Jim Boeheim won his 903rd game as a coach, passing Bobby Knight for second place in all-time wins among Division I college coaches in a 78-53 win over Rutgers on Wednesday night. Here are my grades from the game:
CJ Fair: B+
Fair’s offense was solid. He was 4-11 from the field and 7-8 from the free throw line for 15 points. Who would’ve thought that Fair would turn into the team’s most reliable free throw shooter? He was the most impressive on defense, swatting three shots and generally being a pest. “When our big men “wall-up” their offensive guys, the forwards would come over and block the shot,” Fair said. In this scenario, Fair was that lucky forward.
Rakeem Christmas: B
The stat sheet doesn’t show it, but Christmas was active when he was in. 4 points and 4 rebounds in 22 minutes (the most among the SU big men), plus 2 blocks. But he altered a lot of other shots, and was a big part of the reason why Rutgers shot 36 percent.
DaJuan Coleman: INC
Just as I feared, Coleman is starting to get the “Fab Melo Freshman Treatment” (patent pending). Still, in 9 minutes, he had 3 points and 3 rebounds.
Brandon Triche: A+
You won’t see many better nights than the night that Triche had. 8-11 shooting. 5-7 from downtown. 4-4 from the line. “I have total confidence in him,” Boeheim said. “I believe he can play like he played tonight every night. Every single night.” Imagine if he did…
Michael Carter-Williams: A
Carter-Williams is really starting to percolate from downtown. He was 3-4 against CCSU and he was 2-4 against Rutgers. Okay, so one of those was a bank shot, but all counts the same in the box score. Also, is anyone else slightly disappointed when he doesn’t flirt with a triple-double? I mean, 12 points and 10 assists is nice. But only 1 rebound? Yeah, we’re getting a little spoiled by him.
James Southerland: C
Fun fact: Southerland shot around 20 percent last season from 3-point land during conference play. He was 1-6 tonight from that distance. Inside the arc, he was 3-7. In other words, it was nice that Southerland was trying other things when his outside shot wasn’t falling.
Baye Keita: B
Keita showed some really nice hands inside, and picked up a couple of easy buckets. But it was Christmas’ night to man the middle, and Keita only got 13 minutes of burn.
Trevor Cooney: C+
Cooney got 10 minutes of playing time, mostly when the game was out of hand. 10-15 minutes seems to be the right amount of playing time for him during conference play until he really starts to heat up from downtown (where he was 1-3).
Jerami Grant: B
I love Grant’s hustle. He’s like a boundless ball of energy off the bench. In just 14 minutes, he picked up five rebounds and a Wow-Did-You-See-That-I-Need-To-Rewind-That-Again block off Wally Judge. But 1-4 from the free throw line? Someone has to teach him to shoot from there.