Syracuse held off Arkansas, 91-82, for a tough road win. Here are my grades from the game:
CJ Fair: B
The majority of Fair’s 14 points came from inside the paint, where he is most effective. I didn’t like the high turnovers (4), but he was solid otherwise.
Rakeem Christmas: C
Christmas played a quiet 12 minutes mostly because he couldn’t play much wing with the speed of Arkansas, and also because Fair/Southerland was a much better offensive combination on a night when SU needed plenty of offense. He also had three turnovers.
DaJuan Coleman: C
Coleman looked lost on the defensive end at the start, and, like Christmas, only played 12 minutes. You can tell he’s got a stellar post repertoire, but this wasn’t the team to display it against.
Brandon Triche: B+
For one brilliant stretch midway through the second half, Triche put Syracuse on his shoulders and scored 10 straight points. Arkansas was swarming Michael Carter-Williams when he was on the ball, so SU coach Jim Boeheim adjusted and had Triche handling the point. Triche responded, and also chipped in a team-high 4 steals. It made up for him struggling through the first 3/4ths of the game.
Michael Carter-Williams: A
Who didn’t walk away impressed with Carter-Williams last night? You knew that he was going to be the most important player on the floor with Arkansas’ pressure defense, and Carter-Williams delivered with a near triple-double with 17 points, 10 boards and 9 assists. He’s still got to work on his outside shot (0-3 from downtown) and his handle (4 turnovers), though.
James Southerland: A+
No one in Fayetteville is going to forget Southerland’s name for a long, long time. Southerland was hot right from the beginning, and drained his first 5 treys of the game. It’s early in the season, but the 35 points makes him the early leader for National Sixth Man of the Year.
Baye Keita: B+
Keita was the best defender Syracuse had at the center position. He played 25 minutes and grabbed six boards, and even added a bank shot from the free throw line when he came off a screen in the high post.
Trevor Cooney: C-
Cooney still can’t find his shot, and rushed the ones that he took. But, as I’ve said before, that will come with time, and he’s still playing pesky defense.
Jerami Grant: INC
It was a “blink and you may have missed him” kind of night. Grant played briefly in the first half, but this was far too close of a game for him to be logging major minutes.