Syracuse wrapped up its exhibition schedule with a 84-35 win over Adrian. Here are a few thoughts from the game:
- This was truly a game of the varsity playing the JV squad. Syracuse overwhelmed Adrian because it has superior athletes, and it showed. While the Orange didn’t shoot well from the field (28-70), it didn’t particularly matter because SU did whatever it wanted inside (24 offensive rebounds) and on defense (forcing 29 turnovers). Just how mismatched was Adrian? Its “center” was Justin Webster, who stands 6-foot-5. Rakeem Christmas, who towers over him at 6’9″ had a field day, scoring 12 points and adding five blocked shots. Christmas also collected three assists when Adrian started doubling in the post. “They’re a small team, so obviously we’re going to have an advantage inside, but they doubled everything inside,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “It was good practice for our big guys – catching it and getting it out.”
- Chris McCullough led Syracuse with 13 points and 16 rebounds, though McCullough didn’t display the silky touch that he had in the exhibition opener. McCullough shot 2 for 11 from the field, though to his credit, he got to the free throw line where he sank all nine of his freebies. The freshman wing also came within three rebounds of tying Derrick Coleman for most rebounds in a single game by a first-year player. On the other wing, Tyler Roberson still looked a little shaky, missing three of four of his perimeter jumpers, but finished with nine points. “I think Chris and Tyler both, they missed a lot of easy opportunities, but that’s experience,” Boeheim said. “It will just take a while.”
- Trevor Cooney’s struggles continue. After shooting 0-6 against Carleton, Cooney was 4 of 13 from the field, and just 2 for 9 from downtown. Cooney is always a hot button for debate among Syracuse fans, but even his most staunch defenders can’t be pleased with his 4 for 19 shooting in the preseason.
- What do James Southerland, CJ Fair, Jerami Grant and now Michael Gbinije have in common? All of them played the role of bench player in name, but starter in reality. Gbinije showed again why he’ll be a key cog of the team this year, playing point guard, off guard and forward off the bench. He stuffed the stat sheet, going for 10 points, six assists, four steals and three rebounds in 25 minutes. It’s almost a given that while Gbinije may not start, he’ll be playing in critical moments down the stretch. “I’ve told Mike (Gbinije) from the beginning that he’s just like a starter,” Boeheim said. “I expect him to play like a starter, and I think he will. He’ll get as many minutes, I’m sure, as the starters.”
- Kaleb Joseph didn’t have the most gaudy of stats (nine points, four assists), but he also grabbed six rebounds and only had one turnover. He seems to be growing more comfortable with every minutes, and played with a great pace to the game.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse begins the 2014-15 season at the Carrier Dome on Friday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. against Kennesaw State. TV: ESPN3.