A quick take on Syracuse’s 75-54 win over High Point on Friday evening at the Carrier Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: The Orange overcame a hot-shooting, unintimidated High Point squad, as well as lackluster play on both ends of the floor, to improve to 11-0. SU had a brief scare when Jerami Grant rolled his ankle midway through the second half and went to the locker room after literally dragging himself off the court. The injury was eventually diagnosed as a sprain but shouldn’t cause him to miss any time.
ANALYSIS: 11-0 this team might be, but it was about as far from a perfect win as you could get. With his team only leading by 3 at halftime, Jim Boeheim seemed to be as incensed as he’s
been all year, and the trouble continued for some time after the break–High Point played the Orange close for 24 minutes and actually took a 40-39 lead early in the second.
High Point shot unsustainably well from outside, but it attacked the Orange zone as well as anybody has this year, using quick ball movement to generate open looks and catching SU (particularly Tyler Roberson) with backdoor cuts multiple times.
They couldn’t keep it up. The Orange finally started clamping down after the Panthers took their only lead of the game. Grant’s injury seemed to galvanize SU further, triggering swarming defense and a string of emphatic dunks.
HERO: With just over 16 minutes to go in the second half, the Orange had just fallen behind High Point for the first time all game. A Baye Keita putback put the Orange back up by one, and then Tyler Ennis made a pair of the heady plays that he’s quickly become known for. Ennis slithered through traffic on a fast break to spin in an underhand layup, then immediately stole the inbounds pass, got his own rebound off a miss, and put the Orange up by 5. When the dust settled, a 27-3 run had put the game out of reach. Ennis finished with 10 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds and 5 steals. He made smart drives, generating open spot-up looks for Trevor Cooney, and the offense noticeably ground to a halt when Ennis left the game in the first half.
Cooney, coming off a scoreless performance against St. John’s, was back in form, splashing 3s off spot-up opportunities, and off the dribble. He was SU’s leading scorer with 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting, 5-of-6 from downtown.
ZERO: DaJuan Coleman drew Boeheim’s ire constantly throughout the game (though, to be fair, so did every member of the Orange who saw the floor). He shot poorly and had trouble corralling rebounds and entry passes alike. The sophomore saw just 8 minutes of court time before garbage time rolled around.
John Brown, High Point’s leading scorer, shot just 3-for-11 for 6 points. No High Point player reached double figures in scoring.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse welcomes back old Big East foe Villanova on Saturday, Dec. 28 at 2 p.m. in the Carrier Dome. TV: CBS.
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