Syracuse got back to their winning ways on Saturday evening, but in a manner that could be very generously described as ugly. The Orange (11-1) managed a 57-36 home victory over Alcorn State in spite of making only 37.5 percent of their field goal attempts and a putrid 42.9 percent (12-of-28) of their free throws while committing 15 turnovers. SU’s saving graces were their ability to chase down 21 of their missed shots and the generosity of the Braves (2-13), who committed a staggering 28 turnovers.
The Orange trailed by a basket early, but posted a dozen unanswered points to take a 16-6 lead just under nine minutes into the game. Alcorn State scored a pair of baskets to get back within six points, but Syracuse scored the next seven points for a 23-10 lead with just over seven minutes left in the first half. That stretch was broken by a free throw, but SU tallied the next four points for a 27-11 lead. The Orange cruised from there to a 32-16 halftime lead.
The second half was simply a grotesque performance by the Orange. The Carrier Dome faithful remained on their feet, clapping for a field goal for over eight-and-a-half minutes. SU got four free throws during the span (they also missed four shots at the stripe), but the Braves continually chipped away, shaving the Syracuse lead down to 36-29 just before the second media time out of the half. Trevor Cooney finally broke the SU drought, hitting a three-pointer. The bomb earned a large ovation from the crowd and started a stretch where Syracuse scored 15 of the game’s next 18 points, all by Cooney and C.J. Fair. When that span was complete, the Orange held a 51-32 lead with under five minutes on the clock. Twice after that, Syracuse pushed the lead out to 21 points, including on the final bucket of the game.
For the second straight game, C.J. Fair topped the Orange in scoring, this time with 13 points. Trevor Cconey was the only other Syracuse player in double digits, posting all 12 of his points after halftime. In fact, Fair and Cooney were the only two players to make a field goal for SU in the second half, as the remainder of the team officially missed all nine field goal attempts they took in the half, a number that does not include the number of attempts that missed where Alcorn State committed shooting fouls.
The Orange will have the chance to wipe the terrible taste of this game out of their mouths on Monday when they close the non-conference portion of their schedule against Central Connecticut State at the Carrier Dome. The Blue Devils (4-6) have lost their last three games. The action gets underway at 3 p.m. and the game will be televised by ESPNU.Jim Stechschulte (Follow on Twitter @dsafetyguy)