Instant Juice: Syracuse 76, Carleton 68

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Syracuse had to rally in the second half for the win

A quick take on Syracuse’s 76-68 win over Carleton (Ca.) in preseason play:

  • Tyler who? Okay, that’s obviously premature, but Syracuse freshman point guard Kaleb Joseph showed plenty of confidence in his Orange debut, leading the team in scoring with a team-high 19 points in 27 minutes, shooting 7 of 9 from the field. The total would probably have been even more if he didn’t have cramps in the second half.
  • Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim used an interesting lineup with Joseph out of the game. He went with Bus Patterson and Trevor Cooney in the backcourt, with Michael Gbinje playing point forward and bringing the ball up. It was plenty effective, with the red hot Patterson knocking down four of five 3-pointers for 15 points in 15 minutes. That will certainly help on an afternoon where Trevor Cooney went 0-6 from the field and 0-4 from downtown.

» Related: November is going to be a big month for Syracuse basketball

  • With senior center Rakeem Christmas in foul trouble in the first half, he initially went to backup Chinonso Obokoh off the bench. But Obokoh only logged three minutes the entire game, with Boeheim electing to use Chris McCullough, and at times, Tyler Roberson, in the middle of the zone. Syracuse doesn’t have much depth there this season with Dajuan Coleman’s availability in question.
  • Christmas will be featured on offense this season. He scored all 13 of his points in the second half, muscling his way inside for a team-high 11 shots. But beyond just mere scoring, Christmas showed good vision passing out of the post, twice finding Patterson for 3-pointers. Still, he can’t commit some of the silly fouls that he did in the first half.
  • McCullough fit well into the Syracuse offense, finishing with 14 points and six rebounds. He even showed some of his range by hitting his only attempt from downtown. But at 220 pounds, he will struggle on the defensive end if he’s asked to log minutes at the center position.
  • Perhaps the most telling thing about the performance was how the team responded to its 14-point first half deficit. While the offense certainly struggled to start, it bodes well that the Orange remained patient and didn’t show any signs of panicking.

WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse finishes its preseason schedule on Monday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. when it hosts Adrian.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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