A quick take on Syracuse’s 55-44 win over USF in front of a loud, near sell-out crowd of 10,024 at the refurbished Sun Dome in Tampa Sunday afternoon:
WHAT HAPPENED: In its first conference road game in its last Big East season, the Orange (14-1, 2-0) fell behind by as many as 10 points eight minutes into the game, but settled down on offense, tightened its 2-3 zone forcing the Bulls (9-4, 0-1) into relying heavily on long outside shots (6 of 22 from three point range), and turned up the transition game for fast-break points on route to going to 2-0 in league play.
ANALYSIS: Despite a pace dictated by USF that held SU scoring into the 50s, the number-seven Orange led by consistent backcourt play when needed, and the athleticism of James Sutherland (17 points, eight rebounds) and Rakeem Christmas (bottom of zone defense) at key points in the second half had enough to stymie the Bulls upset bid.
HERO: The steady Brandon Triche coming off a season-high 25-points against Rutgers, the senior guard had 20 points with several key second-half baskets to hold off the Bulls comeback. In addition, Triche had three boards, four assists, and two steals.
ZERO: He’s a great young player, but Michael Carter-Williams outside shooting of 1 for 13 was at times some bad luck, but mainly some poor decisions in rushing his shot in the offensive flow. Carter-Williams did have nine rebounds, five assists and four steals to balance his shooting woes.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse wraps up a two game road trip Wed night, Jan. 9 at Providence. Game time is 7 p.m. The Orange are 18-4 all-time under Jim Boeheim at the Providence Civic Center/Dunkin Donuts Center, winning there last season 87-73. TV: Big East Network, SNY, Time Warner Cable, MASN, Cox Sports, ESPN Full Court, and ESPN3 (online subject to blackout).