The Syracuse Orange men's basketball team faced off against unfamiliar opponent, the Long Beach State 49ers, and never had an issue from the tip.
Syracuse once again started out with the 2-0 advantage, but unlike their match with Eastern Michigan, Syracuse never trailed in the game.
At the half, the Orange had created substantial separation with a 20-point lead, 49-29.
Coming out of the break, Syracuse did not let up, separating from Long Beach State by more than 30 points en route to their 84-53 victory.
Here is a look at how the team performed:
The guards. Sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams continued his streak of consecutive games with at least nine assists to six-straight games with 10 assists versus Long Beach State.
"Michael [Carter-Williams]’s getting his numbers," said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. "Every night, he’s getting the ball to people finding people, and that’s what he does."
For his own points, Carter-Williams was the second leading scorer for the Orange with 15 points. He took his most shots within 40 minutes in this game, trying to drop the ball within the cylinder 16 times. He only made five of those attempts, but was able to help from long range, with three of his five made shots coming from beyond the arc.
Though he did have his third-consecutive game with at least four turnovers, he did steal the ball away from the 49ers three times, leading all Syracuse players. He has now had at least three steals in all of the team's seven contests.
Senior guard Brandon Triche continued his consistency in scoring, attaining double-figures for the seventh-straight game in seven tries.
Continuing the unselfishness of the backcourt, Triche aided his teammates' scoring with five assists. He has now had three or more assists in all but one of Syracuse's seven outings.
Triche was also active on the defensive boards, grabbing four rebounds, which gives him at least three defensive rebounds in the team's last two games after he amounted a mere one defensive rebound in each of Syracuse's previous three games.
Redshirt-sophomore Trevor Cooney continued showing his ability not only to connect from long range, but also from inside. After missing on all 11 of his three-point attempts over three games, Cooney had his second-straight game with at least two made shots from deep; Cooney went 3-for-7 versus the 49ers.
"It takes awhile for shooters to get comfortable," Boeheim shared. "When you miss a couple, you start thinking about it a little bit too much. He’ll be fine. He gets shots. He’ll make some."
"Brandon [Triche] will make some. Michael [Carter-Williams] will make some," Boeheim continued. "They just got off to a slow start. It’s early. They’ll get going."
Inside the arc, Cooney elevated for his second two-handed dunk in two games, illustrating that the depth of his abilities do not lie simply from beyond the arc.
As a backcourt, the top of the zone continues to remain strong. Carter-Williams, Triche, and Cooney have combined for 51 steals in the team's seven contests.
The forwards. Senior forward James Southerland continued to remain quiet at the offensive end, adding a mere two points to the Orange win. In Syracuse's previous match-up against Eastern Michigan, Southerland finished with four points. Southerland had been averaging double-digits in scoring and was coming off his best performance of his collegiate career with 35 points against Arkansas.
Despite struggling in scoring, Southerland helped the Orange in rebounds, gaining multiple rebounds on both the offensive and defensive ends for the fourth time this season. Southerland also had three assists and a block, showing that a quiet scoring night would not mean he would be silent on the court.
While Southerland has gone cold from the field, going 3-for-14 over the last two games and 0-for-8 from long range, freshman forward Jerami Grant has been turning up his play. After amounting 10 points in Syracuse's first five games combined, Grant has scored 20 points over the last two contests. He went 4-for-7 from the field and 1-for-3 from deep, meaning that Grant has made eight of his last 11 attempts, including going 50% from beyond the arc (2-for-4).
Grant also aided the Orange on the defensive end, attaining four defensive rebounds against Long Beach State after failing to gain a single defensive rebound in Syracuse's previous four games. He also added a block, giving him at least one block in consecutive matches.
“He’s doing some good things,” Boeheim expressed. “He’s in a tough position because James [Southerland] and C.J. [Fair] are veteran guys and they’re gonna be out there most of the time in crunch situations, but he certainly is proven that he can bring something to the table and it’s great for him getting this kind of experience this will help him, not only this year, but it’ll help him going forward.”
Junior forward C.J. Fair was the team's leading scorer for the first time since the season-opener against San Diego State, but in that game, Fair shared the top spot with Carter-Williams.
Versus Long Beach State, Fair had 16 points, making him the outright top scorer for the Orange for the first time in this young season. Taking 10 shots for the third-straight game, he made the most of tries this time around, going 6-for-10, and finally connected from long range, sinking his only attempt after a drought that dated back to Syracuse's second game of the season, versus Wagner.
