A quick take on Syracuse’s 70-37 win over Loyola (Md.) on Tuesday evening at the Carrier Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse held Loyola scoreless for the first 10:04 of the game, but took just a 28-16 lead into halftime. It was a different story in the second half, as SU overwhelmed Loyola, opening on a 14-1 run to cruise to a commanding, though relatively unsatisfying, win. It wasn’t so much as Syracuse winning the game as much as the Greyhounds being unable to score. Loyola shot just 19 percent from the field and committed 19 turnovers.
ANALYSIS: Even this early in the season, we know what we’re getting with this team. The Orange isn’t going to dominate anyone with its offense, especially in its half-court set. Instead, Syracuse will need to rely on a stingy defense and easy baskets in transition to win games. We also know that outside shooting will be a problem all season. The Orange made just 2 of 12 shots from beyond the arc (they had come in shooting just 24.9 percent). Without Tyler Roberson, who sat out with an abdominal injury, BJ Johnson started and made a decent pitch for more minutes, scoring six points, but more importantly, gobbling up nine rebounds.
HERO: Senior Rakeem Christmas struggled at times from the field, and the entire game at the free throw line (4-9), but still finished with a team-high 18 points, nine rebounds and six blocks. Still, Christmas also picked up four fouls, which is something he’ll need to avoid as the season goes on. Chris McCullough was an efficient 6-7 from the field for 17 points and he also added seven rebounds.
ZERO: Horrible. Putrid. Dreadful. Terrible. Pick your negative adjective, and all of them could be used to describe the Loyola offense. 19 percent shooting from the field. 6-27 from 3. 10-19 from the line. 5 assists. 19 turnovers. Ouch. Guard Andre Walker led the charge, with 0-8 shooting from the field.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse is back in action on Friday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. against Holy Cross.