SU shakes off slow start, defeats Canisius

James Southerland provided strong bench play to help propel the Orange past the Golden Griffins to remain undefeated on the year.

After a first half that saw the Orange trailing with less than a minute left to play, the Syracuse Orange men's basketball team turned it around in the second half, scoring 50 points en route to an 85-61 victory over Canisius.

Senior James Southerland scored a game-high 21 points off the bench, and sophomore Michael Carter-Williams dished out 13 assists in the second half to lead Syracuse (9-0) over the Golden Griffins (6-2) at the Carrier Dome Saturday night.

At halftime, the Orange held a slim lead of 35-32 following senior Brandon Triche's layup that bounced around the rim as time expired. Coach Jim Boeheim noted that a slow first half could have been attributed to the impact of a week of finals and time off between games.

“In the first half, we just weren't as good defensively as we need to be,” Boeheim said.

The second half was another story, as Syracuse poured it on early, going on a 20-3 run at one point. Just a few minutes into the half the Orange led 50-35, their largest lead of the night.

“We were able to adjust, and that was the biggest thing,” Triche said.

Carter-Williams had some off court issues this past weekend, but he said that that did not impact his poor performance in the first half, where he only had one assist.

“As soon as I step onto the court, it's all about basketball,” he said.

Carter-Williams was able to increase his NCAA-leading 10.4 assists-per-game, finishing the contest with an impressive 14 dimes and 12 points, for yet another double-double

Triche, who is averaging a career-high 14.9 points-per-game, was second on the team with 19. He also added five assists.

With the success Triche and Carter-Williams were having, red-shirt freshman Trevor Cooney only got four minutes of playing time.

“It was a tough game for us,” Triche said. “A lot of times coach [Boeheim] is more comfortable playing with the veteran guys.”

“When I got in, I didn't have the best defensive spots, and that two shots that I took were good shots, they just didn't fall in,” Cooney said. “In the second half, Brandon and Michael played great, and they didn't need me to come in, which is fine.”

“He's really a selfless player,” Triche said. “He'll do whatever it takes if the team is going to win.

With this victory, Coach Boeheim is now one win away from 900 wins, an exclusive club that at the Division 1 level holds just two members: Bob Knight (902) and Duke coach Mike Kryzewski (935 and counting).

While this is an impressive feat, his players were quickly dismissive of the meaning of 900 wins.

“I'm sure he'd take a national championship over 1000 wins, any day,” Triche said. “You don't look at it as how many games he's won, but what kind of coach he is; what he does with his players, how his players get better over the years,”

Boeheim and the Orange will go for win No. 900 Monday night at the Carrier Dome against Detroit.

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