Freshmen make mark

Nike Elite guard Lionel Armstead slowly rocked the ball back and forth, daring Syracuse forward Demteris Nichols to make a move. Gladly obliging, Nichols took a swipe at the ball, just as Armstead made his move.

Attempting to back pedal, Nichols found himself feeling like a dancer with one too many left feet, as he fell to the floor as Armstead drove by.

The mistakes were plenty for the Syracuse freshmen in a 94-82 victory over the Nike Elite, but at times, the freshmen showed glimpses of the greatness they could achieve in time.

With 14:30 in the first half, Nichols took his first shot of the game – a three pointer from the top of the key –drawing nothing but air. The ensuing play, freshmen forward Terrence Roberts resembled more of a linebacker than a power forward, nearly knocking Billy Edelin over on a fast break.

But once the nerves calmed down, the Orangemen newcomers finally showed what they were capable of. Terrance Roberts closed the first half with an emphatic slam to give Syracuse a 48-33 lead, running back on defense with his fist beating against his chest, accompanied by a Herculean roar. Roberts finished with 12 points and three rebounds in 18 minutes.

"Dunking is a key part of my game," Roberts said. "I love to get in and throw one down."

With 10:27 in the second half, Nichols took a similar 3-pointer from a place near where he air balled his first shot – the shot swished the net.

"I was very nervous when I first started, but I think when I hit my first shot I got comfortable," said Nichols, who finished with seven points and six rebounds in 21 minutes. "Overall I played really well. I played good defense. I rebounded really well and I made a couple of shots."

With freshman guard Louis McCroskey out indefinitely due to academic reasons, the Orangemen only have three guards – Josh Pace, Gerry McNamara and Billy Edelin. Nichols – listed at 6-foot-8, but actually closer to 6-foot-6 –figures to get more time at shooting guard.

"We tried Demetris a little at the two spot tonight and I think that's something we'll explore over the course of the year," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "He's not afraid. He steps up. He took some threes, made a couple of jumpers and had some good looks. Then he got back inside and helped us on the boards."

Center Darryl Watkins played the least of the three freshmen, logging just 10 minutes. He grabbed three rebounds and had four points – a bucket coming on a nice feet from Edelin, which Watkins calmly put through for his first college points.

"(The freshmen) were nervous, but they stepped up and played pretty well," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "This was a good initial outing for them."

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