A quick take on Syracuse’s 89-74 win over Fordham to improve to 2-0 on the season:
WHAT HAPPENED: CJ Fair scored seven of Syracuse’s first 12 points as the Orange took a double-digit lead just 4:28 into the first half. Another 10-0 run midway through the first half put the Orange in complete control as they took a 26-8 lead with 6:50 left, a lead that would balloon to 46-21 at the break. Fordham discovered its shooting touch late in the second half, using a late 8-2 run to pull to within 12 points with just over three minutes left. But a pair of Rakeem Christmas free throws followed by a CJ Fair layup and a foul in transition put the game out of reach.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse looked sluggish in its opening half against Cornell on Friday, as the Orange fell behind by as many as 14 points behind a barrage of 3s from the Big Red. There would be no such issues out of the gate against Fordham as the Orange defense stifled and frustrated the Rams. Coming off a 28-point debut against St. Francis, freshman Jon Severe was identified early by the 2-3 zone, and had more turnovers (4) than points (2) in the first half, going 0-3 from downtown before finding his shooting touch in the second half with the game largely out of reach (he would finish with 19). Still, the Rams hung around much longer than they should have, much to the chagrin of head coach Jim Boeheim and the coaching staff.
HERO: Jerami Grant, after missing the season opener with an eligibility issue, provided the spark off the bench that was largely missing against Cornell, finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds. CJ Fair scored a career high 26 points to go along with five rebounds. For the Rams, Branden Frazier led all scorers with 33 points, hitting 4-6 from downtown.
ZERO: SU’s second half performance left a lot to be desired. Normally in a early-season game against a cupcake opponent, Boeheim can empty his bench and put the walk-ons in the final minutes. But Boeheim kept all of his starters in until the final buzzer, sending a message that the second-half malaise will not be tolerated. Syracuse saw its 25-point halftime lead slashed in half late in the second half, mostly due to a lackadaisical effort on defense that rested too much on its first half laurels.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse will host long-time rival Colgate on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. TV: ACC Regional Sports Network.