NEW YORK — Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim pulled Michael Carter-Williams over midway through the second half of SU’s 95-70 win over St. John’s. What happened next turned out to be the impetus to Carter-Williams’ highlight reel dunk over St. John’s forward God’sgift Achiuwa.
Carter-Williams had just gone baseline on a drive and saw an open lane, but passed on a shot attempt. Boeheim immediately pointed that out to his freshman point guard.
“Coach saw it and said, ‘You should’ve just went up and dunked it.'” Carter-Williams said. “And I said, ‘Yeah, you’re right.'”
Heeding his coach’s advice, Carter-Williams took the ball straight at the 6-foot-8 Achiuwa when he next saw a driving lane, and—while reducing Achiuwa to a pawn in an ESPN highlight—threw down a vicious tomahawk jam with Achiuwa draped all over him.
The circus slam gave the Orange a 68-46 lead with 9:30 left and helped SU to improve to 23-1 on the season.
“I went up and finished as hard as I could,” Carter-Williams said, with a bright smile across his face.
The pro-Syracuse Madison Square Garden crowd went berserk and left the arena buzzing for several minutes.
His teammates felt the same way.
“It got me hyped,” guard Dion Waiters said. “Just to see him to do (that), have fun out there, and have one of his best games, it’s great.”
Carter-Williams had plenty to be happy about, as he poured in a career-high 13 points in 17 minutes off the bench. Better yet, Carter-Williams was 3-for-4 from downtown.
He had come into the game as a 25 percent shooter from beyond the arc, but has been working tirelessly on his shot with Syracuse assistant coach Gerry McNamara.
“He told me just to keep the ball up and let it go off my fingertips,” Carter-Williams said. “The results are showing.”
They definitely are.
Now, after not playing in two of his last three games, Carter-Williams gave Boeheim something to think about with his rotation.
Of course, Boeheim hasn’t left Carter-Williams out for lack of talent.
“I keep telling him that you’re playing behind one of the best backcourts in the country,” Boeheim said. “I just haven’t figured out how to play four guards.”
Still, with more performances like this, Carter-Williams will see more action.
“Michael got his first real good looks and hit both of them,” Boeheim said. “I thought he played very well.”