When you have two teams named after colors you kinda have to make that joke, right? RIGHT?
Syracuse just made the third largest leap ever in the AP polls because of their performances against Cal and UNC. They moved all the way up to No. 9. They even got a first place vote - you can thank Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News for that. You have to wonder if something like that might make them a little cocky and not quite ready for a very formidable Cornell team. Well, that wasn't the case. This team is confident, not cocky and they took care of business on Tuesday beating the Big Red, 88-73.
Playing against the zone and relying on three-point shooting
is like gambling and Syracuse is the house. In the short term you can win
but the longer you play that game the more you're going to lose.
Cornell was able to hang tough with the Orange through much of the first half. In fact, they had the lead well into the half until Syracuse took the lead for good with 5:56 left. Cornell began the game shooting eight for 14 from distance with Chris Wrobleski leading the way. He shot four of five from three-point range and had 14 points in the first 11 minutes. But Cornell and Wrobleski couldn't keep up the hot hand. Cornell finished the game shooting five of 22 from three and Wrobleski had just six points in the final 29 minutes. Syracuse began closing out on shooters better and the Big Red started missing some shots. Those long rebounds off of missed threes led to some easy buckets as Syracuse went on a 21-7 run starting the second half to put the game away.
Syracuse looked much more disciplined in this game than in their previous four. They committed a season-low tying 11 turnovers and the most amazing stat of the night - they shot 82% from the stripe! I guess when they're playing against lesser teams like Cornell it's much easier for them to hit the unguarded shot...yeah I have no explanation. Well, except this - Onuaku only shot two free throws.
Things are looking good. Through five games they have had five different players lead them in scoring. On any given night they can turn to the hot hand or the player that has the best mismatch. I do have a couple things I'll be watching early in the season. First, who is their point guard? Triche and Jardine have both played very well and they've managed to split playing time and it's worked well but will that keep up throughout the season. Triche had a team-high 21 points against Cornell and I have to remind myself this is just the freshman's fifth game. It looks like he is going to takeover the point guard position but we'll see what he can do come Big East play. The other thing to watch is how Rautins plays once the schedule gets tougher. Rautins always has big games against the cupcake non-conference teams because it's that much easier for him to get wide open threes but it'll get tougher in a few weeks. The Orange next game is Friday against Columbia. Like I said, it'll get tougher in a few weeks.