Each Thursday over the summer, The Juice Online will be counting down the top 10 moments in the 2012-13 basketball season. We start with No. 10, the Battle on the Midway aboard the USS Midway in San Diego, Calif.
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse and San Diego State opened the college basketball season on Sunday, Nov. 11, on a beautiful, sunny (though highly windy) day in Southern California.
The Orange jumped out to an early 17-4 lead after CJ Fair scored a quick nine points in the first nine minutes. SU would take a 33-19 lead into halftime, and lead by double-digits the entire second half and cruise to a 62-49 win.
The wind forced both teams to adjust their game plans. The Orange took just four shots from beyond the arc, and even that was four to many according to Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim.
“Obviously, you’re not going to shoot it well,” Boeheim said. “We took four three point shots and that was probably a couple too many.”
Instead, Syracuse pounded the ball inside, scoring 44 points in the paint.
“If you make the dribble penetration, they have five guys back in the lane,” Boeheim said. “We don’t ever have five guys back in the lane playing zone. They’re playing a man to man with huge zone principles.”
Still, the Orange found ways to score.
“They were kind of forcing us to go to the basket and to take open shots,” Fair said. “But it was tough, but I think as we penetrated and kicked, we got good angles and we were able to get to the basket.”
SU employed the same strategy on defense, often leaving SDSU uncontested 3s. It worked, as the Aztecs were a dismal 1 for 18 from there.
WHY IT’S NO. 10: It isn’t too often that you can play outside on an aircraft carrier on Veteran’s Day. “This game was awesome,” CJ Fair said. “For the people that couldn’t attend, it was a great experience playing in front of the veterans.” The experience is not likely to happen again soon. The Battle on the Midway was one of three games slated to be outside, and one of them was completely canceled because of rain. This game nearly had the same fate, as the Orange were forced to postpone from Friday to Sunday on a rare stormy day in Southern California.
On the basketball front, it was a solid opening to the 2012-13 season for Syracuse, especially by playing a fellow Top 25 team. The game also foreshadowed the kind of season that SU would get from CJ Fair.