Syracuse gets a tough game from Coppin State, but Andy Rautins' nine three-pointers spark the Orange to an 82-71 victory Monday night at the Carrier Dome.
It was a cold one outside and the Orange faithful had to brave the snowy elements to get to the Dome, but it was worth the drudge through the slush to see Rautins put on a shooting clinic.
He didn't take long to heat up either. It took all of 36 seconds for the former Jamesville-DeWitt star to drain his first shot from beyond the arc. SU would build a ten point lead about seven minutes into the game. But instead of extending that advantage, the Orange began to play sloppy basketball.
A few turnovers and some missed shots by the Orange allowed the Eagles to climb back into the game. With just over six minutes remaining in the half, Coppin St. trailed by a score of 28-26. That's when Rautins drained a shot from downtown to jump start a 9-0 SU run to push the lead into double-digits. Two treys by the Eagles leading scorer Tywain McKee cut the deficit to five. But Paul Harris ended the half with a three-point play to give the ‘Cuse a 46-34 lead at the half.
Of course the Orange could have been up by a lot more. Syracuse turned the ball over 12 times which led to 11 points for Coppin St. Thanks to Rautins though who knocked down five triples, SU's mistakes were overshadowed a bit.
The second half was more of the same as the Orange had its good moments and then its bad ones. Syracuse pushed its lead to 13, but Coppin St. knocked down three-pointers on three straight possessions to stay within seven of the Orange with the score at 54-47. Another Rautins trey put the ‘Cuse on top by 12, but again a couple baskets by McKee and the Eagles trailed by only four with about eight and a half minutes to go.
That's when the Orange put together its best basketball of the night. After a lay in from Harris, Rautins ignited the crowd as he connected on his next three shots from behind the arc. Harris capped the 15-2 run with a thunderous put-back slam to the delight of the Orange fans.
The run gave the Orange a 17 point lead, its largest of the night. While SU didn't play even close to its best basketball, it held on to beat CSU in its last non-conference game of the season.
Some other observations from Syracuse's 82-71 win over Coppin State:
· What a shooting display put on by Andy Rautins. The junior guard connected on nine of his 16 attempts from deep for a career-high 29 points. Rautins set a record for most three-pointers made by an Orange player in the Carrier Dome. He also tied the all-time SU record set by Gerry McNamara who hit nine treys against BYU in the 2004 NCAA Tournament.
· SU shot 54.5 percent for the game and put five players in double-figures scoring wise. Rautins led the way with 29 while Harris had 15 and Rick Jackson dropped in ten in his second straight start. Arinze Onuaku was his usual self tonight, scoring 12 and pulling down ten boards while Jonny Flynn scored ten and dished out ten assists for a double-double.
· Despite being outmatched in this contest, you have to give it up to Coppin St. guard Tywain McKee. The senior went 12-of-24 from the field, including 5-of-10 from three-point range for a game-high total of 31 points.
· While it was great to watch Rautins knock down all those shots, it wasn't so pretty to see all the terrible passes and turnovers committed by the Orange. For the game, SU turned the ball over 22 times. That is just unacceptable for a Division 1 team to have so many mistakes. This was the last tune up for Big East play and SU did not take care of the ball like it needs to.
Syracuse (12-1) and ranked #14/17 has eight days off for the holidays before it returns to the court to take on Seton Hall in the Big East conference opener on December 30.