission. There were stretches during the half when Fair alone was outscoring the Rams.

“I felt good,” Fair said. “I felt I was getting in the right position at the right time.”

Fair said there were surprises for him through two exhibitions heading into the season. Coach Jim Boeheim felt the same way about his star forward.

“He’s going to play," Boeheim said of Fair," he's going to do what he does."

Syracuse’s other double-digit scorers were big men Rakeem Christmas and DaJuan Coleman. Christmas scored 10 points and eight rebounds, while Coleman chipped in with 11 points and 10 boards.

The tandem was doing better in spurts, Boeheim said, and Coleman in particular was improving on the offensive end of the court. The sophomore shot 2-for-4 from the field and hit 7-of-10 free throw attempts.

“He was able to just turn and make lay-ups in high school because of the size differential,” Boeheim said of Coleman. “He’s learning how to get position. Big guys offensively take, sometimes three years, sometimes four years before they get to where you’d like to see.”

Redshirt sophomore guard Trevor Cooney scored nine points and was second on the team with 11 field goal attempts. His scoring total came entirely from behind the three-point line, where he shot 3-for-9.

Cooney was aggressive on offense, not hesitating to look for and take his own shots. On one possession early in the second half, Cooney took a quick three-pointer and missed, but got the ball back after an offensive rebound and immediately fired again, hitting the second shot.

Boeheim cited Cooney’s inconsistent shooting as the reason for his lack of playing time last season. This year, though, Cooney said he has to look for his shot in order to provide the team with a deep threat.

“I’m going to have to take those threes just to keep defenses honest,” Cooney said. “If I can do that, we’re going to be able to stretch the defense.”

Defensively, the Orange suffered a few lapses when setting up its 2-3 zone defense. In particular, Tyler Roberson and B.J. Johnson struggled at times knowing where to set up in the defense, which led to some easy buckets for the Rams.

“They’re still trying to figure out the defense and get that going,” Boeheim said of the two freshmen.

Sophomore Jerami Grant pitched in with six points and five rebounds in 13 minutes. He hopes to be more of a leader this year, which he said entails getting others where they need to be on the court.

“We have a couple freshmen, they haven’t been used to playing the zone,” Grant said. “The exhibitions definitely help, because we don’t have to have those same lapses in the real games.”

He added Boeheim will make sure the team sorts out those problems in practice, a point his head coach reiterated.

“They’re all things we work on,” Boeheim said. “We’ll get there.”

The Orange gear up for the start of the regular season Friday at the Carrier Dome against Cornell.


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