For the second time in three nights, top-ranked Syracuse won a game with a strong first half performance, this time bumping off Tulane at the Carrier Dome on Thursday evening, 80-61. The Orange (13-0) closed their nonconference schedule with a pristine mark by stifling the Green Wave (11-2) with a choking defense, holding the guests to 24 percent field goal shooting in the first half (6-for-25) and 34 percent overall. In a stark contrast, SU made 14 of their 25 field goal attempts in the opening session, including their final seven.
The opening ten minutes of the affair featured four tie scores and five lead changes, but with the score knotted at 14, Syracuse went on the attack with six straight points to take a lead they would not relinquish. The Green Wave tried to hang around by clipping the lead to 22-19, but the Orange took over from there. SU ripped off 19 straight points in less than six minutes to wrap the game up with a halftime lead of 41-19. It came very easily for the Orange, who converted all seven shots they took in the span, including five bombs from behind the arc.
Syracuse maintained control in the early minutes of the second half, but Tulane put together a 10-4 run to make it a 47-32 game just over five minutes into the second half. The SU lead stayed between 15 and 18 points until the Orange posted an 11-4 run to stretch the margin to 70-47 with just over four minutes on the clock. The visitors scored the next three points to get within 20, but Syracuse responded with an 8-3 burst to take their biggest lead of the night at 25 points and coasted from there. In an odd quirk, walk-on Matt Tomaszewski made a three-point shot in the last couple minutes, making him a perfect 4-for-4 on triples for the season and 7-for-7 in his two seasons at SU.
Dion Waiters paced three Syracuse players in double figures with 15 points, including ten after the break. Kris Joseph backed him up with 13 points while James Southerland added ten and Brandon Triche chipped in with nine. Southerland also set a personal best by blocking four shots in the game and Baye Keita joined him in the block party with three rejections of his own.