SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Syracuse started the game on a 12-2 run, and extended their lead with a 10-0 run later in the first half to build a big cushion. The Orange would have to hold on as the Fordham Rams made a run by making 9 of 15 second half threes to make things interesting.
But the big advantage Syracuse had proved to be too much as the Orange pulled out an 89-74 win inside the Carrier Dome on Tuesday to improve to 2-0 on the young season.
C.J. Fair came out hot, hitting shots from all over the court on his way to a career high 26-points. He led an offensive attack that was more balanced for the ninth ranked Orange, who received double digit scoring performances from DaJuan Coleman, Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant in addition to their senior leader.
The two big first half runs that proved to be the difference were sparked by an aggressive Orange defense that forced 19 turnovers and held the Rams to under 29% shooting in the half. Then Syracuse relaxed, and allowed a lot of open looks for a good shooting Fordham squad.
"We did a better job getting out on their shooters," head coach Jim Boeheim said of their first half performance. "Really the only guy that got in the lane in the first half was (Branden) Frazier. The other guys didn't get in the lane. In the second half, anybody that wanted to got in the lane. That was disappointing but the first half was very well played."
Brendan Frazier and Jon Severe were the two giving Syracuse the most trouble. The two combined for 52 points including 8-16 from beyond the arc. With the Orange lead trimmed to 17 with a little over six minutes remaining, Boeheim inserted many of his regulars to get a spark on both ends of the floor.
The new rules were in full effect as 55 combined fouls were called that led to 72 total free throws attempted. It slowed the game down and aided the Rams cause in the second half.
When the Rams cut the lead to 12 on a pair of Ryan Rhoomes' free throws, Syracuse went on a quick 7-0 run to put the game out of reach. Fair led the charge with five of those seven points.
The first half was as expected for a more talented Orange squad. They were aggressive on defense, rotating in the zone well and using their length to frustrate Fordham all over the floor. Syracuse forced 12 first half turnovers and shot over 53% from the field to take a 25-point lead into intermission.
Jerami Grant was a key to the first half dominance, scoring 11 of his career high 16 in the opening frame. He added another career high with 10 rebounds to go along with three steals and a block. Grant had missed the season opener and was focused right from the start. He hit jumpers, filled the lane, attacked the glass, and was disruptive on the back line of the zone.
Ennis was more aggressive offensively, scoring on an attacking layup to start the game, He finished with 16 points and five assists on 4-8 shooting. The true freshman was a steady 8-10 from the charity stripe.
DaJuan Coleman showed signs of promise, hitting the glass hard as he also picked up 10 boards. He was aggressive in the post, and was able to keep the ball high, something he says he continues to work on to round out his game.
Syracuse welcomes Colgate into the Carrier Dome when they next take the hardwood on Saturday, November 16th at 4:30pm.