A quick take on Syracuse’s dominant 105-57 win against Eastern Michigan Monday night at the Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: In welcoming old friend Rob Murphy back to campus, the one time Jim Boeheim assistant (2004-11), who is amazingly now in his sixth year guiding the EMU program, saw the Orange offense blitz from the opening tip in the bounce back victory. The ‘Cuse (7-4) shot nearly 60% overall in the first half scoring 52 points, and led by over 40 points on several occasions in the second half, and demonstrated offensive balance – all eight Orange scholarship players scored in double figures led by freshman Tyus Battle’s 18 points.
ANALYSIS: With Murphy’s signature defense the 2-3 zone he learned under Boeheim, the SU offense took full advantage against the smaller and not-as-quick Eagles (6-5). Between high-low passes resulting in easy baskets underneath by Dejaun Coleman, Tyler Lydon and Taurean Thompson (a combined 35 points), or three-pointers from Andrew White III, John Gillion and Battle (11 combined baskets from beyond the arc), the Orange cruised offensively for nearly the full 40 minutes. The SU defense was just as active helping to cause 20 Eagles turnovers.
HERO: Freshman big man Thompson shined early to help set up the blow out victory. He had nine points in 11 first half minutes (11 overall), including a three-pointer, and five rebounds and five assists, including a no-look beauty to Lydon for an easy layup on a high-low sequence. Yes, there were a few turnovers and some other sloppy play as well, but Thompson continues to emerge in the pre-conference portion of the schedule. Gillon and Frank Howard combined for 20 assists.
ZERO: Lydon came down awkwardly on his right foot with just over four minutes to play in the first half, and at the time he was the game’s leading scorer (12) and rebounder (6). The injury was reported to be a strained right Achilles, and he was held out of the second half as a precaution with the game one-sided.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse has one more home tune up before Christmas against another former longtime Big East rival, St. John’s, on Wednesday night Dec. 21. The Orange will be out for revenge following last year’s stinker at Madison Square Garden in a 12 point loss to SJU, one of only eight victories the Red Storm recorded last season. In year two under Chris Mullin St. John’s is 5-7, including losses to Delaware State and LIU-Brooklyn. Game Time: 7:00 p.m. ET / TV: ACC RSNs.