Some lead with gaudy point totals.
Others do it with motivational speeches.
Big men do it with defensive pride.
Kris Joseph does it with all of the above.
Coach Jim Boeheim knows Joseph isn't Carmelo Anthony, but he always refers to the senior first when asked about anything from a leadership, work ethic or captain's-like standpoint. On Saturday against Marquette, in a game in which No. 1 SU was looking to avenge a pair of losses including an early exit in the NCAA Tournament, Joseph answered any challenge the Golden Eagles presented.
Early in the second half, he did it with a dagger-like three-pointer.
Later on, a thunderous dunk sparked the momentum SU's way.
However, the final blow to Marquette was on a steal after Darius Johnson-Odom drove to the lane to try and exploit the Orange once again in the rally attempt. The result was a quick outlet pass that led to an easy transition bucket. The Golden Eagles never got closer in the final minutes .
After the game, the media hovered around Joseph's locker in the corner of the room as usual, and it found out that Joseph and the Orange expected a big Marquette comeback – because the senior let them know it in order to help keep the composure after leading by as much as 23 in the first half.
"I told the team – we were up 10 at one point I remember vividly – ‘we're up and we're at home, let's just keep our composure,'" Joseph said. "They made a little run, which was expected.
"We just had to hold our heads and attack."
Joseph attacked on both ends, finishing the game with 17 points, including 4-4 from long range. He added four assists, four rebounds and three steals in the win.
Just another day at the office. Joseph was there to bail the team out in big-time moments, though he has the help of the deepest team in the country. Still, his job went from defensive to offensive to vocal – then rotated throughout the win.
"(I) Just told them that they (Marquette) was going to make a run," Joseph added. "I remember in the first half, that (MU's Jae Crowder) said that ‘You know we're gonna come back in the second half."
The Golden Eagles did, but the Orange – led by Joseph's words - never panicked.
So Syracuse won again, extending its early-season win streak to 17 games. Joseph led a deep and talented team to another win – by any means necessary.
But as Coach Boeheim alluded to, he's no Carmelo Anthony.
Perhaps this team needs a Kris Joseph to share the same fate as Anthony's 2003 bunch – a National Championship.