Freshmen Duo Shine Again

Like Moses, Carmelo Anthony continues to attempt to lead the Orangemen basketball team to the promised land. However, Anthony had some disciples support that effort Saturday in the Carrier Dome to forge past Valparaiso 81-66.

If Anthony had to carry two templates with his ten commandments of SU basketball, the first two commandments would be: score 20+ points and grab 10+ rebounds every game. Saturday he poured in 28 points, 18 in the second half and 11 in the last four and a half minutes, and snatched 10 rebounds. Combined with his 27 and 11 performance in his debut against Memphis, Anthony earned his first (of what could be many) Big East Conference Freshman of the Week honor.

However, if Anthony were to inscribe the third commandment on his template, it would be to play defense, something Syracuse started off with very sluggishly. Valparaiso led by as many as ten points in the first half, hitting open shots and benefiting from offensive rebounds and put-backs.

The fourth commandment: get everybody involved. The Orangemen accomplished that on Saturday. In addition to "St. Anthony," freshman point guard Gerry McNamara played Robin to Anthony's Batman, scoring 18 points and dishing out five assists. Hakim Warrick recorded a double-double, with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Kueth Duany also chipped in with 14 points.

Commandment #5: Center productivity. After the abysmal opener for centers Craig Forth and Jeremy McNeil, the Orangemen had to see an improvement in these two, right? Maybe about as much improvement going from Roseanne Barr to Anna Nicole Smith. Combined, the two-headed matador allowed several shots and rebounds down low, and tallied seven points and seven rebounds in 33 minutes. Ugh.

Starting the second template: thou must make your free throws. Syracuse did this better than in the opener, shooting 24-35, including Anthony's 9-11 after missing four clutch free throws down the stretch against Memphis.

The seventh commandment: mount a second half surge. Syracuse adhered very well to this commandment, putting away the Crusaders with eleven unanswered points with just under six minutes left.

The eighth commandment, something every Syracuse team seems to effortlessly follow: get a rise out of Coach Jim Boeheim. Only Jimmy B. can make the Picasso-like facial expressions at his players and the officials, all while raising his arms in the air as if to say, "I've been here for 26 years. When am I ever gonna catch a break?" Nobody does it better.

Commandment #9: always look stylish while out on the court. Anthony has his backwards headband and pristinely fixed socks halfway up his shin. Warrick also sports the headband and the orange knee brace. And many of the Orangemen have slapped some ratty-tat-tattoos on their arms, muscular or not. As the great Andre Agassi once said: "Image is everything." What a rebel.

The tenth commandment etched in stone for SU basketball: win, win, win.

They accomplished that feat on Saturday, with hopes that Anthony & Company part the Red Sea leading to the Big Dance.

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