DePaul Blue Demons vs. #4 Syracuse Orange - Saturday, January 30th, 1:00 p.m. Central –Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
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This game stacks up to be DePaul's (8-12, 1-7) toughest in the season thus far. The Syracuse Orange (20-1, 7-1) come in ranked fourth in the nation and are a legitimate contender for the Final Four or even the national championship. They are ranked number one by realtimeRPI.com.
The Orange will present a challenge to DePaul on both offense and defense. Syracuse leads the nation in both assists (20.3 apg) and field goal percentage (53.4 percent). They also ranked fourth in steals at 11.2 thefts per game. Syracuse is also number five nationally in scoring margin, number seven in scoring, number nine in blocked shots and number 11 in defensive field goal percentage.
So to say that DePaul will have their hands full is a big understatement.
Balanced teams seem to always seem to present a problem for DePaul and the Orange have balanced scoring. Five players are currently averaging in double-figures.
Iowa State transfer Wes Johnson, is both a player of the year candidate and a newcomer of the year candidate in the Big East. Johnson, who is likely to be selected in the first round of the 2010 NBA draft, is averaging 17.1 points and nine rebounds per game.
Andy Rautins, the son of SU legend Leo Rautins, averages 10.6 ppg. Fellow Canadian Kris Joseph is chipping in with 10.2 ppg. Freshman Brandon Triche and Senior big man Arinze Onuaku are contributing at 10 points apiece.
Cuse is coming off a 73-56 drubbing of Georgetown on Monday night where they came back after trailing the Hoyas 14-0 to start the game. After the first three minutes, the Orange outscored Georgetown 34-15 for the rest of the half to take a 34-29 lead going into the break. Joseph and Rautins led Cuse with 15 points apiece, while Johnson contributed with 14.
The only blemish on Syracuse's record this season is a 82-72 home loss to Pittsburgh on January 2nd. It took a barrage of three point shots from Pitt to seal the win for the Panthers. Pitt hit 10 of 24 from behind the arc in that contest.
The bit of good news that the Blue Demons received this week was the return of Mac Koshwal and Michael Bizoukas to the team. Koshwal was far from 100 percent in his return against West Virginia on Tuesday night. He'll need to get in better condition to get back to where he was a few weeks ago.
Bizoukas brought a lot of energy to the court in his return. If he continues to play like that, don't be surprised if he cracks the starting lineup sometime in the near future. The Blue Demons could use Bizoukas' playmaking abilities against the famous Syracuse zone.
"Watching DePaul, I see that they've been playing very hard," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. "I was very impressed with the game they had against Marquette, who I think is a really, really good team. They played well against Notre Dame and West Virginia as well."
Boeheim has noticed a difference in this DePaul team since interim coach Tracy Webster took over the squad.
"They're playing much better than they did earlier in the year," Boeheim. "That's a tribute to their kids. They're rallying around their coach. It's impressive watching them play."
Former Blue Demon and current DePaul Director of Basketball Operations Tom Kleinschmidt will be inducted into the DePaul Athletics Hall of Fame this weekend.
Kleinschmidt he was the first player at DePaul to earn conference player of the year honors when he was named by the Great Midwest Conference in 1995. He finished his career as the only player in Blue Demon history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 300 assists, 100 steals and 100 three-point field goals.
An honorable mention All-American in 1995, Kleinschmidt was a three-time first team All-Great Midwest pick. He led the league in scoring as a senior and averaged over 20 points per game in both his junior (20.5 ppg) and senior (21.4 ppg) seasons. He is one of four Blue Demons to lead the team in scoring and assists in the same season and the only player to accomplish the feat twice.
The Last Time
On January 7th 2009 at the Carrier Dome, Andy Rautins scored 17 points and Paul Harris added 14 to lead six Syracuse players in double-figures as the 11th ranked Orange defeated DePaul 85-68.
Arinze Onuaku added 14 points and 12 rebounds, Eric Devendorf chipped in with 13 points, Jonny Flynn scored 12, and Rick Jackson had 11.
Four Blue Demons finished in double-figures. Sophomore Dar Tucker led all scorers with 18 points. Junior guard Will Walker contributed with 13, while Mac Koshwal scored 12, and Devin Hill 10.
# NAME POS. HT. WT. CL. HOMETOWN / HIGHSCHOOL
00 Rick Jackson F 6-9 240 Jr. Philadelphia, PA / Neumann-Goretti
1 Andy Rautins G 6-4 195 Sr. Jamesville, NY / Jamesville-DeWitt
2 Nick Resavy G 6-2 199 So. West Milford, N.J. / West Milford
3 Mookie Jones F 6-6 220 Fr. Peekskill, NY / Peekskill
4 Wesley Johnson F 6-7 205 Jr. Corsicana, Texas / Corsicana/Patterson School (NC)/Eldon Acad.
11 Scoop Jardine G 6-2 190 So. Philadelphia, PA / Neumann-Goretti
12 Matt Lyde-Cajuste F 6-4 205 Fr. Mt. Vernon, N.Y. / Iona Prep
13 Griffin Hoffmann G 6-0 173 Fr. New York, NY / York Prep
21 Arinze Onuaku F 6-9 261 Sr. Lanham, MD / Episcopal
24 Brandon Reese G 5-11 160 So. Davie, FL / Pine Crest School
25 Brandon Triche G 6-4 198 Fr. Jamesville, N.Y. / Jamesville-DeWitt
32 Kris Joseph F 6-7 207 So. Montreal, Quebec / Archbishop Carroll (D.C.)
33 DaShonte Riley F 7-0 233 Fr. Detroit, Mich. / Detroit County Day
34 Matt Tomaszewski F 6-8 232 Jr. Seabrook, N.H. / Holderness
43 James Southerland F 6-8 205 Fr. Bayside, N.Y. / Notre Dame Prep (Mass.)
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