A quick take on Syracuse’s 57-36 win over Alcorn State on Saturday night:
WHAT HAPPENED: In Syracuse’s second straight sub-par performance, the Orange kept the Carrier Dome faithful standing and clapping until the 11:22 mark in the second half and led just 39-29 at that point. But Trevor Cooney drained a 3-pointer which sparked a 12-3 run that put SU up 48-31. SU would lead comfortably the rest of the way, though if there was such a thing as a moral loss, this would be it.
ANALYSIS: It was an all around ugly game for the Orange. Syracuse shot 37 percent from the field, and hit just 3-15 from beyond the arc. SU had nearly as many turnovers (15) as they did field goals (21), and for the second straight game, free throws were a huge problem. The Orange was just 12-28 from the line, with Dajuan Coleman (2-7) and Jerami Grant (3-7) the primary offenders. On the other hand, Michael Carter-Williams, who shot SU out of a win against Temple last week with his free throw shooting, was a perfect 3-3 from the line. Still, the defensive effort was there, as the Orange forced 25 turnovers. There were times when the Braves had more turnovers than points. And if you thought the Orange had bad numbers, Alcorn State was 3-17 from downtown and shot 41 percent from the line. The loudest cheers of the night came when the final score of the Pinstripe Bowl was announced.
HERO: CJ Fair was one of the few players shooting well, and finished with 13 points and 5 rebounds. Cooney was a spark off the bench, hitting the Orange’s first field goal in the second half, and chipped in 12 points.
ZERO: There was plenty to choose from, but free throw shooting has to be the biggest concern. Besides Carter-Williams, no Orange player shot above 60 percent from the line. Carter-Williams also had problems with turnovers again, coughing up the ball five times to six assists. Brandon Triche had an off night, going 1-7 from the field for 5 points. Marquiz Baker led Alcorn State with 15 points, but took 16 shots to get there, and went 3-12 from downtown.
WHAT’S NEXT: Jim Boeheim will go for his 902nd career win, which would tie Bobby Knight for second all time in wins when the Orange take on Central Connecticut State on Dec. 31. at 3 p.m. at the Carrier Dome.