A quick take on Syracuse’s 87-69 win over St. Rose in its exhibition finale:
Much like in the Orange’s win over Cal State Los Angeles last week, SU played a sloppy first half. St. Rose actually tied it on a long 3 to go into the locker room. After a Trevor Cooney 3 put Syracuse up 26-15, St. Rose ended the half on a 15-4 run to tie the game. The Golden Knights, despite having their tallest player at 6-foot-8, out-rebounded SU in the first half 18-17.
Syracuse stepped up its defense in the second half and went to a full court press that helped force 27 turnovers. SU went on a 14-4 run, punctuated by a Kris Joseph layup, giving SU a 57-46 lead with 10:40 left. The Orange would lead by double digits the rest of the way. Predictably, SU overpowered the Knights in the paint, 42-28, and also scored 38 points off of St. Rose’s turnovers.
Here are some thoughts from the game:
* If last week’s win over Cal State LA was Fab Melo’s coming out party, then this week’s game was about the emergence of guard Michael Carter-Williams. The highly touted freshman looked shaky last week, and didn’t score in the first half of Tuesday’s game. But in the second half, Carter-Williams poured in 11 points and also showed the ability to run the offense, handing out three assists. But Carter-Williams was even more impressive on defense, picking up two steals, while creating havoc at the top of the zone.
* That being said, Melo still continued to impress this week. Melo finished with eight points and five rebounds, and again looked mobile running the court. Melo’s confidence was on display, as he hit a 18-foot jumper on his first attempt of the game, tying the score with 17:53 in the first half. The sophomore would’ve finished the night with 10 points, but in a strange sequence, Brandon Reese missed a free throw and Melo rebounded and layed the ball back in. But Reese was actually awarded two foul shots, and went back to the line and hit the free throw to give SU an 84-64 lead with 1:34 left. Melo had two points taken away as a result.
* Rakeem Christmas also showed some mobility. Starting again for the second straight game, Christmas and Carter-Williams ran the pick-and-roll effectively. He finished with seven points, although he only had one rebounds, and went 1-for-3 from the line.
* Kris Joseph led the team in scoring with 12 points, but missed all three of his 3-point attempts. He didn’t look particularly aggressive, but, then again, he didn’t really need to be.
* Brandon Triche came out aggressive, attempting SU’s first two shots of the game. We didn’t hear from him against until he hit a layup with 2:57 left in the first half. SU coach Jim Boeheim has said it repeatedly that Triche needs to be more aggressive. In the second half, he was, finishing a thunderous alley-oop on a fast break from Scoop Jardine. But he needs to continue that aggression throughout the game.
* Speaking of Jardine, he had a fairly quiet night, with seven points and three assists. His first basket of the game was a 3-pointer from distance early in the shot clock. Not the best shot selection, but he got the results.
* James Southerland was much more active tonight. He threw down a vicious put back dunk off a C.J. Fair miss on a 3, but hung on the rim a little longer than he should have. He was whistled for a technical foul, ending his night.