A quick take on Syracuse’s 80-61 win against Bucknell:
WHAT HAPPENED: The game was over fairly early as the Orange went on an 11-2 run midway through the first half to go up 24-10 with 7:29 left. Syracuse would lead by dougle digits for the rest of the game, helped partially by Bucknell’s ice cold shooting. The Bison was completely cold from the field during the opening half, shooting 28.6 percent from the field and 2-for-10 from downtown. At one point, the Bison went nearly seven minutes without a field goal. Surprisingly, it wasn’t Syracuse’s defense that was the cause of that. The Bison had several easy layups and open looks from 3-point land and simply missed. SU had no such problems, as it shot 52 percent from the field and 8-for-17 from downtown. Bucknell shot the ball much better in the second half, coming within 13 points twice, but could never serious threaten the Orange.
The Orange asserted its dominance down low, as Rakeem Christmas scored SU’s first seven points (he played just two minutes in SU’s last game against NC State) en route to career high 10 points and five rebounds. Fab Melo was also dominant in the paint, finishing with eight points and nine rebounds.
ANALYSIS: The Orange is quickly wrapping up its non-conference schedule with only one game left against Conference USA foe Tulane. Tonight, the Orange dominated a Patriot League team that couldn’t figure out how to handle the Orange’s size. Syracuse had the right idea early, featuring Christmas and Melo down low. But despite the lopsided win, the Orange defense was concerning, as it forced only 12 turnovers (roughly six off its season average). The zone was late on shifts, allowing the Bison to launch several open jumpers. Fortunately for the Orange, Bucknell struggled to put the ball in the basket as the Bison shot 37 percent from the field. SU will not be as lucky come conference play.
HERO: Kris Joseph lead all scorers with 17 points, getting to the lane at will. Scoop Jardine had another brilliant second half, finishing with 14 points after scoring just two points in the first half.
ZERO: Cameron Ayers came into the game averaging a team leading 13.2 points per game, but was held in check for most of the night, and didn’t score the majority of his nine points until the game was out of reach.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange will play Tulane on Thursday in Syracuse, NY at 7 p.m. on Time Warner Cable Sports/SNY.