I was hoping Syracuse vs. St. Francis was going to be another game of "Can one player on Syracuse outscore St. Francis in the first half?" - I know the title is a little long - I'll work on that - but it actually turned into a semi-close game in the first half. Though, in the first eight minutes of play, Rick Jackson had outscored the Terriers 9-7. But St. Francis did about as well as you could possibly expect against one of the top teams in the nation. They had just three turnovers and allowed very few fast break buckets in the half. They were just overmatched in the paint and that led to a 38-26 halftime lead for the Orange.
Boeheim must've gotten to his team at halftime because they came out much more aggressive. They forced 14 turnovers and had 10 steals in the second half and held St. Francis to 26.7 percent from the field. St. Francis also made an adjustment to contain the inside play of Syracuse but that just allowed kick-outs to open three-pointers. The Orange hit six of 11 three-pointers in the second half, including three from Mookie Jones and two from Wesley Johnson.
PHOTO: Dennis Nett/Post-Standard
Syracuse outscored St. Francis 24-7 over the final 10 minutes and won 75-51 to improve to 10-0 on the season. That's their best start since 1999 when they began the season 19-0. It was a balance scoring effort with four players in double figures - Johnson, Jackson, Jones, and Onuaku who led the way with 14 points.The Orange will move up at least one spot in the AP poll after Villanova lost on Sunday to Temple. They will probably move ahead of Purdue and West Virginia and occupy fourth place in the poll behind Kansas, Texas, and Kentucky.