During his freshman season, the hype that surrounded Fab Melo was much more overwhelming than his play. On Wednesday night, Melo himself was overwhelming, setting a school record with ten blocked shots as #1 Syracuse cruised in their Big East opener over Seton Hall at the Carrier Dome, 75-49. Melo was not the only strong defender for the Orange (14-0, 1-0 Big East), as the team blocked 15 shots and piled up 17 steals, stifling the Pirates (11-2, 0-1). The SU defense was particularly stingy in the first half, holding the visitors to 15 points on 5-of-27 shooting from the floor.
Syracuse missed their first five shots of the game, but still scored the first four points of the night en route to a 12-3 lead less than seven minutes into the game. The two teams both had trouble scoring over the next several minutes and the lead ranged between six and 11 points. With just over five minutes remaining in the half, the Orange exploded for a 12-1 run to close the half. Fab Melo tacked an exclamation point on the burst by stuffing a Seton Hall dunk attempt just before the half ended for his eighth blocked shot to that point.
Early in the second half, SU ripped off an 11-2 run to tighten their grip on the game with a 47-22 lead. The Pirates clipped the margin down to 20, but Syracuse destroyed any hopes of a comeback by ripping off a 14-3 burst to take a 68-35 lead with just over five minutes on the clock. Seton Hall responded with an 8-1 run, but it was far too little, too late. The Orange quickly stretched the lead back out to 32 points before a pair of late threes by the Pirates ended the scoring.
For the second straight game, Dion Waiters topped SU by tallying a game-high 15 points on 7-of-10 field goals. In addition to his record-setting night on defense, Fab Melo also tied a personal best with a dozen points, which gave him the first double-double of his career. Brandon Triche added 11 points and C.J. Fair aided the cause with nine points and a team-high eight rebounds. Kris Joseph forced four steals in the game while Waiters and Fair each had three.
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