Kris Joseph scored a career-high 25 points, and Rick Jackson recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds as Syracuse finished its non-conference schedule with a convincing 93-65 win over Drexel.
The Orange (13-0) enjoyed one of its best shooting performances of the season, hitting 66 percent of its shots, including going 5-for-12 from downtown. Brandon Triche (12) and Scoop Jardine (21) also scored in double figures.
“I don’t think we can play better than that offensively,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “It takes a while for offense to get going to fit everyone together. Now, we’re getting to where everyone’s figured out what they can do.”
Syracuse didn’t start well, as its first field goal came with 14:14 left in the first half. But the Orange would take a 15-10 lead with 10:34 to play with a 7-0 run.
Jardine added a fast break layup to give the Orange a 29-18 lead before he hit a 3-pointer and a free throw to give Syracuse a 35-22 lead going into half. The Orange led by double digits for the rest of the night.
“Tonight, our offense was really patient,” Jardine said. “We moved the ball, and we got good shots. That’s our game — getting the ball inside. The thing we did today, we spread them out and then we were able to drive and get to the rim.”
Gerald Colds led the Dragons with 16 points, and Chris Fouch scored 14.
It was a disappointing night for Drexel (8-2), who had, earlier in the week, received votes in The Associated Press Top 25 poll. The Dragons had won six in a row, including a win over then-No. 23 Louisville two games ago on Dec. 14.
The last time these two teams met was in 2006, and the Dragons defeated the then-No. 23 Orange 84-79.
But thoughts of another upset were dissipated by Joseph.
The junior forward has been inconsistent this season one year after being named Sixth Man of the Year. On Monday, Joseph went 2-for-8 against Morgan State for five points.
Joseph looked to drive more Wednesday night and was 9-for-12 from the field and 6-for-7 from the free throw line.
“Just seeing the ball going in the basket gets you going. It’s just patience on offense,” Joseph said. “When we can show we’re patient on offense, our offense works well and we get good shots. The higher-percentage shots are more likely to go in, so that’s what we want to focus on.”
Part of the Orange’s success came from spreading out the floor, which opened up more driving lanes for Joseph.
“When we’re able to spread teams out like that, Kris Joseph, no one in the country can guard him,” Jardine said. “He was able to get to the line, get to the lane.”
The Orange will open its Big East Conference schedule against Providence on Dec. 28.
“We’ve gotten better as the season has gone on,” Jardine said. “That’s what you want to do going into the Big East.”
Wesley Cheng is the Editor-in-Chief for The Juice Online.
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