Syracuse’s bench outscored its starters 60-32 in Syracuse’s 92-47 win over Colgate on Saturday.
Dion Waiters led the way with 16 points, followed by fellow reserves James Southerland (14) and CJ Fair (13). Scoop Jardine was the only starter to be in double digits, finishing with 11 points and six assists.
“We’re giving teams different looks,” Jardine said. “We have a lot of guys, so we can do stuff like that. In the past we couldn’t do that because we only had 6-7 guys and now we’ve got a good 10 guys no matter who’s in the game.”
Two of Syracuse’s starters played limited minutes.
Kris Joseph, nursing an injured knee, didn’t play in the second half and finished with just four points in 13 minutes. Fab Melo only played 17 minutes and had a season-low two points while fouling out.
But it didn’t matter, as Syracuse’s bench more than made up for the difference, especially Waiters.
Through four games this season, Waiters has more than doubled his average points. The sophomore averaged 6.6 points last season and is averaging 13.7 now. It’s even more impressive considering he’s only averaging four more minutes a game.
“When you get your number called, you have to go out and just play your game of basketball,” Waiters said. “It’s not that hard. Just play together, share the ball and try to be aggressive.”
It definitely hasn’t been hard for Southerland, who has been one of Syracuse’s top reserves this season, averaging 13.7 points and five rebounds a game.
Coming off a career-high 19 points against Albany in Tuesday, Southerland had nine points and two steals in just three minutes during a 14-0 run that put Syracuse up 34-13 with 7:38 left in the first half. Fair did the rest of the scoring, chipping in five points.
“I’m shooting to make them right now,” Southerland said. “And I’m staying focused on defense.”
The trio are part of a deep bench that will give SU plenty of options in the most difficult parts of its schedule.
“If you have one guy that plays bad, the other guy can pick him up,” Waiters said. “We have to continue playing hard like that all year long, even through the tough games.”