Syracuse extended its active home winning streak to a nation’s best 36 games in a 63-47 win over Notre Dame on Monday night. Here are a few thoughts from the game:
This is what Syracuse needs from Rakeem Christmas
The big men have been giving ol’ coach Boeheim headaches ever since the season began. Coleman has been the offensive guy but slacks on D. Keita has been better on D but can’t handle the offense and Christmas has always just been somewhere in between. Tonight, Christmas excelled, just when the Orange needed him to. Keita played just four minutes due to the great success Christmas was having. So is he ready to do this every game? Hopefully. It seems like tonight was a pretty good indicator of what’s to come. He was going up against Jack Cooley, one of the best big men in the country. When you have one of your best games of the season against a guy like him, good things must be ahead.
Grant is going to be so good
Sure, he’s still very raw. But tonight gave Orange fans a glimpse of the amazing things ahead for Jerami Grant. Jerami went up against his brother Jerian tonight and scored a career-high 14 points and grabbed six rebounds. He’s filling in for the production left behind by James Southerland. He wont be as consistent as a guy like CJ Fair but as a freshman, he’ll put up important numbers. Did you realize that Grant played all 40 minutes in the game? He’s making an impact this season but think about next season and the season after. He’s going to be a very special player.
Carter-Williams excels in game management
I looked up at the scoreboard some time in the second half and Michael Carter-Williams hadn’t scored a point. What? He finished the day with just five points but he passed for eight assists. He stopped forcing up ridiculous shots and started to actually run the offense again. He only took three shots and it helped the team get away from the one-on-one style of play that we’ve been seeing lately.
The defense was stifling
Notre Dame is one of the top shooting 3-point teams in the Big East. They came into Monday shooting around 40 percent from beyond the arc, with five players shooting 35 percent or better (with a minimum of at least 50 attempts). Cameron Biedscheid is one of the Fighting Irish’s best shooters, but the Orange defense did an excellent job of containing him. He shot 1-8 from 3-point land, and the Irish finished shooting 6-20 overall. “The key with Notre Dame is that you have to guard their three-point shooters – you can’t let them get set,” Boeheim said. “That’s why we’ve had some success with them. We’ve normally done a good job on their three point shooters.”