SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- With all eyes on the debut of Syracuse’s freshmen sensations Chris McCullough and Kaleb Joseph, little-used sophomore guard Ron Patterson stole the show in the Orange’s 76-68 exhibition win over Carleton, Sunday.
After seeing just six minutes of playing time and knocking down one 3-pointer in the first half against the Ravens, Patterson erupted for 12 points in the second half to help lead the Orange back from its 9-point deficit at halftime.
Pairing his hot shooting from beyond the arc with active, energetic defense, Patterson ignited the Orange’s run in the second half. Picking the pocket of Carleton’s Carter Wood, Patterson raced down the court to draw the foul at the 17:06 mark before knocking down three 3-pointers in a three minute span. From there, the Orange seemed to settle down at both ends of the floor.
“I thought Ronnie was a big factor coming off the bench,” head coach Jim Boeheim said. “He was a huge key…got some good looks and was able to knock them down. Ronnie, about two days a week, makes every shot. Today was one of those days.”
As Patterson heated up in the second half, it provided SU faithful with a reason to forget a lackluster first half that saw the Orange shoot just 38.5 percent from the floor, compared to Carleton’s 53.6 percent. Featuring shooters spread out across the arc, the Ravens knocked down five 3-pointers in the first half, led by Victor Raso, who connected on 3-of-4 from deep.
Struggles were early and often at both floor for the Orange, who had to break in three new starters against the Ravens. Junior guard Trevor Cooney appeared hesitant from the floor, often passing up opportunities to drive, according to Boeheim.
Along with Patterson, senior center Rakeem Christmas stepped up in the second half providing the Orange with a physical inside game that has been lacking in previous years.
In foul trouble with three personals, Christmas showed poise and determination at both ends, namely on offense. Down the stretch, Christmas went 6-of-9 from the floor and made 1-of-3 free throws to finish with 13 points and 3 boards.
Add in the stellar play by both McCullough and Joseph and things are looking up for Syracuse in the early going.
“I was pleased with the two freshmen,” Boeheim said, noting that Joseph was one of Syracuse’s best players tonight. “They did everything we could ask for tonight, but they’ll need to get better defensively. Freshmen mistakes; those things happen early on.”
For Carleton, Phillip and Thomas Scrubb combined for 35 points and 17 rebounds. Jokingly, Boeheim said that he’ll wait and see if the Scrubb brothers are gone next season before scheduling the Ravens again.
Jim Boeheim Post-Game Press Conference: