After a slow start, #4 Syracuse unleashed their full court press and stayed with it most of the night to come back from an early deficit and defeat Eastern Michigan at the Carrier Dome for the second consecutive year by an 84-48 score.
When the Orange (6-0) fell behind in the opening minutes and looked a step slow on defense and sloppy on offense, Jim Boeheim opted to employ the press to speed things up and ended up with 24 turnovers which were converted into 31 points to key the win over the Eagles (5-2). SU was not particularly good on the night when not scoring easy points, as they committed 18 turnovers and made only 5-of-22 shots from three-point range, the latter seemingly turning into an issue in the early parts of the season.
The opening basket was in favor of Syracuse, but not much other than that in the early minutes. Eastern Michigan gradually crept out to a 10-3 lead five minutes into the action. The Orange went to their press and slowly got their offense going, eventually tying the game at 12 with nine minutes on the clock. The last two baskets that knotted the score triggered a one-sided stretch for the rest of the half for SU. Syracuse outscored the Eagles over the final 9:20 of the half by a 27-5 margin, including a run of 13 straight points at one time, and held a 35-17 lead at the break.
The two squads played evenly for the first six minutes of the second half, but the Orange then exploded for an 11-2 run in the next two minutes to push their lead to 57-31. After consecutive Eagle baskets, the Orange strung together another 11-2 run over a two-minute span to take a 68-37 lead with under eight minutes to play. Eastern Michigan whittled the margin down to 26, but SU tacked on ten straight points to go up 82-46 with under two minutes to go.
Five SU players reached double figures in scoring, including all three freshmen. DaJuan Coleman had a team-high 14 points while Jerami Grant and Trevor Cooney each chipped in with 11 points. Brandon Triche added a dozen points while Michael Carter-Williams posted his second straight double-double, this one of 11 points and 11 assists. Carter-Williams, C.J. Fair, and Triche each had three steals and Rakeem Christmas blocked three shots in the contest.
Syracuse faces a quick turnaround when Long Beach State comes to town on Thursday. The 49ers (3-4) had a two-game win streak snapped on Monday when they were defeated by Fresno State. The action will start at 8 p.m. will be televised by ESPN2.Jim Stechschulte (Follow on Twitter @dsafetyguy)