Instant Juice: Syracuse 85, George Washington 50

A quick take on Syracuse’s 85-50 win against George Washington:

WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse jumped out to a 13-2 lead in the first six minutes of the game, taking advantage of George Washington starting 1-for-15 from the field. The Orange defense accounted for four blocks (three from Fab Melo) during that time, while its 13 points consisted of free throws and layups around the rim. Eventually, the Orange opened up a 45-25 lead at halftime, with Syracuse scoring 34 points in the paint.

The Orange continued to open up the lead in the second half. A 19-3 run capped by a James Southerland breakaway slam put Syracuse in a commanding 69-38 lead with 8:41 left. With Ohio State and Kentucky losing earlier in the day, the Orange will likely be No. 1 when the rankings are released Monday.

ANALYSIS: A lot has been made about Syracuse’s defense early on this season. SU leads the country in steals, but that has to be tempered by its relatively easy schedule so far. Aside from Florida, none of the teams the Orange has played so far is a top 25 team, so it’s difficult to gauge how good it is. The same goes for the offense. Most of Syracuse’s points came off turnovers and fastbreak points, or from the free throw line. The Orange didn’t run many offensive sets, because it didn’t have to. It’ll be interesting to see if the defense—and offense—will have the same success when Syracuse opens its Big East schedule.

HERO: Dion Waiters (19 points, six steals, five rebounds and four assists) and Fab Melo (eight points, six rebounds, three blocks) led Syracuse on both ends. The Orange had a balanced offensive attack, as nine players had five points or more.

ZERO: Colonial forward Lasan Kromah had ten points, but was 3-for-13 from the field and had four turnovers.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange will play North Carolina State on Saturday in Raleigh, NC at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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