The Syracuse Orange men's basketball team has now won 22-consecutive games inside the Carrier Dome, dating back to the 2010-11 season after defeating the Princeton Tigers.
Syracuse never trailed Princeton, getting on the board first off of a made jumper by freshman center DaJuan Coleman.
Despite shaving the Orange lead down to six points in the second half, the Tigers could not claw their way to an advantage, with Syracuse winning by a 20-point margin, 73-53.
The guards. Sophomore Michael Carter-Williams followed his 11-assist outing against Wagner with nine helpers for his teammates in the Orange win over Princeton, giving him 20 assists in two games. He continues to provide opportunities for his teammates in transition, showing unselfish play by dishing the ball out and trusting others to finish, rather than holding onto the ball every time.
"When it got to six, I thought Michael [Carter-Williams] made a couple really good plays on the offensive end," Boeheim stated. Carter-Williams sent the ball inside to junior center Baye Keita for two, then later on found senior forward James Southerland lined up outside the arc for three.
Carter-Williams also got involved in history when his pass late in the second half, which he sent from his right hand over his head to Southerland on his left, resulted in the dunk and eventual three-point play that gave Southerland his highest single-game point total of his career.
"I thought Michael [Carter-Williams] did a really good job of getting the ball to the right people in the right situations," Boeheim expressed.
Contrastly, senior Brandon Triche continued to have trouble keeping possession, turning the ball over five times. In Syracuse's three games this season, Triche has 12 turnovers. He also failed to provide aid through his shot, making only three of his 11 attempts, missing all three of his attempts from beyond the arc. Overall rebounding was a non-factor from Triche, too, as he recorded one rebound total for the game.
Triche did, however, find his teammates for three assists on the offensive end and despite being quiet on the defensive boards, Triche recorded three steals.
When the team needed help most as Princeton condensed their deficit to six, Triche assisted sophomore forward/center Rakeem Christmas on a dunk and made a layup to get Syracuse back to a double-digit lead.
Redshirt sophomore Trevor Cooney, who connected from deep, played strong inside, and attained six steals in his first game within the Carrier Dome, was unable to get going in this match, missing all four of his shots, three from deep.
The forwards. Southerland had a positive presence from the beginning; he had 11 points in the first half to lead all members of the Orange, including every Syracuse starter.
"We weren't sharp offensively, as sharp as we'd like to be," Boeheim shared. "But James bailed us out early, made a couple big shots in the first half to get us some distance." Southerland's three made three-pointers and dunk added together to be his 11 points. At the half, the Orange led the Tigers by that exact number.
In the second half, Southerland did not slow down, equaling his point output of the first half to end the game with 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including four made shots from long range in six tries. Southerland was also perfect from the line, going 4-for-4.
His contribution to Syracuse did not just stop with putting the ball in the basket. Southerland had two rebounds on both the offensive and defensive sides, an assist, a block, and five steals, taking the ball from a very successful shooting Princeton squad.
Fellow forward, junior C.J. Fair, had a better outing than in the home-opener, going from a 1-for-5 shooting performance to connecting on four of eight attempts versus the Tigers. Fair equaled his two steals and four defensive rebounds from the previous game, while adding two rebounds on the offensive glass. He subtracted a turnover from his total against Wagner, recording two versus Princeton, and stayed strong at the line, making four of his five attempts.
Freshman forward Jerami Grant played the least of the nine players typically in action in the early part of this season. He missed the one shot he took, remaining in the background of this match-up.
Christmas began the game 3-for-3 with a block. He would finish making two of his next three attempts to conclude with five of his six attempts dropping through the cylinder. Most of his play was close to the rim, but Christmas' first make came off of a jumper, showing that he can connect away from the cylinder.
On the defensive end, he failed to gain even one rebound, but did negate two of the Tigers' attempts with blocks.
At center. Junior Baye Keita, coming off of a game where he scored 15 points in 13 minutes, had a more quiet offensive showing, scoring two points in 14 minutes. But his overall presence on the court did not go unnoticed, including by his coach. "Baye [Keita] made a big block and we got a little run and got back in control," said Boeheim, of the block that resulted in a Southerland layup, giving the Orange their first points in more than three minutes.
Starting at the position, Coleman more than doubled his point total from the Wagner contest, ending with seven against Princeton. Being more successful with his jump shot helped, going 2-for-4 in the game.
Coleman also turned around his turnover issue from the previous match, not giving the ball away once after losing possession for the Orange five times against the Seahawks.
In keeping possession, Coleman also took it away, recording three steals in the game and a block, while grabbing four defensive rebounds.
"I thought DaJuan [Coleman] was good," Boeheim stated. "He got good rebound position out there and made good plays." Coleman added two offensive boards to his four on defense.
The only area where Coleman struggled against Princeton was at the free-throw line, but Boeheim remained in his corner. "His foul shots are good," said Boeheim. "He's been shooting the ball well…just a little bit too strong. It's gonna take some time, but he'll get there."
Overall on offense. Syracuse connected on 13 of their 29 attempts in the first half, dropping the ball in the net almost 45% of the time. Their average from distance was almost exact to their overall shooting percentage in the first half, making a little more than 44% (4-for-9) of their attempts from beyond the arc.
In the second half, the Orange struggled from distance, making one of their seven tries (14.3%), but performed better overall, elevating from 44.8% to 50% shooting, connecting on 14 of their 28 attempts in the latter half.
Overall, Syracuse made 31.3% of their shots from long range (5-for-16) and 47.4% of their attempts from the field in general (27-for-57).
At the charity stripe, the Orange went 6-for-8 in the first half and 8-for-12 in the closing half, dropping from 75% to 66.7%, ending with 70% of their freebies entering the cylinder.
Syracuse outrebounded Princeton on the offensive end 16 to seven, but fell one shy of the Tigers in assists, registering 14 to Princeton's 15.
Overall on defense. The Princeton Tigers were built to be successful against the Orange with their sharp-shooting. The 2-3 zone is not meant to defend well against teams that shoot well from beyond the arc. Princeton took advantage, making five of their first 10 attempts going into the half and eight of 18 overall to end the match with a little more than 44% of their long balls entering the net.
Despite their effective shooting from deep, the Orange were able to keep separation to Boeheim's liking. "I thought defensively we played very well," Boeheim expressed. "Princeton is a difficult team to play. They're very patient. They move the ball. They've got good ball-handlers, good shooters. They shot well. They made some real good shots to keep in the game."
But, the Orange prevented other shots, helping to create 24 turnovers by the Tigers, with 19 steals to Princeton's nine. "You force Princeton into 24 turnovers, they probably won't have 24 turnovers in two games this year the rest of the year," Boeheim stated of his team's defensive performance.
"They're a very good team and this was a good win," Boeheim remarked. "They're gonna be in the tournament. They'll probably win the Ivy League."