Fair also grabbed the most offensive rebounds for the Orange in this match-up, with six. No one on the Syracuse roster has had six offensive rebounds in a game this season until Fair did it versus the 49ers. The closest a teammate came to six was fellow forward, sophomore Rakeem Christmas, who finished with five against Eastern Michigan the game before.
In total rebounds, Fair also led Syracuse, with 13. The last time Fair was atop all Orange players in total rebounds was ironically in the game where he also led in points, that being against the aforementioned San Diego State.
Thanks to both his scoring and his play on the glass, Fair completed his second double-double of the season.
"C.J. [Fair] was really good," Boeheim remarked. "I shoulda started with that. He was the best he's played all year. He was really on the boards aggressively and I thought he did a really good job."
Christmas, mentioned before for also being productive on the offensive glass, made it a point to help on both sides of the court, attaining five rebounds versus Long Beach State, with two coming on the offense and three on defense. He has now had at least one offensive and one defensive rebound in six of Syracuse's seven games.
As far as scoring, Christmas got back into double-digits with 11 points, after scoring six points in the previous two games combined. In all of last season, Christmas only had one game end with him in double-digits in scoring.
At center. Junior center Baye Keita continues to show his improvement in his hands. Be it a pass, a free ball being tipped around, or a rebound opportunity, Keita is getting after the ball and coming up successful.
This game was no different. Keita got an offensive rebound in the first half, connecting on a putback for Syracuse. In the second half, he took the feed from Triche and elevated for a high-percentage shot. His stats will not show, like this match in which he ended with five points, but his presence inside this season cannot be understated.
Keita had four rebounds, with three coming offensively, and provided further help to the Orange 2-3 zone with two blocks. He has aided Syracuse's rebounding on both ends as well as attained a block in six of the team's seven games.
Freshman center DaJuan Coleman, like Southerland, had a quiet outing as far as scoring. Going 0-for-4, this was the first contest in which Coleman failed to score from the field.
He did, however, continue to impress from the charity stripe, making four of his six attempts from the free throw line. Coleman has made eight of 10 free throws between Syracuse's last two outings.
Coleman's presence has also been felt on the glass, with the freshman grabbing a new single-game high in total rebounds with nine in this game.
His eight defensive rebounds rewrites his personal record books as yet another single-game high.
Simply put, "I thought DaJuan [Coleman] rebounded the ball well," Boeheim stated.
Coleman now has at least three defensive rebounds in six of Syracuse's seven games. In three of those matches, including the latest versus Long Beach State, Coleman has at least six.
He has also helped on the offensive end, attaining at least one offensive rebound in all seven of Syracuse's match-ups.
Overall on offense: In this match against Long Beach State, Syracuse did something they had not done in the last few games; they made less shots in the second half than in the first. The Orange went from making 50% of their attempts in the opening half (19-for-38) to only 30.3% of their shots in the latter half (10-for-33).
However, they shot better than the 49ers in both halves, despite almost a 20% drop in made attempts, with Long Beach State making 36.7% of their tries in the opening half and 22.9% in the latter half.
From long range, Syracuse made almost 50% of their attempts in the first half (7-for-15), while Long Beach State connected on 36.7% of their beyond-the-arc throws (4-for-11).
In the second half, both teams took 13 attempts. The Orange made three (23.1%), while the 49ers made one (7.7%).
Overall, Syracuse had their second-best outing of the season from deep, making 35.7% of their three-point attempts. Their best performance came against Arkansas, where they made 42.3% of their shots from distance on 11-for-26 shooting, with Southerland responsible for nine of the 11 made shots.
Keeping with scoring, the Orange accumulated more assists than the 49ers, 21 to 15.
Continuing with offensive opportunities, Syracuse led Long Beach State on the offensive glass, with 19 rebounds to the 49ers' 14.
Long Beach State lost more opportunities than Syracuse, turning the ball over 18 times to the 13 turnovers made by the Orange.
From the charity stripe, the Orange made at least 76% of their attempts for the third time in seven games, while the 49ers connected on 66.7% of their tries.
Overall on defense: Syracuse's defense allowed Long Beach State six less opportunities at the free throw line than the Orange had, 21 to 15.
Syracuse also took away more offensive opportunities from Long Beach State than they did to Syracuse, with the Orange leading in steals, eight to six, and blocks, 11 to nine.
Coming into the match, Syracuse had a +9 advantage in rebounds. The Orange had exactly that on the defensive glass, grabbing 34 rebounds to the 49ers' 25.
The total rebound battle was also won by Syracuse, with the Orange amounting 53 rebounds to the 49ers' 39.
Coming up: Syracuse will play host to the Monmouth Hawks on Saturday, December 8th, at 7pm Eastern in the Carrier Dome.