Former Syracuse guard Sherman Douglas holds the school record for assists in a game with 22.
For now, at least.
Michael Carter-Williams briefly flirted with surpassing that record on Sunday afternoon, assisting on SU’s first nine baskets of the game in an 87-51 rout over the Raiders.
“That,” Carter-Williams said, “would be a nice record to break.”
In only 28 minutes, Carter-Williams stuffed the stat sheet with 8 points, 13 assists, six rebounds and four steals. Perhaps even more impressive was that the sophomore committed just a single turnover.
Afterward, Carter-Williams was asked if he was happier with his assist or turnover numbers.
“Probably the one turnover,” Carter-Williams said. “I’ve had a few that I haven’t been too proud of. And I wasn’t happy about the one turnover, either. I was trying to limit those turnovers.”
His teammates were the beneficiaries, specifically forward James Southerland. The senior forward finished with 18 points, many of them with the help of Carter-Williams.
“He’s doing a good job looking for teammates. I’ve seen a big in him difference within the past couple of games,” Southerland said. “He could score as much as he wants, but it’s good he’s looking for his teammates.”
Perhaps Carter-Williams could’ve even gotten closer to Douglas’ record if a few more baskets would’ve gone down.
“He’s really playing as well as any point guard we’ve had in a long time,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “I think he could have had 17 or 18 assists easy here tonight just like the last game – he could have had another five or six. We’re missing open shots, we have to start making some of those.”
Carter-Williams said he didn’t make a conscious decision to become a pure distributor today. He was merely taking what the defense was giving him.
There will be plenty of other times in future games when Carter-Williams will call his own number.
“There will be games when I will be more aggressive, when I think my team needs it,” Carter-Williams said. “Teams are going to recognize that when I go in the lane, I like to pass it out. So that’s when I have to be more aggressive getting to the rim.”
Until then, Carter-Williams is content with showcasing his ability to find the open man.
“My teammates were knocking down shots and they made it look easy for me,” Carter-Williams said. “So I tried to make it easy for them.”Wesley Cheng