Red Raiders Repelled!

The new look Orange recorded a convincing 87-59 over the visiting Colgate Red Raiders in their first game sans Devendorf. Donte Greene once again led all scorers, pouring in a new career high with 26 points. Colgate, which entered the game #4 in the nation in three point shooting percentage, was held to only 5 of 17 from beyond the arc.

Syracuse stormed out to an early 23-7 lead with freshman phenoms Jonny Flynn and Donte Greene punctuating the run with an open court dunk and a long three pointer, respectively. Greene went on to score 16 points before the end of the half and SU went into the break with a 40-25 lead.

Like last weekend's game against East Tennessee State, Syracuse focused on crushing the opponent, rather than allowing them to hang around as they did earlier in the year against teams like Siena and St. Joseph's. In the second half, Syracuse's biggest lead came at 76-47 when Donte Greene hit back to back three pointers. Boeheim closed out the last 8 minutes with walk-on Justin Thomas running the point and newly un-redshirted Sean Williams manning the middle.

The common theme throughout the game was that Syracuse completely dominated Colgate from an athletic standpoint. They posted a 45-29 rebound margin, forced 21 turnovers, and blocked 11 shots. SU's zone was very effective in limiting Colgate's open looks from the perimeter, holding them to just 5 of 17 from beyond the arc. Colgate entered the game shooting a collective 46% from beyond the arc.

Despite the strong defensive numbers, the big question is if the team can maintain this kind of focus (and more importantly effectiveness) into the Big East portion of the schedule. Devendorf's points will be harder to replace when it comes to conference play, so this team must continue to get better on the defensive end to be competitive.

On the offensive end, Syracuse finished the game shooting 54% from the field, but it wasn't all positives. After opening up a large second half lead, the team's play took on a freeform playground-like feel. The points kept pouring in, but the ‘Cuse also racked up boatloads of turnovers and play degenerated into an unstructured slop heap. In some ways, the team missed a perfect opportunity to work on situational offense. Considering the different rotations that Boeheim will have to use for the rest of the season, any extra time to work out offensive chemistry is precious.

Player Capsules:

Jonny Flynn – 14 pts, 5 ast, 6 to – While Flynn certainly had some nice moments tonight, he also made some really questionable plays. His insistence on trying to showcase the alley-oop resulted in several turnovers and it seemed at times that he was trying too much to make the amazing play rather than the correct one. While he has the physical talent to get away with this against the Colgates of the world, this kind of carelessness will not work in Big East play.

Scoop Jardine - 4 pts, 5 ast, 3 reb, 2 st, 4 to – Jardine played a career high 29 minutes as Boeheim attempts to tweak the lineup to find the right combinations now that Devendorf is out for the remainder of the season. Scoop was active and mobile at the top of the zone and had a few steals and several tipped passes. He also showed that he could break down the defense and find the open man after getting into the paint, but it seemed as if he countered every good play with a poor one. Consistency is the biggest issue, but more minutes should help him develop in this regards.

Paul Harris - 13 pts, 7 reb, 2 ast, 1 bs – Do-it-all Paul's debut in the backcourt will draw mixed reviews. His statline looks good, but most of his scoring plays came from the forward position, as he scored in transition or near the basket after offensive rebounds. His perimeter shooting, which has been better this year than last, took a step back today as he missed all of his outside shots. On the defensive end, Paul still gets in trouble when he tries to jump the passing lane and leaves open seams in the zone. Boeheim has his hands full trying to instill more discipline in Paul. If he can ever get past the point of trying to do everything at once, he could be scary.

Donte Greene - 26 pts, 5 reb, 2 bs – Yet another great game shooting the ball from Greene. It is to the point where he is able to clearly dominate overmatched teams, now he has to continue to extend this dominance into the Big East. The biggest negative I can see is that his shot selection is sometimes questionable. If he can cut down on the three-point attempts that come 5 seconds into a possession, he will become even more deadly.

Arinze Onuaku - 17 pts, 12 reb, 1 bs – Onuaku was fresh throughout the game, since he only played 22 minutes. He looks so much more mobile and plays so much more effectively when he's fresh. Unfortunately, his free throw shooting didn't improve with more rest, as he hit on only 3 of 8 attempts, including an embarrassing airball that traveled maybe 13 feet. His ability to close out a fastbreak as the trailer was in full display tonight. It's too early to tell if he will be able to continue this level of play against Big East competition, but his start to the 2007-08 season greatly exceeds most fans' expectations.

Rick Jackson - 4 pts, 4 reb, 4 ast, 3 bs – I was surprised that Rick didn't get the start tonight. Although he didn't show his usual soft touch near the basket, he did do a lot of really nice things tonight, most notably in terms of passing the ball. At the end of the game he found Sean Williams for two uncontested dunks and he also hit Donte Greene with a nice high-low entry pass. This type of unselfishness bodes well for his future development.

Kristof Ongenaet - 7 pts, 6 reb, 2 bs, 2 st – The junior college import definitely had a few nice moments today, but it took him quite awhile to get comfortable on the court. It is clear that he can help this team out with his hustle and determination, but he's not going to be much of a scorer. Tonight he had a nice putback where he streaked in from the wing and tapped in a missed shot and he also connected on a corner three point shot. With Devendorf's injury, Kristof becomes much more important than originally thought.

Sean Williams - 4 pts, 2 reb, 2 bs – Orange fans got their first look at the gigantic Williams over the game's last 8 minutes. Sean looked completely lost on the defensive end for most of that time, but still managed to grab a couple boards and block a few shots, mostly because he has such freakishly long arms and also showed the ability to react rather quickly. It seems like he's only going to play in emergency situations, but he could turn into a true steal if he develops down the road. The second of his two dunks was particularly impressive, as he caught a pass from Jackson under the basket, pivoted, and twisted 90 degrees in mid air to make the emphatic slam. It looks like he can get off the floor well in addition to being tall and possessing ungodly long arms.

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