A quick take on Syracuse’s 72-68 win over Detroit on Monday night for Jim Boeheim’s 900th career win:
WHAT HAPPENED: The Orange led by as many as 22 in the second half, and appeared on track for an easy win when Syracuse took a 67-48 lead with 5:38 left after a Rakeem Christmas layup. From there, Detroit went on a late 17-0 run buoyed by 11 points from Juwan Howard Jr. to pull within 67-64 with 29 seconds left. During that stretch, SU missed a pair of 3-pointers, had 3 turnovers and committed 4 fouls. But five late free throws from Michael Carter-Williams helped SU hang on for its first close win of the season.
ANALYSIS: The win was a historic one for Jim Boeheim, as he notched his 900th career victory, all at Syracuse. While 900 is a nice round number, the one that Boeheim cares most about is 903, which would put him into sole possession of second place among all Division I basketball coaches ahead of friend and former rival Bobby Knight. The short list of coaches with 900 wins includes Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, Knight and Boeheim now. In the span it took for Boeheim to get from 800-900 wins, he went 100-16.
HERO: James Southerland scored 22 points to lead the way, but it was Carter-Williams’ who took charge in the end. He had the ball in his hands for Syracuse’s three most critical possessions of the game, and hit five free throws as part of a 12-point 10-assist night. Still, he had 6 turnovers, two of them coming during the Titans’ late run. Howard Jr. finished with 18 as did Doug Anderson.
ZERO: The Titans nearly shot themselves out of the game from downtown, hitting just 3-18. Leading scorer and NBA draft candidate Ray McCallum only had 9 points, well off his 20-point season average. Brandon Triche fouled out after 29 minutes after shooting just 1-6 from the field for 7 points.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will finish up the Gotham Classic when they take on Temple at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Dec. 22 at noon. TV: ESPN2.Wesley Cheng