The Orange missed six of its first seven shots to open the game which allowed the Golden Griffins to grab an early 8-2 lead. The two teams exchanged baskets throughout much of the first half. But then Syracuse finally put a run together with just under five minutes left.
With the score knotted at 31, guard Andy Rautins drained a three-pointer which sparked an 11-3 run to end the first half. Jonny Flynn finished a three-point play the old fashioned way and Arinze Onuaku capped off the run with a one-handed rim rocker to give the ‘Cuse a 43-34 lead at the break.
Neither team shot well in the first half (38.7 percent for both squads), but the difference was SU's free throw shooting. Yes, the Orange went 13-of-16 from the charity strip while the Golden Griffins only managed to hit three of their eight attempts.
That push at the end of the first half carried over into the second as the Orange went on a quick 7-0 run to increase its advantage to sixteen. Rick Jackson surprisingly started in place of Kristof Ongenaet to begin the second half. Head coach Jim Boeheim decided to put Jackson in for Ongenaet to give the Orange a boost on the boards. But Jackson also provided a lift on the offensive end.
The sophomore big man dropped in ten points in the second stanza and really showed what he can do when given minutes to play. He doesn't have a whole lot of range in his offensive game, but he hits the glass and can finish around the rim. It gives Boeheim many more options with his lineup. This will come in handy against bigger and more physical teams that SU will see plenty of in the Big East.
Syracuse was never challenged at all in the second half and cruised the rest of the way to a 22 point victory over Canisius. The win gives the ‘Cuse ten on the year heading into its primetime matchup with Memphis (Saturday, 6PM, ESPN).
Some other observations from Syracuse's 82-60 win over Canisius:
· 1. The Orange came out a little sluggish again, but really picked up its play during the last few minutes of the half. When this team makes smart decisions in the open floor, it can beat anyone in the country. But SU hasn't been doing that as well as it could.
· 2. Hello, Rick Jackson! The sophomore had a career-high 14 points to lead the Orange and pulled down eight rebounds in just 21 minutes. Playing him with Onuaku could really help SU on the inside, especially on the boards, which has been a problem spot for them once again.
· 3. Freshman Mookie Jones gave SU a spark off the bench when it started out slow. He came in and scored five points and finished the game with eight. Syracuse's bench outscored Canisius' 32-11. That did not happen many times last year.
· 4. During the second half, Flynn pulled up lame while running back on defense. Cameras showed him grabbing at his upper right leg, possibly his quad. After the game, Boeheim said Flynn should be good to go on Saturday.
· 5. Five players scored in double-figures for the Orange, including Paul Harris who recorded his second straight double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
· 6. The win was the 781st of Boeheim's career and gives him sole possession of ninth place on the all-time wins list in Division 1 history.
· 7. Eric Devendorf formally filed an appeal of his suspension by the university's judicial board. The redshirt junior will be allowed to play throughout the appeals process.