Monday night, Syracuse played like a team with a lot of frustrations that needed to be taken out. Eastern Michigan was the unlucky opponent who happened to be listed next on the schedule, as the Orange pasted former assistant coach Rob Murphy’s team at the Carrier Dome, 105-57.
SU (7-4) played like a well-oiled team on offense, piling up 34 assists on their 37 field goals and shooting 58.7 percent from the field, including a 53.6 percent proficiency mark from three-point range. Unsurprisingly, eight different Syracuse players finished with double digits in the points column of the box score.
The Orange defense was almost as good, permitting the Eagles (6-5) to make under 35 percent of their field goal attempts. SU dominated several other columns of the stat sheet, forcing 20 turnovers, finishing with a 45-33 rebounding advantage, and ending the game with a 22-point advantage in the paint.
The lone bad part of the night for Syracuse was Tyler Lydon leaving the game with a little over four minutes left in the first half with a strained right Achilles, but was held out of the game for precautionary reasons.
After each team scored in the opening minutes, the Orange set about ending the competitive part of the game as quickly as possible, going on a 20-4 run. Andrew White III and Tyler Lydon started the onslaught with three-pointers, then Frank Howard drove in from the left wing for an emphatic one-handed dunk to make it eight straight points.
After an EMU bucket, Taurean Thompson was almost completely responsible for the game’s next seven points. First, he finished a drive with his right hand for a bucket, then snapped a bounce pass to a cutting Lydon for a two-handed dunk. Thompson then swished a three from the right corner to make it 17-4 in favor of SU.
Thompson continued his strong offensive play, offsetting an Eastern Michigan score with a left-handed bucket, then finding Howard on the left wing for a triple and a 22-6 Syracuse lead with over 11 minutes left in the opening half.
Less than six minutes later, the Orange effectively ended the game by rolling up 12 unanswered points. Tyus Battle began the run by snapping the twine on a three from the right corner, then Lydon swished a three of his own and added a pair of foul shots to push the lead to 22 points.
On the ensuing defensive possession, Lydon came down with a rebound and immediately called time out after injuring himself. Lydon went gingerly to the locker room, but his teammates did not slow down, as White III hit a long two-pointer and Thompson zipped a pass to Tyler Roberson for a two-handed dunk while being fouled. Roberson could not convert the three-point play, but SU still owned a 45-19 lead with less than two minutes left in the opening half.
Syracuse pushed their lead to 28 at half, getting a buzzer-beating three from Battle and a two-handed dunk from Coleman in the final 35 seconds for a 52-24 lead.
White II and John Gillon each struck from long range in the opening 40 seconds after halftime, triggering a 13-4 Orange run. By the time Gillon finished the burst with a steal and breakaway lay-up, SU had a 37-point lead and over 15 minutes remained.
Just over two minutes later, White III banged in a three-pointer from the top of the key to stretch the lead to 40 points. Not much more than a minute after that, Howard found him on the right wing for a three to beat the shot clock and take a 77-35 Syracuse lead.
In the final minutes, the Orange used a stretch of seven straight points to push the margin out to 48, its largest lead of the night.
Tyus Battle led the way with 18 points off the bench, while John Gillon and Andrew White III each had 14 points, the former also adding nine assists and the latter draining four threes. Tyler Lydon and DaJuan Coleman each scored a dozen points while Taurean Thompson complemented his 11 points with three blocks. Frank Howard and Tyler Roberson each had ten points with Howard handing out 11 assists and Roberson grabbing a team-high eight boards.
The Orange face a quick turnaround, as they welcome old friend St. John’s to the Carrier Dome on Wednesday night for a matchup of old Big East rivals.
The Red Storm (5-7), who have lost their last two contests, are led by Marcus LoVett and Shamorie Ponds, who average 17.8 and 16.9 points per game, respectively. LoVett and Ponds lead a group that will challenge the 2-3 zone of the Orange, as St. John’s shoots just under 41 percent from three-point range and attempts over 25 shots from behind the arc per game.
The action will get underway at 7:00pm Eastern and will be televised regionally, as well as be available online at ESPN3.com.