The Syracuse Orange men's basketball team is coming off of head coach Jim Boeheim's 900th win. But what appeared to be a match leaning heavily in their favor turned into a test in the closing minutes.
Down by as many as 22, the University of Detroit Mercy Titans were allowed inside, and allowed back in the game, cutting Syracuse's lead to as little as three points on more than one occasion with less than a minute to play.
Sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams' free throw shooting helped preserve the Orange lead and turn it into a win. Carter-Williams connected on five of his six opportunities at the charity stripe within the final 30 seconds and made 9-of-10 overall.
1. Their top scorer: Senior guard Khalif Wyatt
Wyatt comes into the game averaging 14.5 points per game, playing an average of about 30 of the 40 total minutes per match.
In seven of Temple's 10 games, he has been on the floor for more than 30 minutes, attaining double-figures in all but two of Temple's 10 games.
Most of Wyatt's points come from inside the arc, making only 14 of his 54 attempts from three-point range.
2. Their biggest overall contributor: Senior guard/forward Scootie Randall
Randall has led the Owls in various categories throughout the season. Within 10 games, he has spent time atop the team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals.
He averages the second-most points per game behind only Wyatt with 13.7.
On the boards, Randall grabs the most for the Owls with 7.5 per match.
As a team, Temple is averaging about 35 rebounds per game.
They have outrebounded their opponents as many times as their opponents have outrebounded them, with five games in their favor and the other five behind their adversary.
With Syracuse struggling to keep Canisius out of the paint in the first half of their match and then allowing Detroit inside in the following game, rebounds will be a key component of securing a victory.
4. From long range:
The Owls, cumulatively, are not shooting much better from three-point range than the aforementioned Wyatt, making under 30% of their tries.
Temple has made under 30% of their attempts in half of their matches this season, connecting on less than 20% in two of those games.
Despite not making them, they love to take them, trying at least 20 attempts from distance in seven of their 10 matches.
Beating the 2-3 zone includes having a strong presence from beyond the arc, something the Owls have not illustrated so far this season.
5. Winning the turnover battle:
The Temple Owls have forced more turnovers than they have had in nine of their 10 games.
In four of their matches, Temple has kept their turnovers below double-digits, with less than 10 in each of those games.
Despite being 10-0, Syracuse cannot overlook the fact that they have had 18 or more turnovers in half of their games, especially when playing the Owls, who have been successful making their opponents lose possession more than they give it up themselves.